We can do it!
And I did. Many thanks to Cable Car Couture for giving me the idea of a simple, DIY costume. This Rosie the Riveter look cost me $1.89 (only because I had to buy the bandana at a craft store). I love this look because it’s simple to assemble and instantly recognizable, it’s work appropriate (I can’t go to the office dressed as a French maid!), and it’s given me ideas beyond Halloween.
For example, I want to wear headscarves on a regular basis now. I just might turn rockabilly. This is so fun to wear and a great trick when growing out a short hairdo.
Another reason I liked this costume idea is because of the sartorial and feminist implications. Here, I’m a literal and figurative blue-collar worker. That got me thinking about two things: women in the workforce, and the history of denim. I’ll start with denim: In the 1870s, Levi Strauss created cotton canvas pants. The 501s went on to become the world’s best-selling item of clothing. Perhaps it’s because they were durable, practical, and riveted.
Blue jeans were a working class staple that cowboys and railway workers wore. But by World War II, they were an essential commodity and sold only to people in defense–like Rosie!
Rosie is an icon. She represents the thousands of American women who worked in factories during the War, often replacing positions of men who were off to battle. After the war, women were expected to return to more traditional duties in the home or in secretarial roles. Many did, but not all. It was the beginning of an important shift in women’s economic power.
On a personal note, my grandmother worked in a factory in England during WWII. She was just a teen when she made airplane engine parts. I’ll write about her soon. It’s an incredible thought to be a schoolgirl one day, and building bombers the next.
What a lot of inspiration from a simple costume. Thanks again to Cable Car Couture! Oh, and I joined ColorBlind’s special Halloween linkup. Check out the entries here. I’m also participating in Transatlantic Blonde’s WIWW linkup. All those entries are here.