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Please, Let's Not Actually Do Edwardian Girl Autumn

If I could turn back time... I wouldn't take it all the way back, tbh.

by Laia Garcia-Furtado
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Aug 20 2019, 9:18pm

We've been letting ourselves get too carried away with this nostalgia for fashions of another time. First we let our love for Princess Diana give way to a weird love affair with the Sloane Ranger. Wearing a baggy sweatshirt with bike shorts and scrunchy socks suddenly gave way to mid-length skirts in pastels, balloon sleeves, giant hair bows, and sandals that were definitely sold at Thom McAn. Then Batsheva came through with her straight-from-the-archives little girl Laura Ashley dresses this time made in adult sizes, and an obsession with sister-wife cult imagery, the irony being that the arty girls that hang out in Chinatown in her clothes and a pair of chunky sneakers, were definitely you know, like, not in a cult. Of course the message only comes through if you communicate in other ways that you are "in on the joke," otherwise you're just someone wearing an ill-fitting dress. For a second it seemed like this trend was going away—after all, you can't have a Hot Girl Summer while drowning in calico cotton—but after the release last week of Greta Gerwig's Little Women trailer, everyone is once again eyeing their Prairie Dresses like they are the secret to unlocking their very own Timothee Chalamet.

And sure, Megan Thee Stallion declared that she was heading into "Hot Nerd Fall," (she's still in college!), but I doubt this is what she had in mind. For a while it seemed like Christian Girl Autumn might take over, but other than an affinity for an ankle boot, that really big Phoebe-era Celine bag that weighed a good 10lbs, and a scarf wrapped around the neck—will they be the ones to bring back pashminas?—it seemed hardly offensive. Basic yes, but never offensive. (What, you think you're the only one that misses Phoebe?)

Now our first daughter has posted a photo to her social media accounts, standing next to her husband in front of a sunset. Immediately my first thought was is she going for an Edwardian vibe? She wears a denim dress with balloon sleeves she has rolled up (and secured with a tab), a cinched waist that gives way to a pleated peplum detail that hangs over a tulip skirt, which is open at the front. This denim piece (is it dress? it is a coat?) is layered over a white embroidered eyelet skirt. (In Edwardian times white lace signified femininity and wealth.) It's a very specific look to pack for a camping trip—even if it's most likely a glamping trip—especially in contrast with her husband's low rise jeans and fitted grey sweater. Another photo shows her in a mid-length red floral print dress and in yet another, she wears hiking boots while holding a beer and hugging her husband from behind. It's all very... something.

The Edwardian era, if you may recall, actually covered just a decade in between the death of Queen Victoria and the rise to power of her son King Edward in 1901, until his death in 1910. Samuel Hynes said of the era: "It was a leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously." It was a time of immense class divisions, where everyone knew their place and the elite was especially invested in maintaining their status quo as the effects of the industrial revolution began to even the playing field for the rest of society. It was also the time that gave the world the Titanic, which began construction in 1909 and set sail in 1911. But I'm not trying to infer anything from these facts at all.