There was an article going around recently about a couple who wore Victorian clothes every day, and from there decided to adopt a number of Victorian-era items and live in a Victorian-era house. They were going to reject a bunch of modern things, like fridges and lights (but not publishing books on Amazon, or gaining Internet popularity) Through which they believed they'd obtain a true understanding of the period. Like many people, it rubbed me up the wrong way. They were so obviously benefiting from lots of modern things – like medicine and voting. They were probably not living with memories of their siblings dying of cholera and, of course, were living like well-off Victorians, not those in a workhouse, so this idea that they would gain a greater knowledge of the period than historians is just a bit odd. But the thing that I found most strange was that it all began with the clothes.
The author had initially been given a Victorian dress and said she enjoyed the fabric and feelings it gave her and wanted to experience more of that.
And I thought – but that's exactly what is great about now!
Living right here and now in the 21st century (and relatively well off as she is) you can choose your clothes – and still live right now. You can choose wear clothes inspired by the big skirts of the 50s – and not be confined to the strict gender roles of its time. You can choose to go to all your parties dressed like a 1920s flapper, but not have the experience of all your male schoolmates having recently died. You can be inspired by the 1960s hippy movement, but re-interpret it with slightly less cultural appropriation than your parents did. The great thing about fashion now is how much we have to draw upon, and how much we have grown in the last 100 years.
If you like a fashion style of the past, you can wear it. You can mix it, and re-invent it, you can study it and you can enjoy it. But we all live here and now, and wishing you were in the past is never going to be real, and that's good. Because we only keep making things better. If you don't like this world we live, you can work to make it an even better place. And wear what you like at the same time!
Of course she and her husband can both do what they want, and enjoy it, but it is only because they live now that they can. And it made me think about how much I enjoy having history to be inspired by, but living in a better world.
So here are some photos of me enjoying the wonders of the modern world. Wearing a skirt Midwest Muse, a fellow blogger, helped me procure, a jumper I got at a swap party full of YouTubers and a pair of leggings from an online shop.