Oct 6, 2017

Costume Spotlight | Rey in The Last Jedi

It's time for another Costume Spotlight, and with The Last Jedi just around the corner I thought I would talk about Rey's newest costume.

I first saw leaked photo's of this costume in the summer, and let me tell you, I was not happy. Everyone was sharing the pictures and fangirling over it, but I didn't share they're love. But before I get into my own opinions, let's get into some details.

Rey's costume from The Last Jedi (2017). Via Lucasfilm
The costume, designed by Michael Kaplan, is very similar in design to her costume from The Force Awakens (2015), which he also worked on as Costume Designer. The [new] costume has long gray pants, tall boots, a tabbard wrap, tunic, and the same arm wraps from before. The belt is very similar to the one she wore in TFA as well, however it's a bit larger in width and, like the rest of the costume pieces, is slightly darker in color.

Rey's costume from The Last Jedi (2017). Via Lucasfilm
The costume combines elements from her original costume in TFA, as well as adding in some more classic Jedi elements such as the the tunic, which has a classic Japanese look to it. She also has a dark obi underneath her belt.

The colors used are darker compared to her original costume, which will be interesting to see how that plays out in the film. If it's similar to The Empire Strikes Back it could be a hint at her possibly turning dark, though the colors are just much deeper and more rich that the classic evil colors usually used in past Star Wars films.

I like the use of texture in this costume. Between the soft weave of the tunic, the light wrap and the smooth leather, it makes for an interesting combination and feels like it fits into the planet that we've seen her and Luke training on in the trailer.

Now to what I don't like about it. It's so similar to her previous costume, which I understand from a story point of view, but she's out on a completely new planet where I'm pretty sure she didn't make her own clothing. So why would it look so similar from what she had before? It just feels lazy and like they're trying to take the "safe" route by basically using what worked before.

The fit of her pants is another thing that really bothers me. It is a little difficult to see exactly what they look like, but from these photo's is looks like they don't fit her well. Though, it looks to me like they could be styled to be tighter in the calf and looser in the thigh, thought I don't think that's likely. I guess we'll have to wait until the film comes out to see more.

Also, I think Rey is the first female lead in Star Wars to have short hair. It's not the worst thing, but I like the fanciful long hair we've seen before.

Overall I give this costume 5 out of 10

Rate between 1-10 in the comments and let me know your thoughts.

Oct 2, 2017

Fashion Evolution in the Early 20th Century

Fashion has changed a lot over the last several century's, but the changes of the early 20th century was such a huge shift compared to previous fashion trends. Skirts got more narrow than ever before and shorter styles started becoming normal.

But what exactly caused this drastic change of fashion? Women in particular were affected by the new fashions. Showing so much as your ankle's was considered immodest for the majority of the 19th century (with exception of the 1820's-40's where skirts were relatively shorter, stopping right at the ankle), yet soon, skirts began to rise.

Let's start with what fashion looked like at the end of the 19th century, specifically the 1890's. Starting with the undergarments.

Clothing starts with the undergarments, which help to create the right silhouette (shape) of the garments worn on top. Women's undergarments during this time usually consisted of a chemise, drawers, or combinations which is a single piece with both the drawers and chemise sewn as one.

On top of this would be a corset, bonned with either whale bone or steel boning. Next a small bustle could be attached around the waist. The bustle was a popular style from that lasted from the end of the 1860's through most of the 1880's, and by the 1890's it had shrunk to a much smaller size.

After this a series of petticoats would be put on, completing the undergarments.

c. 1890's Combinations, corset and bustle. From the V&A Museum Collection
Dresses for this era had large skirts that were wide at the bottom and narrow around the top, and bodices were long with large, puffed sleeves and high necklines.

c.1894-c.1895 Tea Gown

Around 1905, the skirts started slimming and continued to become more slim until WWI in 1914. The undergarments were similar to that shown previously, although the shape and fit had changed. But women still wore a chemise, drawers, and corset underneath all of their clothes.

