Friday, October 30, 2009

30 October 1955 “Questions and Answers: Part Two of Three”

Here is the second installment of my questions and answers. I really found, going through these questions, how much I have changed and really studied this year. I hope you enjoy it and please, though they are my answers, chime in with your own ideas!

  • How completely have you changed your lifestyle to accommodate the 1950’s way of life.

I changed as much was/is possible and still functional. Obviously, the use of my computer was important in order to document my project. I have found, however, that computer (though once used for entertainment) now serves as a combination typewriter/reference library.

My dress is completely vintage. I wear girdle and stockings  (no panty hose) and mainly dresses and skirts. I have one pair of dungarees (blue jeans) that I wear for work around the yard or sometimes house work. These are high waisted and I can’t believe how much MORE comfortable they are than the modern ‘low rise’ jeans.  Hats and gloves, pocket books, and hankies, all  of these are of the period and many authentic when possible. Although,  my wardrobe of handmade dresses is growing, using vintage repro patterns. I am to the point where I am trying to take a very basic bodice pattern that fits me and then I ‘make up’ the rest of the pattern. If I see a ‘style’ I like in a movie or vintage Vogue, I want to be able to copy in a way that it feels ‘inspired’ by it. I think a sewing homemaker would have most likely ventured into her own pattern making. In fact, I am sure in High School and College level Home Economics, she would have learned pattern making. 

  • Where did you source your 1950’s clothing and décor from?

A mixture of local antique/thrift stores and church sales. I also found many things on ebay (my vintage cone bra for example).

  • Has your husband joined in with the 1950’s theme?

As I said, my husband is very easy going and never wonders at what I might do next. He takes it all in stride. He is rather 1950’s in many ways, already, such as his manner of dress. He owns one pair of jeans which he rarely wears. He wears mostly ‘dress slacks’ and even cotton pants for working in the yard. He wears ties, sweater vests etc and has a very 1950’s haircut. He does not wear tennis shoes except to go running, so really he blends right in. He is also a pipe smoker and collects and uses antique typewriters, so it was rather a nice fit. We seem to find ourselves very ‘at home’ in the 1955 role of breadwinner husband and homemaker wife both in clothing and attitudes.

I think our attitudes as two educated middle class people, we are very similar to our counterparts. Though I love vintage clothes and can get rather excited about talking about petticoats and things, we have very real political discussions concerning the period, much the way I think our 1955 counterparts would have.

  • What is your knowledge on Dior’s ‘New Look’ that came out in 1947, following WWII?

belle epoch Considering Dior grew up in a fairly wealthy household and had memories of his mother and female family in the luxury of the Belle Epoch, his New Look (so dubbed by the then editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snowharpers who exclaimed, “It’s such a new look”) seems to be his response to what he fondly recalled and what was needed after the war. The New look1 new look2 new look3

I think fashion will always look back before it looks forward. Any true innovation of fashion always has some nod to the past. roman-statues-2regency In the Regency Period, for example, the look of the classical Greek and Roman statues were copied into the Empire waist.  Napoleon, feeling akin to the Roman Emperors, affected such changes himself.

The idea of copying a previous time period you are fascinated with is not an new idea at all. Even the colors, sleeves and necklines of the 1870’s Victorian period were a direct nod to the French era of Marie Antoinette. 1870s dress  1872 worth gown marie antoinette And so Dior, after the war, wanted to give back to the world some of the beauty and femininity of the world that had been lost in the war. A world he most likely could remember in the tactile sense of youth; the rustle of the petticoat, the sway of full fabric from a small sashed waist. And I really do think that the New Look was a way to bring back some of the good that was lost after the world changed in an almost innocent way. We could leave the ideals of privilege and class in the past, but let there be beauty and femininity again. In a very simple manner he gave back a sense of luxury and innocence that had been lost.

With the restriction of fabric during the war, the look of the 1930s (which was returning to a longer skirt) certainly directed the look. There was only so much fabric.  A new silhouette was really needed in the fashion world. The hard military shoulders and knee length skirts of the war couldn’t be further away from the New Look, with its yards of full skirt, soft sloped shoulders and nipped in  waist.

