a striped flapper dress on a rainy day

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I am, dare I say, privileged to be able to dress the way I do in public. I’m the office manager for my family’s business; my boss is my idiosyncratic father, who wears “Eat More Kale” shirts, running shoes, and a ponytail. Our clientele is mostly charmed by my appearance. A few of the older regulars even see their own youth in me, which I appreciate.

Maybe it’s a #firstworldproblem, but I don’t think I could work somewhere that didn’t allow me at least some sartorial freedom. Dressing up is a big part of self-care for me. I get very anxious when my physical presentation doesn’t match how I think of myself. I don’t wear red lipstick every day because I’m in a rut; I wear it because I literally feel wrong without it.

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I’m very fortunate not to have my credibility eroded by the way I choose to present myself. I’m surrounded by people who understand that there’s no inherent connection between physical affect and ability to do one’s job. I just wish more people could come to terms with that.

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As much as I dislike those tumblr-y “destroy that idea that ___” posts, I really do want to destroy the idea that personal life/personal aesthetic is a fair metric of judging one’s ability to do their job. If I’ve hired you to perform a service, then your performance of that service, and only your performance of that service, is relevant. This seems so simple to me.

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I think we as a culture generally have a hard time with the idea that those who serve us are human. You see it in small ways, like yelling at waiters and cashiers for things that aren’t their fault. Like allowing someone’s haircut or tattoos to occlude your impression of their work. And in big ways, like how we gasp collectively when teachers do “kid-unfriendly” things in their private lives and how politicians’ sex scandals end up overshadowing their actual policy. We pay these people to be better than us. Different from us. Fundamentally Other than us. We simply cannot fathom that they are allowed to be human too.

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exhilaration in a vintage slip

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Usually I heavily side-eye anyone who claims to have been “born in the wrong era”. I’m guessing you’d rather have marriage equality and women in the workplace than even the poufiest New Look dress. Historical revisionism grinds my gears. “Back in the day” – no, stahp, humans have always been incomprehensibly cruel to one another, and all June Cleaver aesthetics did was hide it a little better than we’re used to. I try to acknowledge that what I’m borrowing from the past isn’t the end-all of history. At the end of the day, I would rather be a 21st-century woman in a vintage dress than sit around barefoot and pregnant.

That said, I love love LOVE flapper culture. Not in the way that screams “I’ve gravely misinterpreted The Great Gatsby“. But as a woman in 2014, I enjoy a university education, an apartment in my own name, and a self-determined love life. I’m accustomed to such things, as well I should be. Imagine, though, being alive and in one’s prime when all those things were new. Imagine the exhilaration of being the first woman in town to do something as seemingly ordinary as cut her hair short. To dare admit she liked drinking, dancing, and sex. Try and feel that exhilaration of growing up Edwardian-prim and emerging as New Woman incarnate, flouting what generations of mothers had taught. I have the utmost respect for the women who manifested who they wanted to be long before today’s “love thyself” psychobabble. My inner flapper tells me to get up and do. To indulge in this twisted world before me.

My love for the aesthetic is just icing.

The character I’m playing in these shots is nursing the bubble of excitement in her gut before a night on the town. Where the gin is cold but the piano’s hot…

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In other news, I shot these with my Canon PowerShot’s Tungsten exposure, and I’m thrilled with the chilly, blue-dense look.

 

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Chopped off my hairs. I feel like Louise Brooks. I actually went full flapper for my NYE outfit – slip, sequined sweater, cupid’s-bow lips. (Sadly, the light was all wrong for photos.) At heart, I’m roaring right along with the infamous ’20s. I may indulge in other eras, but I am such a goddamn flapper. And I find it really interesting how fashion echoes itself. The fiercely mod 60s definitely channels flapper culture in its own way. There’s a certain hedonism. A lushness – or loucheness, depending who you ask. A picture of bright, swinging womanhood.

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For my first outfit post of the new year (and the first in my new apartment!), I married the 20s and the 60s into one electrified union.

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Blouse & Necklace: Old Gold Skirt: Savers Tights & Crinolines: Spirit Halloween Glasses: Zenni Optical

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room

I just moved into a new (and much nicer; let’s be real) apartment. I’ll be posting a room tour as soon as I can! Check back.