Dressing for D.H.

December 19th, 2010

Earlier this fall, two unrelated events happened to coincide, with a very odd result.

The first item is that I was reading D.H. Lawrence’s novel Women in Love – partly because I love D. H. Lawrence, partly because I love T.E. Lawrence (who also loved D.H. Lawrence), and partly because I will read anything to avoid finishing Paradise Lost. I should have read The Rainbow first of course, but I didn’t know any better. I still like Lady Chatterley the best anyhow. (Has anyone else noticed that many of Lawrence’s male protagonists are frail, bearded, with deep set eyes, and prone to coughing?)

The second item is that I was again reminded, and perhaps finally convinced, that I am getting too old to bum around in jeans and t-shirts all the time. You may be surprised to read of my casual wardrobe, given my predilection for historic clothes, and possession of  such skills as might be applied to supplying a wardrobe of the same. I guess I just never got around to it. Or maybe it’s that even in New York — where you can freely walk down the street with a multi-colored mohawk and raiment made of plastic bags without occasioning a second glance — an historically accurate hoop skirt is one of the few outfits that draws attention.

Anyway, the end to this rambling tale is that I decided I would finally remake my wardrobe, using D.H. Lawrence’s novels as inspiration. So I have begun slowly but surely to gather garments that might have been worn by Gudrun, Ursula, or Constance. Naturally I am drawn to the 1920s and 30s for inspiration, but with a healthy dose of whimsy as well. Case in point, my very unusual winter hat, of which I may or may not post images at some later date. Most people, when they are told that my hat was inspired by Women in Love, are thoroughly confounded. But I care not.

D. H. Lawrence Dress

I also made this dress. It’s not finished. It lacks a hem and seam finishing. I think it needs some embellishment as well: beads, embroidery, etc. But I will wait ’till inspiration strikes, or ’till warmer weather looms, since the the main molasses colored fabric is a very light silk and the maroon side panels are completely sheer. I also need to devise some sort of undergarment that will suppress my bosom. Though I’ve only a modest swell in front, it does disrupt the proper drape of the dress.

  • Margaret says:

    Hi Eva,
    wow, I am so impressed by all tgat you manage to do- your talents and passions are so cool. I love that you can sew and would also love to have a cute little number from the 20s. I love that period- the styles for women of means were just gorgeous. Some of the outfits on the runways today just don’t even hold a candle to those of the 20s & 30s. It was a freeing time and great to be a woman in many waysm when womesn were really fighting for rights and to be taken seriously by men. Good luck with the dresses, and I look forward to one day reading one of your novels you plan on writing! who knows, maybe I will write something myself one day… I’ll see you soon.
    Best,
    Margaret
    I am busy these days studying for GRE and all that entaisl applying to grad school. I feel genuinely productive though :)

    • eva says:

      Thanks Margaret! What grad schools are you looking at? What degrees? That’s very exciting!! I look forward to hearing more when we next meet.

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