There is a wonderful 1959 ‘Face to Face’ interview with the poetess and writer Edith Sitwell, which is happily available on YouTube. It provides a delicious insight into her character as well as a close up look at her very particular personal style.
Despite her many talents as a poet and writer, Sitwell was lambasted for her unusual looks and choice of attire. Indeed Sitwell’s father rather cruelly forced her to wear a nose-truss during lessons with her governess, in an effort to straighten her nose.
I find Edith Sitwell both enchanting to listen to and captivating to behold. Coming from a privileged background, she had the opportunity to develop a rather exotic sense of style. Her dress sense was an extension of her creative expression and possibly an act of rebellion to a society whose narrow definition of beauty found her wanting. Here is the link, if you are interested:
When questioned about her attire she says:
‘You see I can’t wear fashionable clothes. You see I am a throwback to remote ancestors of mine and I really would look most extraordinary if I wore coats and skirts. I would be followed for miles and people would doubt the existence of the almighty if they saw me looking like that’.
When pressed further, Sitwell says ‘it comes naturally, you see I am descended from the most queer and remote sources’.
I love that Sitwell eschewed convention and dressed entirely for her own pleasure and amusement.
How many of us use clothes as part of our creative expression? I would like to dress in a way that reflects who I am. Yet I often feel at odds with what I’m wearing. Life is busy and I have no desire to spend lots of time or money traipsing around clothes shops. I am not concerned about what the celebrities are wearing. I couldn’t care less about what’s ‘bang on trend’. I am much more interested in wearing clothes that delight me and make me feel like my best possible self.
I have created a Pinterest board of clothes that I adore. Looking at this virtual scrapbook of images makes my heart sing. It is clear that I have a strong preference for rather romantic, feminine, customised clothes with embroidery and pretty details. I am neither young nor a tiny wisp of a girl, but I want to respond to some of these wardrobe yearnings. We all know that life isn’t a dress rehearsal and I want to dress more like the heroine in my own life. Reconciling my dream wardrobe with my day to day reality may be a challenge, but tiny acts of self-expression soon add up. When I make an effort with my clothes, life always feels more exciting. My wardrobe may not be perfect yet but I do own some clothes that I love, along with some exquisite jewellery and scarves. I plan to spend more time customising the clothes that I do own, sewing on gorgeous buttons and making tiny tweaks. I love the idea of dressing for the day that you want to have. I like to think that a twinkling brooch can lead to a sparkling opportunity.