Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Deconstruction of Women's Clothing

It was interesting to see in the recent issue of Traveller, this pretty picture of Samoan girls in church, and to read the caption, which said, "Sunday Services in American Samoa evoke a portrait by Paul Gauguin." This photograph shows modest, beautiful, constructed clothing (and also dispels the myth that people living in equatorial regions do not care about modesty), than we have not seen on store clothing racks for some time.

A lot of the new styles are so deconstructed that there are no buttons and no pieces sewn together anymore; just one slinky thing you "throw on." The designers and manufacturers, advertisers, convince us that clothing has to be so simple that it cannot have any structure at all. These girls in the photograph look sweet, innocent and feminine. Deconstructed clothing would change that look to hard and jaded.

Yes, this picture would certainly inspire any traditional artist, and even Paul Gauguin, an impressionist, painted ladies wearing better clothing than they parade around in today. I know these girls look better than most of the women we see, and yet I also know that American Samoans are not rich people! Clothing is a matter of wisdom, taste and discernment, not a matter of wealth. I have been to a few countries like this and have been impressed at the color and the fabrics that the women wear. They love being women and like dressing in beautiful dresses. They live in poor countries, and dressing up is important to them. I remember as a child how important it was to dress well, because it disguised your poverty, even to yourself.

Now, our designers have foisted upon the public the worst clothing in history. The 20th century deconstructivists focused mainly on desconstructing art and architecture, and the attitude of such people has trickled down to the fashion industry.

Clothing used to have color and at least a collar that would soften the face. Ladies liked to have little lace at the throat. It has been years since I've seen collars or sleeves. The bottom is the biggest part of the body, and skirts used to completely disguise that fact. Thanks to the deconstruction of clothing, no one can deny that fact.

Now, when we see a woman's outfit, the eye is drawn downward from the baggy shirt to the clam diggers and the strings of thongs at the waist to the clacking flip-flops at the feet. The poets of old who described women in their verse, would gasp in despair. No artist of the 18th or 19th century would stop in his tracks and beg the subject to stay right where she is while he captures the moment for all time on his canvas, so that he won't forget the blue/orange streaked hair and the 5 rings in various parts of the face and body. When I was a youngster, we thought body piercing was a sign of ignorance. Educated, civilized, enlightened people were far above such savage practices. How far we have come!

I have mentioned in previous articles that we are boring our own children by the drab clothing we wear. Think of what they see at their short height, and you will get the picture: bare legs or tight, low-cut jeans are their view. Wearing pretty fabrics with interesting prints could delight little children and stir their appreciation for art and beauty.

I just returned from the Scandinavian Festival, which celebrates the Scandinavian culture prior to the 20th century. The photograph on the left shows the performers of the various Scandinavian dances on stage, in their costumes. These costumes reminded me of the paintings of Daniel Ridgeway Knight, who lived in Pennsylvania during the Victorian era.

Would we be such an eager audience if these dancers were dressed in contemporary deconstructed clothing of stretchy tee shirts, low slung pants, short-shorts, strappy tops and other shapeless clothing?

All around the festival grounds, deconstructed clothing, drippy, droopy, muddy, colorless, flat clothing that did nothing to flatter a woman's hair, face, figure, or draw attention to her personality, posed as "fashion."

Who has done this to us? It has to be someone who hates women, because there was not one woman who looked good in these deconstructed outfits, and not one outfit actually fit anyone's figure. The performers and the other people walking around in costume looked wonderful, and not the least bit embarrassed or uncomfortable. The older ones dressed just like the younger ones, even the children, and there were no special outfits of the period made to "express' their teen-hood or independent spirit. Little girls wore little costumes and big girls wore bigger ones, but they all looked very bright and cheerful and put-together.

For those who think it would be impossible "do" anything in a dress, it was obvious that these people were able to perform very intricate and vigorous dances in them, and they seemed quite happy about it. The people who served food at the various booths were also in these 19th century traditional costumes, and were able to make lemonade, meat pies, ice cream, and any type of food available, without the costumes getting in the way. The craft booths were also attended by people in costumes and they seemed very able to conduct trade in these clothes. These clothes were so beautiful to look at that people were asking the performers, "Where did you get your dress?"

