Good Times and Fashion Failures

 Frocks, Out And About, Style, Underpinnings, Weddings, Wednesday March  Comments Off on Good Times and Fashion Failures
Jun 072015

It’s been a bit of a hectic couple of weeks.  Miss Wednesday is up to her eyes in bridesmaids and frocks as it’s right in the middle of Prime Wedding Season and her alter ego, the Hedge Harpist is wearing her fingers to the bone with gigs and recordings and learning new choons.  Hence last week’s radio silence.  (Well, I say, “radio silence” but there’s been a fair bit of airplay on the actual radio!)

Thursday of this week saw two members of the Petticoat Club (Miss Tanya and the aforementioned harpist, wearing her favourite tulip print frock) at the Royal Cornwall Show, along with their Changing Room bandmates, as guests of the lovely BBC.  Much fun was had on the BBC stage, playing live on Radio Cornwall, a set for the audience in the marquee and then, a lot later, a live slot at the end of the BBC Spotlight news programme.  There’s a lot of waiting around involved with the rock and roll lifestyle, but there was plenty to see and do at the show, including beer, chips, ice-cream, sheep and cakey tea.

Two Valaid Blacknose Sheep, small, fluffy and cartoonlike with black faces

Valais Blacknose Sheep aka “comedy sheep”. Cutest sheep on the planet.

The filming of the Spotlight bit was highly entertaining.  Along with the waiting around, there’s an enormous amount of faffing and fussing for the technical crew, to get everybody in just the right place for each shot, without getting in the way of the other shots.  A small space with constantly changing light levels, no marks on the floor as it’s in a field and the big main show ring in the background.  That wasn’t stopping for any mere news programme and happily continued with horses backsides and loud tannoy commentary.  The presenters of the show, Natalie Cornah and Justin Leigh, were absolutely delightful and great fun.  Can’t imagine that it’s their favourite gig of the year, what with the challenging conditions, but they were lovely.  There was a slightly iffy moment, just seconds before going on air as a seagull kindly decorated one of the band but other than that, everything went smoothly.

Two musicians and a small green harp

Waiting around prior to Spotlight. The favourite tulip print frock.

There have been lots of kind comments over social media, in the pub, in car parks, out shopping, etc from people who saw it but you’re spared a link as it’s a news programme and expired two days ago.  There’s a relief…

Bunch of dodgy musicians

The Changing Room filming for BBC Spotlight. Photo (c) BBC South West.

Friday saw the band heading up the M5 to Clevedon to film for Songs From The Shed.  In an actual shed.  A very small but lovely shed.  Chickens and a very handsome cat made an appearance but no sheep and no cakey tea.  Well, it wasn’t Cornwall.  The random harpist wore another WM frock, this time the Bardot design in a tropical print with black grosgrain ribbon trim.  It’s a nice fabric, that one.  Doesn’t show up the cat hair or ketchup spills.  Useful.

Five musicians and instruments in a very small shed

In The Shed!

And then last night there was an outing over the water to West Looe for a spot of supper and then an album launch for James Shead’s new CD, A Light For The Fires.  He played a cracking set and a good time was had by all.  Miss Sara, however, was greatly distressed by some of the fashion faux pas on show.  She insisted that they should be the subject of this week’s Wittering, hence the following timely reminder…

  • Underwear should be just that.  Under.  This means “out of sight”.  Not putting too fine a point on it, a black bra doesn’t look cool under a white crochet top or showing clearly at the back of a pastel-coloured outfit, with crossed shoestring straps.  At best it looks careless, at worst slutty.
  • Uneven hemlines only work when the garment is nicely lined.  A cheap skirt in a light polycotton that goes up and the front and down at the back and that isn’t even well made looks like you’re wearing a nightshirt.  Or would it it was a frock.  Sadly, last night’s offending outfit was topped off with a cropped top and a roll of protruding bare flesh between that and the skirt.  Not a pretty sight.  Nearly put Miss Sara off her wine.
  • Unless you have the body of Gisele Bundchen or are prepared to wear appropriate shapewear, don’t wear bodycon outfits.  Please.
  • And lastly, consider your skintone.  If you have dark hair and lovely pale skin, a sprayed on outfit in white and light grey marl jersey will make you look like a bottle of milk with a wig on.  Sorry.

And here’s Miss Sara, showing how it should be done, in a lovely frock by Miss Fortune with a necklace by Zombie Panda Designs.

Rockabilly girl in red and black frock

Miss Sara

May 172015

So.  Stockings.  Proper clothing or erotic fripperies?

When I was casting around in the darkness early this morning for a subject to upon which to witter, a friend said, “Stockings!”  And followed it up with, ” I like wear them (when I’m dressing up) in preference to tights. But I seem to be unusual.  . . .  Have they just become erotic bedroom wear, or are they still proper clothing?”

