Redheads Writing In Cafes: We Are More Than Just Our Shell

(except when it’s my bedroom)

During Covid we have all had to resort to Zoom (or other video conference platforms) to have visits with friends whether it be old friends or brand new friends. I cannot express how grateful I am that we have such a platform to stay in touch with loved ones. Over the last while, I’ve connected with a new friend and in the Zoom chats we’ve had, we have not only realized we are very, very similar in many ways, but our conversations (for me definitely) have been therapeutic. After our last conversation, I continued to think about the topics we discussed. One that impacted me the most was our discussion about those who live inside a tiny box and those who remain on the outside of it. Or as I put it, do you strictly live inside your shell or outside of it?

It became very clear early on in our discussion that both of us live outside of our shell, leaving me to do some self exploration on why I am drawn to certain things that keep me on the outside and why some might assume they keep me tightly inside. One of those ‘things’ is fashion. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I make the majority of my own clothing. Partly due to my love of creating and largely due to the ability to custom size the garments I make to fit my curves. As a curvy girl, it is hard to find manufactured clothing that fit properly. The style or decade I am attracted to is the 1950s fit and flair, aka and often referred to as Rockabilly.

For many years I identified as Goth, hell, I still do even though most of my wardrobe doesn’t. However, I was also attracted to the Rockabilly scene and already belonging to one sub-culture I found it easy to slide into the other. This was many, many moons ago. For reasons I won’t discuss here, I walked away from that scene, however, I still have a love for the style/music and it has always remained with me. Recently, (in the before times), I found myself wandering back into that scene because of my love of Surf, Rockabilly and the Tiki culture. I’m truly there for the music and have made some new friends because of it, but it’s not a place I plan on permanently staying. I have so many more interests and I am someone who refuses to be pigeonholed. If you look around my home you will see an eclectic decor and a vast array of interests. I’m not putting down those who love that scene or any other sub-culture, I just find it impossible to focus on one particular thing. Life is just too damn short to stay inside a shell.

Anyone who knows me could ask me the question, “Then Lizzie, why is your wardrobe full of Rockabilly style clothing?” And that would be a fair question. However, after my discussion with my friend, I realized that I keep making reproductions clothing from the 1950s because of b-movies. That’s right folks. B-movies.

Since I was a child, I was obsessed with silent movies, then later on pre-code and classic horror (mostly sci-fi of the 1950s). When I’m creating clothing, I tend to be influenced by these movies and more than ever lately, 1950s b-movies. Last year, I worked on creating outfits that were reproductions of Audrey’s from Little Shop of Horrors. I also find myself sketching designs based on 1950s b-movies as well. I can pinpoint certain looks that can be matched with other movies or actors. As a teenager (and well into my 20s), I would sew garments that were inspired by the Victorian and Edwardian era’s. As a child I was so obsessed with the Flappers of the 1920s that I would hassle my mother to dress me that way. I feel like I’m not the only one who is influenced by the movies we watch.

As a young person, especially a teenager who grew up in a small town, dressing in such a way does come with its difficulties. Especially, in High School. I was singled out, bullied and tormented. There was a time that I was pushed to a breaking point and it was my Grandma Betty who pulled me out of it, got me to understand that I should be proud of being an individual and because of her, I became a much stronger person. This has allowed me to be part of subcultures and still be true to myself at the same time. It has allowed me to know when it is time to walk away and to continue to grow as an individual being. I personally feel that we need to keep evolving or we will get stuck inside that box. This all goes way beyond fashion. To live outside of your shell, you also need to have broad interests. Again, I’m not shaming those who can’t, if that brings you joy, you go girl/guy.

Do you consider yourself someone who lives inside your box/shell or well on the outside of it?


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