I have a party to go to, a week from Saturday. It’s kind of a big deal, not necessarily for me personally, but for a lot of my friends. And my partner indicated that she’s like me to be dressed up for that event, but not in business attire.
So I had to make something fancy. Of late, my taste for clothes-making has veered Japanese or Chinese, toward the Japanese haori or yukata, or the Chinese hanfu, a calf- or ankle-length robe with side-ties on the outside. But they’re not really fancy, and they’re easily misinterpreted as cultural appropriation rather than appreciation.
So … I went in a different direction, and produced something that owes more to early 17th century French fashion than to timeless Asian lines: a Versailles style court-vest, roughly knee-length. But instead of doing it in velvet or king’s cloth (corduroy, or corde de roi, don’t you know? [though that’s a false etymology, likely dreamed up by fabric salespeople…).
Anyway. It’s turned out quite well. I haven’t decided whether to put buttons on it or not. As it is, I’m not sure I entirely like the trim that I added around the collar and down both sides of the placket. I should mark out the button holes, though, but not cut them until the event is over.
Deborah Castellano has spent a lot of time writing about glamour in magic. I admit that I haven’t caught up with her lately, though I know that her current thing is Queens in Exile. Even so, her book the Arte of Glamour occasionally wakes up in my brain, and I think, “why did I learn sewing if not to have cool clothes to wear??”
So now I have a fancy long vest to wear, that I made myself — and I shall go to the ball wrapped in stardust and gold and gossamer, to talk astrology and paganism and magic and star-lore and folk-lore and art. And since the event is outside, and it’s been an unusually chilly May for New England… I shall be warm in my flannel-lined vest. Practical… and glamourous. I think Deb would be proud.
I know I am.