What I find interesting is at this time and really only until the late 1960’s, what the fashion houses dictated as fashion would affect most people. Even if you were not wealthy, if the ‘fashion’ was a full skirt to mid calf that meant the wealthy in New York would wear a Dior original, but also the young wife in Idaho also would follow suit. That was why there was such an outrage against it by those who wanted the freedom and sensuality of the shorter skirt. When, in reality, they could have simply just worn what they liked. And THAT is the big difference in our two worlds. Today, a woman wears what she likes. And to that, I am happy. Yet, I do wish there was a return to the idea of a ‘style’ that could be set and then copied by those in their own way. Somehow it almost seems as if that allows more originality. Because, it seems when we are given the option to wear anything, we always revert back to jeans and T’s. That is fine if you choose that and it doesn’t choose you, yet I hear from women all the time how they WISH they could wear vintage, or have the nerve to wear hats. It is odd that given MORE freedom we somehow feel more restricted, odd isn’t it.

Now, I am not saying I want to put holds on anyone’s freedoms, but what I am saying, ladies, is that for those of you who long and pine for the days of beauty in clothes, you have the choice our grandmothers DID NOT! So, watch some old movies or read old vogue, look at Edith Head designs and get to sewing! The world around you can be changed. You might be the woman brave enough to wear that veiled 1950’s hat and gloves to the store, party or church and other women will think, “Oh, my, how adorable”. We always do. No matter how removed we can pretend to be from fashion as women, let’s face it, fashion has existed BECAUSE of us. Again, another powerful part of our woman’s history. We WORE the corsets and bustles and farthingales. Men may have manufactured them, but WE gave them life! Embrace it! Sometimes I feel that we as women are so powerful, but we feel the need to hide or suppress it. If it takes nerve to wear a full on 1950s outfit down to the girdle or even an 1850’s, then we can do it! You might affect the style in your own town and honestly wouldn’t you rather be thought of as having your own style than not thought of at all?

Well, I got off topic a little, I am sorry, that bit was more for my post, back to Dior and the New Look.

I have often wondered if Dior was also influenced by a very small trend that occurred right after WWI started. Many fashions then were needed to become practical. . The idea that women would suddenly need, en masse, to take over male roles of work was beyond comprehension up to this point, though we often forget that there was always a class of woman who worked hard physical labor, servants. Their role certainly became easier as fashion became less complicated, but then they slowly were done away with as the century progressed. But, fashion was for the wealthy and then the copiers of fashion, the middle class.  That is why I think the “War Crinoline” look became popular that spring of 1915. We had not yet realized what the new roles for women would entail. The fashions had become rather mannish and stark and this was a response to a need for the feminine form. When you see the fashion plates, you can easily see the new look. Particularly in this image, the navy dress and the pink dress with an overlay could probably have simply had a tight belt at the waist and been worn in 1949 as Dior’s New Look.

1915warcrinolintrend_thumb1 In the spring of 1915, however, fashion changed radically with the introduction of an outline known at the time as the 'war crinoline.' Hemlines crept upward and the skirt was now very full and bell-shaped, with wide collars and sloping shoulders.

So, this odd year of overtly feminized form of course was quickly replaced with the more practical war clothes of WWI.

So, having both grown up with ladies of high society in lush exuberant gowns and having living in Paris during the stark years of the war as well as the severe silhouette of Chanel in the 1920’s, this was really a groundbreaking look. Yet, and I am sure he was aware of it, it was highly influenced by the past. And, even the ‘war crinoline’ of 1915 is merely a reinterpretation of the 1840s-1860s Victorian period of full skirts culminating in wasp waist full skirt and sloped shoulders.

I think, much as I have found with my own project, we can and should look to the past for inspiration and ideas. In a way, those who have already lived have had to make mistakes and it is silly for us not to learn from them. Dior saw a need in both Fashion and probably in his own heart, after the devastation of the war, to a return of gentler more comforting times. The era where ladies had small waists, milled about in full gowns and sat daintily sipping tea under large hats, and thus the NEW LOOK was born. That, anyway, is how I see it.


  • What do you think of this style of clothing, with the 8-inch waist and 25 meters of material in one skirt alone?

For myself, I adore Dior’s look. I am tall and can carry a full skirt mid-calf fairly well. I do recall there being a backlash from women at the New Look because they had to cover their legs after the freedoms of the War and certainly for a shorter frame it might not be as complimentary.

Since I am living in 1955, the New Look is not so new any more. My skirts, for the most part, are very full. I actually prefer a full skirt with petticoat over the pencil skirt, though I do wear those as well. My full skirts tend to run a little closer to the knee, as would be happening now in 1955, and by 1962 you would still have that silhouette but the skirt would be just at the knee, also very flattering. Compared to the later 1960’s short straight A-ling dresses, I think the New Look is a woman’s best friend. There are many ways to hide ‘flaws’ in the New Look, while the mini dresses of the 1960’s bared all.

