Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Modest Feminine Dress From the Pages of 1990 Victoria Magazine

These models from the July, 1990 edition of Victoria magazine, are draped in loose, flowing garments that work well for every day, at-home or out-and-about. The caption next to the light blue outfit and the pink outfit reads:

"Wearing a silk skirt flowing in the wind, a woman cannot help feeling utterly feminine. Her step acquires a graceful lilt...She may find herself ever mirroring the poses of women in 19th century seascapes painted by Frank Benson..."

Below: "With a simple silk blouse, belted at the waist, a silk rose pinned at her neck, and a folding artists umbrella...she might well be one of the turn-of-the-century art students...who attended "schools in the sand." The most famous of these were hosted by William Merritt Chase, whose school "blossomed every summer with feminine talent"--and an array of artistically dressed women.

Below: "A study in subdued femininity--a tailored oxford cloth shirtwaist dress with a surprise: a hand crocheted butterfly lace collar. Dress by Nancy Johnson." I believe this model's name was Mareeka and she and her children modeled regularly for Victoria, in innocent clothing that was just lovely to look at.

Many times, people would phone Victoria magazine and try to find out where the clothing could be purchased. I believe they began a wonderful and long-needed interest in good clothing during the late 80's and early 90's.

Above: "Just as a wisp of a white cloud is the only adornment befitting a July sky, so too, understated touches make for the most alluring summer fashions. Here, a pure linen shirt-dress, enhanced with embroidery at the collar and cuffs, is paired with the subtlest of accessories: a blue French silk ribbon to accent the waist...

Other pages in this issue feature domestic out door scenes. This issue was where I first saw something called a "food umbrella," above. It was popular a century ago but grew out of favor , for some reason. I did manage to find some of these at a Dollar Tree store. Netting can be substituted for a food umbrella, if you have none. Just drape it over your table to keep the food covered, and anchor it down with glassware or silverware. This only costs about a dollar a yard at fabric stores and comes in all colors.

The arrangements in this magazine inspired women every where to see beauty in every thing they had, from an old vase, to a pen and paper.

The recipes included were: raspberry fool, raspberry puree, and raspberry hazelnut meringue.

Young girls everywhere always flipped to the very back of the magazine when it came, to pour over every detail of the monthly house plans that were featured. They took a magnifying glass and studied the floor plans, got out their father's carpenter measuring tapes and sized up their own doorways, rooms and windows. Then, they would draw their own houses on graph paper and rearrange the floor plan to suit themselves. Victoria's house plans inspired women everywhere to architect their own homes.
Notice how the clothing is made of natural wovens and has sleeves, collars, and long hems, yet the women look so beautiful. Modest dressing will attract attention, but at least it will inspire people who see it.
You will find that people look at you in a positive way and men give positive compliments to women in feminine clothing, but the styles of the day (skimpy, clingy, strappy, low cut, etc) rarely get a compliment. People would be ashamed to say "I love how that big bull's-eye print with the black circle inside the green circle, just sort of lands in the strategic places on your figure." No one would say, "I am so glad to see you in that tight outfit that shows every unwanted pound on your body," and no one would ever say, "I think it is really nice that you have more bare body on you than clothing. I am 80 years old. Can you tell me where I can get a really cool outfit like that?"
This is now the time to post anonymously and say something you have always wanted to say about modest dressing and how to discourage all this nakedness that is going on around us.
You know the Bible says that women should be adorned in modest apparel. "Adorn " means "to drape;"modest means, among other things, "to hide" and apparel means "Loose and flowing." We understand what "drape " means when it comes to closing the ones on the windows to keep out the sun and protect our furniture, but for some reason, people find it difficult to understand why they should drape themselves and their daughters in enough cloth to protect their privacy on their bodies.
In an attempt to be modest, some women fall back on tee shirts and jeans, but these are not pretty and they also are not very modest, as they show every outline of your private areas. Remember that drapes in a house protect the inner belongings of the family from prying eyes or harsh weather. Tee shirts only look good if you are very very thin, but even then, they are still not beautiful and not very inspiring as an influence to younger women. Older women have to clean up their own act first, in the area of modest dress before they can attempt to influence the younger women to dress modestly. If you have gotten used to being in sports clothes, you will find it hard to develop a sense of style and beauty that will inspire the young. Young people are not going to follow some older woman who dresses like something the cat dragged in.
This is the post where you can only comment anonymously and tell your gut feelings about this terrible problem we are having with the fashion designers and their shortage of cloth, so remember to click "anonymous" after you write.
Here is the picture of the dress Barbara Billingsly wore to the grocery store in the 1950's. Many of us dressed up to shop, in those days!*:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7DKUS%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1
Some women might find dresses here
and also check catalogs like Chadwicks.


Anonymous said...

I would like to comment about pockets on jeans. In the 1940's, womens jeans pockets were up near the waistline. Jeans were not considered a fashion statement then, and were only worn when necessary. Now look at where the pockets are placed, so that every step you take moves the pockets and draws attention to your rear end, and makes women look like a "whale butt"

Anonymous said...

I am 50 years old and am very frustrated with clothes shopping these days. I would love to wear more dresses and skirts because you are right about T-shirts and jeans, but the skirts are too short and are meant to be worn bare-legged and the dresses are halter or strapless or made of thin clingy material, etc. Believe me, no one wants to see me bare-legged! Even though I don't enjoy sewing clothing (I prefer doing curtains, pillows, and other home decor) I've come to the conclusion that that's the only way I'll be able to get flattering, age-appropriate clothing. I actually feel embarrassed for women my age who are wearing shorts, leggings, revealing tops and other articles that show every lump and bump and wonder if they've just given up on trying to look good. Especially when I get stuck walking behind them! ;)

Anonymous said...

Aged women sometimes do not know that their pants are stuck in the crack of their behind's and how gross it looks and what an unsightly view it is for young children who are just the height where their eyes are at that level. What has happened to women? They seem not to care!

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of seeing cleavage! I also would like women to consider what they look like when they move in their clothing. Tops that seem like they cover everything are fine when a woman is standing still, but how about when she bends over? Unfortunately many of us end up getting an eye full.

Something else is slits in long skirts. Whilst you're standing still they are perfectly fine however when you sit down the slit rises higher and those sitting across the aisle at church get a very revealing view of your thigh. I feel so sorry for the men who must encounter this week after week. If a long skirt needs a slit for you to be able to walk in it then it is too straight. A more a-line style would be more modest.

I'm tired of seeing people's under garments. Panty lines, bra straps etc.

The pictures from this post are wonderfully-beautiful! They look feminine and modest and very classic.

I must admit that my own clothing while modest is not always beautiful. Even though I don't wear trousers I still feel like I have fallen into dressing sloppily. I want to do better.

Anonymous said...

Something I've experienced is that women seem to not like long hair on other women. Since growing my hair out kind of long my mom, my Aunt and other women ask me why I have it so long (it's not excessively long, not quite to the middle of my back) and how much more flattering it would be shorter. I think men like longer hair on women, I know my husband does. I have become convinced that women are dressing and styling themselves to impress other women, not their husbands/boyfriends/men.

Anonymous said...

I can't find tops that aren't too low or too tight. It seems like today's tops are made so that you MUST wear a camisole or a tank top underneath.

Anonymous said...

I find myself in agreement with Anonymous poster #2 - at 50 years old I do not want to wear capri pants, shorts, culottes, slipperly, clingy fabrics, sleeveless blouses and dresses or skirts that show my knees. I hate the graphic patterns that are so jarring to the senses and bright, ugly colors too. And black. Black is for funerals. Levis are heavy, hot in summer, cold in winter and not flattering on anyone, especially those with extra weight.

I am weary of looking at the saggy, lumpy, veiny bare arms and legs of old ladies as well as the fat, tattooed arms and legs of the young ladies. If I never see another navel or cleavage it will be too soon. No one seems to have any sympathy for their "audience" anymore. Argh.

And what is the deal with bare legs with skirts and dresses??

Shopping is a gruesome experience. I can't sew very well at all but maybe now is the time to learn!

I loved the Victorian-inspired fashions of the late 80s and early 90s. Such beautiful fabrics and patterns.

Thank you, Lydia, for allowing an opportunity for anonymous lamenting!

Anonymous said...

I own a shop frequented primarily by women, so I see ghastly clothing all day long (I don't sell clothes - yet). Very often women are dressed so much like men that I find myself having to look for *ahem* secondary sexual characteristics to tell whether my customer is male or female! Big clunky shoes, floppy pants or tight jeans, those ugly hoodies, hair looking like it was hacked off with a pair of pinking shears. Why would any woman go around looking like that? They're all so crabby too, so they can't be happy in their "comfortable" togs.

If these women could see how they look from behind as they walk and move in their jeans, leggings and sweatpants, they would die of embarrassment. As my granny used to say, it looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket. This is not dignified or attractive, and these women all look sour and as negative as can be. This is "liberation" - looking like an ugly man, scowling as if you've lost your last friend and dollar?

I sew all my clothes now, and don't even own a pair of pants. Pants do not become ANY woman. Just have a video taken of yourself walking away from the camera and see what everyone else sees while you wear your "modest" and "comfortable" pants!

Anonymous said...

In my generation I have seen what I think are called "low rider" jeans which are cut low on the hip causing undergarments and bare midriffs to be shown quite easily. Also these figure hugging leggings are quite in fashion right now which are terribly immodest. I think young women are more interested now about how their clothes can reveal and "show off" parts of their body to "impress". It is a terrible shift in thinking

Buffy said...

I can't help noticing that the fashion for dresses at the moment is very short - as in if you bend over to pick something up you'll show your underwear. I often look at fashion plates and the material and style are lovely - but why not just add a few extra inches of material and just bring the dress down to at least knee level?

PS I don't feel I have to say this annonymously. I hope that is OK.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprise at home many Christian women dress modestly most of the time think nothing of donning a tight bathing suit that shows the entire legs and is skin tight in the private areas. There's a big disconnect going on here!

Anonymous said...

This refreshing, because it prevents people from coming over to my blog and attacking me for my honest observations about something that is a very sensitive subject that needs to be addressed.

Older women need to be careful, that is true! Why do they insist on dressing in the same strumpet clothing as the young? It does not suit anyone, but it is even worse on older women with wrinkled skin, extra weight, large veins, etc.

Younger women, if you wear something long and flowing, don't be self conscious if people give you attention. At least they are not drooling like dogs or looking away embarrassed, the way they do when women wear slut clothing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who posted about having to look for particular anatomy before determining whether a person was male or female: I was always taught that you should be recognizable from a distance, as male or female. George and Martha Washington, should they walk on the street today, would want to return to the grave--they would wonder what kind of country they helped start. From a distance, if they sat on a park bench, they would not be able to tell male from female.

The clipped haired, mean faced women look older and more harsh in these clothes, which are not clothes at all, but under wear being worn as outer wear.

When there is a sale on this "clothing" there is a sale on "nothing."

When the movies were first invented, actresses were not filmed from behind, if they wore slacks.

Pants have always been worn in eastern countries, but had a tunic to cover the rear end.

I call the current styles "bottom dressing," because the emphasis is on the bottom. The pants are so low, and so are some of the skirts, as to see the cleavage of the bottom. They are so tight that the women can barely walk in them and you can tell they are uncomfortable and always having to tug at the waist to pull them up and keep them from falling down. Then, they add high heeled shoes so they can hoist the old girl up and show off the underside of the rear end even moreso. The whole focus of the fashion is the bottom. It is bottom dressing.

Hairdressing business makes more money off short hair because women have to go back more often for sculpting. The hairstyles are designed so that you cannot maintain them yourself without chemicals and special techniques and hair sprays. WOmen with long hair can put it up in a roll and put those tiny claw clips in it and maintain it themselves. Decades ago women with long hair were talked into cutting it because the hairdressers said it "flattered" their faces. You can get a flattered face just from an upsweep of your longer hair.

Feminine appearance is supposed to be the opposite or a contrast of the masculine appearance. However today, no one knows what the difference is. Men are supposed to have short hair; women longer. Men are to wear pants, women dresses. That is the way it has been in this country from the beginning.

Everyone is afraid to admit that the emperor has no clothes. In the old days if a girl showed up in church in a clingy style with huge circles or zebra print all over it, short enough to see underwear if she even leaned over a little or sat down, some old lady would say audibly,

"Girl, you look COLD. You are half naked. Would you like me to loan you a shawl? Cover yourself up, for heavens sakes!"

Now, everyone just shuts up and lets them lord it over the whole crowd. I've seen them at weddings and other sacred ceremonies in these horrid clothes that ought to be agains the law to be sold to the public. The designers are to blame for even putting pencil to paper and sketching these monstrosities.

