A Sparkling Vintage Life

fashion trends

When Yoga Pants Intrude on the Human Eyeball’s Safe Space


Photo source: Boston Globe/Jim Davis

Here’s a shout-out in support of Alan Sorrentino.

In case you haven’t heard of Alan Sorrentino, he’s a Rhode Island man who ignited a firestorm of protest when he wrote a letter to the editor of his local paper. The letter criticized the widespread practice of women wearing tight yoga pants in public. To register their disapproval of Mr. Sorrentino’s opinion, a coterie of ladies decided to parade past his house wearing yoga pants. Because, of course, they are more than entitled to adorn their backsides with unflattering clothing, and heaven help anyone whose opinion differs from theirs.*

As an aid to those who don’t get out much, yoga pants are extremely tight-fitting pants that aren’t so much figure-flattering as figure-outlining. They leave little of the female anatomy to the imagination. In their proper place–i.e., a yoga studio–they are stretchy and comfortable and help instructors observe that poses are being done correctly, that the proper muscles are being engaged, etc., –similar to why ballet students wear leotards and tights. Except that leotards and tights have never caught on as a fashion trend for grown women, unless gracefully covered by a skirt or wrap when the wearer leaves the studio. Yoga pants, on the other hand, have been embraced as an everyday clothing choice by women everywhere–meaning that eyeballs everywhere have been  subject to some pretty blush-inducing views.

I wrote about yoga pants nearly two years ago, which would indicate that the trend isn’t fleeting. As they are the antithesis of Sparkling Vintage style, no regular reader of this blog should be surprised at which side of the debate garners my sympathies.

Good for you, Alan Sorrentino, for expressing your opinion. A few years ago, I expressed mine concerning the disconnection between young girls’ clothing choices and their desire not to be “objectified” by males. At that time I suggested that if they (or their parents) did not want men to view them as sexual creatures, perhaps they should not dress in a way that flaunted their sexual characteristics. I was subsequently accused of everything from being hopelessly old-fashioned (okay, guilty) and a wizened old prude who wants to restrict everyone’s Freedom to Be Themselves, to downright hating women and letting myself be manipulated as an unthinking tool of the patriarchy. A few people told me privately that they agreed with me, but they did not wish to say so publicly so as not to be similarly tarred and feathered.

So that’s why I’m standing up for Alan Sorrentino today. Kudos to you, Mr. Sorrentino, for having the courage to state your opinion. Thank you for expressing a wish to see both women AND men dress with dignity. The only place where we disagree is that you think women “over twenty” should not wear them in public, while I don’t think any woman should wear them in public, unless with a shirt long enough to cover the aforementioned area. My feelings about the matter have little to do with how much they flatter or frumpify a woman’s figure and everything to do with how they smash her grace, modesty, and dignity to smithereens.

Sparklers, what do you think of yoga pants worn in public?

*(As an aside, I find it puzzling that people have a “right” to wear whatever they want, but other people don’t have the “right” to object to the trend. What’s up with that? And when did the concept of “rights” degrade this far? This is what our forefathers and foremothers–or rather, our nongendered, inclusive forecaretakers–fought for?)







Sparkling Vintage Musings: My Journey to Vintage


diana  haircut

The Princess Diana phase

When I have an idle hour, I love to troll vintage-themed blogs. One of my favorites is Jessica Cangiano’s Chronically Vintage. While dropping by one day, I was inspired by this guest post (by Seanna over at SeannaApproved) to think about why I am so strongly attracted to vintage clothing, decor, pop culture, and everything else. I’ve been mulling this question for quite some time without a clear answer, but a few thoughts have floated to mind.

winged victory

Winged Victory, circa 1978

During my lifetime I have cycled through the usual, often cringeworthy, fashion trends of A Woman My Age: Farrah Fawcett wings Aqua-Netted from here to Sunday; Princess Di haircut over a navy blue suit with a little foulard tie; ripped sweatshirts and legwarmers à la Flashdance, etc., etc. I came to love vintage rather late, but when I did, it felt like coming home.

That said, I should probably clarify (confess?) that I’m not all-vintage-all-the-time. I wish I were. But sometimes it’s hard to find flattering authentic vintage clothes to suit my, er, generous proportions (reproductions are another matter–those are easier to find in larger sizes). Some styles are hard to wear without looking too costumey. I lean toward vintage touches…a string of pearls here, a cameo there, a cheerful apron in the kitchen, a hat just for fun. So if you’re picturing me swathed head to toe in a Fortuny gown or an Edwardian riding habit (iwishiwishiwish!), I’m afraid I must puncture that little thought bubble. Still, if I dressed 100% true to what new-age gurus call my Authentic Self, there’d be a lot less grungewear in my closet and a lot more chiffon.

Okay, with all that out of the way, here’s what I’ve figured out so far. I LIKE VINTAGE BECAUSE:

*I love cotton–the kind of polished cotton that feels so heavenly and crisps right up under a hot iron. (Did you know that there is a perfume called Warm Cotton? Laugh if you want, but clearly it’s not just me.)

*I love darts. Modern clothing replaces darts (which are costlier to manufacture) with stretchy, clingy fabrics unkind to the mature figure. For a squiggly shape like mine, darts are the bee’s knees.

*I love antique slang like “the bee’s knees.” So much of the modern vernacular is vulgar and does violence to the ears and the heart.

*”Vulgar” is one of those words that’s fallen into disuse and should be dusted off now and then.

*Other dusty words that need to be pulled down from the attic and given a thorough airing: dignified, ladylike, modest.

Attempting a classical portrait while stifling a giggle.

Antithesis of a badass b*tch

*With vintage styles, it’s okay to have a mature figure, a rounded figure, a flat figure. Vintage fashion magazines recognize this fact. Modern fashion magazines declare “thin is in and stout is out,” full stop. Very disheartening.

*Vintage clothing manages to be feminine without being overtly sexy. Of course, there’s overtly sexy, too, if that’s your thing, but it’s not mine. So many modern clothes look either mannish or vampish. Makes a woman look tough, coarse, and jaded, somehow. World-weary. Whatever happened to just plain pretty?

*You may have realized by now that I am not a badass b*tch. In fact, I am the polar opposite of a badass b*tch. When I hear that term offered up as a compliment, and cheerfully accepted as such, I get the vapors.

*I love lace. Especially when it’s handmade, soft, and doesn’t itch.

*I love pearls. Looooooove pearls.

*And white gloves, cameos, and corsages.

*And please, thank you, excuse me, and you’re welcome.

Old_Letter*It breaks my heart to hear kids won’t be taught cursive writing anymore. How on earth will they write love letters? You can’t tie up texts with a satin ribbon and put them in a box with a lavender sachet, and pull them out on some rainy afternoon and reminisce.

*The place in my heart that breaks for the demise of cursive writing is the same place that sings for vintage.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure more reasons will occur to me. I’ll try to get more precise. In the meantime,  what about you?

Are you a fan of vintage styles?

If so, why?

If not, why not?



Sign up for my Reader Community