An alarming – or not so, depending on your opinion of humanity – number of people seem to believe that if you’re dressed old-timey in public, then you necessarily appreciate other old-timey aspects of life as well. Including but not limited to casual sexual harassment.
I wore this outfit to brunch on Sunday morning in White River Junction, when the fellow behind me at the counter decided that grabbing my waist and elbow would be an appropriate way to compliment me. “Oh you look so elegant, are you in a play, you dress like my mother’s generation…” Yick. I sincerely hope you didn’t greet your mother and her friends with casual ass pats.
When you dress distinctively, you sort of become public property. You’re a walking museum exhibit. Especially when you dress in vintage: you remind people of their collective history. Nostalgia brings out the talkers. In some respects, I expect this. If I’m going to call attention to myself, I should be able to accept questions and (sincere, non-sexual) compliments with grace. But? Even in an actual museum, you don’t touch the exhibits. That goes double when said exhibit is an actual human.
But there’s a silver lining here. If women like me have to deal with unwanted touching, then there’s no way in hell that skimpier-dressed women are “asking for it”. Am I also “asking for it” by wearing your grandma’s hat and gloves? Nonsense. To people with no respect for boundaries, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. They’ll find some excuse.
So if anyone ever says you “shouldn’t have worn that dress” if you didn’t want to be groped or catcalled? Show them this post.
Dress: ’40s vintage, via War’s End Shop
Hat: vintage, via Gem’s Vintage Gems
Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage in White River Junction (featured in an upcoming post!)
Boyfriend: price on request
Everything else: thrifted