Friday, 4 October 2013

There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder


What were you doing then?

Me? I was 15, feeling insecure, in the grip of powerful hormones, and wondering how life was going to turn out.

No change there then.

 I remember a profound sense of dislocation, of out-of-step-ness; a feeling that I never looked quite right, never had the right clothes, never thought or said the right thing...

And that has changed.

Now I know I don't look/dress like everyone else, and often seem to have different opinions.

Thankfully, I no longer care.

My mum always said to me You're you; you're unique. 

 I didn't appreciate her wisdom at the time, so strong was my desire not to be me, but to be like everyone else.

But she was right - of course - who is better at being you than... you?

This dress is from 1979.

I know the exact year, because the Ebay seller I bought it from wrote in her listing that she bought it from Dorothy Perkins with her first ever wage packet, so she could pinpoint the date.

It's made from a soft drapey viscose in a floral print, so typical of that time, with small shoulder pads for a 1940s-esque silhouette.

On the subject of dresses, my friend Kylie has made a welcome return to blogging with her sponsored Frocktober challenge, raising funds for research into ovarian cancer. She'll be doing a blog post every day in October featuring a different dress, starting here.

This particular cause hits a soft spot for me, since my dear friend Carol died from the disease 13 years ago.

Fuzzy pics of Patsy (left), me and Carol (right), from sometime in the late 1990s.

You can make a donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation via Kylie's blog, and she's even selling off some of the frocks along the way. Pop over and see how fabulous she looks.

We're the same vintage, Kylie and I, so I bet she has memories of 1979 too. I'm hoping she will be wearing a 70s dress at some point this month.

1970s dress - Ebay
Sunglasses, bangles, tights, shoes and denim jacket - charity shopped
Tapestry bag (my current favourite) - vintage shop
Green beads - gift from lovely Brodie.

Naturally, I wanted some music from 1979 to accompany this post.

Take a look at this list; do you remember them all?

 I know every song, from the sublime to the ridiculous. I was spoilt for choice, and have changed my title and accompanying video several times in the process of composing this post!

Flying Lizards, Tubeway Army, Amii Stewart, Blondie, Elvis Costello (who wrote Girls Talk, of course), The Jam, Squeeze, Roxy Music, Chic...
Marvellous. (Though there are some shockers in there too.)

Do you have a favourite?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!




Vix said...

What a fab frock and it looks gorgeous with the denim jacket, tee bars and rock star sunnies. (See, I DO like it!) and your Mum's words were very wise, wisdom & common sense clearly run in your family.
We all look different so it stands to good reason that we think, act and should dress differently, too. It's pointless trying to conform and fit in, it only makes us miserable in the end.
Those pictures of you and Carol are so lovely, you looked so happy together. Those shots look the best kind of blog meet!
Good on Kylie for being so generous.
Mmmmm, we need a TOTP 1979 or another trip to the Big Bull's Head for a reminder of the hot hits of 1979...
Have a fab weekend, my darling! xxxx

The Goodwill Fangirl said...

If I say yes to the list, then I have to kill Seriously, why do people make fun of us if we admit to really liking Abba? Not that I'm doing that in writing, in public, on the Internetz...

You are brilliant in blue. Brilliant. I want to print these pictures and hang them on the wall in my secret reading corner at home.

Am checking out Kylie's blog next. Thanks for the heads up!

Love ya,

Unknown said...

kylie was a good vintage...we are all from it! x

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Even though I was only nine, I lived in a house where there was always a radio on and Top of the Pops was never missed so I remember most of them. Heart of Glass/Tragedy/Cars/Since you've been gone = what a great year for music!
You look stunning in the pic with the denim jacket and shades! xxxx

Ivy Black said...

Gorgeous frock with a lovely story. My mum used to say pretty much the same thing to me. In 1979 I was thirteen and mad for music,clothes, art, drama and all kinds of stuff. I remember everything being so full on. There was some cracking music around then was there not? I was fully immersed in my love affair with Miss Bush by then
Have a stupendous weekend.

Peaches McGinty said...