Anonymous said...

I have some insights about this issue.

Number one, everyone "ministers" from their face. Their eyes are the source of expression and their smiles, their hair styles, are all the focus of their message. This is where we speak to people, not our rear ends or our cleavages or bare thighs.

No one can tell who your are or what kind of wife you would be by your body outlined tightly in spandex, but your face should be your focus.

That is why wome of the Victorian era wore hats, and lace at the neckline Their faces and their hands, where they ministered from , were the only bare flesh a person could see, but they were enhanced in a beautiful and flattering way, by hairstyles and ruffles and flowers. and such.

The other thing I would like to suggest is the use of a scarf. There are many people who cannot afford to revamp their wardrobe right away or all at once. During the transition time, you can get a length of material, scarf weight, about 3 yards, or less, depending on how it wraps or how it looks, and learn to wear it draped around the neckline in various ways or just hanging down the front of your garment. Shawls can be made inexpensively with fabric also, and you need not buy it if you have an old table cloth. Sometimes a lace table cloth is a great shaw, and it can be tied around the waist to hide a bare midriff. I believe the Indian sari is the perfect garment, ancient in its concept, and provides a barrier between your body and the public. It it is loose and flowing and it has a drape effect.
It is just a long scarf. American women would adapt it to their lifestyle, and since most people do not really like wearing coats (they are a lot of trouble to get on and off frequently), woolen shawls in winter, and lightweight chiffon ones in summer, would be the perfect modesty unti. They would even cover pants. If your hair is growing out or too short, a scarf on your head makes it look longer.

Anonymous said...

anonymous who mentioned the pinking sheered hair cuts: ha ha!

I too sew everything, although I know people must be thinking I am a prairee woman, with my little cotton printed fabrics.

I had all this fabric and decided one day just to grab the easiest pattern, with no zipper, and very quickly sewed up garment after garment. If I did not have enough fabric I added pieces of contrasting fabrics to sleeves and hems and ties, etc. I came away with 7 garments, one for each day of the week.

They aren't "in style" but so far, no one has come to take me away for fashion crime.

Sometimes when older women try to tell the younger ones to be more modest, they will reply "No one tells me what to wear."

Yet in my so called "prairee" dresses, I am often accosted by such people and told that it is not in style or that it looks like a religious costume, etc. Are they not also "dictating"?

Anonymous said...

I feel quite "clandestine" posting in the middle of the night as "anonynmous." I read your post before I went to sleep and I woke up very early with an active mind, dwelling on this very subject, so I feel I must say something.

I have an objection to jeans on women if the back side is not covered. This is because it is so distracting and can be a lure for the unsavory types in any society.

There are leggings a woman can wear, if they feel they want to wear something that feels like pants, underneath a skirt or dress, but I believe the edges of the leggings should not show. It is the same as underwear.

Pants are designed today to be sexy. That is it. There is no way around it. Unless a woman is wearing a pair of farm over alls for working hard in the field, there is really no reason to wear the jeans unless she is just trying to fit in and be stylish.

Nothing in the Bible tells us we have to follow the styles of the prevailing culture. Women need to throw off the shackles of the designers. Free themselves. Sketch out what they would really like and find a way to make it.

If they cant sew, they can learn by doing it. You don't even have to take classes. Just take fabric and start sewing it. It is amazing what you can do.

Pioneer women had no patterns. They could take fabric and gather it up and add a waistband and make a skirt. They could make petticoats. They could make blouses with out a pattern. Sometimes they just took apart an old garment and laid it out on fabric and cut around it and sewed it the way it was undone. Try that, but just remember to add alittle extra when cutting, at least a half an inch or five eights inch, and follow the guideline on the plate on your machine, for your seam line.

Jeans are the most unimaginative, unfeminine, uncolorful, clothing there is. They look good on men, but they are not feminine. If you have seen one pair, as Lady Lydia has said, you have seen them all. We have seen jeans.

Anonymous said...

My experience with teen girls is that they long for something better but don't thing it's out there/it's not for them/they couldn't live through the experience of looking different. They look at my clothes and literally sigh out loud, "It's okay for you, you can wear what you want,", implying that THEY CAN"T because they have to obey these awful social rules that force them into ugly revealing clothes. I have lots of young friends who LOVE dresses and skirts but are convinced there's NOWHERE to wear them.
I wear mine every day. Wherever I am, that's where someone is wearing a dress!

Lydia said...

I have a personal saying: You should never wait til you entertain the queen to be dressed well or use your fine china.

If you do wait, it will NEVER happen.

In the end, you are not going to get any credit for dressing to follow the crowd.

In the end, you can look back and say you did it your way.

It is sad that there is so much social pressure on people to dress ugly and youth misses out on their glory days of dressing for the season in pretty dresses, with their long hems flowing in the wind....Robert Louis Stevenson's poem about "the wind" says "like ladies skirts across the grass." How can a poet or an artist be inspired by today's clothing on women? Long ago, their clothing inspired thousands of paintings and poems.

Every time you walk past the check out stand at the grocery store you read the magazine covers: "How to turn men's heads," and worse. If girls want to truly turn heads, wear a Victorian costume. You wont have anyone looking twice to decide whether you are male or female. Nor will you feel uncomfortable at the way men look at you. I just wish , as independent as young women are these days, that they would rebel against the current fashion and dare to wear Victorian inspired clothing, like the pictures in the 1990 magazine I posted. This was a revival of the Victorian era styles and you can see it was modern yet retained its femininity.

Ginger said...

Here's a question for you. I love to sew and did so for years. But the quality of fabra\ic went severly down hill. I don't want to put my time and money into a garment thatwill not hold up. Where do you get lovely fabrics that are moderately priced?

I grew out my hair. I re-learned how to smile. But I can't get excited about sewing lovely clothing from cheap Chinese fabrics. Can you offer some advice?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. I grew up wearing jeans and shorts as a youngster and then tight mini skirts as a youth until I felt convicted to dress modestly somewhere in my mid 20s as I was causing others to stumble. Today's women seem to prefer either sloppy baggy men's clothes or short, tight, revealing clothing. We have 3 young daughters who LOVE to wear dresses and at times stick out like a sore thumb even amongst believers. We've been so indoctrinated by the world's view of what women should look like. Thanks for your reminder that women need to look different and glorify God with their appearance. Now if I could just learn how to sew.... I think in a few years that is something my daughters and I will learn together.

Anonymous said...

I was a young woman in the 80's and all my dresses were of this type. I can't remember the name of the designer positively but I think it may have been Laura Ashley. Many of her design were Victorian inspired and were lovely.
I have 3 teenaged daughters right now. We often have tears when clothes shopping because everything is cut for a high cling factor. We cannot find well fitting clothing because my girls have wider shoulders and ample bosoms. It is hard on all of us. We have started learning to sew and that has been a great help.
As far as jeans are concerned, I had the displeasure of hearing one of my daughters refer to a pair of pants having the distinction of giving you "old woman's butt". I was going to ask her what that malady looked like, but realized I didn't need to. We all knew too well what that meant.

Lydia said...

To the previous comment: there is something significant to the fact that shopping for clothing, or even choosing patterns to sew, can cause strife in your own family or cause tears of frustration. I wonder if it is a design to split mothers from daughters and take away the wisdom of the mothers so that daughters will go with the style.

If you look at photographs of parents and children of the 1800's you can see the young ladies wore the same kinds of clothes as the elderly women--a skirt and a blouse,, with sleeves, a collar, etc. Today stores have separate sections for young women, with a video playing in the back ground, which develops a separate culture.

Lydia said...

as for fabric : look on the end of the bolt and see if it says "made in USA" before you buy. Wash garments in cold water on delicate and make LOTS of clothing so that they do not wash and wear so much that they wear out too soon.

Lydia said...

generally you can avoid immodesty and cling if you choose natural wovens: cotton, linen, silk, wool and its derivatives, as it tends to be more breathable and also stands away from the body. Do not however buy cotton stretch because it is more difficult to sew and will not be as modest.

Lydia said...

In other words, do not buy nylon or other oil based fabrics. We still grow cotton and wool in the USA

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of going to church and seeing thongs -- even on mothers! Mothers of young children can really show off their thongs when bending over to pick up a child or something a child has dropped. I feel so sorry for all the men in the congregation who have to see this.

I'm sick of denim capris, t-shirts, and running shorts in church. I'm sick of the general state of sloppiness in the culture today. I'm sick of people saying behind the backs of others that they just don't know how so and so can come to work everyday (as an elementary school teacher) clothed in a dress and still manage to interact with the children. These are grown women asking these questions -- 30's to 50's. Were these women never taught how to sit properly with a dress on, etc? Are these women ignorant of the fact that their own mothers and especially their grandmothers did everything in a dress? Why don't they ask them instead of running down someone who dresses like a lady and not like some teenage surfer dude.

I was once at a Christmas party and the television was on in the background playing a movie with Loretta Young in it. One lady just couldn't stop laughing over the fact that Loretta Young was ice skating in a skirt. She and some other women were talking about how they don't even have dresses anymore because you just can't work or play in them. I (wearing a dress) spoke up and said that I wear dresses everyday and manage to do all my housework and play with my son and do everything else that comes my way, even play in the snow. They just said "Oh really" in a very condescending way.

Anonymous said...

i'm disgusted by bathing suits, as i have a large bust, it's very hard to find modest swimwear, that is fashionable, yet covers my body properly. i refuse to wear something that would attract negative attention, and want to appear modest in front of my children. the girls today digrace their bodies with the suits( or lack thereof)they wear, the ugly tatoos and piercings. another pet peeve is they way the mothers allow their young daughters to dress, on the beach, or at the mall, digraceful....

Lydia said...

I must have been at the same party. I heard it all. Especially the condescending looks and the dismissal. You know what that is: you say something of value and they look somewhere else and start a new topic or talk to someone else, totally dismissing you as if you were invisible.

Women helped men settle the wilderness, wearing dresses with jeans underneath them or dresses with pantaloons underneath them. Women chopped wood, baled hay in harvest, fished at the creek, and even took care of horses and RODE them in dresses. Our entire civilization was established when women wore dresses. What in the world are these girls talking about when they say you cant do anything in a dress? Most of our mothers were POOR and they wore long skirts. Rent the film "THe Electric Edwardians" and look at ordinary people walking up and down the street in the 1800's. The rich and poor alike still had long dresses and the men wore pants. People had larger families and still took care of the children WEARING DRESSES.

Designers have taken over women's minds and stolen men's clothing and put them on women, and women, like Eve, have fallen for it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia
I am far more liberal than many of the ladies who regularly comment on your blog...but, you know girls are making some great points.
*Skirts are more flattering.
*Jersey material rarely looks good.
*We need to think about what impression we're making on others, and the culture, when we walk down the street.

However, I do think it is possible to find some lovely, feminine clothes in shops, but you have to pay more money for them. Cotton and lace blouses are back in style, but they're more expensive than a t-shirt. Is it that many people would not want to spend decent money on decent clothes?

PS. For anybody out there who is heavier thighed, but has to walk and work in a skirt, simply apply a little roll on deodrant on your thighs and they will not chaffe.

Lydia said...

If you think jeans are modest, do some research of your own. Go to a mall and sit on a bench. Watch the girls walk by and watch the men watch the girls. Their eyes are drawn to the most exposed part of their body ad to the tightest part. If a woman wore a dress, that was modest (not all dresses are modest) the only flesh exposed would be the face and hands and that is where the eyes would go.

Anonymous said...

To the commenter looking for pretty, durable fabric...try My favorite of their fabrics is the standard weave polycotton Tropical Breeze. I make dresses for my 6 and 7 year old daughters (who don't wear pants) and they last very well for a whole year of very rough tumble and play. This fabric feels like cotton, but it doesn't wrinkle or fade like 100% is light and cool and they have many pretty prints.

I Loved those pictures from Victoria...Thanks for posting them and for the inspiration.

Talking about modest clothing, I always remember my brother talking about the discount clothing that women wear now...everything is at least 50 to 75% off. Meaning it only covers half or a quarter of what it should!

Lydia said...

liberal lady--yes, that is probably what is going on here. If you are conditioned to believingyou can get a blouse for 5 dollars and it is immodest, you will not pay 15 dollars for nicer ones.
Yet I often wonder about women who say they cannot afford a dress or a skirt. A pair of jeans is very high, as well as those ugly sports shoes and the dirty looking tops--you know, the gray piece over the kahki green piece over the muddy looking pair of straps...that stuff costs a lot when you add it up.

To the son's comment: ha ha. If it is 75 percent "off" it means there is 75 percent less clothing. AA girl walking down the street in skimpy clothes can be told "you must have got in on a great sale least 75 percent "off"

Anonymous said...

