Monday 14 July 2014

I don't know what this world is coming to...

I just can't rely on you.

So what do we think about reliability?

I love reliable clothes. My old faithfuls, the ones I always feel good in, and wear again and again.
Solid and sure, they yield the same result every time, and I like that.

This dress, which you have seen many times, is one of those perfect items; it cost £3, it fits and flatters, and I love the lightweight cotton fabric, print, neckline and angel sleeves.

I bought it to sell, but when I realised it fitted me, I refused to part with it. In a way, it was the dress that brought me back to wearing vintage after a twenty year hiatus. It represents the start of my blogging life too.

I owe that frock a lot.

1970s dress - community fair
Bangles and sunglasses - charity shopped
Sandals - Ebay

Reliable. Consistent. Dependable. Trustworthy. 

These are good qualities, yes? 

Of course they are, and I want to be those things myself. To be the opposite - unreliable, changeable, shaky and flaky, flighty - wouldn't sit well with me.

But you know, I am wondering if there is an irksome downside to reliability.

I'm not intending to be mysterious and cryptic here; the incidents which have me questioning the benefits of being a dependable person are school/PTA-related, and far too tedious to relate here. Really - you'd thank me for not boring you with the details.

I sometimes feel that being available, being able to fill in gaps and take up the slack, also means being taken for granted. I'm feeling the weight of expectation, laid on me without my agreement or permission, and I'm not sure I like it.

So, what to do?

Well, since I seem to be having an Outfit As Metaphor moment, perhaps this combination of an Old Faithful vintage skirt with a new-to-me folk-inspired blouse, represents the way forward.

 A bit of the old, a bit of the new. 

1970s skirt - Ebay
Blouse and belt - charity shopped
Sandals and flower - retail (sale) 

I've been saying no to a few tasks recently; it has caused some consternation, and possibly a little disapproval. But I feel better for putting a marker down that says I cannot always be available.

I'm mixing it up.

Look, I'm even standing in a different spot in the garden. Radical!

 Dependable? Mostly.
Pushover? Never!

(Rant over. Thanks for listening.)

Joining in with the lovely ladies at Visible Monday. Patti has this link-up thing just right - everyone's welcome just as they are, no pressure, and I really appreciate that!




Miss Piggy Bank said...

Its good to say no. I wish I'd started saying no earlier in life. I would end up doing more so others did less because I didn't like to say no. People would say can you do me a favour and Id reply yes without even knowing what the favour was. Nowadays when they ask I say what is it ? All the best x

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Ooo, love both outfits, the shape of the "old" and the vivid colours of the "new."

You've articulated "the weight of expectation ..." beautifully, and I cheer on your boundary-setting and times of stepping back - way to mix it up! They'll survive (and also have a chance to develop their own capabilities!) and you'll have more room for whole-hearted, resentment-free participation when it's on your terms. xoxo

mondoagogo said...

Your frustrations are one of the things I've always disliked about volunteering, or at least the volunteer work I've done (and paid work too actually). Seems like there's a fine line to tread between being willing and eager to help and being the person who gets lumped with all the shit no one else can be bothered to do.

I like your new old embroidered blouse, and your new garden spot!

Olga Rani said...

I noticed that too, when you are always available people start to take you for granted. So it is good to say no from time to time.
Love this folk inspired blouse!

Anonymous said...

Good for you and saying no. I think sometimes people mistaken kindness for weakness, when that happens people think they can take advantage. I love both of your outfit combinations.

Pennyblossoms said...

Good on you for giving 'em food for thought!
Your new top is very pretty and perfect for summer - bet it'll get lots of wear.
Like the new garden shot too!
Yeah! Rad!
Z xx

Kylie said...

I find it so much easier to say yes than no - then spend the time between agreeing and doing wishing that I'd spoken up and said "sorry, but NOOOO!" It's a little word, but sometimes it's very hard to say. Brava you Curtise for managing to spit it out.
I love both your outfits - especially the frock...funny to think you might not be blogging etc if you hadn't chanced upon it at the market. We're ALL the richer for it x

Vix said...