There is something supremely feminine in the New Look. The fall of the skirt, the way it moves and the sound of the petticoat and crinoline. Even my housedresses that I clean in are full skirted, though often worn without my petticoat, they are a joy to clean in, as I can move about freely, are very comfortable in the summer (when my girdle was only worn ‘out in public’ as I was told my ladies of the time that was correct).

What I can say to any of you who have not worn the New Look, you must try it at least once. There is something etheral about walking into a room feeling the movement of your skirt and the way it falls as you sit. It gives a lovely look, and I have to say, in it’s suit form, is very smart. I love the looks of other time periods, say the 1920’s, but if you are fuller figured, the New Look is for you!

  • What do you think this meant for women? Did you find this a form of oppression and push for conformity for women, or did you find this luxurious and ‘housewife’ ideal appropriate?

I think any intentional form of ‘oppression’ through clothes upon women is rather a modern ideal. Perhaps, other than Poiret’s hobble skirt of the teens, which literally restricted movement of the legs, fashion on women was never ‘inflicted’ in my opinion.

There were certainly those who may have suffered with the corset, probably Victorian servants in upper class households for example, but for the majority of it’s existence it was no more oppressive than a modern bra. In fact, I don’t believe it was until later Victorian (1870s-1900) that the ‘tight lacing’ of the wasp waist was really a infliction on your body.  A corset of say the Regency Period or even Victorian around 1840 was more about holding a shape to conform to the fashion. Now, I am not saying I want us to have to wear corsets or girdles, but I am saying that in the past society lived in a more patterned way. Really, any woman could have stopped wearing her corset, she was not literally being ‘forced’ into it everyday. But the moral fiber and laws of society themselves required you, if you wanted to participate, to follow those rules. Do I think those rules were set only by men, no. This is something that I think really needs further study. I am sure, for every one woman who despised her corset, there were ten ladies reveling in it. This concept that men, until the 1960’s, held us in an iron clawed grip is, to me, a farse. We have more freedoms now and I am glad for it, but we have always had the potential for those, but we chose, collectively, to focus on other aspects of our society. Women, by nature, are nurturers biologically. You have only to look at other mammals to know that. So, we tend to be the ones who quietly allow there to be serenity, to make a comfortable home to live in. What we need to realize now is that equality is not about FORGETTING or throwing away anything we think, as modern women, is servitude: such as homemaking skills! We really do a disservice to our own history in so doing.

I think there were definitely women who had tasted the freedom of the workforce during the war and did not want to go back. Certainly they would prefer a different look and actually the office look at the time was more streamlines, with fitted jackets and pencil skirts, but for the women who did want to return home, it must have been a luxury. As I said, there were many women who actually protested the New Look, but it had nothing to do with ‘men’s oppression’ and in fact most men, had they had the choice, would have not wanted it either, because really the look of the war showed much more leg! And that is another thing I have noticed about modern times. Men obviously like to see women. The new look was more about how we felt as women in being pretty. It covered us up more, but we didn’t care as we were pleasing ourselves not the men. Today, fashion seems to be akin to strippers and lingerie models. Somehow the ideal has become to be as sexy for men as possible. Now, that seems more degrading to me than getting to wear pretty dresses with frou frou and fun, which many women DO enjoy rather men do or not.

So, I can only really speculate what was really felt by the common homemaker. For me, coming from a world of jeans and very few dresses being seen except for ‘nice dinners out and parties’ it was like the joy of a little girl getting to play in her dress up box or her mother’s closet. I would think that must have been true for some women, especially war brides as I would have been. If you are lucky enough to have your husband return home, the thought of making that home, raising children, decorating, going out and looking beautiful meant a great deal to them. Even in my experiment I cannot ever fully know how it must have felt to go from your world exploding around you and the constant fear of death to the reality that you could dress up and be pretty and have parties in your new home with new things and color everywhere! It must have seemed, for many, a magical time.

  • What are your thoughts on women’s role during this era?

I think one of the main elements of my project was to see, was the primary role of women of the time as homemaker (and mother, though I do not have children) a good or bad one?  Though certainly after the war, women were expected to give up their jobs to the men and become wives, many did not or they continued working while being married.