Your Mums words are lovely, my Mum called me 'unique' too, I think mine was more in a couldn't think of anything else to say moment!hehe, my Nan told me 'as long as it makes you happy' I liked that -
You T bar shoes and fab dress, a really really fab dress btw, are gorgeous, you look divine Missus- will pop over and have a look at Kylie's blog, the pictures look like great times with great friends - 1979 music seemed to rock, The Specials and Darts and Abba - oh yeah! oh and the 3 Degrees! x x

freckleface said...

1979! It was a great year. That list is just wonderful. I know most if not all of them and I loved it. Listening to the charts on the radio on a Sunday night to see what was the new number 1. And then TOTP on a Thursday to see who would be on. I bought number 100, the Flying Lizards, Elvis C is a genius, Blondie was my idol...the list goes on.

It's funny, I would never consider that dress, but you bring it to life and make it look really modern and something special. Your mum was right of course. Does she know you now agree with her?

It's so lovely to see Kylie back and a great cause. Those photos of you with your friend are so touching. xxxxx

Sarah Jane said...

Apart from a small handful, I know all those songs and would consider most of them to be classics. I always said I'd love to have been a teenager in the late 70's to early 80's purely because of the music. Your dress is lovely and what a great way to support a very worthy charity xxx

Oranges and Apples said...

How lovely that the dress has a story! You look great!

Max said...

I love the handbag. I miss handbags, a teeny pocket of a nappy bag is not the same, sartorially or practically. In 1979 i moved from infant school to juniors and was feeling very grown up! I had some wonderful dresses, and shoes in the 70's, i particulaly remember a flowing tan one with a built in courdory waistcoat which i wore with denim wedges with a plastic cartoon character on them which squeaked when you pressed it!
Happy holiday would have to be my fave. Boney m was my nick-name (i was skinny) and i remember singing it endlessly with my cousins during the 6 week holidays!
Have a great weekend yerself xxx

Diane said...

1979 - now that was a year. I have very mixed feelings about that year. I was 19 years old and making some momentous decisions in my love life(bad ones as it turned out!) but also having the time of my life in my best job ever and loving my social life. Music has always defined years for me and from 1979, I'm going with Hot Stuff by Donna Summer. Love the frock - wish I had kept mine from that era. My fave shop in Sheffield at that time was "Richard Shops" - full of all the pretty things xxxxxxx

Angels have Red Hair said...

Your Mum sounds like a very wise lady.
Love the dress ... specially the colours ... I can't believe the previous owner got rid of it ... after keeping it since 1979.

Miss Magpie said...

Lovely frock. We had just moved to Yorkshire in 1979 and I started senior school. Apparently I was posh because I had a southern accent, which still makes me laugh as I sound not unlike someone from the cast of Eastenders when I get in full flow!Posh my arse.

Connie said...

Oh. Ah. Why do you do that to me Curtise? You throw song lyrics and memorable years at me and I get stuck in reverie...dishes in the sink, laundry piling up, the dog needs a walking and I'm lost in 1979. That was the year I met my husband. He had hair. I had a waistline. We spent many nights trying to get into CBGB. I played my Fleetwood Mac album almost non-stop. Debbie Harry was a passenger on one of my flights. She was a hoot! I really really love your dress. The shoes with the blue tights. Gorgeous. I am so glad you're you. I have to say...I have a soft spot in my heart for Declan McManus. We're the same age. Love You!

Patti said...

Such a pretty dress, and I really like the story of it - her first paycheck! The list of songs put a lump in my throat, for some strange reason -- I guess all the memories of being 24, with so much on my young mind, and along comes Blondie : > Love those old songs. xox

Tamera's Craft Palace said...

First--you look amazing and gorgeous in your blue frock!!

ah 1979--I was 20, living on my own, working and going to college.

How I loved Blondie, Elvis Costello, so many memories on that list.

Trees said...

That is a mighty fine list of music! I rather love that frock and have to admit that in terms of fashion, the 70s was by far my favourite. Best of luck to your friend with her fundraising, I lost a dear friend of mine to breast cancer before she even reached her 30th birthday. Cancer is the most vile thing.

