Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dressing as a lady

I know that many of you who blog, especially in Christian circles, have noticed that sometimes it seems there is a certain subject that is on the minds of many bloggers at the same time.  I do not know if that is merely coincidence but I certainly would not discount the thought that it may be the Holy Spirit giving us a nudge as to what we need to be thinking about and what others need our influence with.

So it is with that thought that I bring my ponderings to you today.  This subject has been on my mind for a while now and I have noticed it must be on other's minds as well because I have seen quite a few blog posts about it.  It is about the manner in which we dress...or in some cases, do not dress.  When I look around today at the public at large, I truly cannot make myself be okay with what I see.  Please know my intention with this post is not to cast fire and brimstone down on others for that alone is the Lord's job and not mine.  But as I said, I cannot be comfortable with or happy about the way women in particular dress now days.
Let me give you an example.  This weekend past my family (with the exception of my son who was at a friend's house) attended an author's talk and book signing.  We had a very good time and the author was very informative and entertaining.  Our daughter was tickled pink to get three of her books autographed as well as getting a picture taken with the author.  We were all glad that we went.  But what I could not believe...and what my husband could not believe...was that there were a great many young ladies in attendance with shorts on so short that they...well, as my momma used to say ~ they came up to their ying yangs.  Now, I have a few thoughts on this.  Not the least of which is how absolutely improper that is in any setting at all.  But also, who in their right mind would would dress so flippantly to an event as dignified and proper as an author's speech and book signing???  Also, how and why did the parents of said girls allow them out of the house dressed like that?  And finally, I was soooo glad we did not bring our son with us!  I told my husband that as we were waiting for the event to start and he agreed with me.

Which brings me to something else I noticed.  The difference in the amount of clothing the males and females were wearing.  There was not one male there dressed in an immodest way.  They were all completely clothed.  And I daresay that if a man had arrived dressed in clothing as scanty as most of the females were in those very same females would have thought it gross and creepy.  Why then is it any less so for them simply because they are female?  Can someone please answer me that??

There were close to 200 people in attendance and besides my own family (and we were all completely clothed I assure you) there were probably ten or less women there who looked as though they took care in their appearance for the event.  One mother/daughter pair stood out among the rest.  They were not raving beauties and neither was slim by today's standards either.  Although to me they were both cute as buttons. The mother had on an ankle length navy blue and white floral patterned dress and the daughter had on a skirt and blouse combination with the cutest old fashioned looking shoes.  They looked like something a school marm would have worn in Anne of Green Gables.  The were neat, feminine and simply precious.  It was nice to have somewhere the eye could fall that afternoon and have it be a safe haven.

I have read on Lady Lydia's blog Homeliving that some of her critics have said that the women who dressed properly in the past were all very rich and well off and that "real" women didn't have time for such things because they were busy slaving away day in and day out in factories or other similar jobs.  Apparently they believe that in order to dress well and spend your days looking like you have a certain measure of dignity one must have a lot of money and do no work.  Oh, hearing things like that just make me tired.  Truly.  Does it look like the woman in the picture here in the car is rich?  Does she look like she's never known a bit of hard work in her life?  What about this one?  She is in an apron in a kitchen.  I daresay that no one would look at her and say she never has to work or that she has a silver spoon in her mouth.  But she is neat, clean, modest, has taken time to dress and fix her hair and she looks like a lady.  See, what I would like all of the detractors to know is that those of us who do not want to "shlumpadink" through our life (and quite frankly, would prefer that others did not either) and care about how we present ourselves and our families ~ we are not trying to sit around all day in full blown Victorian regalia.  Yet that seems to be what we are accused of trying to do.  It is very much a plausible and doable thing to dress nicely regardless of if you are a housewife or "slaving away" in a factory all day.

As a matter of fact, my mother when she was in her 20's was one of those girls working day in and day out in the factory.  She used to tell me how she would sit and sew for hours and hours on end in a room that had no air conditioning and even had covers over the clocks so the women working would not be able to keep an eye on the time.  She also talked about how she always made sure she was dressed neat as a pin for work (simple, shirtwaist dresses) with every hair in place.  I'm not kidding.  My mother was actually known her neatness from head to toe from the time she married at 16 through the years working in factories and nursing homes and after that during her years as a stay at home mom and preacher's wife.  Let me tell you right now, she knew hard work and we were never rich.  So as far as I'm concerned, the whole "real women couldn't live that way and it's all just looking at the past through rose colored glasses" does not hold one bit of water.  Any reasonable, thinking person could figure that out.
The picture above is a housewife from the 1960's.  Simply grocery shopping on a rainy day.  Dressed nicely ~ imagine that!

