Monday, May 30, 2011

Clothed in Beauty



Undercover Place**
by Alexander Nicolajevich Averin
Russia (1952- present)





Walk Along the Coast*
by Alexander Nicolajevich Averin
Russian 1952- present



About the artist:

"The main theme of Alexander Averin’s painting are genre scenes with charming Russian young ladies against blossoming meadows and gardens, shady river coasts, and sea landscapes. Plot of the paintings is filled with sincere warmth and cordial feelings towards children.


We can feel cool breath of Baltic sea, transparency of air and careless mood of children playing at coast on the paintings of the artist. We admire tame meadow colors on the bank of unknown lake and undercover places in the shadow of coastal trees. Portraits of ladies in air dresses and figures of suntanned boys underline beauty of the surrounding nature, whether it is seacoast or small rivers, or a blossoming meadow.

We can tell that "... A masterful combination of a portrait and a landscape in style "impression" is distinguishing feature of talent of the artist Alexander Averin".


Works of the artist are held in private collections in Russia, France, England, the USA, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Japan and many other countries.

Alexander Averin's paintings could be found at art auctions in England, France and Denmark."

The above quote from the Art Russia collection, describes this artist as a painter of gardens and seas, but his art is so much more. I find the themes of families enjoying the nature around them quite appealing, especially when the women are so distinct in their long dresses and feminine hairstyles. The colors of the ladies clothing are soft, and there is a generous amount of fabric to create folds and gathers that are as natural as country that surrounds them.

I have chosen to show the paintings of this artist today because I want to have a chat about the importance of mood, dignity, structure, color, modesty and propriety in women's clothing as applied to season, occasion and location.  

A great deal of the art that was painted in the 1800's which we admire and love so much was painted by men who reflected the glory of the Creation on their canvases. In these pictures the women's clothing and activities are not in discord with their surroundings of beautiful lakes and fields. Here you see paintings of a contemporary artist who paints in the style of the impressionists and the realists.

Like a perfect symphony, everything in these kinds of paintings is in harmony with nature.  It is along these lines that I wish to describe the kind of clothing that is the most agreeable to women who want to enjoy the home, or just be more feminine. Without  following the dictates of the current manufacturers and designers, which seem to be stuck in a time warp of spiked hair- styles and shock-value clothing, women can still find ways to dress to compliment nature and glorify God.

On a Meadow
by Alexander Nicolajevich Averin
Russian, 1952- present

The stanza of the poem "The Wind" describes the motion in this painting:

I saw you toss the kites on high

And blow the birds about the sky;

And all around I heard you pass,

Like ladies' skirts across the grass--

O wind, a-blowing all day long,

O wind, that sings so loud a song!

by Robert Louis Stevenson


Description of On A Meadow: In a beautiful meadow with a broad skyline, are two women in long dresses, probably made of cotton or other durable material, much like peasant dresses of old.  The one in the white dress has a beautiful glossy raspberry red wide ribbon tying back her hair, and  holds an open lace umbrella in one hand as she reaches down to clutch a handful of flowers from the grassy field.  The other woman stands nearby in the same dress depicted in "Under a Covered Place." **She holds an open white umbrella behind her. The basket handle hangs over the wrist of the other hand as she surveys the beautiful view of land and flowers. Be sure to click on the picture for a closer view of the ruffles on the pink dress.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:28

If God saw fit to clothe the earth is such pretty colors, is there any reason that women cannot wear pretty dresses that imitate this beauty?

The drab, unfeminine, immodest and unflattering clothing available today makes it hard to get interested in clothing.  For so long, western women have been made to feel that it is too vain to wear prints or florals, crisp pastels or deep jeweled tones on interesting fabrics,  or anything soft and sweet.When there seems to be nothing  dignified to buy, it is easy to use jeans, t-shirts and running shoes as a woman's daily uniform.

Dressing more femininely can do other things for you besides improve your appearance. It can give you a healthy, optimistic outlook on life. It can lift your spirits considerably despite unfortunate circumstances. Most people do a better job if they are dressed well.  The skies do not seem to be as cloudy if you are dressed well.  Some people find it easier to be more organized at home when they take care of their appearance before tackling the day's responsibilities. 

Dressing better at home can also help you to control your weight. Once you put on that pretty new cotton frock with an apron over it, you may feel more like working and creating a lovely atmosphere in your home, instead of snacking. When you wear tee shirts and stretchy type clothing, you will not notice the slightest weight-gain, but if your clothes are made of sturdy fabrics and have more structure to them, you will probably feel it when you begin to over-eat, and be inclined to check your appetite.

 Sometimes it can improve posture and encourage proper breathing when the clothing is nice, fits well and is beautiful.  Also if you desire a less frenzied life, you can dress to create a mood of calm control, rather than one of dashing here and there. Clothes really do make a difference that way.  The clothes we wear can help us become more graceful in our movements and correct awkwardness. Girls should get used to wearing nice clothing at home when they are young, and especially learn to manage in dresses and overcome awkwardness. Wearing dresses seem to make women seem more graceful in their carriage.



Cornflowers
by Alexander Nicolajevich Averin


Description of Cornflowers: Two girls are picking flowers in a field of tall grasses. The young lady in the foreground has a long white, two-tiered dress, is holding long stems of cornflowers in her arm, and wears a straw hat with a beautiful, ruby-red ribbon.  The other has a dusty-rose colored skirt with pretty, shaded folds, and is leaning forward to pick daisies, while holding long stems of the same in the other hand. She also has a straw hat, which displays a yellow ribbon.  The sky is brightly dotted with lush white clouds, and a group of trees stand on the hill in the distance.


When you view these paintings, you naturally think of the freshness and newness of a day and the experience of a location: the beach, the river, the field, or even sitting on your own couch reading a book. Everything we do can have more meaning and be more beautiful as we imitate the Creation.  The clothes we wear and the things we do have a great effect on our moods. You can set yourself up for a good mood and a good day with your choice of clothing.

 Whatever you are doing --whether it be at home, or away, you can dress for it. Just look at these lovely paintings and you will see what I am talking about. Would this artist have been so inspired to paint these ladies if they were wearing modern garb? The clothing fits right in with the scenes.  When you choose your fabrics, whether to sew, or in ready made clothing, think of things like this. The pretty blue skies, the lawn with the daisies dotted across it, the colorful birds in the birdbath in your yard, the ocean and the shells, and all the lovely things in a park or a wilderness. Take a trip to a fabric store and look at the cotton prints and see the imitation of nature there.

Dreaming
by Alexander Nicolajevich Averin
Russia, 1952-present


Description of Dreaming:  A woman sits on the rocky sea shore looking toward the water. She holds the white cotton umbrella to shade her, and there is a light pink satin ribbon in her brown hair.She is wearing a long white dress with blue ribbon sewn on the hem and in several places on the dress. At the neckline is a matching blue bow. At her bare feet lies a white covered book and under her hand on the sand is another book, opened, that she has been reading.