The fashion of this world will pass away!! :-) it is without form, structure or colour. fabrics cling and do not flow. the people are served cheap synthetic garbage made by poor souls working for a pitance in conditions that are as disgraceful as the garments their employers dictate they produce. is this liberty? no; it is degrading to the true beauty of a woman and serves to mock both a woman's femininity and her personhood, reducing her to a mere thing of display and exposure. We can learn a lot from the jewish tradition; nothing that immitates a man's garment along with three simple guidelines; above the collarbone, below the elbow and below the knee. if people wonder about elbows...I remember a discussion I heard between the secretary and another woman at one of the businesses I worked at in the early '90's; that she found it most offputting to see the elbows of older women; somewhat grimy, a bit tatty and wrinkled; older ladies bring out the best of the mature years by dressing with dignity, as does this rule extend to us all. I suspect one of the reasons why women labour under the misconception that it is impossible to work in a dress hinges upon the fact most dresses sold en mass are completely innappropriate to work in in the first place; short clinging skirts, uncomfortable tayloring, innappropriate fabric. a pair of good quality yet practical sandals, a hippie skirt, undershorts and a peasant blouse in natural fabric are very servicable. I garden, sweep and clean in mine without a problem; in fact to do so in a dress or skirt is much more comfortable than pants or shorts. Another problem the prospective skirt wearer is faced with today is a lack of suitable slips, petticoats and other foundation garments. over the past 10 years, I have seen these dramatically reduce as manufacturers have simply stopped producing them.

Additionally, if you wear ankle length or close to it, skirts with undershorts and a good slip, you don't need stockings and will still look very respectable.

all those mocking women who criticise and drag one down without realizing it are practicing in reality the imaginary judgements they assume the skirt wearer is making. they would do best to remember that "'Assume' makes an ass out of 'U' & 'me'"!! And that is the ridiculous trap they blunder right into, hurting others as they go. The curious thing is, however, if they were to be similarly questioned or spoken to, it would be the greatest indignation the world has ever seen!

let us reclaim the true liberty of womanhood; modesty, simple beauty, femininity - these present the woman as a whole human being - placing the focus on the person. Such clothing trends are kind to larger ladies and smaller alike, giving dignity and confidence to everyone.

I can attest to the simple beauty and manageability of long hair; haven't had a pair of scissors come anywhere near it for over four years; chiefly because I was disatisfied with the hairdressers' work and became tired of forking over the $$$ every six weeks to keep it in good nick. I never have a bad hair day; there are never clumps that stand out, I just brush it in the morning, tie it into a ponytail, roll it up and slip on a buncover - and go! Easy as that. though people say (you'd look nicer with hair framing your face', I dislike utterly the feel of hair around my ears and neck; it irritates the heck out of me, and equally dislike the job to keep short styles looking halfway decent. so its long; very long! I hope hair has a terminal length because its now to my lower back. I have kicked makeup also (not that I ever wore much) but the idea we need to paint our faces to be seen as acceptable by others seems to clash with my notions of the 'whole of person' worth. Just my Body Shop bath gel, exfolliant and cocoa butter and I'm fine (or Locittane if I'm in the money).

Anonymous said...

I was very inspired by this post. Sorry I’m a little late in commenting. I decided to go to several popular clothing stores that are in malls and shopping centers across the country and create some modest, yet fashionable outfits. There is hope! You can find attractive and modest clothing in the malls! It takes some time, don’t automatically be put off by what you see in the windows!

Top and Skirt, under $50 for both!

Two skirts that would look great coordinating tops!

Blouse and skirt, together the outfit is under $30 and the skirt is very versatile:

Blouse and skirt, also very versatile:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I was crossing the parking lot of K-Mart when an elderly couple climbed out of a car and started walking towards the store in front of me. The lady wore tight sweats over a very ample and jiggly backside, a man's type t-shirt that was hiked up in back for some reason and sneakers. She also had the short shaved hairdo. The edge of her underwear was showing above the waistline of the pants in back and as they walked her sweet little husband reached over and tried in vain to tug up the pants !! She did not seem to even notice. Ouch.

Lydia said...

sarah in AUstralia, you could not be anonymous if you tried....I recognize you anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Sunday is a lovely day, which we still call the Sabbath. Our church has certain standards that are highly encouraged and taught frequently to all ages. THis includes knee length or longer dress, sleeves, ties for men, generally what we used to call church clothes. It brings a reverent feeling to our worship. Lately however, I notice teen girls and boys sort of stretching things. The girl will have on a skirt, but it will be short or be worn with beach shoes, hoodies, and such. The boys wear their white shirts and ties, but the wear baggy cargo pants. They are trying to live a double standard and it shows. Thankfully most of the adults still dress in their sunday best.

Last Sunday we all SIL house for a father's day dinner. When we got there everyone was still dressed for church. Slowly, everyone but me got a bit more comfortable in their jeans, sweats, and capri pants. It was hideous and I felt so out of place--IN MY OWN FAMILY.

It was difficult to sit like a lady, because the furniture was designed for lounging. While I do not long for the good old days, I would like to go back to ladies dressing and sitting like ladies as well as gentlemen acting as such.

Anonymous said...

I'm in my community college's computer lab right now.(Summer classes are in session.) I see a lot of overweight women wearing tight/short clothing. I see men wearing baseball caps indoors. I see a man wearing a white tank top, with his belly protruding out, and baggy short. I see lots and lots of bra straps…

I see some sharply dressed people too. There are men with polos and tucked in shirts. There are no women in dresses or skirts, but some are wearing clothes that are size appropriate and color coordinated.

Anonymous said...


LOL!! What is it that gives the game away? My lousy spelling? my dusty book academia writing style or the fact my posts resemble a road-test for a 100,000 word Thesis? :-) Six and a half billion people world wide and a gal can't hide anywhere!! :-D

Keep the fantastic articles coming!

Anonymous from a vague location nowhere in particular in in the southern hemisphere. :-)

Anonymous said...

Does Victoria magazine still show these lovely clothes?

Anonymous said...

The young women in my small southwestern town seem to have a penchant for one particular style. It's a tight top that doesn't cover the waistline and low-cut tight pants or short skirt. Having a protuding stomach doesn't stop them from this style, as they believe that being overweight is "curvy" and they can show these curves and be proud. Many also wear a navel ring just in case one didn't notice the area the first time. I don't like this look and genuinely feel sorry for them because apparently no one is telling them the truth.

Anonymous said...


Wow, what a great opportunity to say what I really think without being so careful to put things delicately. I've loved reading the other comments.
This is going to be pretty long, but here goes...



Yes, I have some too and it stinks, but for Pete's sake -- don't go out of your way to accentuate it!


Not to be unfairly biased, but for some reason I think older women should have more sense about dressing than a young girl so when I see them in horrid clothing I feel sad and discouraged, because it makes me think that widsom and good judgement don't come with age. Plus, I am so embarrassed for the lady!

To the commentor that mentioned shorts and pants crawling up their behinds. I've seen this disgusting scene way to many times. Agggh!


It's called UNDERware for a reason. It should be kept UNDERNEATH your clothing at all times. What makes people think I (or anyone else) wants to their bra (or lack of one), thong or camisole. By the way, those strappy little tops that a lot of "ladies" wear now-a-days, used to be called underware not very long ago.


The sad fact of life is that not everyone is born with lovely feet. Some are, but through years of neglect they start looking downright scary. I'm not kidding. Why do some people choose to wear these ugly flip flops even to the most inappropriate of places? Is it totally impossible to find a comfortable pair of well fitting shoes that cover your hideous feet up? Or, perhaps you could start taking care of them by oh, say scrubbing them clean and sanding the callouses off them?


I would be so relieved if women stopped wearing colours that make them look like a corpse, and stopped wearing stuff that exposes them like a $2 You-Know-What (sorry -- that's a very crude expression, but that's a real expression that I've heard real men using to describe women that let it all hang out. Do these women know (or care) that men think of them like that?!

With so few good clothing options out there today, I really feel for women that want to dress in flattering clothing because they have such a hard time finding something nice.

I am overweight -- okay I am really quite fat, to be totally honest. And, it is very hard to find things that are becoming to me. But the situation is far from hopeless. Here's what I've found helpful for me:

It's taken a long time, but I've finally found a handful of styles and colours that look really good on me. I only buy these (or very similar) styles in the colours that look best with my skin tone. Yes, these clothes tend to be more expensive. However, because they are better quality clothes, they last longer, plus I'm not buying things I won't wear -- so I spend much less in the long run.

Can't wait to read the rest of the comments.

Lydia said...

The current Victoria does have a few pretty garments. One is an antique lace dress worn by Mary Jane of Mary Jane's farm in Idaho. I believe I have seen this dress before and wish I could figure out how to make one like it.

Lydia said...

commenter who spoke about the under wear being UNDER wear:

What was underwear a hundred years ago is now outerwear. Jeff Pollock exposed it in his little book called "THe Public Undressing of America." He showed how Hollywood films made a contract with Janzten swimwear and they made underwear out of outerwear material, like denim, and put it on the actresses in movies to parade around in public.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the pictures. Women have feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, not to mention good old-fashioned self-respect, when they embrace their womanhood and femininity, and clothing like this helps us to do just that.

Today's woman tries to look, act, dress, work and recreate like a man, something she is not, and then wonders why she has low self-esteem. She has already esteemed herself to be nothing and inferior, which is why she tries to be a man.

About today's fashion: what I really get upset about is all the low-cut clothing that is found in the stores today -- even in stores and catalogs that sell conservative clothing.

I am petite, which makes it harder, as when you are petite, everything about your body is short or petite, not just your legs. You are also short from collar-bone to breast. So, everything ends up being too low in front.

I bought 3 of these little "dickeys" I think you'd call them, from Kathleen Norris (you can google that), but I don't think they sell them any more. You could ask.

They are tri-angular bits of lace with velcro tabs at the 2 upper corners, that go across your chest. You put the tabs around your bra straps, and they act as a mock-camisole across the chest and fill in that too-low neckline. They would be easy to make, too. They are pretty lace, and I have one white, one black, and one beige.

Oh, for clothing, I like J. C. Penney's. I LOVE the 2-piece dresses and jacket-dresses. They are long and flowing and modest and feminine. They are just dressy enough for church.

If you want to get "Victoria-like", buy their "mother of the bride" type dresses in the catalog (sometimes in the stores). They are about $80 and lavishly laced!

I shop the store, usually, and find the nice 2-piece and jacket dresses on sale for about $20 to $30.

Check out the Penney's catalog. At least half of the stuff is suitable for Christian ladies.

Love Victoria magazine. They are publishing again, although the older issues are best. Wish I had kept them.

Lydia said...

regarding the comment about school teachers in dresses: women , especially single young women,, were generally chosen as school marms in the community schools, and for centuries they traditionally wore long dresses . Yet, children were better educated. The woman's skirts apparently did not hinder the child's education,

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes -- the pants that go up the buttocks. Women are not embarrassed at anything any more. I recently saw a hugely overweight women with her little daughter at an ice cream store, dressed in a swimsuit! Her legs were huge and filled with cellulite and blue varicose veins. Couldn't she spare us and wrap a towel around her middle out in public?

Hint: If you don't know how to sew and cannot follow written or DVD instructions, or have nobody to teach you, do this:

Take an old garment like a skirt or something (something simple at first) and rip it apart with a seam ripper (under a dollar at WalMart -- indispensable).

When the garment is ripped apart (facings, hem, everything) and the thread bits discarded, SEW THE GARMENT TOGETHER AGAIN -- just for practice! Do this with something that you are going to throw away anyway, not something nice.

This will be good practice. When you are finished, use the fabric for rag rugs or something. Then go out and buy a pattern and some material for something simple like a skirt or apron and try it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, don't other women always try to get you to cut your hair!!

Anonymous said...

In church when everyone stands up for a song or a prayer, the ladies with the pants look awful and it is such a distraction. WHoever is looking from the back of the auditorium really gets an eye full.We all have to look at it, so why not make it pretty, by draping a nice skirt or shall on that part of the anatomy.

