Your wardrobe says a lot about you – take a peek in mine and you won’t find any sportswear at all but you might hear the growl from animal print outfits. I’m a girly girl who’s always loved fashion and although I own a pair of jeans I’d rather dress up than dress down. People express themselves and their feelings through their choice of clothes and this give others an insight into their lifestyle. I find this fascinating and that’s why I was keen to see the A Century of Style: Costume and Colour 1800-1899 exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow and headed there with my pal Katy.
The exhibition is an opportunity to view some rarely seen examples of European womenswear, menswear and children’s clothing.
On display are dresses and outfits made with delicate embroidered cottons and elaborate woven silks, as well as gorgeous wedding dresses and fancy evening gowns. Leading Glaswegian department stores and dressmakers are represented in the exhibition, alongside an exquisite beaded couture dress from Paris. I’m partial to a bit of bling so I was glad to see accessories on show, including delicate jewellery, bonnets, colourful shawls, fans and purses.
What intrigued me was how these clothes were made as well as wondering about the stories about the people who wore them. I love to rake around vintage shops and snap up bits ‘n’ pieces that have seen a bit of action.
A recent purchase is a black patent handbag, I’ve no idea where this has been before I bought it or who owned it but I don’t need to guess about my favourite vintage piece.
One of my most treasured possessions is a beaded evening bag that my gran gave me.
Her brother George was in the merchant navy and this was one of the gifts to her from his exotic travels. My gran was a stylish dresser and I like to think that my namesake passed on her love of clothes and accessories.
But as far as I’m aware, as a working class housewife, she never had a reason or the occasion to use the evening bag. I bet she’d be chuffed to know that I’ve used George’s gift on several outings and I’m sure that wee bag’s adventures are far from over….
Fast forward a hundred years from the clothes on show in the exhibition and you find yourself in 1985, the same year Talk of the Toun is set and the fashions are not for the faint-hearted!
It’s the only era you could wear leg warmers, a geometric print jumper and a miniskirt all at the same time, and in electric neon colours. As a 17-year-old in 1985, like most teenagers, I was experimenting with my look and went from black to bright in a matter of months.
As a writer, the characters I create need to wear clothes to reflect their personality. Do you feel the clothes you wear say something significant about you?