As a very young child with a quietly desperate desire to cross-dress, I used to fixate on the fashions of the day that I found pretty. This is probably a tale that could be told by many readers of this blog who found themselves in the same situation.
For me in the early 1970s this meant the brightly coloured prints, long sweeping skirts, floppy hats and frills that the adult women I encountered were wearing at the time. Laura Ashley's influence lay heavy upon rural England at the time.
I still have something of a weakness for the looks from that era, watching an episode of The Sweeney from those days I find my attention divided equally between the cops, the cars, and the fashion.
I was less of a fan of late '70s and early '80s fashion. The Shake 'n Vac lady's blouse and skirt didn't do it for me, but as a teenager later on in the '80s the fashion excesses of that decade caught my fascination once more. Those meringue-like ballgowns you'd see on television spectaculars back then were probably the pinnacle of my deeply closeted teenaged aspirations. Yes, I was a mixed-up youth who seemingly preferred quantity over quality.
Now I am a no-longer-closeted adult with a fashion sense all of my own it is interesting to look back at the past few decades and re-evaluate those looks. My life fitting in as a scruffy bloke has left me without the fashion baggage that a natal woman might have of having to move with the times and update my own look, but it has left me with something of that cross-dressers burden, the risk of being attracted to something inappropriate simply because I like it. Browsing vintage fashion web sites it's easy to spot the bad choices, the 1970s huge collars and paisley for example, but what about the ensembles that don't quite cross the line? One of the women who made an impression on me back them was my cousin, at an inch shorter than my current height the tallest natal woman I know, and from her example I learned that tall women can carry off a large brightly coloured print with aplomb.
Good style is good style, whatever the decade it was produced in.