It may seem as though I am always chastising young girls when addressing the subject of clothing, but older women, and especially the elderly, must show the example. Young women will not want to be mentored by older women if the older women look like men in the way they dress. The easiest way to correct this is with a dress.  I am not of the "dresses only," crowd, because I realize that everything that is called a "dress" will not necessarily be modest. Instead, I am "modestly only."  A woman cannot merely wear a dress and say she is modest. She must wear a modest dress that has sufficient fabric in it to cover her when she walks and sits and moves about.  Too often, a young girl will protest, "But Mother, I am dressed femininely. I am wearing a dress!"  Not all dresses are feminine, and not all dresses are modest, and not all dresses are appropriate.  


On the Shore of the River Klyazma
by alexander nicolajevich averin


You can see in these, and other paintings of the type, how women are pictured in clothing doing outdoor things which women today claim that cannot do unless they are dressed in sports clothes that make them look more like men. It probably would not be as interesting a painting if it depicted the way women dress today. 

To dress up for the day at home, consider the mood of the day, whether it be cloudy or sunny. Some women are what I call "mood dressers," because they will feel like wearing yellow, or feel like wearing blue. When they go to the beach they want to wear something with a nautical design on it, just like the girl in one of these paintings. 

 Dressing femininely can set the tone of your day, and if you also wear feminine aprons, you can protect your dress from the soil of cooking and gardening and cleaning. Co-ordinating aprons can be part of the outfit, which you remove when you have company or have to go somewhere. 


Launching small ships
by alexander nicolajevich averin



Time for Flowerings
by alexander nicolajevich averin


Description of Time for Flowerings: In a beautiful park, a lady dressed in white sits on a chair with her paint box opened while she prepares to paint a another lady who is standing on the paved pathway. The subject is wearing a pink dress with a ruffled underskirt, wears a white hat surrounded by white and pink roses, and holds open an aqua-blue umbrella trimmed in white ruffled lace around the edge.  Beside the painter sits her folded yellow umbrella which is also trimmed in wide white lace.  Shadows of the two women lay across the pathway and both women are surrounded by the lovely flowering bushes of the garden. The painter has a white bow at the back of her head, and her brown hair seems to be coiled up in a roll around the back. She is wearing a white pearl necklace and elbow-length sleeves have a gathered ruffle on them which cover her forearm.

Saying Goodbye to the Day
by alexander nicolajevich averin


Description of Saying Goodbye to the Day: This could be any scene on just about any beach today, except for the clothing of the women, for in the background is a silver sheen on the water as the sun begins to wane. The sea is calm and a sailboat lies on the edge between the ocean and the sky.  Two girls are sitting on a blanket spread on a pebbled shore, and beyond them are large rocks resting in the sea. One girl, barefoot and wearing a blue blouse and white skirt, is reading a book while the remaining sun is shining on the pages and on the back of her neck. Her light brown hair is tied in a coral pink wide satin ribbon. Her companion is simply looking at the boat in the distance. She has a light brown, ruffled skirt and a matching hat, with a white poet-style blouse and on her hair sits a white bow.

and when you click on a painting, it will bring up a much larger view which will interest you further. Beneath each painting is a place where you can click to send an e-card of the painting. The artist lives in Russia.





If you sew, check out some of the cotton fabrics suitable for dresses for the home, online.



**Description of Undercover Place: If you will click on the painting and get a larger view, you can see young woman sitting in a sea-blue painted wooden skiff (dingy, boat, or other names apply), dressed in a longish pink dress, her hair pulled back in a yellow ribbon. The oars are resting inside the boat as she trails her hand into the water. She holds a white cotton umbrella edged in lace, as the boat floats under a weeping willow tree. She has light brown hair, and is looking into the water. As you will see in the other paintings, this artist likes "a ribbon in her hair!"


*Description of "A Walk Along the Coast:  In the scene is a distant light-aqua blue sky on which white gulls fly about. Curling little waves coated in foam are coming toward the flat, sandy beach, where a woman holds her white skirts above her ankles so that her bare feet can feel the water. She is holding the white umbrella that has the cut work lace trim on it, and with her are a boy and a girl who are occupied with the waves. The woman has a yellow bow atop her long, thick braid of hair. It looks like a warm, clear but slightly windy day.



I hope this gives you some inspiration and ideas for dressing in a way that reflects the beauty of the Creation. Be sure to check the comments for additional information. Find creative ideas for clothing by observing the elements of different seasons and occasions, as well as distant scenery.  Treat every day as a special occasion and every detail of life with beauty.

The clothing in these paintings is reminiscent of the clothing of the 1800's, however, it is more like the designs that were so prominent and popular in the 1980's, for which you can still obtain patterns. If you are a sewer and cannot find patterns like this, just try making one pattern in several different versions, using sleeve variations and different trims.  Or, buy a costume pattern and modernize it for today's use by make the sleeves and skirt a little less full and more walkable with a slightly shorter hem, above the ankles.  There are many ways to turn the trends of the modern daily wear. If only one woman wore a nice dress every day it would influence several more women to do the same. A better life begins with you!




We are so blessed to be living in this day and age, because there is so much history to look back on. In the area of clothing, we can look at the fabrics and the styles of the past and choose the things we like for today's styles. 

 Although the artist portrayed in this post is living today, he has successfully painted beautiful scenery with women dressed to compliment it. Nothing in his paintings seem out of order. There is a cleanness and a gracefulness in them, without being flat. Even the water seems to move in the wind, and the flowers bow in the breeze. 

 I showcased these paintings because they portray women in the outdoors, doing relaxing and refreshing, re-creational things that do no harm to the body or soul.  The descriptions I gave of each painting are for those who are using braille keyboards that do not pick up the pictures, but they will cause you to look more carefully at the painting and get the mood of it.

Here's some old film footage at the end of the Victorian period,of people in a street in San Francisco. Notice how easily the women walk, (not with tiny steps, either), and how they catch the trolleys and their general confidence in their clothing. Notice how easy it is to tell the women from the men, from their clothing. The women dressed very femininely while the men dressed masculinely.

You can go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oubsaFBUcTc&NR=1 to read some of the comments on this film, particularly the ones that noted how respectful everyone seemed.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

..Absolutely beautiful and so inspiring. Thank you so much lady Lydia.

Amy said...

Oh, what beautiful paintings! These really are inspiring. I've noticed a return to more ladylike skirts and dresses as well as beautiful colors in some of the stores this spring, and I'm hoping this will continue.

LadyLydia said...

Thank you. I am hoping to have time to add a couple more things of interest, to this post before the end of the day.

Jane said...

These are such lovely paintings with beautiful colors. I am hoping to make a couple of lightweight summer skirts soon with similar looking fabrics.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the modest dresses in the paintings and the unmade up faces of the girls.

I have been wearing modest dresses and outfits for two years now.
A woman and her mother stopped me in a parking lot of a grocery store last week and commented favorably on my long skirt and top that I had made of soft pink calico cotton. It was a simple a-line skirt and a peasant blouse with 3/4 length sleeves. She said, "you don't see people dressing modestly much anymore". I get comments like this often from both women and men, so it must make people feel pleasant when they see women dressed this way. I know the treatment I receive from people is much more dignified then when I used to wear jeans or slacks.

I agree that if more women would dress modestly and femininely it might create a market for modest clothing and maybe the designers would get the hint and start designing and selling them again.

