Wow, nearly the end of the month and I still haven’t shown you what I wore on film night. We screened the documentary, Muscle Shoals, which, without really trying anything (apart from a short burst of promotion on Facebook) was incredibly popular – 80 people came and, from our feedback forms we can see, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Have you heard of the doc or the name, Muscle Shoals?  Not many had.  First, Muscle Shoals is a place, a very small town in Alabama, USA.  And second, out of that small, quite poor town came just about every bit of soul, blues and popular music from the late 60s, 70s & 80s and beyond.  Up to the present day there are two studios still churning out hits – the whole thing was an absolute revelation and a must-see for any music lovers.

It was the second time I’d seen it and I’d forgotten the link with our previous film Selma because much of the music produced in the early days of the studios was in the time when the colour of your skin really mattered. However, while the guy who owned the studio, and the backing band that gave that particular Muscle Shoals sound, were white they worked with anyone of any colour, because, as they said, it was the music that mattered.

If only the whole media business was like Muscle Shoals.  I agree with the current furore over the lack of Oscar nominations for people of colour.  For instance, where’s Samuel L Jackson’s nomination for The Hateful 8?  And where’s Idris Elba with his role in Beast of No Nation?  While the latter maybe not in the running as it’s a Netflix pic, even so read this paragraph with an upward exasperated inflection.  Worst was last year’s omission of David Oleweyo as star of Selma.  That was so bad as his acting in that film is sublime, and the whole film is so good. Oscar voters, who ever you are – pull  your socks up, particularly as I see Idris has just won two awards from the Screen Actors Guild – yay.

Anyway, what raised a laugh on film night was that in Muscle Shoals the studio guys usually got looks when they ate with the men and women who were black, but they absolutely could not eat with the bands that came along in the 70s who had long hair – that was not, remotely, in any way, possible.

But before you say how quaint, or that attitude (to the hair) must have been because it was the deep south.  The perception of what is the right way to look is so varied.  I lived in Switzerland for 2 years (working as a nurse) in the 70s, and boy, were they behind the times, or that’s the way I saw it.  Because being a Brit and fresh out of the swinging 60s and louche early 70s I brought with me my precious hand-stitched and patched loons – voluminous does not describe the magnificence of the lower end of those jeans.  But the first time I wore them in the neat streets of Neuchatel, people turned and pointed at me, some covered their mouths – were they laughing!   Reader, they were.  Nevertheless I continued wearing them, particularly when a fellow (Swiss) nurse took me aside and asked, was I not ashamed to wear something with a patch – can you not afford a new pair of jeans?   When I said that patched jeans  were fashionable in the UK, her reply was that, frankly, she didn’t believe me – why would people wear such a thing!  That, I can tell you, made me even more determined to wear them at every possible occasion, which I did!

So, there’s nought so strange as folk and their perception as to what is the right and proper way to look.  But I’ve obviously had that ‘let’s wear something that people think you shouldn’t’ gene for some time!!

Anyway, here’s what I wore on Muscle Shoals night.

Black skirt 02

It’s a full-skirted Monsoon skirt bought for £5.99 worn with a plain top that I’ve had for years.

Black skirt 03

Those little boots go on for ever!

That’s all for now – but do tell me if you wore ‘loons’.  Did you add material like I did?

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Sharing with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike session right now!

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12 thoughts on “Film night outfit – January 2016

    • 1st February 2016 at 8:02 am

      Thank you so much Mary, and yes, the boots are old but much loved!

  • 31st January 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Oh yes, I wore loons, loved them! Do you remember that the length had to be just right? They had to hover exactly one quarter of an inch above the ground! And the width of the hem had to fall over the toe of your shoes. Those were the days – but weren’t they a nightmare when it rained?!
    Penny when and where is your film night? Is there a film night website? Many thanks.

    • 1st February 2016 at 8:11 am

      Hi Sue. Yes, the adaptation of the loons was quite a business – I remember doing it to a couple of jeans that were already flared and ending up with enormous flares that practically swished but yes, the pinning and stitching took absolutely ages!

      You can see details of the film society here 🙂

  • 31st January 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Lovely outfit, I really like your skirt, and I’m not a skirt person. Velvet loons were my thing, always navy, then velvet jackets oh I loved those. Would now live in black and grey but for himself.