I think what I have found is that one of the main roles of women throughout recorded history has been that of Homemaker in one way or another. It is only after this year that I am beginning to see what a treasure and important aspect this is to Women’s History. Rather we feel, by modern standards, that it was ‘enforced’ upon women, I am afraid that we are now too quick to judge. I have found that the attitude “Oh, Just a Housewife” slaps the face of all our fore sisters in the face. Our role of nurturer, nester, and all that has become homemaking is riddled with skill and accomplishment. I think now that women have CHOICES that Homemaker should still be a valid one. I also feel much of Homemaking skills should be taught to both boys and girls at a young age, as to care for oneself, to be self-sufficient in this way is important. Rather you have a husband making the income or you are single, such skills as cooking/baking, mending clothes, being budget wise, familiar with the working of appliances, making clothes etc, all these are important elements.

So, though we see the 1950’s primarily as a time that woman was a Homemaker or a nurse or schoolteacher, the children of these women were open to more careers. There were also women doctors and engineers etc. I do feel, however, that the role of woman in this era as a Homemaker should be taken more seriously. I feel that role and all it entailed could even help today in our economy and planetary crisis. The green movement could be greatly improved by following the rules of the old homemakers household, where things were reused, repaired and garbage was considered reusable, before becoming garbage. Even the ability to make more things from simple stock ingredients reduces the amount of garbage we make with packaging. I always laugh, particularly now, at bottled water. If we were to time travel to 1955 and tell them that you would have to pay for water in a bottle, I am sure they would have laughed at us. But, we aren’t laughing, we are buying it by the truckloads and many other pre-packaged things and clothing and cheap furniture and the list goes on. I think much of what we make fun of as the role of the homemaker may prove to be a solution for all if we want to seriously restrict our garbage, but unfortunately, our consumer culture does not want that, because then we will buy less, but that also means more savings for us. We really will begin to see the Homemaker’s skills as a remedy for the ills of our current economy and nation.


  1. great second part of the interview, I really enjoyed it :)

  2. As I sat here reading this post today, I am sipping my coffee from a china cup (with saucer) I inherieted from my Grandma. I have my book on sewing next to me, for I am going to try and learn more of the craft. I am listening to my children play in the other room and the sound of the rain falling with the leaves hitting the house from the wind on this chilly (but awesome - I LOVE FALL) day. And a small part of my mind is contemplating how I can wear the new hair clips and combs I found last night when I was out shopping.

    It hit me that when I worked full time, I would spend my days worrying about OTHER peoples stuff, and all of my dreams and desires were shelved until break time or after work. I admire women who choose to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, nurses, corporate climbers, what have you...but I also admire a woman who has chosen to sacrifice that life to stay at home and take care of her family and home with love, intelligence, and devotion.

    This was really brought home to me yesterday as I attended my daughters Halloween party a school. I was talking to one of the other mothers and she asked me where I worked. I told her I was a stay at home mom. And she went, "oh..." with that sound we have all heard. So, light heartedly, I changed the conversation to talking about facebook. We talked about how fun it was and such and I told her how my aunt had laughed at my facebok profile under my job listing. It says under job description:
    I am head chef, run food supply, accounting, personnel, employee morale, housekeeping, waste disposal, time management, laundry service, and taxi service...

    That about covers a typical day of what I do. She paused for a minute and thought. Then she laughed and said, "you know, I never thought of it like that."

    I LOVE the new look. I would like to wear more vintage styled clothing. I have two problems, however. I don't have the money to buy repro and I cannot find true vintage that fits. I am too tall and towards the plus size (I am trying to be nice here, hee hee). Hence my desire to start sewing. I plan on relacing my current wardrobe with more and more vintage inspired pieces. A piece here and there will slowly accumulate into an entire wardrobe.

    Excellent post. I love the talks of fashion and homemaking. It reminds me once again why I love being who I am and what I wish to strive for in order to be a GOOD role model for my daughter.

  3. Lori-as usual, what a great comment. Sometimes we do need to give perspective to others. What is interesting is how many people feel those who 'stay home' are some how less busy. But, when you compare what we do in a day (particularly those with children) to say, what a person in an office days, we really have a varied work load. Also, we have no 'office manager' keeping us in line, we HAVE to be self motivated. So, really, the ability we need in self motivation and drive would probably make us climb a ladder in a corporation quickly, when you think of the drive needed, and yet our skills are allowed to be more creative.
    I am doing the same thing with my sewing. It CAN be learned. My advice is get a very basic 'easy' pattern for a dress with a zipper. Try that and you will see what goes into bodice then skirt construction (so much easier than pants!) and when you see how easy it can be to sew a dress your mind will spin with the various combinations you can make. I have some sewing to share next week in my posts, after my questions are finished and this Monday is my birthday, so after that I want to focus on the 'fashion/sewing' aspect of my project.
    I am sure you will be a wonderful role model for you daughter and even were she to become a doctor, think how a skill set of discipline, organization, self-motivation and, even sewing and cooking chemistry, would truly aid her!

