Okay, sorry about the lack of a second entry yesterday - I worked on my supportasse instead of taking a nap, and I crashed around 9:30. I haven't dealt with e-mail, nor nuthin'. I tend to get tunnel vision when I'm working on a project, and this one has a bit of a hard deadline, so I'm focused. The supportasse is mostly done; looking at the originals, I'm interested at the fact that they don't have much to help them stand up except tension. I need to reinforce the collar of the gown, so it can hold the supporter without folding, and then I'll be good to go.
The standing collar itself needs to be pleated into its band, then starched within an inch of its life - I think I need to eschew the spray starch, and just soak the collar in a home-made starch paste (otherwise the lace will never stand up). This collar is the sample piece; if it works well, I'm going to try and make a needlworked drawn collar that will be more decorative. Oh, and I need to make cuffs. I have enough lace left over, and I don't think they'll take too long. Those will also have to be starched.
I need to make a new shift, but I think that will have to wait. Besides, I need to make a drop-dead gorgeous falling band for Bob out of the $40/yard lace I bought at Pennsic. Mmmmm, yummy.
And finally, I need to re-do my nails. The current set of nails is getting distinctly ratty looking, and I hate having yucky nails, but I need to stretch these ones out until Friday, so that my nails are fresh and pretty for 12th Night.
I know, ridiculous. But I've always been madly picky about my grooming. I've never thought of myself as particularly pretty - when I was a child, I considered myself very plain - but I felt that what I didn't have in looks, I could make up for with clothes. It took me a while to learn; plain girls don't really get much instruction on how to look better, so I did most of my learning on my own (which led to my doing strange things like putting mascara on my eyelids and trying to line my eyes on the inside). I read magazines. I read books. I bought clothes and makeup, and even got a perm.
I looked frightful. I think I've burned all the pictures of me as a teenager. Let's just say it took me a while to learn, and I had some very odd tastes in clothes (such as the year I spent at Cambridge, affecting paint-spattered cargo pants and a tweed jacket - but that was a pretentious art-student thing).
Being fat didn't help; being depressed made it worse. I tried during my first marriage; once I matched my toenail polish, my top, and my sunglasses -I think - and maybe my earrings, all in hot pink. I must have been quite a sight. I wore voluminous clothes to hide my figure, but I matched them - blue and white was my favourite combination, and I had an awesome pair of leggings that I made in a blue and white paisley pattern, a white sweater, blue turtleneck and slouch socks, and white Keds.
Yes, I was a fat girl in stretch pants (and I have photos to prove it). It's hard to be elegant when you're heavy. As I got more depressed, I started to fail at even making the clothes nice - I spent all day sleeping, and didn't bathe enough (it happens when you're depressed; these days, I am happy to report that I am fresh and bathed and delightful to be near).
But it's always mattered to me - I can't go out without dressing up - even when I'm bumming around in my favourite capri sweats (I have a thing for capris, being short), I coordinate my top and my sweater. I wear business casual in black to work, and I once had someone describe me as "the only person who wears grown-up shoes" in the office (it's true; half of them wear Crocs, the rest wear sneakers. I always thought working was a great excuse to put on pretty clothes and awesome shoes, but then, I'm not on my feet all day). Clothes, hair, grooming - it all matters, terribly.
If you can't be pretty, you can be elegant, I figured, and so I try. Everyone around me can be in jeans, but I'll be in a skirt. It was a real departure for me to wear a t-shirt and camo pants to the NYE party (even though it was in costume), and even so, it was important to me that the pants were hip-huggers, and the t-shirt was fitted, and my hair was done right, and I wore powder and mascara. I want to be a pretty pretty princess, even when I'm wearing camo. I don't think I am pretty, but maybe I can be an elegant, elegant princess instead.
(Actually, at this point I think I'm moving into Dowager Duchess territory. I'm a bit old for princess.)
This is probably one of the reasons why it's so important to me that my clothes fit well, even in the SCA. They need to do what they're supposed to, and there are some periods I just can't wear, because I don't feel elegant in them. Most early period stuff is out, and sideless surcoats are out, because I have bad memories of how fat and old I looked in one (I have a photo somewhere of me in one, and I look 40. I was 20). I'm not a big fan of Tudor, though I'd consider some of the French mid-16th century stuff (it's not called Tudor outside of England, despite English claims on French territory). I won't wear houpellandes anymore, though I love fitted dresses from the same era. My wardrobe is basically tight waists, floofy skirts, and maybe a ruff or two (or three).
I may not be stunning, but dammit, I have nice clothes. And I can bear the nails for a little bit longer.