Being reliable, dependable, sensible and grounded are such a bind sometimes. Like you, I'm glad I'm not seen as a flaky, unreliable airhead but god, being expected to do everything without a word of thanks really does grate.
Good for you for saying no. Lets hope they'll appreciate you a little more now. Bugger. I've got that terrible Just Say No Grange Hill song going off in my head now.
Adore the dress that renewed your love affair with vintage and the brilliant old reliable maxi with the young Mexican upstart.
Love you! xxxxxxx

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Well done for mixing it up, Curtise. You're absolutely right to say no sometimes. You can't do everything all of the time for Gawd's sake. Love the cute blouse. xx

Melancholy and Menace said...

I'm glad you were able to say no, no-one should be a pushover. I'm guilty of that too and probably need to asert myself more.

Looking hot and foxy, I'm glad you decided to wear vintage again after so many years.

Have a brilliant week xx

Suzanne said...

I love that song!

Your nails are wonderful and so is that maxi skirt and blouse.

I agree that it is good to know when someone it taking advantage of you and then step away from it all. Sometimes we need to get rid of negative energy in life and surround ourselves with people that appreciate us for who we already are.


freckleface said...

I'm back and I'm with you all the way. I used to be a total mouse, but now I'm much braver. A few friends have dumped on me a bit recently and I'm learning some lessons. People always disapprove when you start saying no, but hopefully soon they'll learn to stop taking you for granted. You do such a huge amount for the school, they should be licking your boots, not sucking their teeth! Anyway, onto important matters, I love that folk top, you look so so pretty and your £3 reintroduction to vintage dress is a beauty. It's always lovely to see your garden. Who knew there were secret corners we hadn't seen before! xxxxxxx

Asparagus Pea said...

I like to think of saying no as 'encouraging self reliance in others' - but if you want something done ask a busy person huh? Good to change it up sometimes xxx

Angels have Red Hair said...

We all like to be helpful where we can ... but we NEVER want to be taken for granted. A "no" now and then teaches them to appreciate a "yes" so much more :0)

Patti said...

Well said, Curtise. It's a wonderful thing to say no sometimes. It frees us from resentment. It took me a long time to say No as a complete sentence. Love these looks, old reliable (and lovely) dress and new folk top. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, you're a star. xox

diaryofapennypincher said...

Couldn't agree more with all the other comments! You have put it so well too, Curtise, it's what I hated about my job. Good for you for mixing it up a little! Love the old and new outfit, that fab nail varnish (I have the same colour!) and your now treasured angel sleeve dress, and that new garden spot is great! xxx

thorne garnet said...

sometimes "No" is the hardest word to say. I love it when somebody else agrees to something, then dumps it on me. Do it yourself!

bahnwärterin said...

I am so terribly reliable too ;-)
but I'm working on saying no. a few people do not appear at all since. but I think they are who accept it are the better part.....
good to have a beautiful dress like your "mille fleur" one that is a wardrobe workhorse - i have some age old 2€ frocks which i wear when i need an self confidence booster.
love embroidered peasant blouses - especially with patterned skirts! gorgeous combo!

Krista said...

I can't believe how some folks just take take take, I'm so happy to hear you put your foot down, people need consequences. That song is ace Curtise and would I sould like total ass if I said that being married makes me feel taken for granted daily. I think we all need to remind those that takes us for granted.

Onto these beautiful outfits. Your frock that started it all looks so banging on your body and I'm loving the little embroidered blouse almost as much as I adore you!
Love you honey!

Sheila said...

I have learned to say no at my job - and it's against my inclinations of wanting to help everyone with everything! It has resulted in confusion at times; people seem to think I'm just available at all times.

Lovely outfits, both new and reliable!

ArgentGal said...

I see reliability as a very positive trait in people and strive to be reliable myself. But to me that means following through on the commitments you make, not simply being available at all times to pick up the slack. There's a big distinction and it's definitely where setting boundaries and saying no comes in. It can be hard to be the reliable one when the people around you are being unreliable but in the long run, in terms of what you are able to make of your life, I think it's worth it.

The "new" blouse is lovely!

Jessica Jannenga said...

