Most of my life, I have been drawn to the wild romance of the Scottish and Irish historic fiction novels, and most recently via a friend, I’ve discovered the show Outlander. Set in both 1940’s and 1700’s Scotland, it follows the story of Claire Beauchamp, an Englishwoman who finds herself transported from her modern times right after the war to the time of the Jacobite rising in Scotland. I won’t say too much about it in case you need to read or watch for yourself, but I will say… if you prefer cleaner shows, read the books instead. While the books do hint at scenes here and there, what I’ve read so far is much less risque than the show, where there are scenes that definitely need skipping.
But being as I have tartan and plaid on the mind (although, when do I not? I’ve always been addicted) I was absolutely delighted to find a long red cape at Goodwill with beautiful red plaid lining.
And then I got home and discovered that it was not lining at all. This cape is 100% reversible.
So I, of course, immediately reversed it and wore it the very next day to my doctor’s appointment for a physical. And yes, I did feel completely and utterly extra wearing a calf-length red plaid cape to a medical center, but did I care what people were thinking? No, no I did not. Being someone who has worn vintage for years — from full on 1950’s housewife to more subdued retro looks, I have gotten used to the attention and questions I often get. I’ve been approached by elderly women who inform me I remind them of their younger days with delight, by middle-aged men and women who say I look just like their mother in old photos, by the grocery clerk who asks where I get my clothes because his wife has always wanted to dress vintage.
And it feels so normal to just wear what I love that a few days ago, when I saw a post about Dita Von Teese answering a question from a woman who wants to dress vintage but doesn’t want to be made fun of, I was surprised. I have had very few encounters with people who make fun of the way I dress (possibly assisted by where I live, which is a community of… shall we say… older people… many of whom still remember wearing this style in their youth), but I’ve also learned to just ignore the incredulity that may come. I forget sometimes that not everyone feels free to wear what they want to wear. And I wish that were different!
But, I completely understand stepping out of your comfort zone, or wearing a thing that nobody else around you wears. When I first started wearing skirts and dresses all the time, I felt so conspicuous. Nobody around me wore much else than jeans and tees, hoodies, and flannel. Showing up in a dress and heels felt so strange, and like someone might come up to me at any time and ask who I thought I was.
But the older I get, the less I care if I’m the fanciest person in the room, or the only one decked out in complete 1950’s garb. Wear what you want; life is too short to let your sartorial choices be dictated by what someone else thinks! And who knows, maybe you’ll secretly inspire others to step into that dress they never thought they could pull off?
I hope someday we all find that happy place of wearing whatever the heck we want to wear, and not really caring what anyone thinks! And you might be surprised by what good things come of being a little brave, and stepping out in clothes that embody YOU. I know that I live in a fairly polite and protected community, but the amount of positive encounters that have come from wearing a statement piece or committing to a fully 50’s look far outweigh the negative. Someday, maybe, this will be true for everyone. Until then, just keep being you!