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I'm loving seeing Kylie frock up in October....she's such a natural beauty even though she doesn't seem to know it! And you are sublime in blue. Thank God for the wisdom that comes with growing older. It's a great feeling becoming more comfortable with who you are. Xx

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

You are a vision in blue! How wonderful to wear such a special dress with such a specific story. I remember the first outfit I bought when I started working - burgundy velvet trousers and a burgundy and white blouse - but got rid of them long, long ago. Damn!!!

In 1979 I was 23 and a really bad girl, waitressing and partying and taking illegal drugs, staying out late, chasing men, borrowing money. It was fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Curtise, you were fortunate that your mother acknowledged your individuality. My mom just called me "weird" and my male peers called me "Frankenstein". Now, I just find it all so amusing....

Love the combination of blues in that outfit; soooo pretty! You look fantastic!

Two of my all time favorite disco songs are on that list: Born to Be Alive and Boogie Wonderland (""). I still cue those up on iTunes from time to time and shake it down. And I see we both like Elvis Costello and Roxy Music. We ROCK, girl! :)

Indigo Violet said...

In 1979 I was a skint student, so my wardrobe was nearly empty.
Frocktober is a great cause, I wish we had it in NZ.
I am an ovarian cancer survivor myself, one of the lucky ones.

Unknown said...

Love the dress! Gorgeous .
1979.... we moved to a new place , i changed school and had discovered punkrock and dressed in my grandfathers to big old trenchcoat and some old military pants and docs .. Purple hair ...yeah such a cool chic - nervous as hell in a new School .

CityScape Skybaby said...

When I read that list it reminded me of the days when I knew every song in the Top 40, I don't think it really figures for kids any more does it, but the Top 40 on Sunday afternoon and Top of the Pops on Thursday night were something everyone used to listen to and watch and talk about. I was a big fan of Elvis Costello and Squeeze, and I loved Dave Edmunds singing Girl's Talk, as soon as I read your post title the song was playing in my head, loved Blondie and Abba too, in fact nearly every song in that list was a classic wasn't it? I felt a lot like you at that age Curtise, I was tall and skinny with frizzy hair, not pretty and not cool at all in any way, still like that really, just not as skinny! I was bookish and quiet too, whereas my best friend was loud and lairy and I wanted to be just like her. Your mum sounds very wise, but it's hard to take it in when you're young isn't it, I thought me and my friends knew it all, not my mum! You look lovely in all your shades of blue, love your trusty denim jacket with it too, and that is a really good cause, I'll have to go over and look at Kylie's blog now. xx

Kylie said...

Thank you Curtise :)
Please check my blog when you get a chance.
Big kisses to you (and littlest) x

sister outlaws said...

1. You look fabulous - LOVE the shoes, dress, bangles, hair and all round colours of YOU.
2.So sad to read about your friend Carol - a friend of mine was just diagnosed last week with ovarian cancer and I'm so worried and very scared for her right now.
3. You had a great and wise Mum.
4. Kylie rocks too
5. The Jam were my favourite band.

Unknown said...

I was married in 1979 and moving away to another province, in this case Ontario!
My ex was in the military that is why
My grandma too use to tell my all the time i was unique
I think she liked that, i was the favorite, maybe grandma at a tiny bit of a rebellious streak?
In 1979 i liked Blondie and other artists, but i can't remember
I'm not a nostalgic person i tend to forget and move on, but still they were good times but happy i divorced my first husband -

You look great

Ariane xo

Bron said...

Popping in from Kylies look fab in the the blue styling. xx
Oh I was 12 in 1979...really that long ago!!!

joyatri said...

I never would have guessed many of those songs were from 1979. I wasn't very 'with it' at the time :) (or ever, actually).
That shade of blue is gorgeous on you and I love the t-straps.
Your friend Carol had a lovely smile, it looks like you and she shared some great times. I'll check out Kylie's blog.

thorne garnet said...

1979? Hard core punk. All my clothes were black, red or white.

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I love your blue outfit, and I was very touched by the photos of your friend, thinking about all the years I've had that your friend did not.

In 1979 I was 31, had a 1-year-old baby girl and was listening to Eric Clapton, Dire Straits and Robert Palmer.

Nine years later, I was diagnosed with cancer and survived. I'm so blessed to have lived to age 65, to have seen my daughter mature into a wonderful woman and to have two precious grandsons.