I love both looks, the print of the long skirt is lovely, love the red flower in your hair, and I really like the flutter sleeve floral dress, one of my favorite kind of sleeves as i think they are so flattering. Have a great week
rom the link up
Please stop by, jess

Señora Allnut said...

dear lady, even reliable people sometimes says No, and that's fine for me. I hate when people takes my help for granted. Random people (not friends). I feel they're taking liberties with my usual politeness.
But your reliable dress is magnificent, love old pieces which stay making you feel fabulous for years!!, love that cute little floral motif!!. And also love your peasant-folk blouse and pretty flower on your hair!

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Good for you for saying no. At this time of year the school calendar gets a bit much. You can only do so much. Make someone else do it!
Your new blouse is so sweet. I had one like that in the 70's. I'm wearing nothing but maxis in this hot spell. I love that you don't have to shave your legs! xxxx

Veshoevius said...

Good for you for putting your foot down and don't let people take you for granted I say! Love the floral maxi with the angel sleeves and the embroidered top. I didn't realise you'd had a 20 year break from wearing vintage!

Unknown said...

I totally agree with your feelings on this one, and I love the embroidered blouse, great find! :)

Mother of Reinvention said...

People can be really good at taking the piss if you are generous of spirit and kind in nature. Mum has a great saying that "they think just because you have a soft heart you have a soft head". Glad to see you keeping it mixed up, always good to keep folk on their toes, and loving all your clothes. xxxx

Helga said...

Ah, yes, I have had to make some serious changes, mostly to do with "friends" due to my being very reliable and available and being taken for's hard to say no, but one has to in order to maintain some sense of sanity and self respect!!!! "Reliable. Consistent. Dependable. Trustworthy." These are all outstanding qualities, treated with respect!!!!
As for your reliable frock, the one that brought you back to vintage and to blogging-it's fecking gloriarse!I feel I owe it a lot, too! It meant I "met" you! I am thankful, and proud of you for putting your foot down.
Rock the hell ON, darling!

Natalia Lialina said...

Oh dear, I know exactly what you mean, don't even get me started. Instead of being always "reliable", I choose to be spontaneous, true to myself and creative. It's so much more fun. :)

This dress means so much to you - what a great job it did bringing vintage back into your life and bringing blogging into your life, and ultimately bringing YOU into our lives! It's a hero dress, a milestone dress. Never separate with it. It will be in a museum some day. :)

Your garden looks gorgeous, you are so amazing, Curtise!!

Much love and creativity your way! xxxxxx

Jayne H said...

Lovely folk art top and your maxi dress is fab too, love the neckline. Good for you for saying No and causing a bit of consternation. The corner shot in your garden has a tropical feel about it - very nice.

Kezzie said...

Oh gorgeous you!!! I love that maxi and I bought a similar shaped one on EBay recently but sadly, it is short on me and is more midi than maxi! Sorry you're being put upon, hope that doesn't continue! X

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I'm completely confused!! You're standing in a completely different area of your yard! How could you do that to your readers?? No really, you are a rebel at heart.
I have a hard time saying "no" to different requests but am getting better at it. Mostly from working with seniors. They seem to hit 70 and say "fuck it" easier. I want to be like that, with caution of course.
That is a perfect fitting frock and it's fun to read that it started off your blogging. I wonder what you were wearing for 20 years other than this style that suits you so well. Jeans?? NOOOOO!

Shawna McComber said...

Look at gorgeous you being radical and dependable all at the same time! I love your outfits and the philosophising they inspire! I have faced similar challenges with being taken for granted as a very reliable person, though more often in friendships that were not well balanced. It isn't easy to set boundaries when you are the sort of person who does generally want to help but good for you for doing it and looking amazing at the same time!

Melanie said...

Your heart is so big that people want to camp in there. I love how you showed us your conundrum through your clothes. I was always, always a pushover, I mean one-way reliable, and then I stopped. Just stopped. And I ended a few friendships. Best thing. Your approach looks very effective, and very flattering - love your new top! And your new garden pose area.

The Style Crone said...

I'm a fan of the old and the new. Mixing it up and setting boundaries at the same time. Sounds good to me! And you look gorgeous in your outfit as metaphor moment. Self expression speaks a thousand words.

