A couple of winters ago, The Wife (who at that point was not quite yet The Fiance) introduced me to Downton Abbey. I was hooked right away. It is a fantastic show with great acting, excellent dialogue, and a remarkably fastidious attention to detail… as it should be. Violet kills me every time. And Mr. Carson too, he is a riot. But really what gets me are the clothes. The women’s clothes… or at least the clothes that many of the women wear. Most of the men all wear variations of the same damn thing… well except for Mr. Molesly’s father, that guy rocks the tweed field ensemble.
Nope it is all about that 20s high society flapper business. The elegance and severity of it. The combination of color contrast and flowing fabrics and sharp edged design elements. I know nothing of fashion, but I know what I like and so very often when watching that show I am jealous of many of the outfits. But, when it comes down to it I could not afford such attire, even were it more readily available to me.
I expect some of you might be thinking that cost is not likely the only barricade I might want to consider. Well, truth be told I have dressed in drag before and on more than one occasion. I am not opposed to the idea in general. The problem of course is that the world, in general, is. And that is dumb. Eddie Izzard summed it up perfectly in the quote that I used for the title of this post. Granted I am by no means in his class of “executive transvestite”, and in all honesty the couple of times that I have worn dresses and such were both for specific events; one was a cabaret show in Talkeetna and the other a Halloween event here in the ‘banks.
No, most days I gravitate towards blue jeans and t-shirts and of late have been particularly fond of pearl snap western wear shirts… especially those with flower or paisley patterns. I gather that it might encourage some raised eyebrows if I wore a flapper dress around on a day that is not Halloween, but even so I expect I would still be accepted… at work at least… frequently questioned perhaps, but generally accepted. And I am probably very fortunate in that way as I expect most workplaces would not be nearly as forgiving. But then again I would not be surprised if it were suggested that I not dress thusly on a regular basis.
Point being, what a person chooses to wear should not have any bearing on how that person it perceived by others. But it does.
So then a couple of days ago (maybe it was yesterday…) on the drive in to work I was listening to NPR and heard a story about 1980s era “power suits” that were favored by women in the business world. Pant suits in dark colors with big shoulder pads. You see, it was assumed that if a woman were to dress in such a way that made her look more masculine she would be taken more seriously…