I learn a lot about clothes and style from watching how my customers wear vintage. Recently I’ve noticed an interesting thing: some very stylish, fashion-forward ladies have a fresh, modern take on those iconic 70’s-80’s Victorian peasant frocks. You know these dresses. They have high necks, puffy shoulders and leg-‘o-mutton sleeves and they evoke a Hasidic/Amish homesteader in a Laura Ashley fever dream.
I began to notice this micro trend popping up in social media land. The “Mary Shelly on the Prairie” aesthetic is a self-aware play on femininity, especially when paired with chunky bold shoes and natural hair. They look fresh in a good-weird way and they’re surprisingly sexy, like this:
My inner feminist nerd is intrigued. These dresses are the opposite of short, tight and low cut styles designed for an unevolved man’s idea of sexiness. Perhaps a woman who owns her own body might choose not to display it for the male gaze but rather chooses to dress for her own enjoyment. Self-possession carries it’s own sexiness.
Maybe the true insurgents are the ones wearing ruffles.
But I digress. Back to vintage clothes. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a dress is just a dress and these dresses are off-kilter, playful and funky.
So, if you’re feeling like the love child of Jane Eyre and Laura Ingalls Wilder, I’ve got your frock.