The costumes reminded me of one of my favorite artists of the 1800's, Daniel Ridgeway Knight. I just had to come straight home and take another look at these paintings. He was an artist from Pennsylvania, who loved to paint in the open air so much that he built a glass room so that he could paint when it was cold or wet outside, and still get the feeling of being outdoors. You can read more about him and see these amazing paintings with their bright, clear colors and pastel backgrounds here These paintings of the past give a clue about the construction of clothing. The garments portrayed in them seem to look good on many women. In the photograph of the festival I attended, the costumes looked good on both the thin women and the heavier ones because of their feminine appearance, the clear colors and the good construction. It can not be so much trouble for designers and manufacturers today to give us beautiful clothing like this.

To view the vivid works of the Victorian painter, Daniel Ridgeway Knight, go here In my opinion this is the best showing of his works anywhere online. One that I particularly like shows two women waving to a ferry across the river. Daniel Ridgeway Knight liked to paint women in contented poses doing ordinary things, in beautiful clothing, surrounded by beautiful scenery. The scenery and the women always seemed to belong together.

Girl with Basket
Girl with Basket
Art Print

Knight, Daniel...
Buy at

Girl Fishing

Girl Fishing

Art Print

Knight, Daniel...

Buy at

Brittany Girl

Brittany Girl

Art Print

Knight, Daniel...

Buy at

Noonday Repast

Noonday Repast

Art Print

Knight, Daniel...

Buy at

Ray of Sunshine

Ray of Sunshine

Art Print

Knight, Daniel...
Buy at

What can we do about these fashions that are making our people look so depressed and unhappy? Clothing can be beautiful and still cover the body adequately. We do not have to wear these awful clothes. We can make our own. We can pay someone else to make them. There are even ways to create modest skirts and dresses without sewing, by the way they are folded or wrapped. Now, with velcro and fabritack, not everyone has to know how to sew.

You do not have to be at the mercy of the manufactured styles. You can also buy beautiful clothes on the web.

I think today that maybe women are afraid of the "b" word: beauty. They feel self conscious in beautiful clothes, so they want to go around in drab clothing and not be noticed. Homemakers may think they do not need to dress nicely at home, but clothing can help create the mood for their work and make it seem important or not. Their performance in the work of the home can be affected by clothing.

Many of the artists of old painted women at a time when women's work was primarily that of the home, and yet they are in beautiful clothes. Another think we can do to encourage women to get back to feminine, dignified dressing, is to smile and compliment anyone we see who is wearing a pretty, modest dress.

*And now to the resident whiner/complainer and deconstructionist: I dont' care what definition some arrogant deconstructionist hippie professor in the 1960's gave this word. I was born long before the 1960's and I can give it whatever definition I want, but I prefer to use the original Latin and French meanings of the root words. "de" means "to move away from." Construction entails building something or creating something using pieces and parts. In their favor, the deconstructionists definition of deconstruction is actually true: it is a movement away from reality and a rebellion against truth. Apparently people after the 1950's can create their own philosophy and definition, so I can create my own definition if I like. It is still the same meaning: elitist looking down your nose at goodness and loveliness and giving women so few affordable choices that they have to wear garbage sacks, and laughing all the way to the bank. That is deconstruction. It doesn't just dismantle clothing construction as it was once known, it dismantles the humanity of the person who has to wear it. No one would do it to an animal.

Look at the beautiful garment the mother is wearing here

Pretty clothing catologs, good for ideas for home sewers, and some are quite feminine: (will continue list of catologs, later)


Rosemary said...

I have always thought the same way,every day as one goes about, the women and girls seem to be dressing in a way that makes them look deliberatly unattractive. Showing their midriffs with pierced belly buttons even those in late pregnancy are doing this now!! Pregnant women always looked feminine in their loose flowing dresses and tops but now they want to look obscene in public?The pictures are beautiful,our society has lost so much in recent times and I fear what the future holds.

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

This is yet another excellent article dealing with a subject close to my heart (and I'm sure the heart of many a lady and gent who reads your Blog).

Since my teen years in the mid-late '80's, fashion and clothing has progressively gone down hill . Where have colour, beauty, style and femininity gone? it's all so drab and completely uninspiring. Yes, there are many ways in which we as ladies can bypass the trash thrown our way by mainstream 'fashion' (they don't deserve the title!) as you mentioned. An Australian designer (good quality and not too dear); Annie Lantz (I've mentioned her before) puts out beautiful clothing. Though she does put out pants, she also puts out beautiful skirts so ladies have a choice if they wish to truly look feminine. Florals, plains, trim on collars etc are all excellent and the workmanship is very high quality - and larger lady friendly! her summer range is delightful and contains at least one dress! Yes! a summery and flowing example of that endangered species, the dress. If more designers could follow her lead, the junk market would dry up in an instant! Sadly, she only sells through her shows, catalogues and one shop in Berri, Southern's worth a look and the ladies serving know their clothing and won't sell you a dud.