  4. Great as usual!

    I have gone back to the beginning of your blogging and am enjoying catching up through the year.

    I often contemplate staying home full time, as the past three years I have worked from home part time. I just went back to school, again. My husband thinks that I would drive myself insane staying home because I am in a constant search of more and variety of learning, but more and more I think that I would probably enjoy it. I waffle back and forth, back and forth. I have aspired to get into respiratory therapy school for years and have finally accomplished that. I also worked as an autocad drafter for more than 17 years. I think that I am in this state of confusion at present.

    Your blog is one that brings me much joy in my day.


  5. Fantastic post! You've totally inspired me to want to start dressing vintage. I sort of fell off the wagon in my attempts at it, but I feel a new vigor after reading your wonderful post.

  6. My grandmother, born in 1892, told me that women fainted with their corsets pulled too tightly. I don't think my grandmother ever wore one. She did, however, tell me that during the 20's, women bound their bossoms to have that "little boy" look. As an aside, she told me that her eye makeup was putting a silver spoon over a burning candle and using the black soot as eye shadow.

    As part of my art journal, and in honor of my mother who was born in Oct., 1925, I have used reference material, specifically women's dress styles, from old magazines from that time. Whether the woman could or could not "hide" her bossom, the models were portrayed as not having much in that area.

    Fashion, for the most part, is dictated to the many by the few.

    Although it began earlier, the women's "movement" began in ernest during the 1920's. My grandmother was married and childless for many years. She used that time to explore an education, through classes in NYC and, singing in light opera. When my grandfather became ill, she had to work, singing in night clubs. There was a stigma to her working in "that" field and it didn't pay well. She eventually started teaching voice and worked cooperatively with dance studios as they needed her musical needs for accompaniment. By then she was a widow. She never said she was unhappy being a homemaker, nor complained of having to work the rest of her life. She did love her life's work, that for her, compensated the massive reduction in her standard of living.

    When I was growing up, women who had children and worked outside the home were looked upon with pity, not distain. By the time I was a teen, however, women were flocking to the workforce. The media blitz works rather well.

    I knew/knew of many women, some born before the turn of the century, who chose a career over homemaking. Most were examples from relatives and family friends. The women who worked were usually unmarried, childless, widowed, or married to a "ne'er do well" with addictive behaviors.

    Education beyond a point becomes a trap. I have a relative who is an OD. She wants to be a homemaker and stay home with her young children. Unfortunately, she worked long and hard for that degree and does not want to lose what she worked so hard for. She has a blend of working part time and being a home maker part time. She says that she is between two worlds. Her OD peers look down upon her because she only practices part time. Full time homemakers look down upon her because she works part time.

    I think it very sad that the majority of students in medical school are women. The choice is made for them. Very few will give up all of those years of grindingly hard work. They are caught between the rock and the hard place. Their choices are limited.

    I was a public school educator (science) for many years. When I resigned at a calcuated financial loss, and just before those delicious retirement perks, many of my female co-workers told me that they would love to stay home, but couldn't. I knew many had large personal debt, but that is another story.

    No Idle Hands

  7. I found this website on accident. This page shows sketches of clothing and undergarments starting with the beginning of the 20th century to present. It is REALLY interesting. Not only do the clothing choices make women look more and more like men, but the undergaments are gettin skimpier and skimpier, allowing for no forgiveness should you not be a perfectly built size 2....

  8. Wonderful post on fashion. I have been fortunate enough to experience wearing the fashions from the 50s on. In 1957 for our grade eight Home Economics class we all had to make the same dress (our choice of a solid colour): a very full gathered skirt and a fitted sleeveless bodice. Only problem with this was the hem length; it had to be exactly 12 inches from the floor. Needless to say on some of the girls it made the dress look very ill-proportioned on them. It really only suited your typical 5'6" figure. The rest of us had skirts that were too long or too short for our figures to be flattering. One of the few good things about modern fashion is being able to choose what is most flattering to your figure type. But I do miss the wonderful swish of those dresses.

