Friday, 28 July 2017

In Praise of the Seventies







What’s your decade? If you’ve got even a passing interest in vintage, you’ll probably be able to answer: reeling off the eras and cuts and types of look that you love best. For some it’s the fifties, all little sweaters, pencil skirts and big, poofy, pretty tea-dresses. For others it’s the eighties, with shoulder pads and sequins aplenty. My immediate answer used to be sixties. I adored everything about that decade: the tiny tunics, the very mini mini-skirts, the pictures of Twiggy jumping around looking lithe and leggy. I sought out anything that looked vaguely Biba-esque, dreaming about kohl-rimmed eyes and A-line dresses and swing coats.

Then, things changed. Well, my body changed. I got hips. And I skipped forward another ten years, suddenly realizing that the seventies held better-suited treasures. There I’d find the shapes that suddenly worked anew: those glorious high-necked, ankle-skimming maxi-dresses; the big sleeved gowns, the suede jackets (you can never have too many suede jackets), the platform heels. It was a gradual shift: one I only noticed as I perused the rails of vintage shops, gravitating towards colours and patterns I would have previously overlooked. Oh sure, it had been a decade I’d dabbled in before (these blog archives can attest to that), but it quickly became a more all-consuming interest. Now, at least a quarter of my wardrobe is made up of bright seventies maxis, their hems all crushed together. There they are, in zinging green and tangerine and cream cotton flecked with terracotta coloured flowers. Some plunge down to cleavage, while others are cut high on the neck: letting shoulders roam free. All hit that sweet spot between glam and ethereal, with the added bonus of allowing one to float around like a very practical goddess with things to do and places to be. (Side note: the lines between late sixties/ early seventies are not always easy to delineate. I guess I'm going more on popular preconceptions of each decade rather than the year-to-year changes in design). 

Of course, the other decades still have their place. Come winter, I’m hardly ever out of my sixties style polo-necks and miniskirts, complete with thick black tights and big Chelsea boots. The fifties still linger around the edges of my wardrobe in the odd cocktail dress and embroidered blouse. I find myself lusting after the forties whenever I see photos of jaunty looking women in sturdy trousers and good shirts. And the thirties is another fresh discovery: all those glorious bias cuts to indulge in (admittedly achieved via buying second hand Ghost and Whistles slip-style gowns, rather than the now very pricy originals). But it’s good to acknowledge – and not feel aggrieved - that there were various vintage items that looked brilliant on me when I was fourteen, and just wouldn’t now I’m twenty-two. Besides, the vice versa is true too. A dress like the one worn here, with its bright splashes of yellow and orange, might still have been ace during my adolescence. But I don't think I could have pulled it off in the same way. The physical differences, as well as that whole thing of growing up and accumulating confidence with each passing year, makes it a better fit now.

I’m fascinated by this process of evolution in personal style: the way taste can shift and revise itself over time. Marking it out in vintage shapes is an easy way to summarize a lot of much more subtle changes - ones which bear further examination another time... For now though, I’m just reveling in the potential of the seventies, especially when mixed up with other, newer things: a second hand blue velvet blazer and wellies, for example. Especially for a walk in the woods on a damp, grey, fresh-smelling afternoon. Especially when the dress clashes with the bushes of flowers on all sides. 
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4 comments

Porcelina said...

That jacket is the most divine colour - stunning photographs!
I flit between decades all of the time, and I always find something I love in decades I used to dislike. I think that's half the fun! x

Dolly Rocker said...

You look just wonderful in these photos, I love your dress! I'm generally a 60s loving girl, particularly that period in mid-late of the decade when dress shapes were still very mod influenced with clean lines, but with the mad psychedelic patterns and swirls of bold colour.Though in more recent years I too have been finding myself more drawn to the 70s, especially the folk looks.

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

I am definitely a mid seventies lover. Even if sometimes It was tasteless haha
However, It is Not obvious in my Daily style. I am so pragmatic that I dress very simple and easy. Yet, I try to Be stylish.
And I loooove patterns, But I find my Self enjoying them more while Looking at them rather than wearing them ( It happens the same way with accesories).
The idea of a Ethereal dancing godess is what enchant me and what I want to approach. Also Witch like Outfits.
But in my casual Daily life you probable would find me Inside flat non saturated greens, greys and blues. And cotton as a Material (silk if I want to feel Special).

Glad that you Are back Rosalind. Blogging is Stil your thing. And I Tell you that I relate to your feelings. I Love blogging But there Are many Periods When I simples don't feel like working on Front of the computer ( and many ideas for post get acumuled in my mind)

Kisses!

Carlota Antolin Vallespin said...

PD: what a gorgeous Collection of Rodoendro bushes

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