Let us get behind up and coming designers such as Annie so we don't have to rely on the on-line market (my husband for one is wary of providing all that money (exchange rates kill) for something that may well not fit before one gets it...can't try it on or go to fittings etc). Let us also support our local dress makers.


mrs. E.,

Mrs. D said...

It is interesting that at a time in history when the clothing is so ugly and unflattering (it is very discouraging to go into the malls) that we are also in a time when many women do not sew. Women are not at home and the ones that are cannot sew. The designers and manufacturers have us right in their clutches! I totally agree that if we want a change we have to be the change.

BarbaraLee said...

Love the pics. I love to wear dresses myself. But I have been working in the shop w/hubby which he stains, sands ect. not very femine work but he needs my help. But when I am not I try and dress like a woman. Not always dresses but girly. It is hard to find them in stores. When you do they are very expensive. It amazes me how trashy clothes cost hardly nothing when nice things cost an arm & leg. I have sewing machine and patterns to sew some things. Now that we have help in the shop I will be able to have the time to sew. I just have a problem what style looks good on me. I do like the princess cut w/little flower patterns.

Ashley said...

I would be very interested in being directed to any sites or patterns that can be made without sewing! Although I probably simply need to learn, making my own clothing both scares me and is a desire of my heart.

Within the last 9 months, I have made the switch to wearing only skirts. My husband is delighted; and he recently told his family if I never wore slacks again he would be thrilled. To hear him defend my convictions/choices made me very happy!

I am also 7 months pregnant, and I am so more comfortable in skirts that it is staggering! During my first pregnancy, I wore jeans and I felt like a large melon walking on stilts - but I was 'fashionable', so I didn't care. My previous experiances has lead me to believe that maternity pants are not only tight on top of my baby bump, but they are tight below, and when sitting they constrict around the knees - which does not promote blood circulation or comfort!

Surely there are styles out there which are more comfortable than those that I had, but I am not going to waste my time looking for them when I am perfectly happy in skirts with the air moving about my legs. When I think of how warm it is (102 yesterday!) I remember that I could be wearing pants!

I am so thankful for the way my skirts make me feel, feminine, beautiful, womanly! I do feel that a long, flowing skirt helps to make my pregnancy simply look more "motherly", as opposed to looking akward and misshapen.

As someone who had adapted quickly to a 'manish' (i.e. stylish) stride, I have enjoyed the effect that skirts have had on my attitude - I am more restful. At first I was concerned about being 'vulerable' in public, but I have found the public actually treats me with respect now!

Thank you for the wonderful post!

Anonymous said...

LL I ? not related to this post even though I did read it and think it great but do you have home management book that everyone is doing?

Anna S said...

Thank you, dear Lady Lydia, for yet another wonderful post. You are absolutely right! We CAN find beautiful and modest (yet still suitable for everyday tasks) clothes, or make them ourselves. I love wearing dresses and skirts, and can perform any type of work in them, yes, including cleaning, cooking, hanging laundry (I just slip on an apron).

Are you familiar with 'Eyes of Wonder' blog( I just love the beautiful fashions the women in that family make for themselves. This is how they dress every day, for their daily work, and they look very dignified, comfortable and feminine!

Anonymous said...

This post couldn't have come at a better time! It's the hot summer now and I am shocked at what I see out there that is supposed to pass as clothes.

In addition, I am so sick of my ownclothes. They are modest, but so boring and not that flattering. Usually capris and a nice t-shirt, but I would love to get more into some skirts. I think I would look better in them.

I remember my grandmother wore skirts and dresses her whole life and she looked great. And she worked on a family farm her whole life and had 11 children. I also have an aunt who always wears skirts and dresses, never ever pants and she looks wonderful too. I'm not sure if my aunt does it out of any strong convictions (there might be), but perhaps she just feels she looks nice in them. And she does.

I need help though. I don't even know where to start. Isn't that sad? Any advice you can give would be great. I know I just need to start taking baby steps, but seriously, don't even know where to start.

Mrs.Y said...

Hi, Lydia. About the fashion industry and women's clothing, a friend told me years ago that someone in the fashion industry (remember many of the designers are men) told her that their goal was to make women look like fools.

