I’ve decided that I’m not really cut out for high fashion, no matter what time period. I’m not a modern fancy-dress person. And I’m certainly not drawn to those roles that would require me to be fashionable. I bet that no matter what time you are looking at, there were frumpy folks, practical folks, folks who did not care what their neighbors thought, folks who would prefer if their clothes did not show off every little stain that might come their way.
This is visible in reenacting and costume circles to a smaller extent. There are some folks that only make elaborate clothes, no matter what age they are portraying, and there are some folks that will only put on the simplest of outfits whether attending a cook-fire or a ball. Last year I encountered a woman in the most fantastic Asian silk wrap, but she was still frumpy in it, and I imagine she is frumpy in her modern clothes too, no matter how much she paid for them.
In my modern life, I like to be dressed formal but not fancy. I prefer to wear slacks (not jeans) with sweaters (not blouses). I think I look silly in cocktail dresses, but don’t like to appear in public in sweatpants. This translates into my historical personas too. I prefer wool to silk, but it must fit well and have good lines. I like to look neat, but not froofy. I think that is why I love my 1770s dress, it is wool of a lovely purple color, no trim. My WWI outfit, right now, is composed of a wool skirt and a flannel top; with a practical hat on my head I feel ready for the market.
Does your modern clothing sensibility have bearing on your historical clothing?