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Nostalgia

I was recently reading an article lauding the benefits of nostalgia. According to a recent study finds that nostalgia can "counteract loneliness, boredom, and anxiety...it makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders." People even use nostalgia, or recounting a past experience on cold days in order to feel warmer. This is especially interesting since it has often been thought to be a mental disorder related to depression. On a broader scale we're often warned of the danger of "Golden Age" thinking and that a focus on the past will prevent progression not just in our own lives but also in the development of science, technology--just general societal progression. I still hold that Golden Age thinking of idolizing past generations is hugely problematic as we tend to erase so many significant issues that made the past unbearable for many. Certainly it would be wonderful to live in the Renaissance if you weren't born into servitude. So when nostalgia is referred to as a potentially helpful experience it is important to note that it means your own memories, rather than nostalgia for another time you didn't even experience firsthand. It is through the recollection of past positive experiences that motivation to improve present and future is found.
Anyway, all of these thoughts of nostalgia are tied to my dress today--retro in silhouette and featuring the print of old-fashined circus performers and tattooed men. It's so perfectly in-tune with the resurgence of novelty prints; the novelty print itself being a vintage classic now found in a number of modern incarnations, a trend once again based in the past. I think one of the positives of a less negative view of nostalgia is the acceptance of repetition--as the saying goes "nothing original remains, everything has already been done." However, if instead of being debilitated by this but rather accept it and focus on reinvention we make actual progress. Why can't we nod to the past and wink at the future?

17 comments:

bestie said...

beautifully written. i am certainly one for nostalgia; i like recalling fond memories, often to counteract the odd sense of loneliness or longing for something/someone. and on a different note, that dress fits you like a dream. i find it amusing how you turn up wearing a lot of the dresses i have adoringly bookmarked on my browser (but still too chicken to actually purchase, eep!). maybe soon i'll buy one of them and find that you also have it. haha. xx

Rebekah Bradford said...

I think sometimes we do ignore the problems of the past and idealize certain eras. As much as I like studying history I always remember that as interesting as each time is...they all had their problems! On another note I love this dress--it's been on my Christmas wishlist since it's a little out of my budget right now :)

Mabel said...

This post makes me think of my dad. He's obsessed with this childhood from the 50s and 60s and sees it all with rose colored glasses, but we all know there were loads of problems then. It's crazy how people only ever remember the good things from the past, including myself! Your dress is awesome.

Mabel
Life of Mabel

Lauren said...

that dress is adorable and fits you perfectly! I love it with your blue hair

http://laurennloveless.blogspot.com/

Carina P said...

Oh wow that print is perfect! It looks lovely on you :)

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walking dot photography said...

That style is exquisite! I love wearing dresses with enough swish and swirl to them to make me feel properly girlie. :) (also: the print rocks)
xox
giedre
www.walkingdotphotography.com

HaleyPants said...

oh man, I've been wanting this dress for a long time now and wasn't sure if it was worth the price. you just made up my mind. it looks amazing!

Anny Barros said...

The dress is totally adorable!

nasty-lady.blogspot.com

Sarah said...

I'm pretty sure I love everything you wear.

MarieBayArea said...

Elegant milady...

skye said...

Enchantingly mischievous! You take great shots, and I'm such a sucker for circus-y prints.

I don't see why admiring the art or fashion of a certain era would mean you also have to approve of its cultural mores - just like appreciating modern American fashion doesn't mean you have to approve of modern American politics. Wearing vintage dresses doesn't reveal some hidden desire to subordinate myself to a man; it just means I'm taking what I like from a certain era and bringing it into the present.

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

@skye no taking fashion tips from the past isn't problematic--golden age thinking usually means people think things were better in the past. They want to go to a different time where things were simpler & people were happier, but such a time really doesn't exist. There's definitely nothing wrong with being inspired by a past era.

Lonka said...

so cute, so lovely, I adore you so much!

Sammi said...

I have this dress as well and absolutely love it. You look so pretty here. I love the mix of nostalgia and modern elements. And nostalgia is often thought of as being a negative thing, but I'm so glad to know that it actually has documented benefits.

xox Sammi
www.thesoubrettebrunette.blogspot.com

Justbeingme... said...

I loooovvvveeeee your dress. It is so beautiful. X

Andreja said...

I just need to ask you this because I've not been online for a while and was quite surprised about how thin you look. Not a critique or anything, but is it just an impression or did you really lose weight?? I know it's none of my business, but still, caught myself wondering...
Anyway, you look pretty and lovely as usual.

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

@Andreja, actually the last time I weighed myself I was up a couple of pounds from what I weighed in winter. I don't exercise more than my walks, but like most women I'm not really constantly one weight. It definitely fluctuates by season and sometimes mood (ie mood eating). And some days I photograph thinner than others (like some dresses fit tighter, the one in this post is much tighter than what I typically wear), b/c like I said I weighed less in winter and yet I've got a couple of comments like yours this summer & it's contrary to what the scale said last time I looked (although I try not to weigh myself more than once a month).