What Kylie is doing is so worthwhile and so admirable. Every dollar she raises will help more women like me live longer.

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I love your outfit today. Blue is great for your colouring.
1979. I was 13, the same age as my son is now. So it means I was in Year 9. went to France with the school and just started to get interested in boys - Andrew Smith- I still remember his birthday, October 14th!

Helga said...

!979 was the year I stared highschool...I was hopelessly behind, a late developer in every sense and still quite a child! I didn't have a clue about anything as was a a couple of years before I worked out that my musical and fashion sense was different to everyone elses in our small country town!!! And I didn't care at all, because I just had no desire to be like everyone else,thankfully!
I'm rather obsessed with every glorious aspect of this outfit!!! The frock, the shoes, the darling denim jacket.heavenly! I'm really really into blue lately. And then that fecking bag I covet so much! EEEEK!
You are a hot lady!

Rachel said...

Beautiful dress. It loves hanging out with your denim jacket! I was not quite around in 1979. Perhaps plotting my arrival?

Your Mum is a wise and lovely lady. She'd get on with mine, I received equally good advice xxx

Pippa said...

Your blue frock is lovely!!
I have come over from Kylie's!
I was 4 in '79', I remember lovin 'BucksFizz' !!
A lovely rememberance of your friend too, Pippa.

daiseedeb said...

Love the dress and the color!!
'79? I was 21 and madly in love with the man I dated for 3 years, but going to go on a church mission and live without him for 18 months.
I was then kicked out of the mission home cuz he kept hand delivering love letters which was against the rules, then we married. We were engaged for 2 weeks. Ya, I was/am pretty unique too. ; )
It's a good thing.

Penny-Rose said...

Beautiful dress Curtise. Your post and many of the comments made a lump come up in my throat and my eyes prick with tears.

Kitty said...

Such true words you speak- as always! Lovely in blue.xx.

Tracy said...

I thought it was just me who felt like I didn't look right, dress right and fit in as a teen. I still don't look like everyone else or act like them and I'm glad.
I do like your outfit a lot and I agree Kylie's idea is super.

Tracy said...

I thought it was just me who felt like I didn't look right, dress right and fit in as a teen. I still don't look like everyone else or act like them and I'm glad.
I do like your outfit a lot and I agree Kylie's idea is super.

mispapelicos said...

The dress is blue perfection and I want that cute bag, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
have a lovely Sunday, dear Curtise.

Fiona said...

In 1979 I was seventeen and had just started work for Nat West Bank and was madly in love with an Iranian boy who dropped me cos I wouldn't 'go all the way' Ha ha, although I was young I obviously had some sense then! Mum always told me 'you are your own person'
How tragic that your friend lost her life so young. I knew a lovely lady who also succumbed to that wretched disease, we were talking about her last night at my brother's birthday do...happy times tho. xxxxxx

Flora Cruft said...

In 1979 I was 2 years old and a very determined little girl! And when I was 15 I felt pretty much exactly as you were describing it too. I think one has to feel that at 15, it's inevitable. I love those blues on you dear Curtise, the dress and T-bars are glorious.

Ulla-Marie said...

I was 8 years old and had not come to those years that was so full of poor self-confidence. I laid the basis for second-hand interest by only inherit clothes of cousins ​​etc. Loved when it came home a bag of old clothes that my sister and I got to share. I'm the youngest so you might be able to guess who chose the first ... but it was fun anyway. And I had an extremely tough Blondie poster on my wall!

Sheila said...

I was 12 years old, desperately unhappy, and wanting to fit in. I was on the verge of grade 8, and about to change my life for the better. New friends, new clothes (thanks to babysitting money!), and a new awareness of how I could change how people saw me (via clothing). Such a year.

You look amazing in this dress - blue is your colour! Fabulous!

Fashionista said...

1979 - first year at boarding school for my first year of high school. First time completely exposed to the world, no parental filter on books/radio listening/newspaper reading. I read my way through that school library like there was no tomorrow and listened to all the pop music and sighed over all the pop stars. Looking at Dave Edmunds in that film clip though, he (or his band mates) are hardly rock stars, they look a bit like suburban dads!

