Saturday, June 14, 2014

You Are (Still) Known By What You're Wearing

And it's been that way since Elizabethan times.  Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, was certainly no demure young thing in the drawing room.  The style in the 1600s was:  if a woman showed bare arms or ankles, she was a harlot, a tramp AND a vixen.  Conversely exposing great swaths of bosom was perfectly okay.  Elizabeth's tits were greatly admired by the French ambassador who made note of them three times in his correspondence.

It wasn't just the dress style, it was the very fabric and color found in the material.  A descending list of fabrics from the most luxurious to what the poor people wore:  The rich - silk, velvet, satin, damask, taffeta, grosgrain (poor.)

Colors for dying were problematical as England then had very few dyes that would produce a deep enough tone.  Improving trade, due to better ships, imported various dyes.

How complicated is this?  "Kermes" are a parasitic insect that lives on evergreen oaks.  When the insect is pregnant (how can they tell?) it is killed with vinegar, dried in the sun and then slit open for the wormlike larva which in turn are rolled into balls called "grains" and then left to soak in water which becomes a crimson dye.  Hence the words "ingrained" for the process and "vermilion" for the color. 

There was no identifiable "style" back then because due to their explorations, the British were exposed to Spanish, French, German and Dutch styles and a finished gown could trace bits of its look to that variety of countries.  "Hodge podge" might describe it ...

And here in America we are just as easily grouped as to wealth and/or prestige.  Right now at our gym, the mad lust for Day-Glo-colored sneakers is fading.  In the '50s "baby doll" pajamas were de rigeur for slumber parties because the boys would be peering through the cellar windows.

Having a big butt seems to be among the in things these days.  It is widely rumored in the less intellectually-driven  periodicals that personage Kim Kardashian West has been getting botox shots in that location.  I think she's gone too far - it's become grotesque.  Guys, most beds are amply and deeply cushioned.  You don't need the girl that way, too.  Overkill. 

Elizabethan facts from "The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England"

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