In this latest age of austerity, which does seem to come around faster and faster, one thing never changes: whatever passes for pop culture sets the latest trends, but those who create their own fashion are always in style.
I would like to blame the advent of casual Fridays in the workplace during the 80’s, but it was also an emergence of the 60’s to remove the shackles of formal dress, uncomfortable and confining structured undergarments, ridiculously complicated rules for dressing during the day and then evening.
Hence, the rules of style (and propriety) have been tossed out the window. We can argue until the cows come home about whether this was a win in the culture wars or a complete surrender, but it does present an opportunity to create your own style by creating your own fashion.
What could be more empowering than to create your own look, your own wardrobe instead of being dependent upon cheap imports with a two-month shelf life? Being told by unknowable authorities that this season we must all, lemming like, wear tangerine with yellow stack shoes or that chartreuse is the new black. Who are these people to dictate what we should all be wearing? Not to mention the lack of quality construction and proper fit. Even in high end retail couture, the added expense of having to have the jacket fitted and the skirt or slacks altered is inexcusable.
Even if we are not in the high-end retail financial bracket, we can re-create that expensive look, except when we do it ourselves, it will be well constructed and perfectly tailored to our bodies, not some designer’s idea of what the female form is. Frankly, I don’t think many modern retail designers understand that the female body is replete with bumps and curves of all sizes, differing heights, weights, tastes.
We have a unique opportunity to bring sewing, simple home economics back to the forefront with the emphasis on empowerment. Home-ec was given, unnecessarily, a bad name decades ago. It was portrayed as another shackle to keep the little woman in the kitchen, barred from leaving her home. We allowed that to happen as we were too busy running our homes, building careers, raising children. Let’s take home-ec back. We should be proud to arm our daughters, and our sons, too, with the necessary tools to take care of themselves. That is the essence of home economics. Living within a budget, creating a safe and comfortable home whether that home is home to one or many.
Find out why your local high school no longer offers relevant courses in home economics. Check your local community college, sewing guild, church assemblies, library. All of these places offer opportunities to teach, learn, and share your knowledge. Let’s take the home-ec agenda back from those who impose their own agenda which is antithetical to the true spirit of home economists, or any kind of economist, really. This isn’t about a pop-culture definition of equality or entitlement, it is about earning pride and fostering self-reliance.