Thoughts on Dress | Vol. 2


Hello my dears! Today has been nothing short of frustrating. Some days I really wish I could go and hide away from the idiotic tedium, annoyances, and horror of this modern world*… but then that would mean leaving behind wonderful things like interacting with you, my delightful readers! And being able to research and learn about fabulous things such as the how and why of dressing ourselves in the wonderful objects we call clothing.

After the thoughts I shared in my last T.O.D. post, some things in life have changed: I have become a mother, my thoughts on some clothing styles have shifted**, and I have had some chances to experiment (or at least contemplate experimenting) with some new-to-me styles. So, I wanted to share a few musings on different fashion ideas and styles that have been warring inside my head.


First, there is what I like to call the more “modern” style. I don’t know if you have noticed the fringe trend towards classic, almost folk/peasant inspired garments that has been on the rise lately, but it certainly has intrigued me. Ever since I discovered Son de Flor, Pyne and Smith Clothiers, and Rennes, I have felt a draw to garments that have a relaxed fit, but a feminine/folky feel to them. The only problem with this is, I do not like how most relaxed fit dresses look on me***. I greatly prefer to have a defined waistline, and a good fit to my clothes. I just don’t feel comfortable, or “me”, otherwise. But there is that ever present curiosity as to “what if?” What if I tried it? Would I like it? If I didn’t have to invest time and/or money to try this style, I probably already would have, but alas I have not. And then there are the other styles I have been contemplating… such as…


Dirndls! Oh, and the random Russian Sarafan, which I absolutely LOVE the back style lines of. Dirndls pretty much sum up everything I like in a dress: heritage, gorgeous fit, beautiful details, the option of a front closure (nursing friendly in other words), and you can switch up the look by wearing different blouses underneath. And there are SO many style line options. My only quibble with my love for Dirndls is I’m not Austrian. However much I love the style, it doesn’t feel entirely “me”. I absolutely LOVE the Dirndl Gabe made me, and intend to make more to wear, but I feel the need to adhere less to the traditional idea of a dirndl, and instead take the concept and make it my own.

But then, you see, there is just one more style, or should I say era(?), that has been tugging at my mind (and fabric) for years now…


Ah! The 1910s, and the idyllic view of motherhood that started forming at that time. There are many delightful illustrations and photographs from the late 1910s, through to the early 1920s, of mothers with their children. The mothers look so fashionable, yet so, I don’t know, “home-like”. The type of person you would have wanted to run to as a small child, and sit in their lap as they read you a story. I have loved the 1910s for years, but the particular “motherhood” aspect of that era has become more of a draw to me of late. I am a mother now after all. I want to be “like that”. I suppose these women are a sort of role model to me in their gentle appearance, and motherly attitude.

And I know, the lady carrying the baby in a sling is not from the 1910s, and neither is the lady in the blouse and skirt; but they have that feeling I am trying to grasp. That effortless elegance. That “wrinkled enough that you are wearing your clothes, rather than your clothes wearing you.” I suppose the late Edwardian and WWI era styles possess a similar feeling to that which I talked about first: the relaxed fit of today’s dresses. The bloused tops and the a-line skirts of that bygone time are so practical, so feminine, and lend themselves to a plethora of delightful details.

Sigh… so many choices… so many differing passions…

But, you know what? I think just sitting down and writing about these three styles has brought me to a conclusion. I am going to try all three. Not in their pure form necessarily; but in a “Brijee” form. I am going to take what I like about each one, and blend them. I can see now their common theme: Clothes that belong to the person wearing them. Clothes that express who the person wearing them is. I suppose in a way, I want to create what they call in Arles, France, a “Costume”.

This quote from Nicole Niel, a defendant of the folk costume of Arles, Provence, France, sums up my thoughts better than I can: “Giving equal weight to the personality of the woman, her body, and the way she holds herself, and, something which is very important, this thing which grows inside oneself: The Costume”. This is what I want to do. This is what Brijee is about.

What do you think of folkwear as fashion?

What do you think of the notion of what you wear being a “costume”?

Which of these three styles would you try?


Brigid E.


*Life, no matter how you slice it has all those things anyways I suppose… well, let’s hope it at least doesn’t have horror. 😉

**Don’t worry! I’m not going all blue jeans and a t-shirt on you all. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my style… funny though… I am wearing my version of that as I write… 😛

***I think I have tried on, or worn, a total of two dresses without waist definition that I have actually liked.

Images in this post are from my “Style” board on Pinterest. I do not hold any of the copyrights thereto.
Author & Graphic designer: Brigid Everson

6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Dress | Vol. 2”

  1. I like all three styles and would be comfortable wearing all three. I do not consider these outfits as costumes.
    Marilyn .