That may not be the exact quote but that was the gist of it.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I see our resident troll is back, making snide remarks. I think I'll let you stay, so everyone can see how silly you are and how unconstructive your comments are--typical of Marxists, who only exist to tear down and never to build anything high in the sky.I made up the word "deconstruction" to go with "clothing construction." I am perfectly aware of the deconstructivists of the 20th century who sought to flatten the roofs of architecture and make us live in boxes and flat places (called Flats, I believe) as though we were cattle and not people. The clothing, the houses, the beauty in these paintings are evidence of a past that everyone longs for. You can't live in the past but you can certainly recreate the beauty and refinement that existed then. Even though we are powerless to change the ugly architecture forced upon us, we can, each of us, change the clothing we wear. We don't have to wear those ugly rags. We can get vests and skirts and pretty, constructed blouses, which are available today and which look good on every figure. We don't have to look like sticks walking around wearing barrels. We can stop buying this junk and only wear costumes, if we like. I was with our friend miss Merryrose, (whom another friend calls "Merry Merry), when she was wearing a pretty dress she had constructed herself. It was a blue check with a cute little puff sleeve eyelet blouse. The skirt was long, close to the ankles. We were at the train station with her and some kid, about 9 years old was riding around on his skateboard and he went past her several times. Finally he stopped and said, "Why are you wearing that?" And she said, "because I LIKE IT, and life is short!" Merryrose had decided that she would take matters in to her own hands and sew her own style. She taught herself to sew. I think you can teach yourself by starting with something small, but you could get a tutor. One woman would show you the basics, maybe about an hour a week, until you learned. My daughter learned to sew just by learing how to read a pattern. I used to put on some music and lay down on the couch and open a pattern envelope and read the pattern instructions, and get a picture in my mind as to the steps I would need to take.

In the 19th century before patterns existed, people knew how to take a square and a rectangle and a triangle and gather them certain ways to make their garments, and sew the seams. Later on companies invented board patterns, made on sturdy, thin boards, that people would trace around and cut. Others learned to drape fabric on a dress form into the style they liked and then sew it together. Then there is a way of wrapping a length of fabric into a skirt or dress. These all seem rather crude and inferior in comparison to real dressmaking, but it is better than the deconstruction type of manufactured clothing that is being presented to the public. Women look terrible and they are so depressed about the way they look they have to take medication for depression.

Elizabeth Joy said...

I'm inspired every time I read your blog. It is like a breath of fresh air. The pressure to conform to the undressing of America is hard. I've gotten numerous comments such as "Why are you dressing up." But I'm still getting more courage to be different, to be who I am, a woman.

Also, I was surprised to learn that I have a Daniel Knight, framed print on my wall that I found at a garage sale and loved right away. It is A Ray of Sunshine.

Thank you for sharing!

Lillibeth said...

I have to say, that when I see in the stores blouses and tops and skirts with no hems, fabric just left to ravel at the edges, I wonder how anyone could be tricked into buying one. Why would anyone pay money for something that isn't finished?

Anonymous said...

I usually wear dresses or skirts. Last weekend I went whitewater rafting and wore capri-length wide-legged pants and a plain red top. Most other rafters wore skimpy bathing suits.
However, there were a group of girls who clearly belonged to some sort of Christian sect, and they were wearing skirts with "bicycle shorts" underneath. The skirts were made of a material that almost looked like nylon. The girls also wore nice, modest tops. They looked so lovely and feminine, and even when they fell into the rapids, they didn't seem bogged down by wearing skirts. I, on the other hand, wearing my sopping-wet pants, WISHED I had been wearing one of those lovely, feminine skirts. Skirts and dresses certainly ARE practical.

PaulaB52 said...

I've been doing really well with wearing skirts full time. The only time I find it hard to wear a skirt is when doing yard work. I'm not really talking about dead heading flowers or picking tomatoes. I'm talking about building new garden beds, lifting heavy bags of soil, shoveling manure and compost and mowing the grass. What would be a good alternative to working pants? I usually just wear an old teeshirt and capris. I just get so dirty and sweaty while in the yard, I'd hate to mess up a cute skirt.