I enjoyed the clip for the street fashion too, that period in fashion always says "neat" to me.

Thank you for sharing.

Krista said...

I don't have a clue what I was doing maybe driving my mom mad, no that didn't happen until much later. This dress is a stunner on you Curtise and I love the story to go along with it. I love seeing the picture of you and Carol, she has a soft for me too but only because I feel like a know her a bit through you. So young to leave this earth so early:(.

I think your Mum was wise to tell you that unique is a good thing, it is! I don't think my own mum appreciated all that about me until much later, but I'm so glad she came round:).

Vicky Hayes said...

Don't even get me started on 1979! That dress is gorgeous on you and you look very ladylike with your t-bars and tights and your fab jewellery. Vicky x

The Style Crone said...

The 'blues' are fabulous on you. The dress, the shoes, the jewelry! Straight from 1979; one of the best years of my life. Nelson and I began living together in July of that year, and from there my journey became sweeter.

Off to check out Frocktober, for a very worthy cause.

Forest City Fashionista said...

Your sentence that begins, "I felt a profound sense of dislocation..." could have been written by me about my youth and young adulthood. I was 18 in 1979 and didn't know exactly what I was going to be, or do, only that it wasn't going to be in the small town where I grew up. I'd like to think that 18 year old would enjoy reading my blog.

I am so sorry you lost your dear friend to Ovarian cancer. Whenever they find abnormal cells in one of my annual poke-and-probes, my heart skips a beat.

I know almost all the songs in that list - I liked Roxy Music, but didn't know who they were til the late 80's. I remember the Flying Lizard's song Money being one of my faves. I'm a fan of Elvis Costello too!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty dress. You look lovely; I'm glad you are you now & not felling the need to be like anyone else.
I left college & started work in 1979. I have no idea about what music was around then - I was probably still lost in Deep Purple.
Work was another world & that's when I really noticed I was a square peg.
I will definitely check out Kylie's blog.

Jean at said...

It's so interesting to read the comments here. 1979!! Like Ariane, I was married to my first husband. I had worked to put him through school and he had just graduated. The children weren't born yet, and I worked in retail, selling clothes.

It is pretty much a blur, all the music and what was going on. I was miserable, and didn't divorce him for another 14 years.

I love the dress on you and I'm glad you had your mom's advice to guide you down the road. My mom desperately wanted me to be conservative and I embarrassed her constantly. I think I still do, but fortunately she doesn't remember for very long now. She recently "whispered" loudly to my dad, "How can she go out in public like that?!!" I guess the fact that my flouncy denim skirt touched the ground bothered her. Oh well. Some things never change.

Love you!!!!!!! XXOO

Kelly Jackson said...

The sign of a great blog entry: when you enjoy reading the comments as much as the post. :) First off, you look great. The dress is a dream and so is the bag.

Nice to see the photos of you with your friend.

In '79? I was nine years old, wearing plaid blouses, wide leg Toughskin jeans, and "Sweet Honesty" cologne by Avon, and reading "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume, desperately wanting to be grown up. Oh, the innocence. :)

Kelly Jackson said...

P.S. In spite of the weird time on my post, believe it or not, I was leaving the above comment just as you were commenting on Grunge Queen! And no, I was worried square foes were too dated, too 90s?

bonsaimum said...

That dress is really a beautiful blue. You have some fantastic stuff. 1979, was my final high school year. Could not wait to leave. As for fitting in, nah, never have.

Unknown said...

You are so gorgeous in this beautiful dress (and I LOVE the tights/t-bars). And your bangles and bracelets collection is fantastic!

In 1979 I was nine years old. Terrified of the world, wearing a red felt trilby hat that I had bought at the tip shop, with my aunty's hot pink sequinned fishtail stage dress, silver platform shoes and my red nurse's cape... jumping on the trampoline and singing Abba songs and being a superhero! Until I put the heel of the platforms through the trampoline and was yelled at for the next three months!

Also I had a pet lamb called Smarty, who was my best friend in the world.

I didn't fit in, but I didn't know it yet.


Sarah xxx

Unknown said...

And... Carol has the biggest, most crinkly-eyed, beautiful smile and the two of you look so happy together. xxx