Thursday, 16 October 2008

Still More Babblings Inspired By That Dress And Domestic Discipline Discussion Board

Moving on from my last post and still regarding the points made on the discussion board that I provided links to there: There is much talk of girls being taught to sew and knit that they might, under strict guidance and supervision it goes about saying, make their own uniforms. This would seem a wise decision on many levels: Remember we are dealing with the late teens or even early twenties here and the local school outfitters are unlikely to stock much that might be persuaded to conform to the filled-out developed maturity of these girl’s forms - something made all the more improbable when one takes into account the fast-food plumpness typical of today's modern miss. Even where larger sizes are accommodated the styling and cut of the cloth are unlikely to be such as to correctly follow the flowing lines of the burgeoning and curvaceous female form in a way that might please the critical eye of the more fastidious and appreciative governess stepmother or guardian. Nor would such a size range be likely to encompass the more junior style ranges that many would apparently prefer to see their charge dressed in. Besides, if we read between the lines it becomes clear that few if any school uniforms from be current era, despite their resurgence of late, would really be deemed strict or restrictive enough for the tastes of most and the criticism could be levied that such modern styling fails to sufficiently differentiate the uniform from more everyday wear. A more anachronistic approach to design, then, would seem likely to address many of these issues; the result would certainly be suitably strict and restrictive and the sheer anachronism inherent in the styling would alone be enough to ensure that it be sufficiently unusual so as to encompass the all-important element of humiliation, to single out the wearer as one kept on a short rein and, even more importantly some might say, to be unmistakable as anything other than a uniform - and a very juvenile-looking school uniform at that. Once again, though, we are lucky to be living in the Internet age: one or two suitable or adaptable products are commercially available - of which the dress on the left is a remarkably imaginative example in my humble opinion.

So, things are looking up for our discussion group here; gingham dresses are knocked-up under strict supervision and doubtless made along the lines suggesting a suitably humiliating level of immaturity and woollen and knickers are duly knitted. But surely here is the perfect opportunity to introduce all sorts of unusual features that might further make conspicuous both the garment's identity as part of a uniform and the wearer as one under discipline. And there is the point - she should feel uniformed, she should feel under discipline, but more importantly she should be kept constantly aware that all who lay eyes on her can plainly see that she is kept in a uniform and under discipline. All around her she will see her peers running in and out of all those high street fashion outlets with their gangs of giggling friends or hand-in-hand with their boyfriends and dressed in the latest clubbing styles - just as she once did, when she had been free.

But she is not free: she has no need of shopping malls - her clothing is chosen for her and besides, she is allowed no money of her own, not a penny, nor is she allowed to go out to work to earn a little independence. In any case she has nowhere to go she might need to dress up for: she has long ago lost track of all her old friends - letters, texts, e-mails, even phone calls having all gone unanswered it is hardly surprising. Her boyfriend is long gone (he had been deemed unsuitable but it had taken quite a few cuts of her new governess's cane to persuade her likewise).

University is out of the question for her. She is thought to be too immature, a view encouraged by her appearance and the childish uniform she is constantly kept in, an innovation of her governess; the true reason has a lot more to do with her guardian wanting her kept under close supervision. Her future is mapped out for her, it has been agreed that in time she be allowed some form of employment but she knows that will only be allowed if she should work for her guardian's company. If she has ever contemplated developing any form of career then that ambition has already been crushed; she has already been told that she shall be employed in the most junior of positions and each day be required to wear a suitable uniform of her guardian’s own devising and designed specifically for her. Deep down she knows that no matter how well she works, how great her potential, it will be ensured that she never rises above that junior role, absolute rock bottom in his organisation, and that in time she will be taking orders from, and being subservient to, girls many years her junior.

This is how I would see the situation, the uniform the girl presently wears she might well have been obliged to make herself and it might well consists basically of the sort of gingham dress that the correspondents suggest. Then there are those little details that the opportunity suggests could be incorporated - all the more to the chagrin of the young lady concerned. For example; shoulders can be exaggeratedly puffed, long sleeves can be terminated in long white cuffs fastened by a row of three buttons much in the style of a Victorian dress. The neck can be high-buttoning and incorporate an overlarge white collar. The bodice can be cut so as to be closely fitted to her figure, the latter enhanced perhaps by old-fashioned ‘stays’ - perhaps a nice boned corset with high-lifted bust cups having the sort of conical profile typical the 1950s. The waste can be self belted, a belt formed of the same fabric as the dress and buttoning with two buttons to the front, as this is a feature seen little outside of the world of uniforms and workwear. A school badge would be prominently embroidered on the breast pocket to leave onlookers in no doubt that what the girl is dressed in is, in actuality, some form of school uniform. To see the principal at work here you have to fix in your imagination a childishly juvenile frock, but one whose design has, mixed in, features designed to show off the maturity of the wearer's figure - but not in anyway that the young woman might be proud of.

Once again this one of those unfinished posts but I have to rush out. I will return and put up some suitable illustrations and further discussion of that particular message board. There are some great ideas developing there are much mileage to be had.

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