    • 1st February 2016 at 8:12 am

      I remember wearing velvet – wasn’t it a lovely look x

  • 31st January 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Oh. I am so happy that you mentioned Muscle Shoals. I’ve seen that documentary 3 times and it never gets tiring. I love music documentaries and most of them are so entertaining, enlightening and educational. Every now and then you get the ones that are disappointments–such as the one on Keith Richards (I wanted so much to love that documentary) and Stevie Nicks (THAT documentary was just boring beyond belief). Anyway, your outfit. I love it! That skirt is epic and I love the way you paired it with the boots. But I do have a question. What are loons? I remember wearing raggy, patched jeans in high school but I have no idea what a loon is–except maybe pantaloons?

    • 1st February 2016 at 7:59 am

      Hi Catherine. Yes, that Muscle Shoals – I loved it but I also loved Keith’s documentary. How he remains standing up I just do not know! Now, ‘loons’. These were patched jeans that flared from the knees. But what you did was buy a pair of already flared jeans and then cut into the flare and add more material so you ended up with tight(ish) jeans to the knees and a seriously voluminous flare from the knee, so that you positively swished as you walked! Put it together with long flouncy hair parted in the middle! Here’s a link for you to see what it looked like although the below-the-knee flares could be much larger and, yes, we called them ‘loons’.

      I distinctly remember a friend of mine came back from the States at the height of the flared loon fashion wearing straight (what we called drain-pipe) jeans and I thought ‘how quaint’!!!!

  • 1st February 2016 at 9:21 am

    Yes Penny I wore loons. I had to go to Kensington Market around 1970 and 1971 where I also drooled over the Afghan coats. I didn’t put patches on my loons, although I know some who did [you could buy sew on patches, or do your own]. I did do a ‘V’ insert in the bottom half to make them even more flared.

    And yes, I made my own tie and dye t-shirts with cold Dylon Dye. And I bought material from Laura Ashley to make dresses and even a kaftan.

    Those were the days….

    • 2nd February 2016 at 8:10 am

      Like you, I used to make all sorts of things including dresses. And yes, I cut into the flare and added more material. Most of all I remember Laurence Corner ( the ex/surplus military clobber shop). Bought loads there. Yup – those certainly were days to remember!

  • 1st February 2016 at 10:27 am

    Yes, I wore loons too. I went to Warwick uni in 1971 and they were on sale in the Student’s Union. I had a plum and dark blue pair. I didn’t patch them, but I did turn my jeans into flares by inserting triangles in a striped fabric that in retrospect must have looked terrible. I understand the shock about long hair because coming from India, a girl with a very sheltered education, the unkempt look of hippies both shocked and thrilled me. No one seemed to wash much and India we showered every day. And long hair was a political statement, a rebellion against the status quo, not just a fashion. The older generation felt very threatened by it. And Warwick was a ‘troubled university’ with sit ins, protests and regular excursions into town to throw bricks through the window of the army recruiting office and protest against the imprisonment of George Jackson (a black teenager in America, for those who don’t know, who eventually died in prison). We really thought we could change the world. Strangely plum and blue are the colours I’m wearing again now, after years of wearing cream and brown in an effort to make myself invisible, and then brighter colours in an effort to overcome that. So maybe I am regressing! It feels like a time in history when we can really see how badly we failed as a generation to change things. We could do with more of that kind of moral activism now and it’s interesting to see there is a movement towards that, but now it’s our generation supoorting it too – most of the people I know who support Corbyn’s ideas are either young or old. Vive le revolution! But a peaceful one.

    • 2nd February 2016 at 8:40 am

      Yes, the louche 70s with its flared jeans and long hair was predominantly the outward manifestation of youth breaking away from the social mores of their parents. It was a statement. But the mindset? I took a long time to free myself from the thinking of my very middle class, middle of the road parents. Ever so slowly I became more aware until I became quite an activist; first in local (Labour) politics and then later in CND. I never stayed over night but was quite active in Greenham Common (holding hands round the base, raising money, giving talks and showing doomsday type films.) I went on lots of marches through Brighton – but where did all that activism go and what did it achieve? I got a mortgage, marriage and knuckled down to paying that mortgage! Actually in the States, Presidents do take note of those very big marches and rallies that end up in Washington. But here in London did we ‘stop the war’ – no.

      However, while we could say the state of the world today it’s pretty dire (it is) we can I think take comfort in the actions of small groups helping those on the beaches of Greece and the camps in Calais and Dunkirk. There is and always will be activism from the young. And perhaps even greater awareness amongst all ages now we have social media to inform us exactly what is going on those beaches. But these small, volunteer groups are like candles flickering in this dark morass of bureaucratic indifference. I live in hope that we become more active and through these groups touch the need out there. Hence, not a revolution. No, don’t want any more darkness, but let’s follow the examples of these small beacons of hope.

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