Lydia said...

concerning bare feet: The son of Helen Hayes, James MacArthur, said in a documentary about his mother that when she went to the studio she dressed to the "nines" and that when the era came where the young actresses were coming in thongs and sandals and bare feet, dirty, she never would, even when people were constantly urging her to be casual or to "relax" etc. I think elderly women ought to be like that, even at the risk of being called straight laced or old fashioned or formal. I was never comfortable in the new clothing that was lacking in structure, such as tee shirts and jeans and neither was my husband. We always liked a fresh new look rather than an old faded look, and we were not fromm rich families. Our families were poor but taught us how to dress rich

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the late 80's and early 90's as a time of lovely women's fashions, I remember a little before that, in the early 80's, when we were all agog over Princess Diana's clothes. (I'm 51, so that was the era of my "coming of age" in a fashion sense). At that time, she was the young, beautiful new wife of the prince and didn't we all want to look like her! Her clothes gave us a vision of femininity we longed for after the "disco 70's"). The elements I remember from that time were high collars with a bit of lace or ruffle at the top, a strand of pearls, a waistline defined with a belt or sash, hosiery in a pale sheer shade of off-white, shoes/pumps with a low heel (she was quite tall), below the knee flowy skirts, and all done in real colors. You saw the blue outfit, the green outfit, the yellow outfit, the tartan outfit etc. often with hat and gloves to match, depending on the occasion. I remember those London girls being called "Sloan Rangers" after the name of Sloan St. where they bought those fashions. My best girlfriend and I saved our money so we could travel from California to London to buy those lovely clothes in 1982, just to say we got them on Sloan St. Do any of you "older" women remember that era or trying to follow those fashions? Princess Diana (not that I would have wanted what her life became), was to my group of friends what Jacqueline Kennedy was to my mother's.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, I think I am finally catching on to what you are saying by showing us Victorian clothes and even the ladies working in the fields in the early 1800's (previous post).

If we actually study what these ladies are wearing, we can see how we can put together a similar look without looking as if it's a costume from the past. For instance, a blouse, a vest that fits close to the body, and a skirt would give the same look as the farming women had and still be modern. And a one-piece dress in a lovely color and a flowing fabric, with lace trimming, ribbons, and maybe a tiered flowy skirt would capture the Victorian look now.

I think I remember a long-ago post of yours where you said your husband commented that many women who try to dress in a modest way look drab. You are not suggesting drab - you are suggesting femininity! I appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

First, about long hair. I am nearly 40 and have a serious chronic autoimmune disease. I require lifelong medication and medical care. Thin hair is a known, frustrating and hard to treat symptom of many illnesses, and not all of them are curable. I have been to many doctors about it, top specialists who offer no hope. My hair looks very bad long. I found a hairdresser who can work with my hair and she does wonders with a pretty short style. I get compliments on my short hair as I style it carefully.

Please do not be so judgmental of those of us older women who have shorter hair. I wear it my natural (nice) color with pretty earrings and makeup. Wigs are hot, expensive and hard to wear. Extensions would pull my hair out in the long run. Trust me, I have looked into it all and short hair is my best choice for now. Many older women cannot and should not wear longer hair, but if your hair is in a condition to do so, it can be pretty. But, it is a gift from God not all of us have enough of.

As for the clothing comments, I completely agree about all you wrote! I feel 100% better, prettier and healthier in a long, pretty skirt and a pretty top. I get some beautiful skirts and shirts at thrift stores. I think women donate them when they "update" their wardrobes for more revealing, socially accceptable attire, so they are easy to find in a medium size for about $5. I have a lot of medical bills and I can't afford fancy catalogs and so on. If I can dress the way you describe on my budget, anyone can.

did not always dress this way and I recall countless times I was sorry for a choice I had made in my attire. The worst was when I once ran into a sweet nun I knew in the grocery store. I was dressed in the "modern" way, tight jeans and all. I will never forget how totally mortified I was, how much I regretted wearing the shirt I was wearing, which showed too much chest.

People often say how nice I look in my skirts. Some say rude things along the lines of "who do you think you are". They are usually the poorly dressed women, who are not comfortable with their choices when they see me. I have been in their shoes and I have thought what they do so I know. I realize thanks to this blog this is part of the territory.

I had gotten away from dressing this way out of discouragment from the comments. I am thin enough to wear the current trash so I was starting to. I have completely turned that around thanks to this blog and the honest commentary recently. Thank you a million times.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to curls? When I was growing up, everyone wanted curls in their hair (late 50's early 60's), simply because it was considered pretty. Now all I see is flat ironed hair, which has it's place, but I do long for curly hair to come back in style. I tried to grow my middle aged hair long, but it is so thin, my husband asked me to cut it, to make it look like I had some hair. So while it's not short or shaved like a boy's, I do try to make it as feminine as possible with curls, height, soft bangs, etc as if it were the illusion of an up-do.

I once heard that hairstyles are a function of the newest hair appliances of the time. While we now have the flat iron, think of the styles of the 60's when the world discovered hair spray. Think of the styles of the 70's when we had those blow-dryers with the brushes attached and we blew those "wings" into our hair. Think of the 80's with our stack perms. Anyone with me on this? I also observe that hairstyles tend to mirror the clothing styles. Flowy feminine clothes/flowy feminine hair. Edgy, garish clothes/edgy garish hair. And everything in between.

Anonymous said...

I saw a very elderly woman in our conservative church the other day in white short-shorts. I was shocked. To say it looked bad is a massive understatement.

I have started to carefully consider what I want to look like when I am older. I do notice that some of the current styles are more "passable" on younger women, but by age 33 or so, they start to look atrocious. What looks like youthful folly on someone under 30 starts to look desperate and foolish far younger than the 40 or 50 some women use as their cutoff age for certain fashions.

The problem here in the States is the constant message that showing skin is showing "self-confidence". If you don't show "body confidence" by baring all, something must be wrong. That message is passed on to young girls by everyone, even their own mothers, who dress them as miniture versions of their own trampy attire. One mother in our neighborhood dresses her daughter in super tight capris and tank tops that reveal every curve. When the girl complained that men were staring, her mother told her she could "handle herself" and did nothing to stop it. I feel so bad for that girl, sent out to play dressed that way.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Oh, I've had so much fun reading this post and laughing at the comments! I'm not alone in my disgust at viewing things that only the family doctor should see!

I would like to add that thrift stores can be a wonderful place to find vintage-style (or even vintage), modest clothing. You can find a lot of higher end clothing for just a few dollars. You can sanitize them by washing them with vinegar or hanging them in the sun to dry. You can even buy nice cotton bedsheets and make things out of them, and re-make some types of clothing into other things~it just takes a little imagination.



Anonymous said...

Something that alot of ladies don't consider when wearing dresses or nice blouses is that even though the neckline may appear modest, if care isn't taken when bending down it can be just as immodest as a very low neckline. As my husband says, "Don't they realize that when they bend over you can see all the way to their belly button?!"

Holding your hand over your neckline and bending at the knees instead of at the waist can remedy this....or simply wearing much higher necklines.

Anonymous said...

I am not a dresses only person, but absolutely have to agree. I am a former flight attendant -- you would be totally amazed (and embarassed) by the outfits many women choose to wear on a plane. Many greatly overweight women choose to wear light colored spandex pants that show every bit of cellulite and conform to every wrinkle. These are routinely worn with a short, midriff bearing spandex top. Unbelieveable! Also, I have seen regularly women at Walmart in pajamas and bedroom shoes. I don't mean pants that look like pajamas. I mean regular pajamas -- button up top and cutsie print fabric!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading all of the comments. I especially like the tip about tunics, that is a great point and a good option.

My biggest pet peeve is what people wear to church. One day of the week, for a few hours, please find an outfit that is flattering and modest. Summer seems to make everything worse too.

On the weight comments, I do agree that being overweight makes the common fashions today look even worse, but on the other hand, I think that women who are thin think they can wear some stuff that the overweight woman wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. In a way, being overweight often imposes a modesty.

I am wondering, what is the best way to transition to skirts? I have been trying a gradual shift and it's been slooooooow. Is it better to just go cold turkey?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why a lot of middle aged women always wear shorts and t-shirts or jeans that look terrible on them and so un-feminine. I guess I am just used to seeing my mom (who is 50) and both grandmas wear dresses & skirts.

I've worn two ankle-length skirts to my office and my boss told me she had a long skirt that she had thought about wearing to work but felt "weird" about what people would say. How sad!

I flipped through Victoria magazine last night and that lace dress MaryJane had on is so pretty!

I really wish more women would dress in a more feminine manner.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of seeing cleavage everywhere!!!!! And cleavage with tatoos is even WORSE!!! WHY do women want to cheapen themselves this way?

And I am tired of having to shop for clothes online because there is NOTHING modest in the stores these days- only clothes that they want you to conform to. NOT ME!! I will not conform to the pattern of this world! I will dress modestly and femininely, thank you very much.

I am sad that women want to make themselves look so very cheap these days. While their husbands and fathers want to protect and cherish, they want to flaunt, show off and live it up. How SAD our gender has become, indeed!! Feminism has done NO favors to ladies!!!

Mrs. U said...

WHY do women feel "weird" wearing dresses today? How sad is that?!!! My sister, who claims to love all things feminine, refuses to wear dresses or skirts- even to church! Why? She feels "weird" and says that people look at her. OF COURSE people look at you if you have a modest dress or skirt on. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT FEMININITY LOOKS LIKE ANYMORE!!!!

Anonymous said...

With regard to the transition from trousers to skirts I would definitely recommend a quick and complete swap. There came a time in my life when I realised that I wanted to dress only in skirts and dresses. Strangely enough at the same time my dear husband was away for some weeks and came home with five pairs of trousers he had purchased for me...all at least two sizes too big! They could not be returned as they had come from overseas. This certainly emphasised to me how large I must have looked in pants if he thought that these would fit!! Sadly( as he had meant so well) I packed them away unworn and added my well-worn jeans and stashed the whole lot away. Two years went by and one day I was headed out into the wilds, hiking through rough country, boating and toting along a back pack with our three young children and everything we needed. I pulled out those old well-worn and shabby jeans and slid into them. The whole day I felt self-conscious and even "sexy"! I was made completely aware how trousers on a woman do change the way she is presented to the world...even if that day it was only out in the forest with my husband and children for company!
I have never felt like pulling them on again and live in mid/long skirts even when gardening or in the fields. An apron is a quick and pretty addition and as for laundry, skirts and dresses wash and dry just as easily as trousers, perhaps even quicker.
My husband has often commented how nice I look in my skirts, has never suggested I switch back, and I keep those "sexy" feelings for at home in the privacy of our bedroom!

Anonymous said...

When I was in my mid 40's, maybe 6 or 7 years ago, I was working in an office alongside women both younger and older than me. My typical "uniform" was a lined straight skirt, silk blouse (not a man's styled shirt, but a blouse), hosiery and pumps. It served me well for 25 years, with very little variance. Anyway, one day in the restroom, I was given what I jokingly call an "intervention." A handful of well-meaning girls, about 10 years younger than me, took me aside to tell me that while I looked OK, it was time to update my look. I was told I needed to do three things: skip the pantihose, get rid of the pumps and stop tucking in my blouse. The new look was an untucked shirt over a knee-length skirt with bare legs and sandle-y shoes. That's when the train jumped the track. And I've never been able to get on course with the world of everyday fashions since. What middle aged woman can wear this stuff? Nowadays, as a homemaker, I have more latitude to wear what I want, but nevertheless, it is hard to get all the elements put together: wearability, servicability, modesty, age-appropriateness, femininity, and appeal (primarily in the eyes of my husband). Never mind my teenager who is embarrassed if I look fashionable and embarrassed if it don't. I got myself the old Ozzie and Harriet DVDs to see how Harriet Nelson looked as a middle aged woman, which she was throughout most of the run of that program (BTW, what a charming series that was; it has been vilified for nothing). Anyway, judging from her, a dress is always appropriate as is a simple skirt and blouse. She was not the big crinoline and pearls maven throughout it's 14-year run that everyone makes her out to be, although she did wear those things once in a while in the early days of the show. Her styles could work today for us older gals, if we adapt them a bit. Anyways, thank you for all the help on the subject of dressing for the older woman.

Lydia said...

I had all the picture books of Diana with the innocent looking, Laura Ashley style clothing,during her first few years. I might be able to post some of the outfits some day. She was a great exammple with clothing, from her going-away outfit to her materity clothing, with the clear colors and matching hats. The young girls tried to find patterns to sew to immitate her Scots outfit, her nautical dress, or her blouse and jumper.

Mary said...

Oh, I am an older woman who remembers Princess Diana! Unfortunately, I cut my waist-length hair to get one of her sugar-bowl haircuts and have kept it pretty short till now. I am now letting it grow out again after all these years. Why or why do we cut off our glory? John R. Rice (google him) did a sermon years ago on Bobbed Hair. Gives you a lot to think about.

Anyway, even though Princess Diana's hair was short, it wasn't too short, and it was very feminine.

I still have my Princess Diana books (hardcover!) and miss the clothes. They were SO feminine!!!

