Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dressing Like A Hepburn in a Kardashian World

I'm a sucker for timeless fashion. As a vintage-retro baby, I own plenty of dresses with no occasions to wear them. Girls don't wear dresses to school anymore. We don't get dressed up and have tea. But if I am ever sucked into a time machine and invited to a 1950's household, you better believe I'm ready. I love my little dresses. They don't show my butt and my boobs aren't falling out. They weren't meant to hang free back in the day. I yearn for those days again.

The day I bought my high-waisted, polka-dot shorts, I knew something in my world of fashion had shifted. I bought them in two colors: navy (to wear with practically everything) and red (for those days in every girl's life when she needs to demand a man's attention). I wore them every way I knew how. I wore them over tucked in blouses. I wore them with denim button ups that were tied at my waist. I wore them with flats, t-strap heels, and the cutest laced oxfords you ever saw. I wore those magic shorts with everything. And then I discovered:
I was basically Audrey Hepburn. 

A bit of a monster was born after that. I have always known that modesty was my thing; I always wanted to be fully covered but I still wanted to look like a woman. Being modest surely didn't mean wearing baggy hoodies every day, did it? I didn't know how to be modestly fashionable; I didn't know how to be classically elegant. I didn't know how make my style modern. Turns out, making it modern was the wrong strategy. My style had previously existed. My style was not modern, but it was certainly not dead. My style is what's known as "timeless fashion." 

In Audrey Hepburn's time, Marilyn Monroe was the slut. The size-12 in a white one piece was the sex icon of the day. Who knows what Kim Kardashian would have been considered. I mean seriously. We all saw the dress at the MTV Video Music Awards that made her look like a hiking baked potato. 
And don't even get me started on Kanye's outfit. I rest my case. Modern fashion is not modest fashion.

But my polka-dot shorts and I set out on an adventure; a quest to make my closet timelessly modest. I can't bear to look at Kim and Kanye, so I focused on other idols. Better idols. I turned to the inspiration of Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly. Now those women knew what they were doing. 

Rule #1: Never Underestimate the Power of a Neckline
In today's world, there are no "necklines." There are boob-lines. Or in Kim's case, her neckline was actually a waistline. A classic neckline rests in the general vicinity between your collarbones and your cleavage. Hepburn women wore collars, V-necks, button-ups, scoop necks, halters, and even sweetheart necklines! They hinted at their femininity, but never showcased it like we let girls do today. 

Notice that even these scoop-necks and V-necks do not show any cleavage. They are exquisitely feminine, but they are not putting everything out in the open. Modesty is not about covering up, it's about leaving something to be unveiled. These women leave a little to the imagination, leaving men wanting more. What an interesting tactic that seems so lost among young women today. These women are just as (if not more) captivating than baked potato Kim, but they look like a woman instead of, well, a baked potato. 

They also utilize the amazing power of sleeves. You rarely saw any strapless tops back in the 50's, because sleeves keep fabric where it rightfully should be.

Rule #2: The Higher the Waist, the Closer to God
I know, I know, that's not how the saying goes. But these fashion icons loved their waist. Today's society is full of fat-shaming, body hating women. Here's the deal girls: men love curves and you should, too. If you were meant to look like a toothpick noodle, God would've made you a man. Women have figures. Women have hips. Women have waists. And they're beautiful! So show them off! There's nothing wrong with that at all! 

Yes, yes, I also realize high waisted shorts are hard for some women to wear. I know it's a personal challenge for me to find jeans that fit my hips, butt, and thighs all at once. Likewise, it is difficult to find shorts that fit your waist, hips, and butt, but if I managed to find them, I can assure that you can, too. Not to mention, the waist and seat of shorts isn't that hard to alter. If you can't sew (or don't trust yourself to alter your favorite shorts), it shouldn't be too difficult to find a seamstress or alteration specialist in your area who will be able to help you out for a pretty cheap price!

Rule #3: Hemlines and Hairlines...Raise 'Em Up!
Both hemlines and hair got drastically shorter during this time. No, not as short as they are today (remember, women were still modest by our standard, but felt scandalous by theirs). Women were moving away from bathing suit measurements (they used to have to be a certain number of inches from their knee...can you even imagine?) and chopping off their luscious locks. While Audrey Hepburn was one of the few to brave a full blown pixie, many girls resorted to curling their locks to their shoulders. Those who kept their long hair often wore it in curly ponytails.

Rule #4: Pattern It Up! 
Of course my signature is polka-dots (no one is shocked to find that out...), but blouses and dresses were notorious for their elaborate patterns. Dots, florals, stripes, plaids, checks, and even some animal prints were used in women's fashion. I found a dress once that had lemons on it, and it was just darlin'! In other words, never underestimate loud, weird, busy patterns.

I love every single dress in the picture to the right. Just googling "1950's patterned dresses" will get you thousands more. Personally, I love the skirt with the city around the hem. I'd rock that every time it was clean.

Rule #5: Know the 3 B's; Bows, Belts, and Buttons

This one's pretty self explanatory. These classic embellishments were staples in 1950's and 1960's women's fashion, and should not be forgotten in our modern recreations. 

Two words: Christian Dior. 

Known as the "New Look" revolution, Dior designed clothes that were unlike anything seen before in the fashion world. His innovative designs that define the retro period are now considered vintage, but they are, nonetheless, timeless, and adorably classic. The song says it best...
Livin' in a world gone plastic, baby you're so classic. 
So thanks, MKTO. You've defined my life in a song! 

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