  9. Though I'm far from a seamstress - it is a skill I aspire to one day. And how empowering it is that we can re-create any vintage fashion we want with just a pattern in front of us!

  10. I must come back to read this fully, but for now...

    Happy Halloween/Samhain!!!

    Aunt Amelia

  11. Jitterbug-Yes, a skill, I too aspire too. Though I had dabbled in it back at university on my own, I have never been 'taught' and so have had to, like much of this year, to stumble my way through. It does make me realize, as much as we spend on education in this country (don't get me started that we don't have state universities that are free for our youth!) so much practical and even historical and other can be self-taught. If you are to be a doctor, by all means get to university, if you want to study philosophy, perhaps take half of what you would spend on university and buy some books, move to a city and join some groups or travel and study on your own. Sort of off point, but yes, sewing should really be on the list of every homemaker even if it just means hemming and mending, but once you get the buy you will want to make your own.
    Aunt Ameila-Happy Halloween to you!

  12. "Today, fashion seems to be akin to strippers and lingerie models. Somehow the ideal has become to be as sexy for men as possible. Now, that seems more degrading to me than getting to wear pretty dresses with frou frou and fun, which many women DO enjoy rather men do or not. "

    AMEN!! Isn't it hypocrite to say vintage dresses are oppressive when all you see plastered on highway ads, magazines and commercials are skanky models?? And I can't believe the clothes they are making for 5 year olds, geeze! When we move into a bigger place, I want to buy a sewing machine and learn how to sew. It is one of my dreams!!

    I think as a society we are regressing or just plain getting worse. I don't enjoy doing my groceries anymore as people are rude with their carts, text and talk loudly on their cell phones and are just such in a rush that they have no patience for me and my cane. It's really annoying and the same with the way people drive. I'm also tired of the commercials that say we women "deserve to buy their products for me time". We are getting individualistic and don't care about others anymore, which is why I guess housework done with love for our families are slavery and drudgery, and we don't have to raise our kids because others will do them and we need "me" time. There's nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves, but I think a lot of people are getting really selfish. What about community work, visiting and helping the elderly?

    No Idle Hands: How interesting!! Before I got injured, I was an opera singer, a young artist just starting out after going to college. I can't sing on stage anymore and I might teach voice one day (I taught piano for 3 years before I got married and I also play violin). I just don't know if I'll have enough energy for being both a homemaker and a music teacher, on top of hopefully having kids too and homeschooling them!! We never had the room here for a piano hence one of the reasons why I haven't worked throughout our marriage, but it forced me to educate myself about the role of a homemaker, even if my health doesn't always allow for it!

  13. housewife07: Although I worked for many years, it was not my choice. I enjoyed teaching, but my heart was being a homemaker. I did not have enough energy for Husband, children (6), home, creativity, AND a career! I was tired and stressed! I firmly believe that when God shuts a door, he opens a window! When the time is right, those music related opportunties will open!

    No Idle Hands

  14. Thanks, No Idle Hands! Wow, six children!! It is my dream, should my health allow it, to have 4! I can imagine how stressed and tired you must have been to work at the same time! I know I'd burn out!

    Thanks, I always thought I'd just play violin and piano for fun until I discovered I could sing and thought I could make it. But as much as I hate being in pain, it is a blessing because I realize that without my health, I can't make a career out of singing, but I have my dear husband and my cat, family and friends...If I had only concentrated on my voice, I would have no one, so I am blessed.

    I couldn't bear to travel 11 months out of the year, that's insane. So although I am disappointed because I thought I'd be performing, it is quite a blessing and thanks to this blog and so many homemaking blogs online, I no longer feel like I'm somewhat "leeching off my husband" as society always tries to tell us!! Hopefully I'll play more music for fun one day. It is ingrained in me since I've been doing it from the age of 4. I am quite happy not to have the stress of performing and the politics behind it though!

  15. housewife07-That is how my husband felt about music. He trained classical piano (we still have his first grand and he does play it now and again)and was headed to juillard, but while still in High School had to do various performances. He was in a soiree at a wealthy womans summer place here on the cape, part of three musicians playing, and hated the politics and networking involved. I am proud to say, had he ever chosen that path, I belive I would have been a boon to him, as a 'pianists wife' schmoozing, hosting parties etc, but that was not our path. It is sad that music has to be thus. Particularly the 'classical/performance' field, as there are less places for pianists, it's not like being a rock star!
    I hope you stick with your music at least for your enjoyment and certainly when you have children that will be a great blessing to them.
    You said you have no children now, would it be rude of me to ask why? Are you waiting for the right time? Just curious, as we have thus far chose not to have children.