I’ll nail my colours to the mast right now and state that I am a fan and a wearer on a normal, daily basis.  I like stockings and I always have.  I dislike tights and just don’t wear them.  Ick.  Nasty.  Make me feel like an oven-ready chicken, which isn’t a good thing in anybody’s book.  (I hope.)  I’ve worn stockings in preference to tights since I was a teenager (although not in my adored black velvet “Addicted To Love” frock, obviously) and never really think about them as being “bedroom wear”.   Admittedly, I do occasionally wonder whether I should make an effort to be more graceful when attempting to get my seams straight or even just doing up the back suspenders, but, frankly, I’m 47 and sometimes life’s too short to wonder who might be watching.  Especially when the only audience for such antics are a dog that wants a walk, a cat that’s more interested in inveigling itself under the duvet unnoticed and a spouse who doesn’t do mornings and isn’t even awake.  Bedroom wear?  Hmm…

Of course, if I decide to take my kit off and wander around the house with the stockings on show later in the day or evening, then all bets are off, the cat is evicted and the dog can whistle.  But no, stockings, in my opinion, are proper kit.  They’re healthy (all that ventilation), retro (with seams or RHT) and economical.  After all, if you ladder one leg of a pair of tights, then you have to replace the pair.  Ladder a stocking, replace one stocking.

And they fit.  I’ve never really got the hang of the sizing of tights.  The size charts are bonkers and usually tell fibs.  I may be short but my backside is ample so do I go for “small” and hope they are bit enough around the arse and not take up the extra from the legs?  Or do I err on the side of caution and go for “medium” knowing they should be more comfortable around the top but will almost certainly bag at the ankles.  Difficult.

Last night, Spouse and I went out to a ‘do’.  One of our friends was wearing a very nice lace frock and smart shoes.  She looked lovely but she was also obviously not comfortable.  After a couple of sherbets, she started to giggle and hitched up the frock to show the tights, with the crotch midway between her knees and where it should be.  How she managed to totter around in that state all evening without giving up and removing the offending hosiery, I will never know.  Top marks for dedication.  I did suggest that maybe stockings would be a better solution but, “Eeeeeuuuuwwwwww!” was the emphatic response.  I took it as a ‘no’.

Back when I had the shop, people were always spotting the stockings, suspenders, corselettes, etc and commenting that “they always look uncomfortable” or “difficult”.  Nope.  Not a bit of it.  Just make sure you buy a suspender with six straps and clips, thereby evenly distributing the pull of the stockings (comfortable) and helping to keep any design or seams straight.  You don’t even have to worry about the stockings when you go to the lav.  Suspenders under knickers, obviously, and all’s easy peasy.  (Don’t try the knickers over the top tactic with a corselette or merry widow, though.  Unless you are prepared for (a) total failure and (b) to collect photographic evidence and share it, because it would be hysterical.)  There are also hold ups, which are a far cry these days from the ones I tried in the early 1990s and pronounced to be the work of Satan.  Nowadays they’re topped with silicon and stay up without squeezing and painfully cutting off the circulation to your legs.  Admittedly, there are times when the buggers will suddenly decide to descend to your ankles and there’s nothing whatsoever you can do to make them stay up but these situations aren’t too frequent.

Where to source stockings, though?  Ironically, seamed stockings seem (oh glory, I’m on punning form today) to be far more plentiful than non-seamed, plain ones.  The obvious source is the wonderful What Katie Did, who are just the best when it comes to retro underpinnings.  Their Retro Seamed stockings are wonderful and last far longer than any other brand I’ve tried and it’s wonderful to have the choice of three skin tones (pale nude, coffee and chocolate) plus black.  I am fond of tweeds in the winter and black rarely goes well with anything other than, well, black, so it was a great relief when Katie introduced the two darker tones.

Model wearing a corselette and seamed stockings.

WKD Retro Seamed Stockings in coffee.

WKD also sell fully-fashioned stockings, which are the not-so-stretchy but feel like silk ones.  Yes, the sort that make your heart sing when you feel them.  Total, glorious luxury, exactly like those prized so highly during WWII.  Both seamed and RHT (reinforced heel and toe but no seams) are available, just be prepared for them to bag or wrinkle slightly at the ankle as this is what they do on everyone.  It also indicates to aficionados of the genre exactly what you’re wearing and they will salute you.  You’ve never had it so good…

Then there is that other emporium of hosiery, Pamela Mann, who stock just about every form of legwear you could wish.  I particularly like their seamed holdups and non-seamed lace-topped stockings.  I can’t find their Charleston stockings on the website now, which is a pity because they had a lovely sheen.  Ah well.

Both companies sell opaque stockings, which were something I dreamed of about five years ago and actually danced for joy when WKD introduced them into their range.  There are all manner of combinations of colour and contrast seams, too.

If you haven’t tried stockings, I thoroughly recommend them.  Be sure to invest in a decent suspender belt (you can’t go wrong with one from What Katie Did, provided it has 6 straps/clips) and don’t even think about those cute frilly knickers which comes with suspenders attached.  Stockings exert a downward force and need holding up with something.  What on earth do you think is going to happen to those little knickers?

Yes.  You will probably fall over but at least your ankles will be warm.

I’ll leave that with you.