I've heard many other bloggers talk about how they are treated differently when out in public when they are dressed like a lady.  I honestly tend to be a bit too lost in my own thoughts to notice such things but something did happen last week that I could not help but notice.  I needed just a few things from the store and decided to go to our local Stuff-Mart (you know which one I mean...I don't really like going there but that's a post for another day!)  I had on a long skirt and top, hair done and face put on.  When I got to the place where the buggies were, three people had the way completely blocked.  One man getting a buggy and one woman and a friend getting another.  The man was simply taking his time while the women were actually standing there having a conversation (another pet peeve, but I digress.)  So I chose to simply stand there and wait until someone decided to turn around to see that they were hindering progress.  The women looked up but didn't care and continued on blocking all the buggies and talking.  The man looked up and realized what he had been doing and started to walk away with the buggy he had chosen.  Then he looked at me and stopped.  Without a word, he came over and handed that buggy off to me and turned around to get himself another one entirely.  It took me a bit by surprise but I took the buggy and said, "Thank you," as he was turning around.  Then he looked back shocked that I had thanked him!  Good gracious.  I really think if I had just blended in with the crowd of halter tops and cut offs he would not have even registered my presence.

I realize that I am somewhat preaching to the choir here considering the audience of my blog.  And I'm so glad for that!  But ladies, please never underestimate how much our daughters, the young wives and the rest of the women in our population need a Christian influence in regard to dress.  If those of us who agree on this subject don't work to be an influence on them, then the standards of dressing like a lady will be gone within one generation's time.  For heaven's sake they are already being told they can't do it if they are not rich and have to work in almost any capacity!  There needs to be other women who will tell them and show them differently!

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Bonnie said...

Amen!!! I wholeheartedly agree with you. This has been an issue with me for a long time. I enjoy reading your blog so much and always find inspiration and encouragement here. Thank you for your time and dedication to this ministry.

God bless you,

Mrs. V. said...

Thank you ~ what a sweet compliment! I always appreciate hearing from my readers. It's nice to know that what I have to say means something to someone. :-)

Gina said...

Mrs. V,

I also agree with you. I do not have a conviction as far as clothing for others goes but I did make a personal choice a few years ago and am so glad that I did. I love wearing dresses and skirts (and tops) and stopped wearing any kind of pants about 3 years ago. I love feeling feminine and ladylike and love being treated so. There is a considerable difference in the way people treat you. I will admit that on those bitter cold New Jersey winter days, I do wear leggings under my dress or skirt. :)



Mrs. V. said...

I don't blame you one bit for your leggings Gina. :) It's a wise choice considering your weather!
Perhaps if more women knew what it is like to feel feminine and ladylike, as you said, they would be more inclined to dress that way instead of feeling rebellious about the very thought of it.

Lillibeth said...

Excellent post!
"Shlumpadink" is a new word in my vocabulary now (I can just see myself telling the children not to dress "shlumpadink" when they get up in the morning).
Last week at the grocery store, I was doing my usual shopping and started to notice that there were other women with dresses or skirts going down the aisles. Halfway through my shopping I decided to take a mental count of how many I saw, and the grand total was 5 in long dresses or modest skirts (I did not count the skirts above the knee). That may not sound like a lot but it wasn't something I had noticed before in my usual trips to the store! It made my day, because not only was it pretty, but it brought a bit of cheeriness to the day. I think those ladies must have felt good wearing their feminine clothing, too.

Maryanna said...

I absolutely loved this post and I can't tell you how much I appreciate someone having the incentive to put it up. My sister and I pretty much only wear skirts and dresses and although I do have jeans in my closet the only time they're ever worn is when I go hiking. It warms my heart to know that my sister, Mom and I aren't the only ones "living in the past" as some might say. I have even started a blog ( http://maidensofvirtuelivingforchrist.wordpress.com/ )to help this generation get back to lady like manners. Thank you again for posting this
Blessings, Maryanna

Mrs. V. said...

Lillibeth ~ I have to admit to a giggle when I saw that I gave you a new word! Yes, to me it does fit a sloppy way of dressing to a T, lol. Wouldn't it be nice to go to the store and see *all* the ladies dressed nicely! If that were the case, I might even be able to reassess my opinions of Stuff-Mart!

Maryanna ~ I can assure you that you are your family are not the only old fashioned ones! Although, I will admit to lamenting the fact that it seems all the kindred spirits are so far apart and few in between. That is why everyone's blogs are so important! They are a wonderful way for us to "find" each other. I will be visiting your blog my dear! :-)

Amy Jo said...

Mrs. V,

I truly enjoyed this post. I do believe the Holy Spirit moves among us when there is a need on a subject. Yesterday I went to Publix and as is customary for me I was wearing a skirt that is actually an old petticoat repurposed and a floral blouse. I had so many people going out of there way for me. I don't usually notice this so much but this day I really noticed it. I think that we should put the effort in so that when people look at us they see how well we are cared for by our Lord.

Blessing to you,
Amy Jo

Mrs. V. said...

Amy Jo, I had never thought of it in that way. That is a very good way of looking at it! Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Raising Mighty Arrows said...

Hello! I found your blog while visiting Above Rubies. What a great article. I have noticed more and more lately than ever the way that "women" dress and it deeply saddens me. "But for the grace of God go I."

Mrs. V. said...

Hello and thank you for visiting. :-) It truly is sad, isn't it? I feel like the women of today honestly do not know what they are missing out on! Being a feminine and gentle woman is so fulfilling but they have been so brainwashed by feminists for so many years they don't want to hear it. Sad indeed.