Goody said...

We're taught from a young age to be reliable. If you say you'll do something, you must do it, be there, be dependable. It took me many, many years to understand that does not mean agreeing to do whatever is asked.

It isn't easy! If you're a "dooer" then you are, and you'll beat yourself up with guilt for not accommodating the people taking advantage of you. I'm speaking from experience here. I'd like to say I found some perfect method for living with manipulative people, but I haven't. I don't like having a generous nature be taken advantage of so I tend to just remove myself from the relationships that feel manipulative. No one else is looking out for my sanity, so I've had to be harsh protecting it.

By all means, say no-when you want to. You can still say yes when it seems reasonable to do so, or more importantly, when you want to. Anyone that takes issue with you over it likely doesn't respect you much as a person-so screw-em. Or use my favourite excuse:

"Well gosh, I'd love to help, but I'm rotating the crops that afternoon."

Trust me, they won't ask again.

Goody said...

...and for heaven's sake woman, don't screw with my head standing over there...feels like you're in some sort of alternate universe...

20 years without vintage? Horror! You chose an excellent piece to return with.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I love the fact that maxi dress represents the start of your blogging journey. It is one hell of a frock for sure. And the skirt combo is divine too. I love seeing what you'll come up with next. You are reliably surprising in that way. Xx

Val said...

Oh, boy, is this timely. We just bought some software off eBay to help me get going with my new business, and after spending hours installing everything we find out it's counterfeit! The seller had to have known. There are a lot of thieves and flakes and cheats in the world, so it's not surprising that people want to take advantage of someone reliable like you. Especially since you always brighten up your surroundings with fabulous frocks and skirts and bangles and everything! I'm sure they can find a way to muddle through without you, and appreciate you all the more.

Sue said...

Good rant there! I am one of those reliable peeps but my motto has always been, use me but don't abuse me! And it is good to say NO because you shouldn't have to be that good old reliable, she'll do it gal. Rebel indeed posing in another part of your garden!

Peaches McGinty said...

Good for you! saying 'no' occasionally is a good thing, of course you can still be reliable and as wonderful as you are, but saying 'no' means you won't be taken for granted, no-one deserves it - when I got called in for extra shifts I found it lovely to say 'no' and I like the surprised response (I don't get asked anymore and that is fine with me) mix it up! bring it on! the folk blouse is fabulous!! x x x

mispapelicos said...

Well said, dear Curtise, ahhhhhhhhhhh
You always find the most amazing clothes in the world. I cannot get over the magic sleeves of the dress

Angie said...

I love it when outfit moments become psycanalisis moments.
Actually, saying no is one of the hardest things to learn how to do and people usually don't like it. And usually they don't appreciate the yes either! So better say no and do what you like then people respect you more!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear the story of the lovely reliable frock that got you back into vintage, Curtise! I'm sure saying no has taken some pressure off you and set some personal boundaries, which is good for you, and hopefully also for the other party, in the long run. It may be human nature to keep asking when people keep giving, but that doesn't mean it's something that shouldn't be checked if it's causing issues for you. I think women in general are conditioned to always say yes. That's why it's so hard to say no, so good for you for being firm. Hopefully the disappointment expressed in the other side will morph into appreciation and respect. Xoxo

Porcelina said...

I think you said it all in your last comment, " Dependable? Mostly.
Pushover? Never!"

Yup, that's what we should all aim for! I do sway into pushover territory sometimes, but at least not walkover territory like I used to!

Love that dress, and the new folky blouse is incredibly cute x

Fiona said...

It's good to put your foot down occasionally, to stand up and be counted. Sounds like we've both been disappointed by those around us lately and I say bollocks to them. Loving the new folksy blouse and the previously unseen area of the garden, so rad!....btw what IS that huge spiky plant? xx

Unknown said...

Nobody takes me for granted that's for sure, i won't allow it, it's too easy to be taken advantage of and i don't want that but people know i'm reliable when they ask - It's good that you put your foot down -

I love your nails too, i should take better care of mine, i have a wedding soon and they should look half decent -
Your dress is an absolute delight Curtise and that blouse is so awesome-



at my dressingtable said...