Any advice?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The ladies painted in the Daniel Ridgeway Knight pictures showed women cutting grass and gathering garden produce, working outside int he garden,etc. It wasn't just his paintings, but many of the paintings of the period show women doing such outdoor tasks in skirts. They are very plain skirts, and they wore aprons over them. You don't have to wear a cute skirt. Just get a sturdy working skirt, but if you want a cute one, just buy cotton fabric in a cute print that makes you happy and wear it.there is nothing wrong with ruining a skirt when working. It gives you a reason to make another one. When that one wears out, you just sew up another one. Cotton wears fairly well and even the cheap dollar a yard fabric lasts longer than commercial clothing. You can get skirt patterns that consists of only two pieces with elastic at the waist, or get an a-line pattern that has a turned over seam at the waist (you don't have to know how to sew facings or make waist bands), which have only a front piece and two pieces in the back. The problem I think is that women feel they have to keep their skirts and dresses and not get them dirty. In the home, it is impossible, so we just wear aprons over them and if the skirt gets ruined, we get another one! I wouldn't like to wear the same skirt every day, any way. The aprons help a lot, and it is easy to replace an apron.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I wish every young lady would have it as her goal never to have a photograph of her in shorts or tank tops and to later never to have it said that anyone saw her in pants or shorts or a swimming suit...or that when they are grandmothers they can say their grand children never saw their grandmother in a pair of shorts or a tee shirt.

Tracy said...

Thank you for this excellent post. I've been wearing skirts/dresses only for almost a year. My husband recently decided to have our daughters do the same. I understand that it must be difficult at times for them, but we are their parents, and not their best friends. Oh how i wish that every woman still dressed like a lady!

Donna said...

Lady Lydia, I could read your posts about dresses every single day. I love them!

Here is a poem you might enjoy:

What's the use?
by Ogden Nash

Sure, deck your limbs in pants,
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance . . .
Have you seen yourself retreating?

Machelle said...

Thank you for this post! I've always felt prettier and more comfortable in a dress or skirt than pants, but it always gets the same reaction; "What are YOU so dressed-up for?" When did a dress, the item of clothing identitifed to women for centuries, suddenly become something only worn for fancy occasions? For hundreds of years, women worked in long, full, beautiful dresses. They kept house, kept the yard, often even did tough, physical labor, all in a skirt, and yet too many girls today see it as too hard to even go to school in a skirt and blouse.

God Bless,

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Be sure to visit the Daniel Ridgeway Knight link I posted. Read about the artist and scroll down to the pictures of peasant girls in plain clothing, some of which I posted here. They aren't rich people's clothing. They are plain skirts but the drape of them is lovely. The women are working outside in the dirt and grass and the flowers. They are waiting for the boatman, walking home, gathering straw, planting a garden, cutting flowers, and many other things in these garments and yet they are still very pretty! If they can do it, we can do it too. I think our problem is a mental problem, more than a financial one or one of accessibility. We need a can-do attitude that overcomes the obstacles. I will be running a contest in the future, using the This artist and one other as examples. There will be two categories. One will be sewing a garment as similarly as you can, to match one of the paintings of these two artists, and the other will be immitating the garments using what you can find already made. Pose for a picture with a nice background,(backgrounds will be taken into consideration, so find a nice rose garden or something very sweet), and put it on your blog. The prize will be a free copy of my book "Just Breathing the Air." If you don't want that book you can always get it for someone who is depressed.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The other artist will be Edmund B. Leighton (not the other Leighton)

L said...

I was just mentioning on another blog how dramatic the change in the Red Cross nurses and Army Nurse Corps uniforms were between the two World Wars. It is interesting to see pictures of Red Cross or military nurses in WWI, because they went to war in skirts! Very different than today! Not saying that today's nurses look unfeminine, but it is interesting to see that appearing womanly was so important back then that you would wear skirts when went off to and your life was on the life.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

It is simple to understand since they were not in combat in those days and were protected in the army hospitals. Even the enemy was not as likely to attack a woman then and if one dressed like a woman, men were more inclined to protect them.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The nebulous airy-fairy definition of the word deconstruction is designed to let people think it is noble and educated and intelligent to deconstruct something. It is what the Bible calls endless wrangling over words so that people can discover themselves or hear themselves. I don't care what definition someone gave deconstruction in 1960, because I was born long before that and I define it according the the original Latin and French meaning of de, which is to move away from. Deconstruction is and always has been to move away from what is truthful or beautiful or sound and bring it down.

L said...

"Even the enemy was not as likely to attack a woman then and if one dressed like a woman, men were more inclined to protect them."


Although nurses have died or suffered injuries by the enemy in every war (including the War on Terror) they weren't as likely to be attacked as men. Nurses during the Civil War were far more likely to die of a disease that from combat.

Although they weren't always protected by hospitals, some were flight nurses in WWII, worked in field hospitals, and some women worked in the ambulance reserve corps during WWI. Then the Naval Nurses that served on ships were just as open to an attack on the ship as any one else. I know that the Navy Nurse Corps started in 1908 I'm not sure how many would have been on ships though. Today very few nurses in the Navy deploy with ships because they need them in hospitals here more.