  16. 50s gal, how I hear you!! It is unbelievable what politics are involved in classical music!! You would think people would be passionate because music is so beautiful, but instead they use it to gain power. It's really sad. And another sad part is that many are on the road all the time and can't really maintain any relationships...I too hope I can do it again someday. I play piano once a year at a relative's house and I still got it. Patiently waiting to get a bigger place!!! I sold my piano before moving in with my husband miles away from home...

    I don't think your question is rude at all, in fact never feel rude when you ask me questions, I feel like I owe you a lot from reading your excellent blog! :) As I've said in a previous comment, I've been living with chronic pain for almost 5 years and just recently got another depressing diagnostic that might lead to another surgery (I don't want to depress anyone or hijack this blog, sorry!!!), plus we are saving for a house because this apartment is a closet. That's what we can afford on expensive Long Island!! Worst case we will rent a bigger apartment if we still don't have a house. I'm 28, hubby is 40 so we don't have forever.

    I asked my OB/GYN about it and she said to confirm with my orthopedist. We are thinking about trying to conceive in October 2010. I want to lose some weight and control my pain more before then. But I know there are some women who have worst things than me and were able to have kids, but I just don't know sometimes if I'll have the energy for parenting, you know?

  17. Also, I think a year is a good amount of time to think about how I will raise them in this modern world. I also hope I'll be patient. I definitely want to homeschool them and teach them music! :)

  18. Housewife07-that is wonderful, that you can teach them music. So, if you are on LI at least you will be close to NYC. I just really think it important to give a child city and country. I don't know, it just seems to me that a well rounded adult is had from being exposed early on to the bustle and culture of the city juxtaposed with lazy summer days of trees, water, bike rides, sailing etc. Somehow I feel it allows one to be comfortable any where. Really, I kind of lived both places and when I was older I fit in living in a city (even a foriegn city) and then the country as well. The contemplative self-motivation required in the country, tempered with the easy reach of so much inspiration and life in the city just seems a good 'recipe' for growing up. Of course, I could never imagine 4 children. I always saw myself, were I to have a child, one son. Not sure, just seemed that was what would happen. Of course, if we ever went down that road, we'd be happy with whatever. In fact, when we have talked of it, as I am getting older, about adoption. There are SO many kids who need a good home, but again, I would want to make sure that we had everything that we felt would MAKE a good home and I don't mean things, but the right position financially to have the time and resource to not only share love but the world as best we could manage.
    I don't know though, it still seems we are the childless couple, at least for the near future.
    Don't worry about discussing your illness, we are all here to talk and share, and you never know you may find one of the readers had a similiar problem and can recomend a doctor or idea. Share and share alike, right?

  19. Thanks, 50s gal!! I am trying hard to do as much housework as I can while not hurting myself. I am getting really excited about homemaking and hopefully will explore more of it! :)

    I grew up in a suburb 30 minutes from a cultural city, and about an hour from the country, so this is just perfect for me. Here, we live an hour and 20 minutes away from the city and about two hours from "country chic". I don't like it, I find people rude and materialisitic. Anyway, I don't know if we will have 4 kids or not, I know DH wants 2 and I want more than that, but he says we'll see after 2. It just occurred to me that I might get worse as time goes on, so the wait for me to get better might not happen...I am just anxious to have a house to call home as I really don't like this apartment. I moved in HIS tiny apartment so that might be why too. I'd love to have enough room to do more homemaking like sewing and gardening. I too have thought about adopting, it is a great option! I have a feeling though, should you choose to be a mom, that you will be a GREAT one! :)

    I'm proud of the fact that I saved a lot of money in our 3-year marriage, he had NO savings and wouldn't know where to begin budgeting, so I feel that even though I don't do nearly as much as I would like, I contribute in this field greatly. :) I really don't see myself working in the near future. I might teach music again should we need the money, I don't know. I can't wait for you to have your web site up!! The feeling of bonding online is so great when you feel you are in such a minority group nowadays.