The feminists hated her and accused her of setting the woman's movement back 50 years! Thank God! To others, she was a Madonna figure, with her little boys. I had two boys born at about the same time and lived in England, then! Never got to see the princess, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm am very tired of seeing cleavage on EVERYONE! News anchors, weather forecasters, librarians, moms at the park, tellers at the bank, grocery store clerks? The dance instructors at my daughter's ballet school show less skin than some of these people. It boggles the mind. I mean, really, how is this liberation from anything? I remember cheesy tv programs from the 70's showing women with cleavage doing the weather. 30 years later, this is reality? Hugh Heffner must be proud!

I take my children to the public pool, and it's unbelievable what people will expose. Breasts hanging out, rolls of back fat, tatoos of all kinds in all kinds of places, and more cottage cheese than you'll find in a Maola Milk factory! The other day, we saw a very fat woman wearing a white string bikini! She looked awful!! Modest swimwear does exist, but these people obviously don't know about it.

I hate to pick on older women more, but I have to. I live in the SE US, and we have lots of retirees here. The uniform seems to be a polo shirt in a girly color like pink, coral, or mint green, elastic waste synthetic pants in beige or light blue, white Rockport or Reebok sneakers, a very short haircut, and hoop earrings. It's not an awful look, but it's so typical and dull. And, the pants are not at all flattering.

I also see a lot of older women wearing capris in patterns like flowers or polka dots. As if you need more emphasis on the "old lady butt."

I mostly hate the emphasis on sexiness in all of fashion. Most women can't pull a "sexy" look off, but it doesn't stop them from trying. Tight jeans with the muffin top, tank tops with a belly peeking out underneath, bra straps, tacky sayings on t-shirts and underwear, push-up bras and thong underwear for teens, etc. I have a 9-year-old, and shopping for her is amost a disturbing experience. They've stopped making cute clothes for these little girls. When they reach size 7, they become "tweens," but the clothes say, "teens." Very inappropriate for anyone much less a child. My daughter looks longingly at the 2-6x section, because the dresses are so cute. She likes smocked dresses, jumpers with cute appliques, and pretty colors. Tween clothing is often drab brown or black, the sayings are mean (like, "Girls rule, boys drool"), junky, cheap looking, too plain, or too mature. I generally buy my children the clothing in the children's unforms section (they are well made and last longer) and make my daughter's dresses.

Arusetta said...

When I was a teenager there was always a fight with my mother because I did not want to wear jeans and contrasting prints or show my skin... I had to be 'normal' and 'be like other girls'. Sometimes it is handy to be a rebelling teenager *grin* no skimpy outfits for me :)
I still remember the first time I put on a skirt - always thought skirts were horrible pieces of clothing. Until the day all of my trousers were dirty and the only thing to wear was that long-forgotten-long skirt in the back of my closet. I was suprised by how I liked to wear it. So in the following years out went the pants and in went the skirts.
And here in the Netherlands the same problems: not a nice piece of clothing to be found in the stores. I have learned how to sew and now I can make what I cannot find :)
I only wear pants if they are not tightfitting and covered to the knee with a nice flowing tunic, the asian style. I am glad long tunics are again fashionable - it makes it possible to wear this style to my workplace.

Thanks for all the inspiritional pictures - I have learned how to make a pattern from a picture and examples are hard to find.

Anonymous said...

I took my young son to McDonalds for a lunch treat today. I am only in my 40s but I am stunned at how much dress standards have changed for teenage girls. These beautiful young girls were dressed like prostitutes--skirts so short that their underwear was visible even when they were standing up straight, visible bra straps, tight, skimpy tops with the top edge of their bra peeking out, and short-shorts that didn't even cover their rear ends. The men in line couldn't take their eyes off the bodies of these 14-16 year old girls. I don't blame them for looking, but my heart ached for the girls. Teenage girls are so naturally pretty that they don't need to dress this way to be noticed--no one can miss their fresh-faced appeal. Why then do they dress so scantily? My son is only 7, but I am beginning to wonder how I will instill proper respect for women in my boys if they spend their time around girls dressed like hookers.

The only thing less attractive than these fashions for young women are older women who are "mutton dressed as lamb" who wear the same revealing clothes well into middle age. I wear skimpy clothes in my bedroom to please my spouse, but I don't flatter myself that anyone else wants to see my dressed that way!

Anonymous said...

This is such a great post with great comments! I am a younger woman, who has worn mostly skirts and dresses for years, and I love wearing them!! My fiance loves it that I wear them, too. :)

I would like to add to the discussion of wearing hose or not, though. I do not wear hose with my knee-length or longer skirts (and I don't have anything shorter than that) because I cannot stand synthetic fabrics. My skin cannot breathe if I wear hose (and I can't breathe, either, with the "control top" pinching my abdomen). I confess that I do not see how it would be any more immodest to have bare legs than it would be to wear sheer hose that is practically invisible, anyway.

I also do not wear pumps, even though I think they look nice. Even a one-inch heel on a shoe throws the back out of alignment, and I would rather have a stronger back as I get older than wear pretty shoes now. I do wear pretty, feminine sandals during the summer and cute, feminine little boots during the winter (no chunky, thick-soled shoes for me). I do take care of my feet, though, and keep them in good shape.

I'm so glad to see all the ladies here who appreciate truly lovely clothes!!

Anna said...

Oh my goodness, I'm so tired of women "celebrating their curves"! Of course I don't want anyone beating themselves up over their body shape, but when YOUNG women, who could be eating right and exercising are 50-70 pounds overweight are are dressing in jogging bras and short shorts for their camping and hiking and river-floating, I have to wonder WHO has told them this is attractive?!?!?! Seriously. Do young men come up to them and compliment the big rolls of flesh? Is there some kind of positive reinforcement going on? Why don't they WANT to cover up? I would not show that stuff if it were mine.

Lydia said...

Years ago when I had a class for 11 year old girls, I was totally surprised at the reaction from the MOTHERS. There was one lesson on hospitality, one on modesty, one on homemaking and one on character. Each class only one day, and when one girl took her materials home, her step mother had a royal fit over it and threatened to shut down the church. There were only three guidelines for modesty presented in the modesty lesson:

Hide straps,
Hide cleavage
Long enough to sit down without dress riding up to the thighs.

I did not tell what style of dress to wear or what kind of sleeve or neckline, and did not prescribe any particuar garment to wear.

The step mother was furious and I wondered why in the world she wanted to dress this girl in non-innocent ways. Is it cheaper, more easily obtained, or what? Do mothers belief that this kind of clothig is better for their young daughters? It seems almost a conviction on their part! Almost like a religion, the way they follow the styles.
Later on I found that the school had sent home an even stricter list of guidelines, stating no bare midriffs, no tee shirts and no sleeveless tops and no mini skirts. There were about 20 things in the list they had sent home. I wondered if the woman wanted to shut down the school!

Anonymous said...

I commented earlier this afternoon and just got to thinking of some of the lovely middle aged and older women on the cleaner sitcoms of years past. They dressed in a wholesome, modest feminine style. I think they look just lovely!

Remember Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffeth Show? She always looked so lovely. Here is a link to a photo of her:

Mrs Mondello (Larry's Mother) from the Leave it to Beaver Show. (and of course we all remember how lovely June Cleaver looked)

Olivia Walton from the Waltons:

Anonymous said...

I can remember as a girl watching TV in the 70's. My mom liked the cop shows and movies. I would see "ladies" of the night depicted. Somehow, at a young age (unfortunately) I knew sort of what this meant. They were all dressed in hot pants, halter tops, hip-huggers, very tall shoes with straps around their legs. As a youngster I instinctively knew that this is how one attracts the wrong kind of attention. Now, I see this kind of clothing on LITTLE GIRLS. We are selling our little precious daughters 'down the river' so to speak. Where is the honesty and shamefacedness before a HOLY God. Even if one kind of likes that kind of apparel, is there any thought of God? Would any believer wish to stand naked before our Creator? Doesn't the scripture tell us to come to him for dress? The wicked are described as being naked and open before Him. Oh, please sisters, think of Christ first and the rest will pretty naturally fall into place.

Caroline said...

"Whale butt"...hahaha, I completely agree, but then wale butts seem to be en vogue now, don't they?

Victoria should start having more regular fashion spreads. The latest issue doesn't have an ounce of fashion in it, although I desperately want a dress like the one Mary Jane Butters is wearing in the editorial about her farm. It is an Edwardian inspired beauty of a thing!

I'm 27 years old and am consumately annoyed with the "fashion" selection in stores today. I can often make nice outfits from a combination of the following stores: JCrew, JJill, April's Attic, and Wal*Mart (very good for layering pieces).

I must teach myself to sew, I would be MUCH happier with my closet if I did.

I take my dog for a long walk every morning and evening and most of the time am wearing a long skirt while doing so and women stop me and ask how I do it. Do what? WALK??? Women have been so conditioned to think that they "can't do anything" while wearing a skirt that they just avoid them. In all seriousness, most women don't need to wear pants on a daily basis. There are times when it is helpful, but those occassions are few and far between.

Finally, I would like to add that though men stare at those parts of women that are least covered, in tight clothing and on display, wearing a beautifully feminine outfit, delicate heels and a smile on your face will get even the most uncouth and strange men to open doors for you, help you reach for items on shelves, pick up dropped items, and greet you with a "Good morning", "Good afternoon" or "Good evening." Ask any girl, scantily clad or not, and that is exactly what they really want.

Anonymous said...

For fat ladies (of which I am one!) I would like to tell you how I learned to dress slim.

Length provides more vertical look. Short dresses and even the knee length dresses sold by some catalogs to older women, broaden the figure. Knee length is certainly modest, but it does not do the best for a large woman.
If you want to look and feel slender, put the seam lines and hemlines at the skinniest parts of the body. Mid calf is not a good idea, for it makes fat legs look fatter! The ankles tend to be the slenderest part so put the hem just below the calf, not mid-calf, or at above the ankle. As someone said, ladies wear jeans to their ankles, why not dresses?

If you are fat, do not tie a bow around your middle, unless you have a slender waist line. Make dresses with no waistline, and curved at the sides where thewaist should be.

Do not show cleavage or upper arms if you want to look slim and young. the elbows and knees look aged and discolored and worn out and are very distracting. Don't wear sleevless if you have fat upper arms. Sleeveless is not really modest, in my opinion, and if you wear it when you are young, you get so accustomed to it that you keep on wearing it until old age, when the arms are no longer attractive.

If you want to avoid looking so fat that it depresses you, you can go to weight watchers of course, but it takes time to lose all the weight so you will have to dress in such a a way as to disguise the extra weight.

Don't wear things that outline the bustline showing exactly where everything is --like a topal map. Wear things that skim over the bust line, like a crisp cotton blouse or a full length dress with pin tucks at the chest area .

In general, I think you have to avoid the commercial clothing unless you pay a higher price and buy something really suitable. If you buy good clothes that look good, you dont get as depressed with your weight and you dont tend to want to spend an evening drownning your sorrows in chocolate cake.

Women used to enjoy shopping for clothes and bringing them home to model for their husbands or fathers. Dad would say "let me see your new dress" and adaughter would show it to him. Today even the men have no interest in the clothes their women wear because it is so awful, and rarely do men go shopping with women to help them find something suitable. When women look for something all day and come home without anything, or with some tee shirt because there was nothing else that would fit or nothing modest, they tend to want to buy ice cream instead . Thats a theory I have based on my own experience.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sometimes the public schools have better dress codes than Christian colleges, or than what people want themselves and their children to wear to church.

Lydia said...

To the lady who commented about my idea of using the past paintings and photographs as a guide for modern dressing. You are exactly right about what I meant: just look at what it is: a long skirt, a blouse, a vest, maybe a scarf, and adapt it to your own needs. Those Victorian women would be audibly shocked at what has become of their own descendents and the way they dress. Just get out some photographs of your own ancestors and imagine what they would think about us running around in underwear posing as outerwear. We've been duped!

Another hint I would like to give is the idea of one piece dressing. Those "separates" are a trap unless they belong entirely to one outfit only. A dress hangs in the closet in one piece, has the top and skirt attatched and already coordinated. I have a favorite pattern that is in the pattern catalog that sews up nicely and I just add a favorite sleeve from another pattern and vary the trims at the necklines and the hems. I can scallop the hems or add lace or ribbon. Usually there is enough fabric pieces left over from a dress to make a matching hair scrunchy (it is a circle of fabric sewn with elastic in it to put around a pony tail, like a rubber band), a purse, a band for a hat, or even a matching hat. My great grandmother made her own shoes, but I never figured out how she did it. These ladies of that era would never have worn open toed shoes in public and never complained about their boots or shoes. They were made of natural products in those days and I suppose they were quite comfortable, like kid gloves.

