21 April 2010

The Cure for a Bad Mood

Something I read online today made me very grouchy, so I decided I needed to cheer myself up with a fun outfit.
today's outfit, WIWT, shirtdress, crinoline, John Fluevog shoes
Brown shirtdress, Ann Taylor Loft
Hand-dyed silk tank, Reyen Design Studios
Belt, thrifted
Crinoline, thrifted
Shoes, John Fluevog, "Mini: Qtee"

Closeup, buckle necklace, skull earrings
 Buckle necklace: estate sale
Tiny skull earrings: assembled myself: skull charms of uncertain origins
photos: Fabulous Husband

 Plus, after three days spent in grubby construction clothes, I wanted to wear something feminine. There's nothing wrong with my grubbies, and I love working with Fabulous Husband to build new things and maintain our 130-year-old house, but after a few days in the same raggedy, sawdust-crusted jeans, I'm ready for a change of pace.

For whatever reason, crinolines have always put me in a good mood. They're so fluffy and effervescent: it's very difficult to be cranky when wearing one!

More importantly, they're fun to move in:

swingy skirt

full skirt and daffodils

For you language historians out there, the term "frou-frou" actually originates from the long silk organza petticoats popular in the Edwardian era. It's an onomatopoeia: Frou-frou is the rustling sound a stiff silk petticoat makes when you walk in it. This shorter nylon one doesn't make the noise, but it does make my skirt amusingly voluminous. It's an unusual feeling, having the widest part on my body be somewhere around mid-calf level.

Part of the appeal of this outfit is its vintage styling. Fabulous Husband and I watched Julie and Julia last night (a wonderfully amusing movie - and that's coming from both of us). A few things struck me, especially about Julia Child. Firstly, despite the well-known repression and lack of opportunities available to women in the mid-20th century, there wasn't much that stood in her way from doing anything she damn well wanted to do - and doing so while wearing put-together ensembles, including heels and skirts. Forget the old chestnut about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels: Julia Child did everything her fellow (male) students did in, but skirts and heels. Anyone who's ever spent any amount of time in a restaurant kitchen knows how trying that could be!

Fluevog Mini Qtees, super comfy shoes
Well, unless they were these heels. These things feel like sneakers!

The other thing that struck me was Julia's unflagging optimism and good spirits. Did she get upset about things, angry, depressed? Absolutely. Everybody does. Instead of letting things that upset or angered her throw her, though, Julia reacted with good cheer and a make-the-best-of-it attitude. I don't know how true to life Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child was, but I got the distinct feeling that this was less a natural trait than a carefully cultivated determination to find the silver lining in any cloud, no matter how stormy.

That's an attitude I'm going to try to cultivate myself. Hence the crinoline.

Oh, and for those of you who were curious, the shoe rack progresses.

shoe rack, home built shoe storage system
This is prior to finishing: we put our shoes on it (No, those aren't all mine! Some of them belong to Fabulous Husband!) and put it in place on a trial run basis. It'll get a coat of golden oak stain, to match the rest of the room, and then several of spar varnish, for durability. It may not be the most elegant piece of furniture ever, but it's far superior to our previous heap-on-the-floor "storage" system.

What do you do to cheer yourself up when you get down? Does the way you're dressed help? Do you have some pieces of clothing that makes it impossible (or very difficult) to feel grouchy while you're wearing it?


  1. That is a seriously cool shoe rack. And I've never worn a crinoline, but it does look fun!

  2. I like to wear comfy cardigans when I am down. Nothing cheers me up as much as a nubblefuzzy sweater. Oh, and I love the crinoline. So much fun!! And your blog is so cool. Love your philosophy. Totally share it. Thanks for all the interesting stuff to read! Now I must watch that movie!

  3. Just discovered your blog, and I definitely agree with your reasoning about the fact that "everybody gets dressed"! I have been trying to figure this out for a while now, and maybe you would know-- who was it that said that fashion is the one form of culture in which everyone participates, whether they mean to or not? I think it might have been Isabella Blow, but google hasn't been any help. : )

    A few notes on this post specifically-- I love your glasses! And I could definitely use a shoe rack like that myself.

    I'm also interested in your "feel good" outfit. I usually rely on bright colors when I want my clothes to cheer me up, but I'll have to think about which particular fabrics or silhouettes might improve my mood next time!

    Come check out our blog if you get a chance!


  4. This is a completely gorgeous outfit, and I have been drooling over your Fluevog collection for days!! (I couldn't comment sooner because I can't comment on blogs with embedded comments from my own laptop.)


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