Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dressing at Home

Whereas in the past, there may have been more social rules and judgements regarding clothing a woman wore, I think today that it is pretty much up to each woman as to the mode of dress that suits her the best at home. Just about anything would be better than the sweatpants, tee shirts, jeans and flip-flops that pass for today's homemaker image. If there is a budding designer in our midst who is enterprising enough to come up with something beautiful and practical to fill this gap, it would be so appreciated.

In the meantime, looking at the paintings and photographs of the past, might give us a clue as to what women enjoyed wearing in their daily lives. Today's clothing is so uncomfortable and impractical and ugly, we can hardly feel superior to our Victorian forebearers for their taste and customs in clothing, can we? They seemed to do so much more, without machinery, in these gowns and wraps, than we do, with all our conveniences. Yet, I read not one word of complaint about the clothing, like I do today. I hear women in stores complaining about the styles and the choices, and in the weekly ladies Bible class and at tea parties, I get an earful about the travesty of fashion today.

Women are resorting to garage sales and second-hand shops to get their clothing. Someone ought to do something. A woman's clothing should be washable and the threads closely woven enough that it won't catch on things, even rough fingernails. It should be impervious to the stains and the regular wear and tear of the home.

As for how it should look, why do you think women watch the Jane Austen movies or the Anne of Green Gables series over and over, oohing and aahing over the clothing. It is because the cloth is beautiful and the styles are romantic. Today, women have to wait til a prom or a wedding in order to dress up and feel feminine, for daily clothes lack feminine inspiration. Scenes depicting women running and kneeling, working, taking care of the home and farm, entertaining guests, visiting, attending concerts, etc. indicate that they moved just fine in these types of clothing. They seemed even more active than we are today, with many things taking place out of doors in winter as much as summer.

Maybe God will raise up a group of designers for today's woman who desperately wants to wear something pretty at home, so we won't have to continue being held hostage to the junk we see in the stores. I wonder, if men's clothing was given the same radical changes as women's clothing, year after year, if they would put up with it. When a man buys a button-down shirt, he can wear it for years and years. If he goes back to a store to get a new one, he can often find one similar. In the case of women's clothing, one year there will be long skirts, and the next, they disappear from the market. Sewing seems to be the only answer. You have control over the design, color and modesty, when you sew.

I never read any historical account of women complaining that they wanted a change in fashion, so who decided that good clothing would no longer be available to the masses? Who took it upon themselves to change the look of fashion in America, making us all look like freaks in clothing too small, too tight and too short? I wonder if there is a conceit amongst certain designers, who try to prevent us from going back to the early 1900's ( or worse yet, the Victorian era) to develop our tastes in clothing.

What most of us need are some basic garments that we can add a jacket or cardigan to, according to the occasion. A person should not have to change all day long into different items for different tasks. This is where the over-the-head, long apron comes into play. It can be removed if one needs to sit down to dinner with company, or go out. One could even design skirts intended to go over a dress, using the top part of the dress as a blouse, if one were inclined. There is so much to be done in the area of fashion, and so few people to do it, that it seems a really wise person would capitalize on this problem! Already there are some pattern makers and seamstresses providing alternate, beautiful fashions for today's discerning woman: Wives and and We have sewn some of these patterns and enjoyed wearing them very much!

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