I'm so thankful I learned to sew when I was young because its very hard to find modest and feminine clothes in the market today.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

This is a magnificent post; Thank you!!

I can vouch for everything you say here, 100%!!!

If ladies are unable to sew or wish to seek inspiration,

look at

http://www.liliesapparel.com/
and
www.thekingsdaughters.com
and
http://www.annielantz.com.au/
Margaret Caine is another Australian designer who produces gorgeous feminine clothing (similar to Annie lantz but at about half the price). Very hard to get hold of; she has no internet presence that I am aware of.

Lydia, Keep up the good work and keep inspiring us!!

As a lady of short stout stature, I can also vouch that this type of clothing is very gentle upon one's self-image; no, there's nothing we ladies of larger substance can do to hide the extra pounds, but we can dress sharply, comfortably, modestly, femininly and draw attention to our faces, without resorting to wearing a potato sack or circus tent...
Another lovely retailer of beautiful headpieces;
www.garlandsofgrace.com
Whether one 'covers' or not, these creations would finish any lady's ensemble, keep one's hair in order and compliment her general presentation beautifully. I wear the 'Catherines' and 'Cessilys' I also wear lace kerchiefs and lace buncovers that blend in with my outfits. Lydia, when the weather warms up here, I'll see if my husband can take a pic for you of me in one of my dresses wearing my straw bonnet...

Thank you so very much for going to the trouble of describing everything!!

it is refreshing to know contemporary artists are producing such lovely works. these will stand the test of time and be around long after the modern and post modern garbage that is disgracefully called 'art' winds up on the rubbish heap...

Keep up your marvellous ministry!

Jo said...

This was such a pleasure to read, I have read a number of blogs on modesty recently and they have been so uplifting. Today I wrote about the sad side of immodesty and how so many women don't care or want to be modest, they want the short skirts as it looks "sexy". They dont care if they dont care if they offend or upset others. It's all very sad.

Anonymous said...

Actually all the department stores now are carrying maxi dresses and skirts in floral prints and bright colors.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for another wonderful post. The paintings are lovely.
May I add that in the heat and humidity of summer, dresses and skirts are cooler, especially those that are loose and floaty?

Lady Kara said...

Hi Lady Lydia,

What a poetically beautiful post. And so accurate. I agree with you and also with Amy, that I've happily noticed a lot more women wearing feminine dresses lately. Just the other day, when I went to the store, EVERY woman that came on to the parking lot while I was there had on a dress! I couldn't believe it.:^) What a pleasure to see.

God bless,

Lady Kara

Karen said...

Skirts and dresses nicely cover a multitude of figure "flaws" in women of all shapes and sizes. They also cover things like vericose veins and pale skin while still keeping women cool in the summer. Skirts and dresses are so much more flattering than jeans, it is hard to see how women ever stopped wearing them in the first place!

I am getting my daughter in the habit of wearing skirts and dresses. I have seen that when mothers do not do this while a girl is still very young, by 8 or 9 years old, the girl absolutely refuses to wear a skirt or dress at all. I also think that if a mother wants a well-dressed girl, she needs to be well-dressed herself. Today, I saw a mother wearing tight jeans and heavy makeup with her little girl beside her, wearing a pretty pink dress and bows in her hair. I don't think it will take long for the little girl to start to copy her mother's style.

LadyLydia said...

I agree with you. I wonder how it affects the little girls judgement about clothing when they see that their mothers dress in trendy jeans and tight tops, and the girls wear dresses, matching shoes, hats, and even gloves. My little girl loves the gloves and hats and she loves the dresses, with a pinafore over them.

In Victorian times, the girls wore short dresses and hair down, and could not wait to be "grown up" and put up their hair and wear long dresses!!

LadyLydia said...

I meant "my little girl LOVED" rather than "loves" ;-) She's grown now with her own children!

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

You make a very profound observation re the former times (pre 1920's) as such pertains to the styles of clothing worn by girls and women. For girls, it was a rite of passage into womanhood to be permitted to step into long skirts and wear their hair up - marking (in a seemingly small yet significant way) her transformation into a young woman.

When the cultural elites robbed us of this in the early-mid 20th century, we women were robbed of a precious part of our womanhood - is it any wonder dresses and skirts fell out of favour of interest, the rising hemlines that arrived at knee length and eventually higher from the 1920's onward rendered the dress increasingly difficult to work in. women for centuries prior knew the value of modest yet sensible length skirts/dresses designed with room to move when working in the garden, the home, doing everything...

I understand that the history of childrens' clothing is far more complex as we step further back in time than I have addressed here (a comprehensive encyclopaedia of costume and fashion will amply demonstrate this - nonetheless, in the cultural context that is relevant to the majority of readers here, the societal and dress moves of the 20th century were disasterous for women and our distinctiveness. Other communities have wrestled with their own dress/cultural issues, be it the unisex 'uniform' decreed by Mao during the Chinese cultural revolution, or the incidious creep of western attire into cultures with noble and glorious dress traditions such as the Subcontinent and parts of Africa.

If there is enough artwork out there, an article highlighting distinctive and feminine womens' attire from around the globe would be a wonderful adjunct to this post, as would a re-issuing of your article that highlights 'working class' women from centuries past, be they peasants, fisherwomen, farmers etc in which you illustrated that cut, coverage and style of modest feminine attire was not restricted to the upper echelons of society, and, contrary to what the leftist elites would have us believe, the majority did not wander around half naked in rags.
on the contrary!

Fabulous work, once again, Lydia - keep speaking the truth!!

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. Eliot in Australia,

How wonderful to hear from you and thank you for the ideas. Yes, I do think it would be good to show the many paintings of the 18th and 19th century which depict the non-royalty women in their every day life. The clothing in these paintings is very generous. In other words, there is lots of cloth, plenty of yardage and generous embellishment and trim on the skirts and blouse. The shoes are attractive too and the hair is so beautifully arranged. The paintings of these women are so beautiful, Eugene de Blass being one of the artists, that the humblest wife of a fisherman looks in her countenance as happy as a queen.

It is my observation that beautiful clothing is not a matter of money. Our Lord told us to be modest, and it did not mention money. People disparage the Victorian era because they believe that everyone was miserably poor except royalty, and yet the photographs and film footage of the era shows the common people wearing a lot more clothes than they do today. One would think we are poorer than they were.

LadyLydia said...

Jennie Chancey, who designs and makes modest patterns, lives in Africa now, and she has described on the Sensibility sewing site the fabulous fabrics she has found there and the lovely garments that the women wear. Some of these African countries are very poor, and yet the women take great delight and great pride in dressing in the most splendid way possible. I have been to Africa and was impressed about this. Even in the humblest grass hut, the women were dressed in very fine clothing and were dignified.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how housework and homemaking, or general life at home, could be so difficult and so back breaking and so dirty and so difficult that women just cannot manage it in a dress. Good grief, we have machines to do a lot of the work, and many of the things in our homes do not get as dirty as they would have years ago when there were only coal or wood fires. So what is the big objection to wearing dresses at home? Its a feminist mind set that says "we cant do anything in anything but jeans." That's just the way a lot of women think today. They believe that jeans are the only way to success in anything, even in homemaking. Some women say the dress catches on things or they trip on it but that is from ignorance: they just havent learn to be careful and to behave gracefully in a dress. And, if they say they get the dress dirty..well, dont jeans get dirty? Yet no one says "I wont wear my jeans to clean house because they cost x amount and I dont want to get them dirty." No, they say they are worried they will get their dress dirty. But that is what aprons are for. And, if they are so careless and sloppy that they cant keep clean while working at home, they need to learn to be more careful.