Anonymous said...

"I wish every young lady would have it as her goal never to have a photograph of her in shorts or tank tops and to later never to have it said that anyone saw her in pants or shorts or a swimming suit...or that when they are grandmothers they can say their grand children never saw their grandmother in a pair of shorts or a tee shirt."

How true!!! I didn't start wearing dresses full time until I was 19. I have a few photos of me in skirts, they're the only ones I like looking at.

Perhaps you know? In many of those pictures it appears that girls tucked their skirts in their waistbands to protect them? Or are those aprons? (I have a similiar picture on my wall that I keep staring at because I can't figure it out......)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I remember a bakery when I was young, run by a family. The girls used to wrap a long dish towel around their waists and it ended up in pretty folds much like drapery.

Krystle said...

Thank you for this inspiring post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you dear Lydia for an excellent article as usual. As an encouragement for anyone who truly desires to wear dresses or skirts all the time and feel they may be hampered in some way... In my 27 years of married life, I have always delighted in dressing femininely in dresses or skirts and I have never once been prevented from doing any activity by wearing only them. There's a huge range of skirt styles and fabrics from stretch denim worn just under the knees, long fitted skirts or full and flowing and everything in between. There is something for all tastes and activities. If you don't sew or use a dressmaker these are often available in lady's clothing sections of many department stores most years. Even all through my daughter's childhood activities she was able to wear skirts, from everyday activities to indoor rock climbing, abseiling, (bike pants under a stretch skirt), canoeing, trampolining, bike riding, outdoor games... Really, if you do want to wear skirts all the time, it is possible. Be encouraged, be inspired, be determined, be creative. L.M.L.

Jo@LaudoDeumFarm said...

Hi Lady Lydia,

I wear skirts all the time! Most of the time, actually.It's wonderful and I'm encouraging my young daughters to do the same. A busy and active life can certainly be lived in skirts. The important part is to have a variety of styles that suit the job. We have a large house and property on our 10 acre hobby farm with 3 children, dairy and pet goats, chickens and ducks and cats and dogs. It's not difficult to take care of these things wearing a skirt. For yard work, taking care of livestock and for other messy chores I prefer a full A-Line skirt. It must have a sturdy cloth and it must not stain, tear or hinder my movements. Very long skirts or pretty ones we change into after the messier chores are done. Aprons also help to keep the skirts clean. I have 3 or 4 work skirts and 3 or 4 nicer ones, besides the dressier church clothes. Now that my daughter is 6 years old I realize I need to get her more skirts. I also recently discovered that people make special underthings that a woman wears under skirts. I didn't know people still made those! How wonderful! Practical and pretty too. I ordered some. I love dressing like a woman in a unisex world.
I also want to add that your blog and LAF are both very encouraging. They have certainly encouraged me to be more confidant in my role of wife and mother. Thanks for speaking the truth!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog and LAF for over two years and I thank you for this one and your feisty response to the "troll". It seems that this person is another feminist who cannot tolerate opinions different from her own. It's high time someone told her and other feminists that not all women are with them and I thank you, Mrs. Alexandra, Mrs. Chancey and others for having had the courage to challenge them through the web.

Kathleen said...

We need our beliefs challenged though--otherwise they just stagnate. :)

Ahh...what beautiful clothes. Someday I want to dress beautifully everyday. I'm getting there!

Rosemary said...

What a beautiful picture on that calendar,I wish I could afford to bid on it but money is short this month.The dress is so lovely,you can still find these sort of outfits in the UK usually in exclusive shops that cater for the Mother of the bride or bridegroom.Denim skirts are ideal for all household tasks and gardening A-line ankle length are what I find most practical.We are lucky here, as the shops do stock many feminine items as well as the hideous fashions if you know where to look.

Lisa said...

I agree with the view that skirts and dresses are usually prettier and nicer to wear.

One of the things I'd noticed in my feelings about this was an uncomfortable sense of vulnerability when out in public. Not only for standing out, but just the sense of being a target.

Personally, for some reason, I've always felt safer in pants. I know I'm "hiding" in oversized, shapeless t shirts and jeans.

I think that immodestly dressed and behaving women have made the world a less safer place for all girls and women.

Sarah said...