The other thing that occurred to me when reading the posts here was the fact that the designers and manufacturers are not paying attention to the market. They are not following the free enterprise system and developing products that people really need. They are in stead , establishing fashion policy and in a sense saying, "I dont care if women don't like it ---we are going to flood the market with so much of it so cheaply that they will feel they have no choice." This is very arrogant, and one reason we see huge women in revealing clothing totally inappropriate for them, and old ladies wearing outfits that make them look

In a moment I am going to post a link on the original post, to an article about Barbara Billingsly, an actress who played the mother in Leave It to Beaver. It shows a dress she would have worn to the grocery store in the 50's. To the women who say they "cant do anything " in a dress: before this present time, women did everything in a dress. Our entire country was settled by families whose mothers wore even longer dresses, an apron, boots, a shirt and shawl and hats and yet they did hard work and made homes for their loved ones.

Lydia said...

Thanks for commenting about the relation between the length of the dress and the length or style of the hair. Even shorter hair was done up and looked full, when dresses were fuller and longer.

When dresses are short and hair is like Twiggy, the make up has to be exaggerated. In order to balance the look of the clothes that have not much fabric in them, a woman has to really put on a lot of make up. Look at the Victorian photographs from the New York online archives--those wome didnt wear much makeup, or any, and they had hats and high collars, vests and gloves. You do not have to make up the face quite so much when the clothing is drapey and flowing and covers the figure.

Anonymous said...

Has one, who has worn pants, noticed that men feel very free to say nearly anything to you when you're wearing them? As women, we are naturally more sensitive than men in nearly every way and men tend to forget this when we dress ambiguously gendered or overly sexed. I have had coworkers actually comment on my body when wearing clothes with stretch fibers in them and it's too much for me to take. I get very embarrassed and feel as though my heart has been compromised. I cannot think what to say in return.

I was raised by an feminist mother who burned her bra and fought to wear pants and shorts to school and in the workplace and she openly discouraged my delight in feminine clothing, decorative items etc. Thankfully our relationship has grown as I have aged and she loves this about me now (even though she still wears her hair very, very short and only ever wears pants and button down shirts). I think she is just set in her ways now and is living vicariously through my unabashed femininity because she often shops for frilly frocks and dainty decor for me. Lucky me! *smile*

I am also known for my love of pink and white and flowers...thinks men don't adorn themselves with in abundance. Just today I needed to buy a rain jacket and I deliberately avoided the racks of black jacket after black jacket because there was nothing, other than the size, that set them apart from the jackets on the men's rack. I ended up with one in a lovely shade of dusty rose. It is both functional and feminine, can be done!

And jewelry? Huge chunks of rock and bands of black rubber? Why do people think we want to look "edgy"?

Anonymous said...

I am extremely uneasy to see men in shirts and ties that are pink, lavender, and other delicate pastels that used to considered women's colors. What is going on here?

Anonymous said...

This post is so interesting to me. I had no idea so many women felt the same as I do.

My 19 year old son and I were at the mall and he made this comment to me.

He had went to the food court to get a quick bite to eat while I was shopping. He came back very quickly and told me he felt sick. I asked him what he had ate. "I bought a sandwich," he said "But, as I sat down to eat I saw so many women dressed in the ugliest, most revealing clothing and their manners were so disgusting; I lost my appetite and threw my sandwich away. Now I feel sick!" Then he told me "If women would just wear dresses and have womanly hair instead of crew cuts, they would be pleasant to look at even if they were not classically beautiful. Fat, nasty, women that look like men are so gross to me! Why do they want to be men!"

This is coming from a 19 year old male. It's just not appealing to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said....
I watched the Dugger family on tv go roller skating at a private birthday party for one of their sons. All the girls had long straight skirts and it did not interfer with them skating one bit. Even if they fell they were covered all the way. We always wore skirts to do anything. We wouldn't have ever thought there would be a problem. And there wasen't. It was the way of life. We had what we used to call snuggies we wore under our skirts during the coldest part of winter. They were tightly woven knee length undergarment that resembles todays bicycle shorts. Of course we also wore a full lenth slip always under dresses...sometimes two or at the least one with a double pannel in the front so no one could see through your dress in the strongest sunlight. That is one thing tht bothers me is that women do not wear proper clothes under their dresses. If you wear a dress please make sure the material is not too thin as to be able to see your bra outlines or body outlines. Have a friend check you by you standing in an open door with the sun showing. If something can be seen you will see it then and have time to change. When we sewed our dresses or skirts we lined the cotton ones with very thin cotton lining. This gave the dresses body and the look of quality and also acted like a sheer slip so only one slip would ever be needed. Sometimes we wore slips also cut like very wide leg pantaloons. Todays slips, when you can find them, are so very plain. Ours were so very feminine with laces and tucks and such. You felt so pretty and feminine. No one but you saw it but oh the boost it gave you to be wearing something so well made and pretty. As you have mentioned on other posts Lady Lydia women's clothing has gotten so drab and designless. No variation of sleeve styles or tucks or insets of lace or pretty florals, or color and such. If you sew please think to add some interest to your creations. As always you've got me thinking of more ways to boost my feminine dress up a notch. I too hate to have to wonder if who I am looking at is a man or a woman. Ladies, watch your accessories. That big satchel purse and manish watch do not make you look attractive. I have seen women lately with a small flower in their hair or a pretty hankie used tied around their poney tail or bun. That added touch that makes such a feminine statement. When you see a women dressed feminine please stop and compliment her and encourage her. I cannot either wear my hair long but try to always keep it totally femine. I wish I could wear it long...I long to but can't. So if you can do so enjoy the beauty of it. Thankyou for letting us help each other in this noble pursuit.

Liberal Lady said...

Hi Lydia
I've noticed quite a few comments on how people don't like to see immodest styles on fat or older women. I would like to say that immodest styles look awful on slim, young women too. When an overweight women wears skin tight and short outfits she looks a little sloppy, when a young, slim woman wears tight, short outfits, well she looks "available" and this is far more dangerous.

A few years ago I read an article in a liberal, British newspaper on how the way teens and young people view s*x and s*xuality has changed througout the decades. They published some no holds barred interviews. What struck me is that one older man said that he no longer found it necessary to look at p*rn*graphy anymore as half naked young girls were all around him, in real life and in the media. This chilled me to the bone. Our young girls are selling themselves short, selling themselves cheap and for what reason? They can find no serious fulfillment in the highly s*xualised culture in which they live, and the interviews in the newspaper attested to this. They were dressing in the way they did to become popular within their peer group, they were having intercourse simply to become popular, they felt sad and lonely afterwards.

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but until our culture views sexuality as a private matter, conducted between loving (AND MARRIED) adults again, society will become increasingly sexually charged, and increasingly ungenerous. When we see each other, on a regular basis, as sex objects, we are dehumanising that person. People are not objects to be used. When we objectify, when we see other people as a thing which will give us pleasure, we are denying God's intentions for His people, that is to live in love with our neighbour, relate to each other through love. Yes, we have freedom to wear what we want, we are given free will by our Creator as a gift, but we have the responsibilty to live within His rules and if we don't that freedom means nothing. There is no freedom without responsibility.

I'm sorry to rant. But I thank you for allowing anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

It has been so lovely and funny to read all these comments. About two and a half years ago I discovered your blog. I was working at three jobs, had a family of young children and a husband and was heading straight for disaster! I was, of course, wearing trousers all the time, short hair and lots of make up.
I read and read and read your blog. And slowly, very slowly I started making changes. First went one of the jobs, then I switched to skirts, started homemaking and looking after my beautiful family more. It hasn´t been easy and I did most of it without telling my family (except of course give up one job and cut down on the other two to less than half).
What I can say is that feminity and happiness in the family go together. Life just got so much better. I think that maybe the reason is that what you write about is based on the Bible.
Thank you so much dear Lady Lydia, and God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has worn correct period clothing can tell you that yes, they are functional. Most people assume that the layers involved mean they must be stifling to wear, but wearing a cotton chemise, a cotton twill corset with a few cotton petticoats and a cotton dress is indeed tolerable. The natural fibers allow your skin to breathe, much more so than the man-made fibers in our modern clothing and undergarments. If it is cold, you can add woolen petticoats and wraps, or wear a fine woolen dress. Skirts allow for air circulation and a good corset supports your back and allows you to breathe, unlike the sterotype of women constantly fainting because their corsets were too tight. Sunbonnets protect the skin, as do long sleeves. I do not wear period clothing every day, but do like "Laura Ashley" style dresses, no matter how unfashionable they may be.

Anonymous said...

I live in a warm climate, so we get a year-round show. Flip-flops are worn all year round, often displaying the afore-mentioned scary feet. Bare legs are the norm, as nylons in humid weather are horrible. I am guilty of this, but wear longer skirts so it isn't as noticeable. On display at the mall yesterday was a young mother wearing low cut tight denim short shorts to show off her cellulite and a short shirt to highlight her stretch marks which were visible on her hips above the shorts waistband. I do find it odd to have to look at people and decide if they are male or female. I have met many females whose only distinguishing feature was their bustline. If they are not amply endowed, it can be VERY hard to tell sometimes if they are a he or a she. I always make it a point to compliment ladies in skirts/dresses, as well as little girls. Most little girls love dresses, but many moms do not indulge them as they feel the child cannot play in a dress and that dresses are for special occasions. My daughter has met other teen girls who do not own even one dress. I find it very sad.

Lydia said...

A few more observations from your very generous comments:

We should comment anonymously more often on posts because it gives people a chance to judge the comments by WHAT IS BEING SAID rather than by who is saying it..
Some girls in their formative years who have not yet married or
raised children to adulthood, especially have a problem with the authority of older women and can get too critical of them, failing to see the facts and the truth of what is being taught.

Next, I would like to say I agree with the feminist who "burned her bra" because it was the worst
contraption every invented. We need to go back to what was called the "stay" which was similar to a vest. It did not outline the bust specifically like todays undergarment does,and made the out clothing much smother and more modest. The people who invented the modern piece were trying to "liberate" women from the underpinings of the former century and make something that could be worn with the new fashions. The new fashions of the twentieth century
were sometimes sloppy and mannish
and shapeless. The "stay" is quite easy to make and can be made with natural, breathable materials. There is a pattern for one in Jennie Chancey's Regency pattern at Simplicity. You can get it for 99c or $1.99 when there is a pattern sale at JoAnns.

There was a time when pants were rare and girls who wore them were considered quite daring and rebellious. Susan B. Anthony, whome feminists like to laud as their own leader, wore bloomers in public but got such a sour response from society,, she put her dress back on and wore it all her life. All those women's libbers that Queen Victoria frowned on, still wore dresses at the time. Their behavior was mannish, and that was the beginning of the downhill slide into masculine clothing.

THe home and family are special places and deserve the best, so you can wear feminine clothing there and treat it like your castle and your family like royalty.

The clothing designs for women are suspiciously alluring to the worst elements of society and seem to be crafteed to make western women look like prostitutes. The eastern world already thinks all American women are prostitutes, and the western world makes sure they look like it with the modern designs.

One problem is that the manufacturers churn out thousands of pieces of these garments and then the stores hang them out in clear view and make them available cheaply, so that young women and old women buy what ever is "on the rack." It makes it easily accessible.

There are several enduring garment styles that work in any era, with slight modifications. One is the peasant look, which has been modified over the centuries to different climates and eras. Another is the scarf, which can be wrapped around the body which ever way you like, to give more modesty and style at the same time. Victorian clothing , or what we know as Victorian clothing, consisting of the white blouse with ruffs at the neck and wrists, with the a-line skirt, has existed in any generation. Just look in your pattern books at the fabric stores or go online .

I will be posting about Frank Benson, the artist, who was featured in a July 1991 or 92 issue of Victoria. He painted pictures of Victorian women looking at the seaside and sitting on the porch or on a hill having picnics , etc. A century later, his descendents and great grand daughters wore similar dresses and posed his paintings again for Victoria magazine. You can find a lovely painting and look at the elements of the clothing and immitate them today in modern wear. It is out there but you have to look hard. Wal Mart has linen blouses and pretty peasant skirts, and other stores do too. I prefer to sew, because I like fabric and I like the quality of the garment better.
I have great sympathy for women who cannot find clothes.
I know that the market can do it, as they did it in the 1980's and 90s. Women just could not get enough of those beautiful clothes.

Anonymous said...