Anonymous said...

...continued.

I wear longish skirts at home and love it and my children like the interesting fabric prints. Again, how dirty can housework be that we are afraid to get our dress dirty? Why not get cotton or denim that withstands the wear and tear of home making? Get some dresses that are specifically FOR housekeeping and dont be afraid to get them a little soiled. I wear an apron and find that I never get any stains on my skirts. An apron is the homemaker's badge of honor.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

The experiences Jenny Chancey has had re the attire of ladies she is encountering in Africa is obvious in areas from South America (with their beautiful felted and woven bright material transformed into simple yet wonderful clothing, to the attire of the Subcontinent. Even the poorest of the poor, in a place like India, dress in vibrant colourful clothing - even if they only have two or three outfits at best, they carry themselves with a dignity of spirit that no ammount of money can buy. I studied with a Bangladeshi lady around six years ago who always comported herself with incredible dignity. She found it unsettling to say the least that we who live in such luxury compared to those in the land from which she haled seemed so very miserable, so anxious and melancholic, with, in her thoughts, no reason to be, whereas she and her fellows may have not had two pennies to rub together, but in and of themselves possessed far greater peace of mind. Before anybody comes out and claims that she must have been from the cream of the crop, seeing as she was studying here, Australia takes a vast number of international students each year, many come out here on scholarship (there are many Africans at the little Christian campus I am aquainted with, and though they have seen great hardship and pain (some having lost limbs etc due to the conflict in their homelands), possess a level of dignity and faith that is both breathtaking and a sign against we who take so much for granted. You will note that the music from such cultures as I have highlighted here is also so very vibrant and cheerful, hope in the midst of hardship.

Anonymous said...

Recently I sorted through clothes that were donated to a ministry. On many of them I looked at the tag for the size in order to see if the item was made for a man or a woman. Such clothing for a woman looks so bland. What a contrast to India, where many of the women dress beautifully.

LadyLydia said...

Mrs. Eliot,

Your comment got me to thinking about the reason the ladies in the west dress so miserably, in faded torn jeans and shorts, tank tops, tee shirts, tennis shoes and general grunge. Even their dresses are awful, being horribly short and slut-like.

I have been reading around the web of all the Victoriann-bashing that is going on. My, how some people hate the Victorian era and hate everything in it. They mock the houses, the dresses, the hats, the manners, and everything.

When I brought up the fact that the Victorian generations invented so many things such as the bicycle, elevator, escalator, telephone, original computer, typewriter, airplane, plumbing, and much more, and suggested that those who used such things were actually "living in the past" as they accuse those who like to wear hats and gloves, they replied that they were not going to give the Victorians any credit, due to the fact that poverty and inequality existed during that time. They insisted that "only the rich were happy" (which I happily refuted in previous posts here)---

My eyes were finally opened! I saw it clearly! The mode of "dress" for people being the horrid muddy colors, scraped and brused and torn fabrics (As shown on Thinking Housewife's fashion article a few months ago)---its all symbolic of sack cloth and ashes. The 20th and 21st century moderns are in mourning. They are grieving over lost innocense of the Victorian era. They are grieving over inequality and over the fact that women were allowed to be ladies and stay home and be supported by men who happily provided for the family. They are grieving because there was no widespread welfare in the Victorian period and abortion was not legal. In wanting to throw off the values of the Victorian and earlier areas, they will not wear black arm bands to symbolize their grief. THey are wearing horrid clothes: hoodies that make them look like ancient Druids (wonder why they don't hate that era as badly as they do the Victorian?), torn jeans and a dark gloomy countenance. This is the new mourning garment. It is dark, it is dreary, and it it is an expression of their grief.

These days if you wear a dress or dress up a little you can be accused of living in the past or glorifying the Victorians. However if you ride a bike, or turn on your faucet or light switch, you could also be accused of living in the past...the Victorians invented the beginnings most of the things we use today.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

I believe there has been a vicious attack on the Victorians. Yet no one can deny that everyone has a Victorian relative. There is not one person living today that does not have an ancestor that lived in that period of time. If they attack the Victorians they are attacking their own flesh and blood. Sadly, some of the VIctorians promoted Marxism and Socialism, which promotes hatred of the past. and even encourages destruction of the past and the memories of past things, so that it can operate without any reference to what once was.

In the matter of clothing, many people today believe that if you want to be graceful and wear a dress longer than those promoted today that you are somehow living in a fantasy world stuck back in time of the Victorians. That is not true. It is a rumor spread to discourage anyone who wants the romance and sweetness of pretty feminine and modest clothing. The modernists desire strongly to rid the current culture of any love they have for Victorian things: tea, gloves, hats, long dresses, family life where the father is provider, women free to be home and do as they like for their families, and beautiful houses that are constructed with real people in mind, etc. The modernists hates this, and so posts like this will naturally bring on the immature people who are really the ones living in the past--the past of failed lives adn the past of continual binge drinking, rebellion, immodesty, and immorality. When someone is converted to Christ, they should no longer live in the past lifestyle of sin, but in the present of freedom from all the imposed societal pressures of immodesty and rudeness.

That being said, thank you for posting such loveliness. the Bible commands Christians to think about lovely things.

Anonymous said...

Since retirement my husband and I have volunteered many days doing community work. It is dirty work at times. At first I dressed as I usually did. As I worked among women who dressed in old jeans etc I started letting myself slip a bit as I felt they might think of me as uppity. Then I caught myself and went back to dressing carefully again. I grew up wearing dresses as all my female relatives have done. Aprons and a pretty pair of work gloves in the pocket of it and wear a pretty sun hat when outside working. We never let it stop us wearing dresses when work or the weather was bad years ago so why now? I got the June/July issue of Mother Earth News the other day. On page 90 a lady wrote in about wearing a cotton dress and apron to do her outside chores and how much more comfortable and cooler then wearing pants. I will not let others dictate even if just in my own mind, to dress down any more. Sarah

LadyLydia said...

Sarah,

I agree with you! We are so afraid of being labelled as "snobs" that we dumb down our mode of dress just to please others and be accepted by them.

The Bible does address the subject of clothing, when it tells us to be modest. No mention of money there. So it must be possible, no matter what our financial situation, to be dress modestly.

It is possible to be modest and to be beautiful at the same time. Clothing need not be ugly and short and bare.

I have tried to explain in this post the relation between the beautiful creation and the clothing we make or buy. It is part of the enjoyment of choosing clothes.
And the paintings, though not Victorian, show how even modern ladies look beautiful in the more feminine clothing.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Thank you Mrs. Sherman for sharing this artist and his work.