  20. Housewife07-Yes, sometimes 'country chic' area's can have their snooty element. We love to go to Martha's Vineyard in the summer and that can be a 'snooty place' but usually you can find down to earth people who are there because they love the ocean or boating or enjoying the summer and not just, "look how may toys I have and how big my house is". The cape can definitely have it's 'snooty' aspect as well, but I find, even in the varying classes, there are always those with good manners and sincerity and then those, of course, who are obnoxious!
    Believe me, I too am excited about my website, only I am not excited about understanding Dreamweaver, which is a type of software I am trying to wrap my 1955 head around. It's not like sewing or baking, but it does have a creative element, so I really WILL try and get it up and running in some simple way before December, I really want to. We shall see.
    I too feel much more connected to the world knowing others share such feelings for wanting to imbue our modern world with the civility, culture, and good ole' fashioned times of the past!

  21. I have to chime in here, 50sgal, and Housewife07....I live around the lake from Chicago. I can, by train, be in the city in about 45 minutes or so. I don't care muc for the city, but there are things I enjoy there to share with my kids, like museums and certain events (plays and such). I, however love living in the country and would never choose to live anywhere else. The sad thing is, all the wealthy suburbanites of the Chicago area have decided this area is "quiant" and make a perfect summer getaway. That is fine, but our cost of living has skyrocketed because of it. I pay tourist prices for groceries, clothing and eating out. Property has gotten to the point of insanity. Local people are leaving their homes for theycannot simply pay the taxes because of the ostentatious homes that are being built in their areas.

    Thankfully, most of them go back to IL during the winter, so it is still a sleepy little town between labor day and memorial day.

    And as far as kids go...think long and hard. 4 kids are EXPENSIVE!!! and time consuming, and very emotionally demanding. I love it, but there are days...don't feel pressured either way. You don't have to have kids to be a wonderful woman, and you don't have to have "x" amount to be a mom is you want to be one. Some of the best parents I know adopted their kids.

    Best and Love to you both!

  22. Thank you so much Lori-we have that here on the cape somewhat, higher prices, you don't want to know our taxes and real estate is Very expensive. The price we pay sometimes to enjoy the nice areas, it is a shame, however, when people get priced out and there have been areas on the cape where they have tried to do affordable housing.

  23. Thanks, Lorie! That's a shame that locals are forced to move, ugh. I've been living on Long Island, NY, for over 3 years and DH has always lived here. He saw a change a few years ago when the market went up, and now owning a small home in need of repair is starting at $350K, plus $8k in property taxes and about $600 a month in oil, it is insane. A lot of middle class people are forced to leave, in fact, many high school graduates of DH's class are gone.

    I've always lived in suburbia, like I said also close to city and country, so only living in suburbia is boring to me. I wished I could live in the country, but I can't drive with my condition and would need public transportation when DH is gone at work...

    Thanks for your good wishes! I am hoping to start trying for a child sooner than later even though it SCARES me for so many reasons, including my health issues!!

    50s gal: I really love New England, I find people more down to earth there. We went to the White Mountains for our honeymoon and Boston! :) I probably generalized a bit as not everybody we meet here is rude of course, but the general feeling is of stress and selfishness, not something I've felt this intense elsewhere!

  24. I know this is a really old post, but I have to comment about the New Look. I love every year of the 40's, including Dior's New Look. (though my fave fashions are the Vogue patterns from '43-'45)It's so feminine and beautiful and graceful.

    I also feel the need to comment about the 19th century. I spent four years working as a tour guide at a plantation, doing Civil War and Empire/Regency reenacting and vintage dance. I have danced, in May in Louisiana after a thunderstorm, in early 1850's type crinolines. I thought I was going to die of a heat stroke. Then I danced in very similar weather with my hoop on. What a difference!

    The crinolines of that time were very constricting, very hot and very heavy. When the hoop came out in 1856, I can imagine women everywhere silently thanking God that someone had come up with a better solution. A hoop is so freeing, so comfortable and so much cooler. I probably would have burned my crinolines after getting my first hoop. You have a built in fan for your legs, just set it to gently swaying and it's easier to stay cool.

    I've also spent many hundreds of hours in Empire dress. For practicality, comfort, beauty and ease of sewing that period cannot be beat. They are so easy to make, so comfortable, so cool (from a temperature standpoint) and so beautiful that I really don't understand how it progressed to the outrageous fashion of the 1830's. It was also much easier to get dressed by yourself in that period. It takes 3 people to get me in and out of my 1863 ball gown!

    Your point about the true purpose of corsets is also well said. It was a support garment, and when properly worn they're actually quite comfortable. Very few women actually tried to do the wasp waist thing. It was *not* a common sight to see out in the "real world".

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