Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lady Lydia speaks on .... Dressing Everyday ~ Part 1

Just recently I have been thinking about an article that my mom gave me to read a long time ago. It really influenced and encouraged me then in the area of dressing modestly, and it still does now every time I read it. I thought perhaps some of you would enjoy it so I'm going to type it out for you. It is VERY long, so I'll probably do it in at least two parts. I have used the original photographs in my copy. Here goes!

The subject today is one I learned from my children's piano teacher, a woman who was born around 1911. Until the day she died, she presented herself to others as a dignified lady. She was never seen in a tacky tank top or shorts. No one ever saw her knees or the veins in her legs. Don't get me wrong; she was not wearing the styles of the early 1900's either. The week before she died, in her late 80's, she went shopping for a new dress for her next student recital. She kept her wardrobe fairly new, and although her styles were current, she was always modestly dressed in tea-length dresses and pretty hats. She always tried to be an example and an inspiration to the young. Although her students sometimes came to their lessons in awful clothing, she dressed up for them.This is a difficult thing to do in this society, since we tend to relax our standards around people who do not care. While her husband was alive, she dressed beautifully for him every day. She believed you were a bride every day of your life, even if you were not married, so she dressed as though she was a very special person with a special purpose in life. The latter decades of her life were spent as a widow, but she did not forget how important it was to dress as though she was just married. It was this way of dressing that kept her spirits high. She was here to live and work the work that God had given her, and she wasn't going to shirk that responsibility.

I have here a wedding photograph of the past century. The bride of that time did not look much different on her wedding day as she would on subsequent days. In other words, she did not "let down" her standards of dress. She respected her husband enough to want to make him happy that he married her and never have any regrets on that score. Clothing was extremely important in those days. It was individually measured, sewn and fitted for each person. Women loved chiffon and lace, velvet, satin, flowers, buttons, color, tucks and trims. Men often bought their wives the dresses they longed for as an expression of their love. Women and men dressed in stark contrast to each other. The feminine clothing of women complimented the masculine clothing of the men. The women of this era did not want to look like men but enjoyed their feminine status. It isn't nice to have won the heart of your husband only to let down around him once you begin to live together. How would you like to be given a beautiful gift, perhaps a lovely piece of furniture, but within a few months of having it in your home, it disintegrated? It may have deteriorated through your own neglect. While it is understandable that she will be more relaxed and casual at home during the evenings or early mornings, she should dress as though she were expecting someone important ( her husband) to come to the door. The day she decides to sluff around in her robe and slippers will be the day practically everyone she knows will drop by to see her. There was a time in history when a married woman dressed as carefully each day as she did on her wedding day. This applies to single women also, who can dress beautifully for their fathers, siblings and friends, making the world a lovelier place by example.
To those of you who are having a struggle changing over to more feminine dressing, just pretend you are a bride every day, whether you are married or not, or at least on your honeymoon, visiting a very special place. Make sure you have proper foundations that will cause your feminine dress to drape gracefully and hang nicely on your body. In winter, instead of wearing a hooded sweatshirt, wear a Spencer jacked or long sleeved dresses. This is more streamlined and allows more freedom in your household motions. Even if you are wearing a cotton dress, you can make sure it is fresh, clean and pressed. You can use perfume, and you can fix your hair the most flattering way to your face. You can wear colors that suit you.
If you want to find out what styles and colors are best for you in dresses, try this experiment: wear a different dress each day and note how you functioned and felt while wearing it. Did one item of clothing make you feel more cheerful of depressed? Then begin to build a wardrobe of clothing that you function best in. Don't wear the same dress every day, but rotate your clothing so that your favorites do not wear out. Beautiful outfits are more important than the latest technical gadget, more important than a vacation, and more important than ornaments for your home. When you go somewhere else, such as the grocery store or the new tea room, people can only guess about the way you live. Your clothing will send a strong message about your father, your husband and your home. Your clothing tells what kind of woman you are, whether careful or careless, thoughtful of thoughtless, diligent or lazy. If you have children, your children are going to be either very proud of you
, or sullen and rebellious toward you, and your clothing can make a big difference. A woman's dress is a large part of the respect she receives as a woman.
And now a word about age dressing. There shouldn't be a huge generation gap with women's clothing. To many times the youth are separated from the aged, giving them the idea that they cannot be consulted on proper dressing. Most stores now have separate teen sections, and the girls never see the dresses of regular women; in fact, they never see a dress. Both age groups leave a lot to be desired in the way they dress. The clothing on the older and elderly women is not feminine or interesting, and the young women do not want to grow up and dress like them. Is it any wonder that they gravitate towards the styles of the stars? Older women must take upon themselves the personal responsibility to inspire the young women to dress beautifully and femininely, and they cannot do that if they remain in the knit pants and the unfeminine shirts and tops. There is no use saying "tsk, tsk" when you see a young person with spiked hair, green lipstick, black leotards and a top with holes in it, if you, yourself, are not dressed femininely enough to be imitated. You can not have credibility as a teacher if you do not dress well every day.


Laura said...

This so does not line up with the cultural instruction young women & their mothers' are currently receiving.
They face total bombardment at every turn.
I am on the front lines of this war
with a nine year old young lady in my keep.
It's about so much more than skirts or pants.

Wise women will see the insidious creeping in and work tirelessly, lovingly, to nurture & shape the feminine in their daughters...
no matter their perceived "bent".

This is a valuable "can-o-worms" post Mrs. Blubaugh.
Thank you~
I will be printing and referring to it frequently....
with my girl. :)

Gratefully Feminine,
{{* *}}

Shannon said...

Dear Brittany,
This lesson is one we all need to learn, and I have been greatly encouraged as well. Thank you for sharing it and I look forward to Part 2!

Your Sister In Christ,
~ Shannon Fitzgerald~

(A Bright Light In A Dark World)

Brittany said...

I'm so glad you both enjoyed this post! Laura, I understand your struggle because it was when I was about nine that my struggle started with not wanting to wear skirts and dresses. I was very much a tomboy. You are right, it's about so much more than that. My parents had to teach me the beauty of femininity and what a special thing it is to be a woman before I had a change of heart and willingly started to dress like a girl. ;-)
I'll be praying for you and your girl! :-)