The paintings are lovely -

Deanna

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia

This is a sweet post with paintings I have never seen! I am so glad that people like him and Susan Rios, Sandra Kuck, Robert Duncan and many, many others living today, are painting gorgeous scenes of country areas with women in long dresses! I dont want you to be discouraged, ever, from making posts like this. There are some who are critical of everything to do with beauty and only want to look on the dull and dark side of life. They will object to anything you do in an effort to pull you down to their level. Some people would object to an artist painting a sunny sky and and say that it does not represent all the gloomy skies in life. Others are offended at simple beauty and sweet happenings like picking flowers in a field because they think it does not represent "real life" in the prisons or the slums. You cannot listen to these gloomy naysayers who insist on looking always on the dark side of life. Unfortunately, many of the trolls are young and learn this attitude in public schools with peers and other influences. It is a grief of mind to see so much of the young population with such attitudes of demoralizing decay. One thinks of youth as a time of love, optimism, and an eagerness for good and brightness. Please write a post on Philippians 4:8!

LadyLydia said...

Thank you for the kind words.

I did receive a number of negative comments, which were mostly of the 'Not everyone in the world looks like that' type. Where this attitude comes from, I do not know. It is a very strange way to view life and to live. How can anyone be happy with all the beauty of life, if they are thinking, "This is not representative of all eras," or "This is not something everyone believes in,"? For the most part, such attitudes, if not corrected in the home, will prevail in our lives. The best thing we can do in the face of it is remain true to our beliefs. For that reason, the post will stay up as is, with no alterations, even though some insist that there are parts in it they do not like. And, because of the foolish objections to the paintings (some said the artist was not tolerant of other lifestyles or something like that), I will be posting more and more things like this. The problem is ignorance, which must be met with light and with truth, and solid teaching.

Yes, it sounds like a great idea to write more about Philippians 4:8, which should be every Christian's motto.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Eliot, thank you for posting Lilie's apparel. Her fabrics are just like a country meadow in bloom, and the dresses are very similar to those patterns that were available in the 1980's--long, with roomy sleeves, slenderizing too!

Anonymous said...

Lydia, the problem with those nitpicking your posts isn't just ignorance, but intolerance as well.

Anonymous said...

Those who push tolerance of all things are often the most intolerant of things out of their control.

I found something interesting here on the subject of modesty. The crowd that is usually screaming that we should not urge young women and girls to dress modestly for their own protection (because they think we are blaming the victim)has tried to thwart a school principle for asking that grade school girls dress in modest clothing to prevent predators from taking pictures of them for illegal use. Who in their right might would object to anyone trying to protect girls with modest clothing? The naysaying critics of the principle are saying the same old thing, that it does not matter how skimpily someone is dressed. They should be free to run around naked and no one dare say anything. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Row-In-Scotland-As-School-Advises-Pupils-To-Dress-Modestly-To-Avoid-Paedophiles/Article/201105416003145?lpos=UK_News_Second_Home_Page_Article_Teaser_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_16003145_Row_In_Scotland_As_School_Advises_Pupils_To_Dress_Modestly_To_Avoid_Paedophiles

Anonymous said...

I found the artwork you've featured here so lovely to look at, as well as being enjoyable to examine more closely, from a strictly mechanical point of view. For example, I like to see how an artist manages to capture light on fabric, delineating each fold, & how he or she might portray the expressions on people's faces. I'm not skilled at drawing or painting, myself, but appreciate good artwork, & the way it can capture a moment in time.

As to some of the comments you've said you received, Lady Lydia, I'm really puzzled by the criticism & anger you say accompanies them. What on earth is there for people to be upset about when they look at these pictures? I think you said somebody bemoaned the fact that the paintings were "not representative of all eras" or "not tolerant of other lifestyles"....? What a foolish argument! ANY depiction of a person, place , or thing automatically excludes something else....in fact, it excludes MANY things. If you have a photo taken of yourself smiling into the camera, that photo automatically excludes the back of your head, or one might say that your happy expression is not representative of how you look when you are serious, or unhappy. It is, by its nature, exclusive of anything else, because it's a depiction of one moment.

Brenda

p.s. I think you should do a post on Philippians 4:8 as well!

LadyLydia said...

Brenda,
I smiled at your comment. Yes the new thinking is indeed foolishness. The scene on my header on the blog is not representative of the industrial park and the concrete buildings in the city. The artist was not trying to be intolerant of other life styles or other scenes. He was painting something he liked and he shared it with the public.Now you see why we had never heard of some of the artists of the 19th century. Many of the realists and pre-Raphaelites and nature painters were sent back to paint in secret when they got just as silly reviews as they are spouting off today.

Anonymous said...

While researching the subject of modesty, I found this excellent quote:

"The good of our soul is more important than that of our body; and we have to prefer the spiritual welfare of our neighbor to our bodily comforts. If a certain kind of dress constitutes a grave and proximate occasion of sin, and endangers the salvation of your soul and others, it is your duty to give it up. O Christian mothers, if you knew what a future of anxieties and perils, of ill-guarded shame you prepare for your sons and daughters, imprudently getting them accustomed to live scantily dressed and making them lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of yourselves and you would dread the harm you are making of yourselves, the harm which you are causing these children, whom Heaven has entrusted to you to be brought up as Christians."


THIS LEAFLET DISTRIBUTED BY: THE LEAGUE FOR MODESTY IN DRESS, NY


"One can not sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and station. Made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of their clothing shocks every honest man and offends God. Most of them would formerly have blushed for such apparel...

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

Those who profess to hate the Victorian era and cannot even find it within themselves to give credit where credit is due due to their twisted ideology need only look to the world as it is to find 'inequality' if they look hard enough. The Victorian era brought us perhaps the greatest leap forward in invention and innovation ever seen - the 20th and 21st centuries only built upon the solid foundations already laid. On the contrary to the leftist ajenda, support etc was provided for persons who fell upon hard times through the Friendly Societies such as 'oddfellows' and others. Mighty individuals such as Fanny Crosby - yes THE Fanny Crosby of hymn-writing fame - did incredible work for those who found themselves in difficult times (she assisted alongside her husband women who were seeking to escape prostitution, those dealing with alcohol addiction and much more - often out of their own pockets) and the mighty Sir William Moon with his innovations for reading for the Blind (that are still in use today by those who cannot read Braille) and Sir William Armitage of the UK who founded, along with two other blind men, the organization that is now known as the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

People look to the state, supposed 'Equal Opportunity' and government to uptake the role of caring for the downtrodden and dispossessed - if this model is so wonderful, they cannot answer why, for instance, 120,000 persons in Sydney go without sufficient food daily, or why we have a contemporary homelessness rate in Australia of 100,000 - 20,000 of these being families - yes, mum, dad and the kids...all living out of their car or couch-surfing among family etc before winding up in the situation of living rough - and yes, its out there. Dickens, Gaskill and Shaw would find as much if not more to rail about today than in their own time. George Orwell wrote eloquently about his encounters with such things during the first half of the 20th century - he hated marxism with a passion - read 1984 along with Huxley's Brave new World (written 80 years ago next year) two profetic works that portray the attitudes and morays of our times with disturbing accuracy!

I refuse to mourn!

I refuse to enter into the leftist warped mindset and twisted ideology!