Evening Dress, c. 1903-1912. From the V&A Museume

Dress, c. 1910-1914

When WWI began, it effected every aspect of life. During this time fashion became more simple and women's clothing started to be designed for movement, freedom and functionality. Some styles even began imitating men's styles.

Day Dress c. 1915. From the Kyoto Costume Institute

This was also when the Women's Sufferage became a mass movement. Women didn't have the power to vote at the time and had considerably less rights then men, and part of that inequality came through fashion. Up until then most fashion designers were men, which meant the fashion standards and idea's were largely decided by men. Women designers like Coco Chanel began gaining traction with their designs after the turn of the century, which would change fashion forever.

In the 1920's women's fashion began to change far more than it ever had. When most people think of the 20's they think of the classic flapper girl, although this style didn't come about until 1926 it still remains an iconic style. Fashion in this time was very loose and not nearly as restrictive as it had been. Skirts were shorter, necklines lower, and undergarments were lighter, though corsets and new versions of corsets were still worn through the 1950's.

Flapper Dress c. 1920's
Women's corsets from 1924 through 1956

Skirts were still fairly long through the 30's, sitting around the ankle or mid calf, until WWII began and fashions changed once again, however that's whole other post in itself.

Women's Suite c. 1938 from the MET

I often hear people say things like "Why can't we wear clothes like that now?" or "This should never have gone out of fashion", and as much as I wish we still took the time to look our best and take pride in how we presented ourselves, it wouldn't be practical in the modern day we live in. Between the hectic lives we live and our modern way of living, it would take way too much time, space and money.

Technology also had a big impacted fashion. With the invention of the automobile, it wasn't practical for women to wear skirts made of yards and yards of fabric, or large skirt supports like bustles and cage crinolines that were needed to support them. And in this day and age it's pretty much near impossible to live without a vehicle of some sort.

Fashion is both a reflection of the times as well as a result of the age we live in. Events often dictated what come's into style, which sometimes lasts and sometimes only stays for a short while before changing once more.

Sep 25, 2017

The Effect of War | Fashion During WWII

Fashion went through a drastic change during WWII. Not only were styles affected by the war, but both men and women had to shop carefully and chose items to last through all seasons. Even with the limited resources and frugal spending, fashion didn't go out the window. It was still just as important, if not more so, than ever before.

Materials for clothing was limited, which lead to fabric being rationed. Nylon and wool was needed by the military and were rationed, as well as Japanese silk being banned in the US after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Early 40's Wartime Fashion. Via
Utility Dress c. 1943. Via

Clothing was rationed throughout the war and continued to be until 1949. It was important to mend and make do with what you had during this time. Wearing shabby and worn out clothing became more and more common as the war progressed and throughout the entirety of the rationing.

The rationing of fabrics lead to skirts becoming shorter and clothing becoming more simple than before. In the 1930's skirts were still down to the ankle and mid calf, but now came to just below the knee. Styles also changed as women were starting to work in an industrial environment and needed more practical clothing for their work.

c. 1942 Via
Accidents in the work place were caused by hair getting caught in machinery, which brought about two new fashions. One being shorter hairstyles. Although short bobbed hair had become common during the 20's and 30's a lot of women still had long hair. An alternative to cutting it was to wear a headscarf or "glamour band" to keep the hair secure and out of the way while still bringing color into otherwise dull outfits (i.e. factory overalls).

Men's fashion was also affected. There were new regulations on men's clothing, such as changing double breasted suits to single breasted, lapels had to be within a certain size, the number of pockets was restricted and all trouser turn-ups were removed. A lot of these restrictions weren't popular, particularly the restriction of the turn-ups, and a lot of men would purchase a pair that was too big and alter it themselves at home.

Men's suites in the 1940's. Via
As you can see, war had an effect not only in what people wore, but also how they wore it. 1940's fashion is looked on today as a simple and comfortable yet still a classy and chic style, and it's not hard to see why.