Don't mothers realize that by allowing or encouraging their daughters to dress as sexual objects that they are teaching them that the way to get ahead in life is by attracting the wrong kind of attention to themselves and, often the wrong kind of men? I find it ironic that women with a feminist bent will let their daughters show everything -- why --so that they can attract men? What about attracting attention through your conduct and accomplishments? And I'm not just talking about getting a husband -- I'm also talking about how potential women friends, teachers, and employers will think of you.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

Oh, I remember, too, when we wore dresses for everything -- school, play, church, meetings of various kinds, shopping, and even bike riding and roller skating. We knew how to move and sit in a skirt. Now, though, we can't believe that anything at all can be done if we wear a skirt.

Mary said...

I used to live in England about 20 years ago, and most of the women, of every age, wore skirts and blouses, or dresses, to do everything: housework, gardening, hiking, even washing their cars! They thought nothing of it. (Unfortunately, they did not wear slips, and if their skirts were sheer, you could see everything -- remember Princess Diana's famous picture of her in a see-through skirt?)

I don't know what women in England do nowadays.

candy said...

Hi Lydia :)
This was a favorite post! Lovely photographs!

I love to wear long skirts, to the ankle. I love to wear sweaters that button open so that you can wear a pretty white cotton top underneath. I like my sweaters to be white or pink with pearl buttons. And I love having my hair long and I always use my curling iron to curl into ringlets that I lightly brush out to make my hair look slightly curly but very feminine. I love being a lady :) Its so fun dressing up pretty everyday.

I think a little touch of lace on the edge of a sleeve is so beautiful.

Some things I dislike in todays society:
- ugly purses! Its hard to find pretty purses.
- too strong and ugly scented perfumes (I dont wear perfume, only hand lotion)
- hard to find cotton skirts that go right to the ankle. You can find many that are long but just not quite long enough


Anonymous said...

I agree with so many of the comments here. I am sick of what we have to look at every day and especially in the church!!!! We were told that it is none of our business what other people wear in church.....if we have a problem with it is our problem and we can just look away. The problem is there is nowhere to look!! What about the innocent children? Can we even raise an innocent child in this day?

For those of us that are Christians have we considered that Jesus died on the cross in nakedness bearing the shame of our nakedness? Revelations tells about how He will return for those who believe and it describes Him CLOTHED to the feet. Does it matter to Him? I believe it does!!! I do not believe He is looking for a bride whose thighs, breasts, underwear, etc are showing. He died to cover us....and I believe that is spiritual as well as physical. Otherwise, why did Adam and Eve need to be clothed physically after their sin? They were husband and wife and there was no one else yet living on the earth.

Another point I have not seen mentioned here: Many cities (in America, at least) are currently battling over gay, lesbian "rights". Have any of these women/girls considered the part they are playing in this when they do not cover their bodies. The women may be looking at your body for reasons you have not thought about!!!!! Please consider. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Reading all these comments inspired me to look through the historical patterns online again. Simplicity 2581 looks really pretty; I've not seen it before.

Anonymous said...

In an ideal world: I would like to see young girls dress like little girls- and not trying to imitate some "bratz" doll or teenager or hollywood star. I would like to see the older teens dress like young women, sweetly, innocently, and modestly, yet showing that they are not little girls anymore. Then the married women should have styles they wear, that are not teen styles but not frumpy ones either; something that makes them look beautiful as wives and mothers. I would like to see the older women/grandmothers dress in a dignified and classic way, something that befits their age and wisdom. Then, whatever age we are, we can look forward to the next time in our lives, and not think all that will be available is sweats.
I had a piano teacher who was in her 80's when she died. She always wore very dignified dresses, dress shoes and pearls, was brisk about her business, and one could never imagine her in tank tops and shorts. It does not look right for an older woman to dress like a teenager.
Also the hair- I wish more ladies knew how to put up their hair, it gives such a "face lift" to the older woman. I wonder if a lot of women (I'm not referring to those who are unable to have long hair) cut their hair short because it gives the impression of an up-do without having to learn how to do it? But in many cases a french roll would look better!
It is interesting to me to read all the comments about immodesty in the older generation. I would have thought that the teen girls would have been the biggest offenders in that area. I guess we all need to do our part to be good examples, no matter what our age.

Anonymous said...

This is the original anonymous "girdle" commenter here: one of the ladies brought up the point that she physically felt better today, more held in and such, when she wore her shaper. I am reminded that the ladies of yore felt that girdles, corsets and the like were to be worn for health reasons as well. I remember my beloved old grandma (born in 1892) always wore a specially built, full corset every day. I use the word "built" because a good foundation garment is firm and sturdy, built rather than just made.

Now my grandmother was a very large woman, but strong and hardworking as an ox. She always wore immaculate, starched dresses in pastel colors and usually had these topped off by a cotton bib apron. These dresses draped beautifully and with dignity over her well-controlled figure, and she was the picture of propriety and industry as she ploughed through her daily work.

The full corset had what was called "bones" in it, because they were, at least originally, real bones from whales, I think. These flat bones were sewn in vertically around the waist line in order to provide structure (very good for the back) and to help support the bosom. So you didn't wear a separate bra with the corset because the bra was built into it.

Needless to say, one sat up straight in these, giving the woman and her clothing an aura of dignity and refinement, not to mention, beauty.

I think we can still get something like this, and those of us who wish to avoid exposing their "rolls", "cottage cheese" and the "Jello walk" might want to do some research.

Anonymous said...

I wore my shaper today too, and I feel so beautiful, despite the fact that my skirt and blouse are quite old. I also wound a scarf loosely around my neck. This is fun

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I have found out, that long dresses are back in fashion again! Here in Europe one can buy such pretty floor lenths skirts and dresses with lace and everything. They call them Maxi-dresses. Even the shops for very young people (like "metro") sell them. I have bought some of these at "Promod" in Switzerland. Laura Ashley has a new collection, which is called "archive collection", where they have updated their 1970 style dresses. Isn't that marvellous!!
I'm so happy, one can now find pretty and feminine clothing, at least here in Europe. I also found pretty mid-calf-lenth skirts in H+M, a swedish company.
It seems, we're not the only women, who long for pretty, feminine dresses, which cover your body and give you some privacy.

Kindest regards

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I had a stash of good material here and so haden't been fabric shopping for a very long time. I went today mainly to look and see how much of the fabric was U.S. made. I was shocked as like you said, so much of it was made in Korea. I felt first one then the other and noticed the difference right off. Thankyou for the information Lady Lydia. I will watch more carefully the quality of the material I buy from now on. One movie I like to watch for the clothing is the 1945 version of State Fair. Jean Crain wears such pretty dresses with such detail and her mother does too. When we were growing up homemade dresses ment your dresses looked different than your friends...cause each mother added her own touches of fabric choices,yolks and sleeves etc. One pet peeve I didn't mention earlier is the one where the bra straps show. Come on..even if they are see through plastic everyone knows they are bra straps! Da. If you were wearing a blouse with sleeves you couldn't have that worry. And also watch those neck lines!! I have noticed so many of the blouses now do not even have a top button. Yes they are 3/4 sleeve but the neckline is made so there is a slight v where the top 2 buttons should be then the first button is actually what should be the third. I've seen this style over and over recently. Thankyou also for the informatin on the 'stay' undergarment. I will look into this. We need to be buying these good patterns to show the pattern companies that we want the better more modest styles. We want them to keep them in stock and keep them coming. I surely do hope that the pattern companies start doing some of the new Laura Ashley styles if she will let them...perhaps we should request that they ask her? At the least we could write them in regards to thanking them for the Few modest period patterns they do show and asking for more because we know there is a need and demand if they would.

Anonymous said...

In 1923 Coco Chanel stepped off a yacht with a suntan and created a fashion plague. Before the 20s it was thought only coarse women bore tans and women understood that tanned skin caused premature aging, wrinkles and “spots.” They were careful to cover up and made an effort to minimize sun exposure. Then Coco showed up looking good with a tan. Soon clothing styles changed and skin previously protected was exposed. The sun was no longer our enemy. The legacy is millions of women (like me) with skin aging early, wrinkles, and worrisome moles. Or worse.

Tanning is one of the myriad of reasons fashion changed so dramatically in the 20th century and one excellent reason to return to covering up.

I, too, am sick to death of jeans and t-shirts, shorts and tank tops. It is time for a change.

Liberal Lady said...

Civilla said:
"I don't know what women in England do nowadays."

From what I've read on American blogs, particularly this one, English women are still more inclined to wear skirts and dresses, particularly in the summer than American women. I've just bought two long, flowery gyspy-style skirts with a periwinkle style print. I also bought a light cotton blouse with capped puff sleeves and a tie waist. The only comments I had were, "where did you get the skirt?" Nobody thught I looked unusual because they were mostly wearing skirts too.

However, in the winter most of us wear jeans and jumpers (sweaters) myself included.

I'm not saying that we don't have issues with modesty - we really, really do. I've seen some scary outfits being shown off in the sunshine, but I've never seen any woman in church wearing anything even remotely immodest. But, I suppose, thinking about it, each woman's standard of modesty is different. So, I don't think nice, well cut trousers are immodest, when I'm sure many of your readers do. I also wear sleeveless tops in the summer, and my skirts are not ankle length.

As for slips, they still sell them in M&S, but I've never worn one - much to my granmother's chagrin!

Mary said...

Dresses (and this would also go for a skirt/blouse, which equalls a dress) are in and of themselves things of beauty! A pair of jeans is not a thing of beauty, nor is a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Even the lowly housedresses of the 30's, 40's and 50's were objects of beauty!

Anonymous said...

liberal lady,

A lot of women here wear pants but some have decided not to wear them in public anynmore unless they are just going to the farm and feed store to buy parts for their tractors or feed for their chickens. Personally I have started to wear dresses for one reason: the last time my jeans wore out and I needed to replace them, it was a nightmare both physically and financially to replace them. None of them fit and I would have been forced to buy the current low-cut style, and the price was outrageous. I analyzed the value of it and decided that fabric was much prettier and I could make 3 or 6 skirts , ankle length, for the price of one pair of ugly jeans.
The comment "Why do you wear long skirts" can well be answered "for the same reason you wear long jeans"--I like the feeling it gives around the ankles, and I do wear a stretch cotton legging underneathm so that it feels just like jeans,m and they are lightweight enough to be comfortable in all weather and I do wear a slip or petticoat.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

We don't even carry ourselves like women any more. We've forgotten how to move and sit and bend in a dress.

Ever notice how many of the female rock and pop stars, even though they are dressed in lewd neo-corsets and other underwear and skimpy things, still manage NOT to look sexy?

I think it because they walk, sing, play their instruments and carry themselves like men, in a masculine manner, and end up looking like transvestites. It's weird.

I don't approve of the movie bombshells of the past, because their clothing was immodest and their movies not so nice, but they at least looked and carried themselves like women.

Lydia said...

bar code information:

If you want to know where a product is made, such as fabric, or food, here is the bar code information

The first digits on the bar code indicate the country:

00 - 09 … USA & CANADA

30 - 37 … FRANCE

40 - 44 … GERMANY

47 ... Taiwan

49 … JAPAN

50 … UK

Liberal Lady said...

I hear you ladies on the subject of low rise jeans. Whoever thought they were a good idea?

You know, I wear jeans a lot in the winter because everybody else is wearing them - I suppose it's that I don't want to stand out too much.

I wear skirts and dresses in the summer and I do feel much more feminine, but I feel comfortable because everybody is wearing them and I don't stand out. Perhaps I have a problem with standing out!

The thing is, I know I look better in skirts and heels - I have short legs! Twenty years ago all of the fashion pages would have told me not to wear jeans under any circumstances as they don't suit my body shape. So why are we, as a culture, so in love with them, I don't know?

Anonymous said...

Talking about the mannish clothing and haircuts on women today, coupled with a ton of make up (and multiple pierced earrings) -- yes, this really is the look today. The makeup, however, does not compensate for the mannish clothing and hairdo. In fact, it makes them look hard.

Anonymous said...

About bar codes, Snopes says it is partially truth, partially false. If you put Snopes Bar Code in your search engine you will be able to bring up the Snopes link and understand how the whole bar code thing works.

Anonymous said...

These comments are wonderful! I am at "5:52 AM" so far and want to finish reading them after I take a break.

I don't know if anyone has written this already, because I haven't read all the comments. I want to address the ladies who want to learn to sew.

Sewing is not a talent so much as a learned skill. If you can use the computer you can learn to operate a basic sewing machine! It's a lot easier! (Unless you have a vision impairment or another disability which makes it impossible to sew, of course.)

These days you can learn just about anything you want about sewing from the internet alone, although the ideal situation is to have a real-life mentor. Many fabric stores offer lessons. You can also get books from the library.