To see the end-point of the all-powerful and all-providing, omniscient state, just cast your eyes across the waters to Greece, Spain, Ireland, Iceland and Portugal, to name a few nations, or Italy, for that matter. France and Germany will not be far behind, and the crippling debt of over-spending on the welfare state model can be seen clearly in the ecconomic situation of the UK (and before anybody states that the royal family is a drain on resources, they're a drop in the bucket compared to the overall situation.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, I enjoyed your comment in which you poked fun at those who are wearing today's" mourning garments" and grieving over lost innocence. Very funny!

Anonymous said...

Cont'd,

Read 'The Rage AGainst God' by Peter Hitchens - He is the brother of the infamous atheist Christopher Hitchens. Peter, unlike his brother, has been a Christian for the past decade and has spent considerable time, back in the day, in the old Eastern Block, in the Soviet Union, in Somalia, pre and post early 1990's....also, to read about the inherrant failure built into the state-based system, read his work 'The Broken Compass'.

Everyone should read the first Peter Hitchens book I mentioned - it refutes the atheist leftist argument in its own language - because PH used to belong to this mindset.

And remember, God will prevaile, the latter rain of the Holy Spirit will prevaile, the darkness and self-destruction of the latter 20th and 21st centuries will blow away as chaff on the wind, it will wither and die as the flower of the field that is here today and gone tomorrow. its fruits are already manifest - a demographic disavantage (one only needs a demographic of one child above the background reproductive rate to gain substantially in numbers over a 50-80 year period; this isn't just me; this isn't just the herd of 'usual suspects', this is coming from the pen and voice of observant, honest individuals such as Dr. Eric Kauffman. I've raised the following upon the blog of one of your colleagues tirelessly engaged in fighting the good fight. Dr. Kauffman has some very interesting things to say about demography. Do read his work 'Shall the Religious Inherrit the Earth' and listen to this interview
http://www.abc.net.au/sundaynights/stories/s3003131.htm
for a compelling, and, to all folk of faith who share in common the values central to healthy Christian society, this interview and the abovementioned book provide cause for quiet hope and trust in God's Divine wisdom. For Secularists and atheists, however, the view may be somewhat different. . This interview runs for almost an hour, but I would strongly recommend investing the time to listen to it - download it into your electronic audio system and listen. Don't let the leftist interviewer and his language/mannerisms put you off. .

Anonymous said...

What is with the so called progressives, that they cannot change a style? I mean, c'mon, the jeans and tee shirts and tennis shoes for women have been around for 60 years. Will it quit? Will they ever discover other fabrics and styles? Don't even bother to stay tuned, cause it ain't changing soon! Once you put a woman's rear end into a pair of jeans, you'll never get her out of them. Yet there are so many beautiful fabrics and yes, you can get pretty dresses sewn for you and you can get patterns that work for today's lifestyle. No, not everyone needs to wear hats, as they dont work well in small cars, but nothing is wrong with wearing a decent dress that is long enough for you to sit down and still cover your legs. I feel so sorry for this generation of youth because of their sack cloth and ashes mourning clothes (that was SO funny!) and they will go through their entire youth never wearing anything beautiful. There was a study done on depression in youth and it was found that a lot of it came from drinking and immorality but I believe some of it is due to the way they dress!

Anonymous said...

I was reading more about the concept of modesty and ran across an interesting discussion where someone said in the area of modesty that women were required of no more than men were: the men are required not to look on a woman with lust, and the women are required not to dress immodestly to provoke lust! In today's critical world and politically correct thinking, they reason that nothing is required of women (no modesty required) and all is required of men (no lust allowed)...you see how much SENSE the Bible makes, and how FAIR it is, when it teaches BOTH men and women with equal responsibility regarding lust and modesty. If the rebellious have it there way, the women who dress immodestly bear no responsibiity, whilst the men do. It is very one sided.

LadyLydia said...

If you want a little lighthearted humor, go check on The Pleasant Times on my blogroll, where an old Carol Burnett spoof is shown. Mrs. Wiggins, a secretary, is so inappropriately attired that she cannot do anything efficiently. Unfortunately this "look" is back in style.

Anonymous said...

By following your visitor counter, I found places where people are very upset that you posted the paintings. So an artist in Russia painted scenes of his own homeland, with sweet young ladies in them. What is the big deal? You would think that you committed a hate crime, the way people go on and on about the unjustice of it all. It is the way our education system, including colleges, has taught people to think: Always look on the dark side and never rejoice in the good. These people will have every obliterated from historical record because they despise it all. It is a shame the VIctorians themselves could not see that their own tolerance of certain idealogies would lead to the hatred of their own generation. In a sense, they bred a generation that wants to wipe out its own ancestors.

The paintings are not Victorian. the artist is not Victorian, not American. He portrays the loveliness of Russia. Yet some believe he painting royalty. Well, that is just the point of some of these articles: you do not have to be royalty to wear long dresses and participate in simple, innocent activities . Enjoying nature--what is wrong with that? And the jaded lives of the young is just so sad. They should be doing the things that are illustrated in these paintings and make some good memories for themselves. The past is always with us, but your attitude determines whether it will bless you or curse you. And, many people who accuse homemakers of "living in the past" are living in the past of a faded system of modernism that will end up in a museam one day, the way they wish the Bible would.

Anonymous said...

I like the inspiration you have given here. To dress to match the mood of the day makes sense. If you are going on a trip to the ocean, wear something that would help you create a memory and make the day more meaningful. If you are going to have someone come to tea, why not dress to be in harmony with the settings. I saw one tea that was given for ladies where the hostess wore something similar in pattern to the pattern on her tea set, her table cloth and the flowers. Every season has colors and things that you can keep in mind when choosing clothing. It is good to read posts about clothing. We hear so little of it outside of the things the fashion designers want us to wear. Its nice to read of something for we country folk who do not have to dress for work outside the home and can wear whatever we want. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Ladies who write in condemnation of Lydia, the art she portrays here etc,

Grow up and take a long look at yourselves! Your hardness of heart has mutated you into bitter old husks in the springtime of your youth! If you care to read the current academic papers on urban design, planning, the psychological effects of the concrete jungle etc, you will learn that the beauty of the creation is vital to wellbeing and the welfare of us all. You scorn the artwork portrayed here; a good portion of it has been created by contemporary artists such as Susan Rios, the Russian artist showcased in this current article and others (such as Sun Kim, I think is the artist's name). Every word of venemous hate poured upon Lydia's articles is indirectly poured on these artists also, , which is a shameful act and betrays an equally shameful attitude.

the grey, drab distopia you long to see portrayed is claiming its day, certainly enough, but the paragons of community architecture and planning are well aware of the negative effects it is having - hence its systematic demolition across the UK and North America in favour of more balanced, beautiful creations condusive to civic wellness. Humanity requires the organic - God's creation, in other words, to be truly happy. If you are so jaded that you cannot accept current scholarship, and cannot even look upon the created world with a thankful heart and knowledge that this is vital to human happiness, you have missed the entire point, blinded by whatever ideology is currently peddled within your universities by academics rusted onto the past - relics of the 60's and 70's, poisoning another generation with their faded, outdated errors.