Dearest Lady Lydia,

you may wish to inform our dear Miss Troll that regardless of any technical definition of 'deconstructionism', the results are all the same; the distruction of the coherence of society and the elevation of the self and individualism as preferable. This produces on one level chaos as boundaries and roles that more or less cross the ages and span the globe are shattered (new ones - more often than not Marxist/Feminist in nature) being introduced to replace them whilst on another level a more moulded, socially engineered society is created with a people who are for the most part pacified by the grind of everyday life as their children and elderly are surrendered into the waiting arms of Mother State. This type of society is far less able to stand fast and defend its values as its strength has been ripped out from the core and its morality completely emasculated. Thus Global government (under the supposedly benevolant guise of the UN), health, business, trade, manufacturing etc interests are able to do their work. A more incideous undercurrent is the destruction of any notion of national identity and the sovereign state as these self same global forces harmoginise society into a 'brave new world' where notions of state sovereignty and national identity become almost 'capital' offenses. meanwhile the small family farm with its unique local identity or similar small fishing villages etc (these being the most sustainable and healthful sources of our food, timber, materials for textiles such as wool, cotton, hemp and flax etc) are run off the road. Likewise, the traditional family medical practice where the doctor (usually with his wife alongside) who has customarily worked with families for years so he knows his community and patients in a way your 24hr supermarket-style multi-national medical centres never can (still viewed by many medical experts as a far superior and desirable method of practicing medicine) is almost a relic of gentler times. People also lose their democratic rights as local MP's etc lose their power as it's seat is now in a place such as Brussells - the local countryman having little or no way of making his voice or concerns heard. Yes, in as far as salvation is concerned, all are identical before God and every nation, kindred tongue and people will gather at the magnificent Wedding Supper of the Lamb but till that awesome event Man's foolishness will not bring a grand Eutopia; rather an Orwellian nightmare visiting unspoken misery upon millions (some may argue it is well and truly already here).

The same is being done to Christendom - the enemy has infultrated even this sanctuary rendering it a virtually useless aparatus for the spreading and maintenance of Biblical truth (and by default, society).

Feel free to publish my comments and share them as you see fit.



LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I had to laugh after actually reading the Wikopedia definition because of the "Problems in Definition" section. The critic would have done well to have read it more carefully and critically themselves, as they would have soon discovered the fallacy in both the movement and in the definition. It was a coined word in the 60's meaning that every meaning, standard, word, truth, belief, was subject to de-construction. In its own definition, it can't even agree as to what it means, and so I stand by my own definition using the Latin root words, meaning to un-do, whether it be through philosophy or through physical force. If you read one definition carefully you can see they actually do themselves more harm than good by their own definition, and prove my point that it is a dismantling of civilized thinking and civilized dressing, and civilized building. The proponents of deconstruction are trying to eliminate the association of Marxism to their movement and present their philosophy as something noble and good. From another dictionary, the definition of deconstruction is:

A philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings: "In deconstruction, the critic claims there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable, 'virtual texts' constructed by readers in their search for meaning" Rebecca Goldstein.

I had to laugh when I read "traditional ASSUMPTIONS of truth," because whose assumptions are they?
The Bible talks about such people as "doting about questions and strifes of words.." (I Timothy 6:4) Nearly every post I wrote gets attacked over a word.

Mrs. Pilgrim said...

Mrs. Sherman,

If I may add in about "deconstruction"?

It may well be true that "deconstruction" refers only to a form of textual criticism--but I'm sure that our deconstructionist friends wouldn't want to undo the careful job of delimitation already done for the term. Let's not think inside the box; that would be "constructionist" and letting oneself be ruled by assumptions. (Gotcha.)

Even should one concede the point, deconstructionism yielded what I consider to be one of the most disastrous--not to mention irritating--forms of "literature" and vain philosophy known to man: postmodernism. Having read sufficient of the school of "thought" to know whereof I speak, I have to say that postmodern writing is bleak, drab, formless, pointless, and without real substance...

...Much like the fashions of today: bleak, drab, formless, insubstantial, and pretty well pointless in their proper functions of preserving modesty and providing warmth.

Therefore, to refer to the changes in the fashion universe as "deconstruction" is appropriate; it has yielded up postmodern clothing.

That point aside, about outdoor clothing: I have two "jumpers" made of heavy gabardine that I wear to garden and work outdoors. (I don't know what the garment would be called outside of America, so I'll describe: it's like a sleeveless dress designed to be worn with a blouse under it.) They're tiebacked so that I can adjust the fit, and midcalf-length so as to cover everything. Being that they're of a solid, heavy fabric that machine-washes warm, I don't have to worry about tearing or staining--and they still look feminine. Just my two-cents' worth!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

To the lady that mentioned sewing in reference to terrible fashions. When sewing was no longer taught in the schools, women didn't have control over the clothing like they did when they sewed. I remember in high school every year it was always exciting to see the home ec students make their own clothes and wear them to school. Some of them made whole wardrobes and wore them proudly. When sewing was no longer in the curriculum, even the fabric stores shut down. I remember the teacher would take whole classes of students to the store and explain things about fabrics to them. You don't see that any more. It would be nice if some people would do it privately and at least start some sewing classes so girls could make their own clothes.