  2. I don’t like anything that exactly fits any time period or costume (the dirdnl is more costume than reality
    I think ,and I have Swiss/German heritage, but not those areas as far as I know), but I like elements of different time periods of costumes.

    I don’t think I like the idea of my clothes being a costume nor a uniform but I am noticing what one fashion writer called a “formula” in my styling. I like styling garments in particular ways and not all possible ways.

    I do love Folkwear-inspired and have loved seeing all your pins and researching what you’ve found in this post.

    What I’ve been curious about is learning what the everyday person wore; a lot of historical garments are those of the wealthy since those could be preserved better. Most particularly, I read in Albion’s Seed (a favorite work) mention of clothes that the waves of mid-17th century immigrants from northern England (who we mistakenly know as Scotch-Irish) and Anglo-Ireland and Anglo-Scotland (Celtic Ireland and Scotland didn’t speak English then and didn’t have much reason to immigrate). All of my English ancestors and most of the U.S. that isn’t the Northeast came from this group. Hackett-Fischer mentions their clothing, and it reminded me sort of the dirdnl style. I don’t know how to find much information on it although I found photo of a dress preserved in a bog on Pinterest.

    I just (as you can see) love learning about historical fashion and style.


  3. Ah, the three questions…

    Folkwear can be used in fashion – or at least adapted to it, I think. I personally wouldn’t go around in a dirndl regularly – my Polish/German family only wear traditional costume on holidays, so I tend to associate my dirndl with special occasions instead of “everyday” clothing.

    Funnily enough, the first thing that came to mind at the second questions was, “All the world’s a stage.” But that’s not the costume you’re talking about, is it? I do think that each person has a certain way of putting together clothing, and that becomes their signature of sorts. Clothing shows who we are, same as a dirndl might show what region of Germany my mother’s from.
    That’s my long-winded way of agreeing with you 🙂

    Now, which of these would I try? Not the modern twist on folkwear, mostly for the reason that it wouldn’t look good on me (and I would much prefer to look good in my clothes). I do have a dirndl – but that only comes out a few times per year. But the 1910s…well, this happens to be one of my favorite eras. My style naturally gravitates towards those years, and I’m currently working on a few blouses from the era…so you can guess how pleased I was when you mentioned it. I suppose *that’s* my costume…


  4. I think I understand your mental struggles. I am always captivated by certain images, but how to incorporate period clothing into our 21st century lifestyles and not look (and feel) like we are playing “dress up”?
    Then sometimes I admire loose, breezy styles on other people, but when it comes to wearing them…
    yeah, I definitely prefer a fitted waist and bodice.
    I adore the look and practicality of dirndl bodices, but the dress as a whole would not be “me”, and I think the 1910’s are to die for, but would I be completely comfortable with loose blousey fits?….

    Yeah, it helps to be creative minded and to know exactly what draws you to certain styles so you can take the preferred elements and make them into a hybrid “you” style.
    Can’t wait to see your results in combining these 3 intriguing styles ; D


  5. I adore folkwear as fashion, and everything on your first collage is my Platonic ideal. I do struggle with the same thing as you–not having a defined waist isn’t always the best look for me–but, after five children and reaching the end of my 30s, my waist isn’t so defined any longer anyway. I find that something semi-fitted (i.e. a small amount of waist definition, but not a full on fit and flare silhouette) is perfect for my body right now. I’m going to check out some of those links!

    As for Edwardian fashion, it is lovely, and nursing friendly (I’ve tried it!) and it can be “pulled off” in the modern world without looking too costume-y. (There are several instagram hashtags for people who do this). My personal complaint is that I end up feeling overdressed all the time, but that is me, and I live in an exceedingly casual city. Your mileage (and personal feelings about it all) may vary! Good luck–eager to see where you go with this!


  6. More and more I am trying to think of the “old style” clothing I wear (vintage and historically inspired) as “my style” and not a costume. I love the fashions you have in this post and I would truly wear every one. I’ve finally gone through a revolution that we can wear whatever we wish and be amused by the strange looks we get instead of embarrassed. Our clothing tells a lot about a person and it’s great for people to see what I love through my attire! 🙂
    ~ Megan Joy


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