I suspect most of you detractors would pride yourselves to be called 'green'; well, are you not aware that one of the tennants of your movement is an emphasis on re-invigorating the urban landscape - its not all about energy and wilderness conservation, don't ya know...yes, your beloved green movement understands the necessity of the truly organic to the urban reality - gardens, be they vegetable or decorative, preservation of species - be these plant or animal, wild or cultivated (yes, there is a worldwide move to protect endangered (herritage) species important to both the production of food, and those deemed to be of asthetic value - a parrallel programme to preserve herritage animal breeds also.

Finally, does not nature itself portray beauty - a desert in bloom after rain, autumn and spring in the world's deciduous forrests, the great plains in flower, the stark beauty of the mighty boreal forrests - snowveiled, silent, unknowable, even the beauty of the deep sea - deepsea corals one mile down, beautiful creatures rarely glimpsed by humans such as deep-sea crynoids, the mysterious tripod fish etc, elegant, incredible, though few will ever glimpse them - God's hidden treasure awaiting our discovery as if to say - yes, beauty matters. We are fed up with your errant clammour for shock factor etc - we know the world, under the control of the prince of this earth, has been distorted more grotesquely than ever this past 100 or so years beyond anything previous generations were caused to deal with. Art should once again become responsible and fill a hardened, embittered, disgracefully individualistic world with hope and joy, not the rot that will be, I believe, consigned to the rubbish dump of history by future generations who will not move back to , but forward to a new pure joy of life in the light of God's abiding truth.

Wake up and see yourselves for what you are - shrieking menaces rebelling like mindless beasts against good order and good wellbeing.

god help you if you ever set foot within my classroom one day!!

Anonymous said...

There certainly seem to be many dresses and skirts being worn these days that are a lot less modest than a pair of pants!

I am not a dresses or skirts only person either, although I wear skirts 90% of the time. I find them to be much cooler in the summer when made out the proper material, and I suppose they are just "my style". Since I sew some of my clothing, skirts are much easier to make than a pair of pants. I also like the way I feel in a skirt.

I have had people that I see on a regular basis make comments about the way I dress. As if I'm weird because they most often see me in a skirt, and it's just not the norm any more. I just like wearing them, for Pete's sake!

Honestly, Lydia, I wonder if people who find it necessary to make negative comments on a post about beautiful paintings and women's dress have too much spare time on their hands!

Jane

LadyLydia said...

Jane,

I agree that you cannot say "I'm dresses only" because so often, dresses are immodest. We have to be modesty-conscious, not dress-conscious. If something is truly modest, it will be soft, drapey and have an over all feminine effect. One can be modest in a camp shirt and pants but not necessarily feminine. A lot of things have to be taken into consideraton. There have been times when a young visiter was so immodestly dressed in a skirt that I would have been happier to see her in jeans. However a combination of femininity, modesty and beauty is what we are trying to work toward.

Anonymous said...

My favorite is "Saying Goodbye to the Day."
People should spend time each day being quiet, reading, looking at the beauty of nature, breathing deeply and taking it all in,

Women at home can just take a break from homemaking and go stand on their front porch and get some fresh air and sunshine and listen to the birds sing.

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

The portrayal of the beauty of God's creation along with the human activity taking place in it as illustrated within the artworks you have showcased here actually ties into something far greater than one's meditation upon aspects of life pertinent to Phil 4: 8-9. God's creation is nothing short of sacramental in its revelation of our heavenly Father's designs for us - that is, an outward manifestation of an inward reality (the definition of sacrament).

Those that scorn the uplift of God's created beauty are scorning God Himself (remember the opening chapters of Genesis, in which God declared His creation 'good').

This blog entry

http://gratefultothedead.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/cs-lewiss-medieval-world-sacramentalism/

builds upon the concepts you have outlined and developed within this article as demonstrated in the beautiful works of the highlighted Russian artist.

Keep speaking the truth and standing in the gap; I'll leave off taking up space in the comments box :-) but the more I think upon this entry and the more I read, the more that is revealed in its depths. You have touched upon something very profoundly sacred, Lydia, that this post-modern world would prefer to forget, or in the case of your detractors, deride and belittle.

LadyLydia said...

A post like this has nothing in it to cause controversy. If it is read in its entirety as a whole, it makes a lot of sense: life can be beautiful when we do what we can. The paintings are merely examples that can be used. There are those in this world who need a little lift and some inspiration. At home, you can wear anythign you want, and if you do choose dresses similar to the ones in the paintings. an apron can be used to protect them. There is nothing at home so awfully rigorous, unless you are plowing a field or delivering a calf, that would require you to wear full metal jackets. Home life for the most part can be genteel and lovely, and women CAN wear pretty clothes at home. Life goes around only once, so why not dress nice? Even a farm woman can shower and change into nicer clothes after doing outdoor work, and fix her hair and look nice for her family. These are the most important people in her life and the home is the most important place in the world. We dont need more grunge to look at, we need more beauty. Mrs. Eliot in Australia has written about the connection of beauty and optimism, and i'll post a portion of her letter later. Many people in this world wake up miserable and think they need to have more money or more of something, yet the most attainable things are ignored, that are free: loveliness, nobleness, etc.

Jenny said...

What lovely paintings. The feeling of serenity that I gain when looking at them is quite restorative.

Thank you for the article and the especially uplifting ending.

Ann said...

May I offer my deep gratitude for all your guidance on this subject. I wonder if you or any of your readers has instructions on making a shawl such as might be worn in the warmer months. Advice on fabric and size would be lovely!
Ann

Anonymous said...

Lydia

I loved this post with all its beautiful paintings and beautifully feminine dresses. Even the ladies hold feminine poses.. the tilt of a delicate head, the stance of a pretty arm, and the wave of long, prettily ribboned hair.
Such things don't seem to exist anymore. I wear many pastel and flowered dresses.. these are not easy to find;I have to really scout them out but thrift stores are full of them. I know this has been mentioned before, but it is so true. When one sews, she can buy a dress for a few dollars at a thrift store and alter it according to what she likes. I did it to such a dress recently.. it was three sizes too big for me, but it had a beautiful floral pattern not often seen in the regular stores. So I brought it home, and altered it on the sides,I cut the bottom because it was too long lengthwise and then I used what I cut off to sew straps for the dress (the dress was strapless). Then I wore it with a pretty white blouse on top and this covered my arms but allowed me to showcase the delicate , yet unusual floral pattern of the dress.
I do get stares and not always friendly ones from women.But I also have women come up to me and tell me how nice I look and say wistfully that they wished they dressed like this too. I know then that they are afraid of being disliked for trying to look feminine. I am so encouraged by reading all the posts and know that as we ladies continue to dress this way, we will make a difference somehow.
A friend I know told me that she regularly buys faux flowers from Walmart and cuts off the stems and glues the flowers onto plain metal barrettes. She wears these in her hair. Pretty neat , isn't it?

Mari

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post and what delightful paintings!

I have always loved skirts and dresses, but resorted to jeans during my student days. I studied chemistry and skirts were considered less safe in the lab than jeans/trousers that would protect your legs from any acid spills and not get tangled round your legs if you needed to move away from your bench in a hurry. I got used to the jeans and then just put them on without thinking, even after I married, had children and became a housewife. I so much want to wear the skirts and dresses again!

