Sunday, 19 October 2014

Assembling Yourself

My usual approach to getting ready to go out is slap-dash at best. No matter whether it’s for a quick scoot around the local charity shops or an evening drinking cocktails. I usually have a maximum of about ten minutes in which I’ll drag a comb through my hair, scrabble around frantically for make-up (often muttering, “Where’s my bloody eyeliner? Which of these five handbags is it rattling around in?!”), pause for a minute in front of the mirror with my lipstick and then manage a spritz of perfume before I run around trying to find shoes. That is, of course, if I even have time to do any of this in the house. I’m also adept at the art of completing the whole rigmarole once I’m on a train, or alternatively, I don't bother at all. 

I’ve pretty much always followed this pattern. At my school prom in year 11 (aged 16), where most girls had given over the entire day to extensive preparations, I had the barest of minimums time-wise. My mum curled my hair with tongs (back at the point before my then-straighter-hair turned naturally corkscrewed), drove me to a drama class which I'd refused to miss and returned me home with all of about 15 minutes to spare before we had to leave again. Nearly half of this was spent attempting to wriggle into a very tiny, fitted black sequined dress. In fact, so tiny that I had to tear and cut the lining to ease it on. It had long sleeves and, were I not the height I am, would have been floor-length. It was also backless, requiring quite a lot of double-sided tape to keep the shape in place (hi there scoliosis-affected wonky shoulder blades!) I managed some red lipstick, a flick of black liquid eyeliner and a wave of the mascara wand before we had to go.

All of this said, I do still enjoy the ritual of preparing myself for an event. These instances may be very few and far between, but there’s something special in having half an hour or, about once a year it seems, an hour free to play around and move at a sedate pace. It’s a chance for good music (James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald being two favourite choices right now); a fair bit of dancing around in underwear; the chance to appraise the contents of a wardrobe in a leisurely manner whilst seeking the right dress (if not already chosen); the motions of smoothing and outlining and smudging and blotting and brushing. There’s a contented, excited feel to it all. It’s an allotted space of time to assemble yourself for whatever is ahead – to luxuriate in a moment or two of calm before the whirl. 

Here I'm wearing a second hand, silk Monsoon dress, ridiculously vertiginous heels (also second hand) from eBay and vintage necklaces. I loved the softness of all those greens. 
I'll be posting about it separately soon, but issue 2 of Violet magazine has just been released, complete with an interview I did with my Czech grandma! 


AVY said...

Those moments of calm don't come as often as they used to.


dreamingofavonlea said...

You look stunning. What a wonderful colour on you!

Closet Fashionista said...

That dress is so pretty! It's a perfect color for you!
Normally I only take a few minutes to get ready, just because I don't really do much. But I do enjoy having a long time to get ready so I can do it leisurely! So for weddings/other special events I do take my time. Otherwise it's swipe on some blush, eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick

Ivana Split said...

This sounds very familiar. I usually spend more time picking out what I'll wear than actually fixing up my hair/make up or anything like that.

15 minutes or less is usually the time I allow myself to get ready or dressed. I could say that it is because I feel comfortable with myself but on the other hand it might be just that I'm too lazy to get up additional half an hour before I need to.

The only time I remember taking more time to get ready was when I was a flight attendant... and that was mostly because we were told we will be fired if we ever turned out late. However, there was some satisfaction to be found in taking all that time to get was relaxing in a way....

This all reminds me of another article (and post) of yours, where you talked about make up versus no make up in personal but also broader sense and I must admit that I have been thinking about it ever sense (not all the time actually). There was another blogger that also wrote about it and she said something about how important it is to be able to feel good without it- regardless of the fact do we wear it or not.

Interesting yours are...much food for the thought.

You look lovely!The dress and the shoes are so well matched....Looking forward to reading the interview.

Vix said...

Don't you look beautiful? Love that shade of green on you and those wedges are astounding!
An outfit put together in haste sounds like most of mine. I haven't got the patience to faff about with hair styling and I'm forever holding dresses together with safety pins and duct tape! xxx


The emerald shade is a striking colour on you. You look beautiful in these photos. When it comes to getting ready, I have learnt to make it 15 min. because I am always on the go somewhere for something and have little patience, lol.

Anova said...

Amazing dress! I really like your hair xo Gorgeous pictures!

Kristie Glenn said...

Beautiful color!

Anupriya DG said...

In howmuchever less time you get ready, I'm sure the result is as lovely every time! :)

Can't wait to read the interview with your grandma!

Willow said...

I love this post; the way you write so beautifully and bring so much whimsy to something as simple as the process of getting ready. I'm now reminded of a word - well, I've forgotten the word but the meaning is along the lines of "the joy of writing about something of little importance" (but far more romantic/whimsical sounding). I love how you write so wonderfully and creatively about all the simple pleasures as well as the super important things. STUNNING images, especially those by the lake. I too love all the soft greens; I'm filled with such a feeling of calm when I look at them...although I do kind of get anxious when seeing you by the lake in such precariously heeled shoes! I think that's the second time I've seen you next to a body of water while wearing those shoes - still makes me nervous! Your interview for Violet sounds wonderful.

Tam Francis said...

Sweet blog and gorgeous photos. I don't have the time I used to either to get dolled up in my vintage finery, but I'm excited this weekend to pull out all the stops. I'm doing a signing for my book Ghostoria: Vintage Romantic Tales of Fright and I'm going to do a total 1940s hair, dress, shoes and make-up!

I'm thrilled to find your blog and cannot wait to see you in more vintage gems!

~ Tam Francis ~

The Foolish Aesthete said...

These gorgeous photos exude that sumptuous calm you describe when there is that rare bit of time. I wonder if this shoot was one of your Ella Fitzgerald moments? Your silk dress would certainly have swirled and swayed beautifully while you moved around your dressing room.

I wish I could read your interview with your Grandma! Before my paternal one passed away, I tried to get family stories from her as far back as she could remember. Then I kept a log of it all. Someday, I'll put it together for my family. Quirky, independent grandmas have such interesting things to say! (and quite a lot of wisdom to pass down)

xx J