In the previous post I presented the relationship of the setting or location to your role at home. I compared this to an historical re-enactment, something many of us have participated in. When we go to a tea room here, we usually wear hats and gloves like we are playing a part.
The painting, above, shows ladies at home in nice clothing yet not too dressy for homemaking.
When the setting and props are in harmony with the era being represented, the participants find it all more realistic and believeable. The performance becomes natural and easy. Every performer is quick to say that costume plays a big part in making them feel like they are really in the role they perform.
Today I had hoped to make a video about how the clothes we wear at home affect us in our role as wife, mother, caretaker, guard and guide of the home. My camera has not been working for several weeks. The corner I have created for a setting is waiting, and the costume is on a hanger. I expect the camera problem will be taken care of soon.
In a performance, costumes are carefully designed to harmonize with the setting and location so that both the performer and the observer is convinced of the story. The costume says something about the person before you hear anything the performer says. The one playing the role feels it is more real when he is in costume.
Great skill is used in creating costumes to depict an era in time, a mood, an event, and relationships of the performer with other performers. Using color and style, a costume designer can create friction or harmony between people, or show who is in authority, who is successful, who is in trouble, who is helpful, who is in sorrow, and who is happy. There is so much in costume design that we never notice, because it all harmonizes with the setting, to help with the over-all performance.
The homemaker today can use clothing to support her role at home. Let me give you an example of the way in which clothing can effectively support you in your many different roles at home:
When the costume designers of the movie, "Gone With the Wind" wrote about the way they dressed each performer, they said they sought to be authentic to the time in history in which the story was set. Everything, including the men's socks and the ladies lace caps under their bonnets, were authentic to the time-period. The petticoats, gloves, and even the the little bags carrying coins, were chosen to conform to the era as exactly as possible.
When a critic pointed out to the designers that the men's socks of the 1800's or the women's caps under their bonnets would never be seen by anyone (the audience or the other actors), one designer replied:
"Although other people will not know the actors are wearing these things, the actors WILL, and that will have an effect on the way they walk, talk, sit, move, and in general their entire performance will be more convincing. They will be convinced they are the person they are depicting."
This is also true at home. If you have been a homemaker for even a short while, you know how your appearance affects the way you behave at home. When you think that no one else notices you or that it does not matter what you wear, you will find that the home and homemaking becomes less exhalted in your mind.
Above: Molly's berry-picking print dress in Wives and Daughters. I Once had fabric like this, with various berries printed on it.
This is why homemaking books in classes of the past stressed dressing well. Appearance was taught as the first order of the day. I realize there are exceptions during various stages of life, but for the most part, dressing well at home is good for your mind and your mood, and affects your performance in a positive way.
Above :This Is a costume I made for a future "Tropical Holiday Tea" in which the food, settings and decor will all be tropical with a holiday mood.
Since there is no uniform for the role of homemaker, each lady is free to choose what to wear, and this is a great advantage over the rest of the career world. We do not need labels on our pockets saying what company we work for, and we do not have to wear hats in the house, but our clothing should first of all give the role we have a lot of dignity by being well-made, clean, neat (maybe ironed), comfortable and pretty. Aprons provide variety in color and style, as there are limitless styles to suit all activites.
More importantly, there are other members of your troupe that can be inspired in their own functions at home, by what you wear.
It is up to each lady to decide what to wear at home that will make the performance of her tasks joyful and successful. It isn't good to assume that because you are at home, no one will notice your clothes, so you can slouch away the day in pyjamas. As the costume designer emphasized: maybe no one else will see what you are wearing, but YOU will know what you are wearing, and it will make a difference in how you approach home living.
In creating a costume of sorts for yourself at home, imagine how discordant it would be to your mind and to others if you walked around all day in prison clothes, aeronautics clothing, law-enforcement uniform, athletes outfits, dramatic stage costumes from the tudor era or coal-miner industrial clothing. These things would not harmonize with the setting or the role.
Remember that costumes tell what the character is like, so dress according to what you want to represent to yourself, your family and the world. Clean, neat and tidy garments do a lot to boost your mood and your confidence, as well as help you approach everything with order and optimism.
For myself, I prefer the dresses I make, since I make them especially for life at home. If you do not sew, there are still things you can buy that make nice clothes for the home. In my videos I have worn white blouses with cotton cardigan sweaters and matching skirts, all from Walmart. These also work well for me at home when worn with aprons. I wear this kind of outfit if I am planning to do any shopping or anything outside the home. However, each lady can make her own style that suits her personality and mood. Clothing can also be chosen for the type of thing a lady wants to do at home.
In days-gone-by, denim skirts and jumpers (a dress worn over a blouse) were popular for homemakingbecause they were so sturdy and withstood a lot of housework. However, even as early as the 1970's, most of us did our housework in these clothes, and then before our husbands came home from work, would take a shower and change into a clean dress or skirt and blouse. We did not want to look like
a laborer at dinner. The attitude has changed now, and many women find they are depressed at the end of the day, even after doing well at home and a caring for everything. I do not know of anyone who changes clothes anymore. Perhaps a better way is to dress in something pretty that is suitable for the home, wear an apron, work carefully instead of haphhazardly (like a lady) and then remove the apron for the evening.
So far, I have compared the setting and the costume in a play, to the setting and clothing at home. You can think about other things that go with the setting and performance, such as the hair, script, the lighting, sound, and the director. I am speaking of drama and reenactments, but it can be applied to the role of the homemaker.
While no one may know how you are dressed at home, you WILL and that will affect your mood and your appreciation of the home.