Curtise love both the outfits you look fab , it's good to say no sometimes you have a good week xxx

Mrs Bertimus said...

You are an artist with clothes!
To use an outfit to express your emotions and frustrations is simply inspired x

kobieta niewidzialna said...

I like your fantastic sandals. You look great.:)

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

Hahaaa!! Love Goody's reply, it reminds me of Anto's comeback "I'll do it after I drop the sump out of the Volvo". I've been parenting school-age kids since 1994 and I have another 6.5 years to go. I have mixed feelings about P&T, not because I'm frightened of responsibility, but there seems to be too much of what you describe going on. I prefer to work directly with the children so I usually help with reading/class helper when they're in primary, and do newsletter/library/invisible-mum type stuff in high school. It's so lovely to see some of your old favourites here and I adore the embroidery details of your glorious Mexican top. That's what you are ... glorious. xoxooxox

Connie said...

If that beautiful dress is responsible for your blog then we all owe it an incredible gift of gratitude. XXXOOO

Unknown said...

Darling! Both are reliable for good reason. You look NEAT in them!
I'm sorry if the world is taking your for granted ... there's lots of virtue in saying no sometimes, even when you might not otherwise to make sure that they always remember to ask nicely instead of assume.
I'm extra appreciative of your patience and support, and am so glad to be able to check back in ... hope to see all I missed very soon. Cyber hugs to you, gorgeous. I will get my act together one day!

Beth Waltz said...

Desiree of Pull Up Your Socks once offered the perfect refusal line: "Sorry, darling, can't. I'm soaking my bras." I've set it aside for the next occasion when someone assumes that I should be on call because I'm single and sans kids.

Well ranted, Curtise!

Becky said...

I really adore the skirt and the embroidered blouse!!!! Nobody likes being taken for granted. I have run into similar situations because I work from home... I am the go-to person for everyone's ride to/from airports or doctor's appts and more! Things they would NEVER expect someone with a 9-5 job to call off to do. Good for you for making your limits clear!

Annie said...

I agree with what others have said. I do value reliability, but I don't like being expected to be available just because I don't have regular paid employment.
Anyway, I love your reliable 'starter' dress, no wonder it got you back into vintage. It fits perfectly and suits you down to the ground. Literally :)
Love the skirt and folk top too, fab bright colours.
I have finally sorted out the pocket on my Butterfield 8 dress by the way (I know, I know). But it looks a treat now.
Hope to see you over the holidays.

Annie xxx

Sarah Jane said...

A flattering fit, made of cotton and makes you feel good = every dress should fit this description as far as I'm concerned. Shame there's so much badly sewn viscose and acrylic out there these days. Being reliable, dependable and trustworthy are outstanding qualities to have as has rightly been mentioned. I would love to have them in greater quantities but I fear it's just not the way I was built. My mister is the complete opposite of me though. He is successful, solid and pragmatic and completely has his s**t together which is why I think he has become the go-to guy in virtually every aspect of his life - in work and amongst our family and friends. It's so important to establish boundaries so you totally did the right thing. It's so easy to take people for granted sometimes but maybe now they'll appreciate those qualities more xxx

Kerry Curl said...

It's so hard to say no,especially when you have set a president of saying yes. I need to learn to say no more.

I've just been browsing some of your posts, some amazing bargains! I also love the black dress you are wearing in your blog header.

Vicky Hayes said...

Saying no is almost an art form! I'd like my gravestone to say 'She was reliable and dependable when she allowed herself to be' (so it'll probably need to be quite a big stone!) Vicky x

Trees said...

Good for you!! I did go through a stage in my life of being a "yes" lady - I think I do still say "yes" to often at work. But in my social life I have become a bit better at saying no. That first "old faithful" dress is JUST SO YOU! I love it. Perfect. I agree the second outfit is a little different to what you usually wear but you totally ROCK that - love that peasant style top. Just lovely on you. Here's to saying "no" more often xoxo

Rachel said...

Good for you sweetie. Sometimes you just have to say no.

Love all your outfits, you look beautiful as always. xx