And Mrs. Pilgrim and other homemakers: It never fails that a homemaker can put words together more understandably than any femininist or so-called intellectual that comes on this board. They have a better understand of politics, the Bible, and all subjects they teach their own children. They have a better understanding of finances. They have a better understanding of marriage, home and family. All around they are more capable of having a decent conversation that doesn't disentegrate into insults and snide remarks, even if they disagree.

Anonymous said...

For those ladies outside of the US, the 'Jumper' is more commonly referred to as a pinafore - most often a garment worn by schoolgirls (hence its virtual non-use by adult women). Even to this day, it seems strange to consider wearing one as in my country it's most commonly the attire of a child. They're almost impossible to purchase through retailers and are not associated with Christian modesty as they are in the US.

The capedress likewise has no historical foothold down here (as we've never had Amish/Menonite populations.

Our clothing herritage traditionally has been directly influenced by England (and Europe to a far smaller degree).

For readers from Australia, New Zealand (and the UK) here's an idea; how's about (especially seeking imput from those of you who sew) coming up with a modest clothing style or pattern that (in the case of Australia in particular) is serviceable and practical in our hot and often humid climate that is going to stand up to the riggours of heavy work in the home, garden or even on the farm or cattle station whilst remaining feminine and in keeping with our own clothing herritage (so us gals don't feel like we're back into school uniform once again).

The designers I've mentioned previously make nice clothing for inside work but it is not quite so practical for the heavier jobs - would wear out easily and not be so good for heavier work).


Mrs. E.,

Anna S said...

And dear Lydia, those bitter, angry trolling commenters don't deserve even one minute of your precious time. Personally, it boggles my mind how some people have nothing better to do than lurk at blogs and forums and criticize others. Obviously, they should get a life.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
Thanks for this inspiring post. For years I have searched to find a "style" of dresses/skirts that I can feel comfortable in. (Still looking!) I always feel really "dorky" wearing a dress/skirt other than for church or more formal occasions! Has anyone else had this feeling and overcome it? Also, I have no clue as to what type of sensible shoe to wear with a dress/skirt--something suitable for the all-day on-my-feet marathons, but that looks nice as well. Can anyone share suggestions or photos of shoes that look nice with a skirt but are comfortable for "regular" activities?

BoysMom said...

I have a pair of leather lace-up ankle high boots from Cabela's (the outdoor store) that look nice and are comfortable. They are pricy but can be resoled and restitched when they wear.

Kimberly said...

I wear skirts or jumpers (which I love) almost exclusively. I like clam diggers, too, but I have a physical disability and skirts are just easier for me.

-My mom bought an "old fashioned" sundress at Goodwill several years ago. It is not super colorful--blue flowers and pinky-grey background. Complete strangers stop and compliment her!

-I remember a fairly disparaging article about Princess Diana wearing a certain dress, and being photographed in it, frequently. If I recall correctly, it was a bright blue with bright, multicolored flowers. She shrugged off the criticism, saying that she worked with many children's charities and the children loved, and reacted, best to that dress.

KJ said...

My hubby is from PA. I am familiar with Mr. Knight's work; however, I didn't know he hailed from PA. The colors and detail are stunning!

I looked also at the Scandinavian Festival photos. We have one here in California, but I have never actually attended. I am mostly Irish-Danish-Norwegian, so I know I would love a festival of this sort.

I agree that clothing has really moved away from modestly celebrating the female shape and the thrill of womanhood! I suppose this is why I link to the past and the unapologetic femininity that the ladies exhibited...


cdkobasiuk said...

I used to live in pants, just out of laziness. Then I developed a medical conditon and found pants to be uncomfortable if not painful. I always loved skirts and dresses but didn't put in the effort. Pain is a great motivator. I live in skirts now, cleaning cooking, shopping, even doing my exercising in a skirt. I only must wear pants for two activities, mountain biking and bowling, I tend to fall down a lot doing those things.

I always sewed and I love making up new skirts, sleeves and collars still are a challenge though and denim is great for mowing the lawn and planting the garden in.