I've been slowly gathering some very pretty dresses and skirts from eBay and charity shops, ranging in length from mid-calf length to ankle length and I love them, however I have to confess that I lack the courage to wear them much of the time. My children attend school here in the UK and all the mothers dress in jeans or modern fashions. I find it hard to pluck up the courage to 'stand out from the crowd', although I would love to dress in beautiful, feminine clothes all the time.

Another thing I sometimes struggle with is to know what footwear suits longer dresses. I wonder if you would consider doing a post on pretty but practical footwear that looks nice with feminine attire.

Many thanks for this and all your wonderfully inspiring posts.

Kind regards,
Paula

Anonymous said...

I've already commented on this post, but further to comments regarding little girls emulating their mothers in manner of dress, I thought you I would relate an exchange that took place between my five year old daughter and myself earlier this evening.

My husband had taken me charity shopping today and I had been very fortunate in finding a couple of pretty, feminine items. I tried them on at home and then laid them out on the bed ready for washing. My little girl wandered into my bedroom and, on finding the pretty dress and skirt laid out, she came bounding out to me in the corridor in great excitement. She threw her arms around my neck exclaiming, 'You've got some new clothes! Oh, thank you, Mummy, thank you!!". I was so touched! On further discussion it transpires that she just loves to see her mummy in pretty dresses and skirts. If that doesn't give me the courage to wear them more often, then I don't know what will!

Kind regards,
Paula (UK)

LadyLydia said...

If you click on the names of some of the commenters on this post, you may find a blog of a woman who went from wearing jeans to wearing skirts. She said she really felt like an alien when she went out but then questioned why we all need to look alike!

I find it funmy that people will mock the idea of large families dressing their children alike for photographs--all in the same fabrics , such as shirts for the men and dresses for the women--I've read and heard incredible mocking over this. And yet, these same people will dress like the crowd in their jeans, tennis shoes and tee shirts and not dare to be different in public. The way you dress shows who you are bonding with.

Anonymous said...

Children adore their mothers in beautiful feminine dresses. I will never forget the day I decided to dress in a cotton floral dress at home and fix my hair and makeup early. My child said, "Mother you look so beautiful" and she wanted to hold my hand!

Anonymous said...

To our UK Sister,


if you are confident in what you set out to do - i.e. re-orienting your attire from the jeans and t-shirt 'Mao Suit' to something more feminine and lovely, while still remaining practical, there are several key points to consider that will aid your transition immensely.

1. underpinnings.

These are important. synthetics beneath your clothing can often be a true hinderance and will produce static and cling that is both uncomfortable and impractical.

For winter; cotton leggings or bloomers with black or toning in dark good knee high socks or stockings beneath a half slip or petticoat with suitable length to the outer skirt works very well. good leather walking shoes or boots are also a must. (matching them to your handbag or backpack (e.g. a good quality leather backpack is smart and something I find very practical) will look good.

In summer, loose cotton pettipants or undershorts beneath your half slip and dress will aid in comfort and ease of movement. if your skirt lengths are long enough, a nice pair of sandals will do well without the need for stockings. in the late spring, summer and autumn heat of Australia, this makes all the difference.

If you can only find synthetic leggings etc for winterwear, wear an antistat slip of appropriate length beneath your skirt/dress.

2. hem length. kneelength or even mid calf is believe it or not, impractical both in terms of moving around comfortably and bending over. from a few inches above ankle length to ankle length is good and these will not be a trip hazard. Skirts/dresses need to offer enough room to move freely -e.g. gored, flared, or A-line skirts are excellent - pencil or straight skirts are awkward.

3. steer clear of trainers (sneakers) in most instances, unless you choose wisely. these tend to look terrible very quickly, and unless they are leather, do not breathe well, despite the manufacturers' claims... a bright pair of converse can look nice beneath a long skirt etc if your blouse, top or waistcoat blend in (a pretty around the house treat that is passable when called out if they're kept clean and in good condition. the problem with this is that they can become very ratty if not looked after, very quickly.

Polish all leather shoes properly once a week. This will keep them looking good and in good repair - you'll get a longer lifespan out of them.

http://www.liliesapparel.com/

may inspire you with ideas on how to ease into skirts and dresses in ways that are both practical yet very hip and sunny.

I personally love the attire from www.thekingsdaughters.com who I've already mentioned here. A pretty dress and waistcoat (vest) makes for a beautiful summer option (as do their patterns and fabrics make for a very tasteful winter option if you choose and match your style of dress and waistcoat etc well). Skirt and waistcoat combos are also very good, but dresses give a little more freedom of movement, and less pieces to wash/care for.

Though the prices of some pieces highlighted in the below links are beyond most of us, I supply them as idea material for the very new starter. Don't discount your local op-shop or flea-market hippy stall either, for beautiful skirts and tops, dresses and accessories.

the pieces in the below links are described very well in the text notes and after a little patient tab and arrow navigation, you'll find the information you'll need. as I've mentioned, these serve as idea-prompters.


http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?.mid=embed&id=544441

and

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?id=365569

Anonymous said...

Cont'd,

Keep an eye on the retailers also, for instance, back in 2002, the autumn and winter fashions were both modest and beautiful, with plenty of skirt options, twinsets, lovely tops, draping scarves and shawls etc in what was termed 'victorian retro'. Likewise for summer 04-05 here in aus, there were plenty of beautiful dress and skirt/top options and many slack suit could be purchased with a skirt of good length instead. However, you'll often pay top dollar in the department store as opposed to the on-line clothierre, op-shop or hippy stall.

and one more note

4. fabric. steer clear of synthetics and knits whenever possible. Unless you're stick thin, these show everything in a way that is unseemly and are not a compliment to the wearer. They are also impractical for daily wear as they do not offer good room to move.

Be courageous, stand for your distinctiveness as a woman - a daughter of the King, and for practical femininity.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank the lady who went to the trouble of writing such an informative comment. It is really helpful thank you.

Mrs Sherman, your comment has really resonated with me. 'The way you dress shows who you are bonding with' has really made me thank about whether I want to be stuck in jeans in order to look like people who aren't like me at all!

I have worn a dress or skirt every day since reading the encouragement here and it has been wonderfully liberating to finally dress the way I prefer. As an interesting side note, when I was out and about on Saturday, I noticed that I was treated with a lot more consideration and respect when wearing a long dress than when I go out in jeans. There is a lot to be said for being treated like a lady...I wouldn't want it any other way!

Thank you so much for the encouragement ladies. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

Kind regards,
Paula (UK)

Liora said...

I love love love your posts on feminine, modest dress! I am an Orthodox Jewish girl and this video made me chuckle, and the Jewish men wear black coats and black top hats even to this day. I do get weird looks when I walk out in long skirts and dresses but I do not care because I love feeling feminine and believe that women and men should look distinct in the way they dress. I wish I knew how to make clothes but for now have taught myself how to sew buttons and repair broken hemlines. One day, I will buy a sewing machine and know how to sew well! Also, you are so right about dresses not necessarily being more modest than pants; some of the dresses in stores these days looks like tube socks and it is ugly and immodest. Unfortunately most men these days think of long flowery feminine dresses as frumpy looking and short tube socks as "sexy". Sigh.

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