Rosemary UK said...

I found your blog today whilst reading 'Homeliving' I love it and it will be a regular read now.I live in England and the dress standards here are much the same as you see in the US.I always wear ankle length skirts and feminine tops and jewellery,I always try to co-ordinate my colours carefully and receive many compliments on my appearance.I'm 64 by the way, and have long hair,which is a rarety here,as most older women seem to cut off most of their hair when they reach 50 !! Just when they need it to give a softer look to an ageing face.

Jo said...

Hi, new to your blog. I have also written on this topic and couldn't agree more. I work in an large office and I am often surprise, but really should not be any more, at the number of young women who turn up to work in skirts so short they should be call belts. You simply couldn't bend over other the world would see all. These outfits, perhaps once worn to parties are now common place at work. The men, as you say, are very well covered up. The other fad is wearing tights as outer wear, covered with a larger sweater/shirt that doesn't cover the bottom. I have also seen this at work. I wouldn't be seen dead wear my tights in public!!

I wear, generally long skirts to work (or below the knee skirts) and don't have to worry about what happens when I bend over:)

Mrs. V. said...

Rosemary, I try to dress in much the same styel as you do. And I agree with you about hair length! I don't intend to age and cut off almost all my hair and then perm it tightly to my head which seems to be the "norm" for older ladies here. I often wonder why because the generations before them didn't do that, instead opting for buns or braids or soft styles.

Jo, they wear their tights as pants?! I think I would faint dead away if I saw that, lol. Honestly, ***why*** would a woman want to present herself in that manner? Sounds more like the clothing of a lady of the night than a young professional.

Jo said...

Mrs V, thanks for dropping by my blog. Why, you may ask, because they can, they have no respect for themselves or for others. They don't care who they offend -they think they look "great". I've seen older women wearing tights in public, not just the young, women who don't have a nice figure!!! The mind boggles:)

To Rosemarys comment about short hair on older women, in Australia where I live, you rarely see a woman over 50 with longer hair, all cut short. I love my locks and have no plans to shorten them when I reach a certain age.

Have a lovely day.

Anonymous said...

I feel also sorry for the men and boys out in todays society. I heard one of the Dugger girls say that the family calls out a word when they are out in public and it a secret word that to the family uses that means to eyes down. It is a way for them to avoid seeing people dressed so skimpily. When one of the girls notices someone dressed inappropriately ahead she will call out this word. Like our children's song go...Be careful little eyes what you see.... Once we see {or hear etc] something we shouldn't have it is in our brain. I agree with you too that it takes no extra money to dress feminine and modest. I would not have thought of going to town let alone to church with slacks on when I was young or now. My mother and women neighbors never wore slacks. My mother did have one pair of slacks {with a side zipper} that she wore only when she was on the ladder washing the wall paper! :) You brought out so many good points. This post went right alone and complimented the recent one of Lady Lydia. Sarah

Mrs. V. said...

Sarah, you are so right - we cannot un-see something. I will often joke that I need eye bleach, lol. People just don't care anymore.

Gen @Simplycornish said...

So happy to see someone address this subject on their blog. I teach middle school sunday school and have to constantly remind my students to "keep their private parts private." I can hardly believe that Christian parents allow their children to dress so provocatively. Last year our ladies conference was directed at this very subject and I say "bravo" to our speaker for being a gutsy lady to address this issue. I say "bravo" to you also!

Maggie said...

I just found your blog, and read your dressing as a lady....I just want to say thank you. You reminded me of what my Momma would tell anyone and everyone "put you best foot foward!" and "just because your poor doesn't mean you look like a rag-a-muffin!" "It doesn't cost much for a bar of soap...it'll clean your clothes, hair and make you smell goods,too!" I was a mid-life baby for her and Daddy. My Daddy was a WWII vet and both my parents were children in the Great Depression. One in the Hills of Kentucky and the other in Detroit Michigan. They knew what it took to live and believe, you, me, if we had even thought about leavein' the house with our "address" showin' we wouldn't sit down for a month of Sundays. My kids today think I'm a stick in the mud, but they have also reaped the benefit for bein' raise proper.

Rachel and Family said...

I had a man in Costco last year stop my husband and I dead in our tracks, when he very loudly (but friendly-like) pointed out, and THANKED me for wearing a DRESS :) He shared his exuberence with the whole aisle. A little embarrassing, but it has been a reference point for me to understand how my attire really does affect society.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I just discovered your blog and am loving it. This post is spot on, I agree wholeheartedly. I remember my mother in the 1980's pinning my bra strap to the inside of my top so that the strap would stay in place and not be visible. Nowadays, I see girls and women actually trying to show their bras and have no qualms about underwear showing! Maybe they think it is sexy because that is what they see in popular culture (in media)? And as for the cost to look decent, you can find nice clothing for free (Freecycle online or a clothing swap) or for very little money at thrift stores. There is no excuse really - just make better choices and believe you are worth it! Alas, you probably are hitting the wrong audience here at this blog. How to get the word out?