At this point in my life, I feel like I *have* to sew. I live in a small town with limited choices for shopping. The shopping trips wear me out and I most often come home empty-handed (because of the lack of pretty, comfortable clothing to choose from).

I am in my 50s, living with chronic, debilitating pain and fatigue. I try to sew at least for a few minutes a day. Somedays my "sewing time" is taken up with clearing my sewing table or washing or ironing new fabric but I try to do *something* to further my sewing.

Really, there is so much information on the internet about sewing at all levels from beginner to expert, free for the taking. I have a binder full of articles and free patterns that I have printed off.

If you want to sew, stop dreaming about it and start praying about it. And just ... start sewing!

PS: I do realize that there are women who cannot sew for one reason or another. I had given up on it, myself, for several years. I am trying to encourage women who believe sewing is some kind on innate, mysterious talent.

Anonymous said...

In answer to Liberal Lady's question, who ever thought low-rise jeans were a good idea? Jennifer Lopez.

Lydia said...

I am doing some serious sewing now and have not had time to update the blog. I wanted to mention also that a woman once brought me a dress to help her with it. She did not know how to sew. She had taken a dress she liked and laid it on some fabric and cut around it. With a few minor changes, we put it together and it fit just fine. She had developed her own way of sewing and I though tit was great.

In a small town there are often no sewing stores and no fabric. Just find a place that sells other kinds of cloth, like sheets.

Take apart a dres syou like, just by cutting down the seam lines and use it as a pattern. You will need someone to help you tell what needs to be on the fold, what needs two layers cut, what the straight grain is, etc.

Youwill do better sewing wovens, such as cottons, if you are not a sewer.

Lydia said...

I will be putting up more beautiful garments from older Victoria magazines. If more women dressed like that, it would make the proponents of low cut jeans and tops feel like they were in the wrong country, instead of making everyone else feel like they don't "belong" or "fit in" or making them feel conspicuous if the DONT wear the current pop fashon. Many of those designs were for the scrren, for the stage, in the first place

Anonymous said...

Speaking of clothing, has anybody mentioned anything about the mannish eyeglasses that women are wearing today? Glasses are clothing in that you wear them (like a hairdo or earrings) right on your face. There are plenty of glasses out there with smaller frames that are feminine and pretty, instead of squat, clunky, dark and mannish.

Lydia said...

the eyeglasses with the huge thick dark frames are designed the same way the clothing is designed: to make women look like men, and to make them look like they are in shock, or have a horrified expression. Laura Ashley had some nice eyeglass frames; I am not sure if they still make them.

Anonymous said...

I'm teaching a lot of teenage girls to sew this summer. Each picked out exactly what she wanted from the fabric store. I was interested and encouraged to see that even the girls who wear only jeans and tee shirts have chosen to sew clothes and bags out of pretty, feminine fabrics. Most of the girls, in fact, are sewing themselves skirts and dresses. And these are girls who usually wear cheap, widely available, unflattering clothes. Looks like they want better--who knew?

Anonymous said...

Hello Mrs. Sherman...what an interesting post! I hope it isn't too late to add my thoughts. This is my third visit here, but I've been interrupted many times while reading the comments, & I wanted to read them all :o)

Some "pet peeves" of mine concerning dress are:

bra straps that show.

underwear that shows (and this goes for the boys too).

tattoos, which make a woman look hard.

any kind of facial pierce.

clothing that is the wrong size, either too small (making it unattractively clingy) or too large (making it look like a sack).

I don't wear skirts & dresses exclusively, but I love the privilege of being a woman, & having this fashion option. Why, oh why, do some people seem so threatened when they see a woman in a dress? Why the nasty comments? I should tell you ladies that I work as a gardener in the warmer months, & what I have to wear to work is strictly for practicality & safety: blue jeans or some other dark-colored twill pants, a long-sleeved shirt to cover my arms to my wrists (in case we have to pull thistles or cut back brush), & my tee shirt with the company name on it. I also wear thick, waterproof shoes, heavy socks, a wide-brimmed hat, & of course my gardening gloves. I am clean when I show up to work, & filthy when I get home. I am continually blowing out the knees on my blue jeans....have patched them more than once! I do not FEEL attractive, but obviously any clothing other than what I've described would be out of the question. But....when I get home, I can't wait to get cleaned up & put on....a skirt! Yes, indeed. Think how lucky we are, to have the option of dresses & skirts, to set us apart from the men. Today I went to a wedding, & had on such a pretty dress: a nice black & white print, & I wore a little white sweater over that. It's a joy to wear pretty things, to be a girl, to show that I'm not ashamed of my femininity.

Thanks for providing such interesting reading, & the photos from Victoria magazine.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the comment made here many times that such and such makes a woman look hard. Isn't that really why women are doing the things they are doing....because they are hard? Hardened to God and His Word.

Anonymous said...

Many older women become very broad in the hip and spindly-legged, looking like a duck from the rear, when wearing pants. This has made me very conscious of how I look from the rear. If they look that way, then I look that way. Thank you, Lady Lydia, for raising our consciousness.

Anonymous said...

I did want to comment on the posts reminding us that some women are not able to grow long hair, for health reasons or simply because they have very thin hair that would not be attractive long.

Short hair can be very feminine and lovely if it is styled and maintained, just as long hair can be unattractive and unfeminine if it is neglected and unkempt. It is all a matter of degree. I think a short hairstyle with some volume that frames the face is highly preferable to a snatched back, unbrushed ponytail of long hair. Grooming is everything when one is trying to appear feminine.

The short hairstyles I objected to in my previous post are the extreme ones I'm seeing everywhere in Australia these days - hair hacked off and spiked, older women wearing what looks like a man's crew cut. These styles are not flattering to any face, particularly not an older one. Then to make matters worse, many women who have such haircuts dye their remaining hair blue or magenta, or some other bizarre colour. These styles are the last word in ungraceful and unflattering, yet I see so many older ladies sporting them. They ridicule me because my hair is long, when their own hair looks like something that would be most appropriate on a circus clown.

So you ladies who can't grow long hair, please don't take offense or feel as if anyone is picking on you. It's how you wear and groom your hair, not the length of it. I've seen some very ratty, very long hair and it did nothing for its owner!

Anonymous said...

I was in church today and the presider asked everyone to stand for a song. Right in front of my eyes, in the seat in front of me, women with tight pants stood up. There was a row of mis shapen, unshapely, fat, old bottoms , outlined in stretchy pants. One elderly woman did not know her pants were stuck in the crack. These are not young women. These are older women who should have known better. We were taught to care what we looked like from behind, not just in the front. I do not think the bottom is a place that should be a focus, but unfortunatley, with todays styles, it is.

Anonymous said...

The previous comment reminded me of the attitude that many people have when their daughters go to church with plunging necklines and bottom-cleavage, tatoos clearly showing on their upper arms, or rings in their navals: they say things like "at least they are in church." I have never seen that improve their horrid appearance, though. If it improves their souls, would not that express itself on the outside, by being courteous of others around them and covering their privacy? It seems not to have affected their concern about how they are ruining the worship experience of others around them. Since men are to treat women as sisters, it makes it harder for them to think like brothers when the women are exposing their sexuality instead of their spirituality. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I see so many comments here about how women look from behind in pants or jeans - and I see so many women looking dreadful from behind, with "crack catch" and unflattering tight stretch pants. I was wondering, since I haven't bought clothing in a store in two decades - at one time, three way mirrors that gave one a clear view of one's backside were standard issue in stores, and women always made a point of checking how clothing looked from behind. Has the three-way mirror gone by the wayside? I know the last time I was in a fitting room, it was tiny, with one fragile hook on the wall and a truly dreadful mirror that would make a supermodel look enormous. No three way mirror in sight.

Perhaps this is part of it? Checking the rear view was such a part of clothes shopping when I was a girl, and I remember my mother absolutely turning down what was a very attractive outfit otherwise when she was in the three way mirror that it was not flattering from behind, as it had two red flowers very unfortunately placed. Particularly with older women, who grew up with the old maxim of "check the rear view" - could it be that they just can't do that in today's fitting rooms? I had a lady in my shop the other day wearing tight stretch pants, and she was of the age where the muscle tissue in the rear end is diminished. Her pants were also too short in the rise, so they were pointing out this figure flaw for the world to see. Otherwise, she was nicely turned out, quite neat, had obviously taken care with her appearance - but I'm sure if she'd seen a picture of her hiney in those pants, she would have been mortified.

It doesn't take much to fix up two mirrors at home so you can see your rear end. It's a good habit to get into - and when an outfit doth not flatter the rear view, it's time to donate it and find something better!

Anonymous said...

When I sat and thought about all the comments about old lady's elbows etc I almost took offence. Why are old people pointed out here so often in mentioning their sagging this and wrinkled that. If the lady is not out of shape then it is only age that made the elbow and other skin stretched out. We are to think of old age as just part of life etc. Not hide old people. Then I thought longer and realized also mentioned were the facts that blouses with arms of 3/4length is nice on any one. Also the comments that all women in older times kept their arms all covered and had lace or such by their face so their countanence and hands showed only. So this was not a thought only about older people. Now I have my perspective in the right place. Now I plainly realize what was being said was that with age should also be wisdom in how to dress appropriately. That you would think by the time they were that age they would know how to dress. Appropriately for each stage of life. Before I was wondering if someone would complain about bad face wrinkles too! :) What I do not see anymore are the kind of dresses my Grandmother and other women her age used to wear when away from home. There was a dignity and a different look. An eyelet collar or bit of lace at the neck and the rest of the dress was rather plain but fitted beautifully. Another thing I miss is the many styles of house dresses you used to see everywhere for sale. What happened to the cotton house dress? They used to sell them everywhere. They were always worn starched and ironed and looked so feminine.

Mary said...

When I was young, you never saw grandmothers or great-aunts in anything other than housedresses when they were at home. They always looked in control and dignified, not to mention feminine, no matter what their age.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the person that commented about the "at least they're in church" philosophy. Those that were causing problems in the church were to be disciplined! Since when has it been ok to bring the standard of Christ down to the level of sinful, human flesh?!? Does not the Bible condemn such behavior? We are to be "raised up" to His standard. We are the ones to be changed.....

Anonymous said...

You are right: the top button on garments is not even there anymore. Blouses are designed to look as though they were buttoned from the top, but no button exists near the collar bone. THe buttons begin a lot lower.

Sewing gives you more control over your clothes. We don't have to wear those crummy manufactured clothes that are cheap. Older women especially need to dress in such a way that younger women will have something to look forward to when they are older. YOunger women are now going into costume wear, because they are so much more comfortable and decent. I noticed one woman online who had a photo of a dress she made just by looking at a web shot of one of the costumes in Elizabeth Gaskel's novel "Cranston." I like some of Margarets outfits in "North and South" (BBC) and also enjoy making sones similar to Molly's clothes in Wives and Daughters. Before these productions, there were clothes in movies like "The Sound of Music" and some in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as well as Oklahoma. We would get the main idea and then adapt them to modern wear, by sewing them with modern patterns.

Lydia said...

It it true that we never saw our grandmothers or great grandmothers or aunts in shorts or revealing clothing. Just look at the old albums of photographs of family gatherings: they were always in dresses that covered them . THe ones that were overweight were never showing their knees or thighs.

True too about the "at least they are there" mentality. There is a misunderstanding of the church, which means "the called out." Church is a body of believers who are walking in the light, who have obeyed the gospel, and who are sanctified. Sanctified means set apart, purified. When girls come to chuch with plunging necklines, they are not showing purity but showing the flesh and distracting others in their attempt to worship.

Even in non-Christian religions in eastern countries, women are not allowed to enter a temple unless they are fully clothed, or veiled. For centuries, we have not had to have such rules, because women in general governed themselves and controlled the way they dressed. It remained for the 20th century to "liberate" them from their good sense and their adequate clothing. We are a fairly prosperous people but our clothes look like we just escaped from a bomb and are in tatters, with nothing to cover us.

What is more, if a preacher attempts to teach them better, he is accused of having a dirty mind. If he turns the job over to an older woman, she is accused of being a meddler or a false accuser or a gossip. It is more likely the teacher will be expelled from the church than the immodest dresser.

No one wants to teach these girls because they are armed and vicious with their defenses. The clothing is a high place in their lives.

THe feminist expression "No one tells me how to dress" should be adopted by women to defy the modern styles. They ought to say "no designer will dictate what I wear" and become their own designers by choosing a way of dressing that is modest.

Anonymous said...

I was watching one of my favorite movies, The Magic of Ordinary Days, I really like the clothing in that movie. They mostly wore dresses, but I did notice a couple of times the women did wear pants, mostly while working in the fields or being around the farm. However there was a BIG difference in how their pants fit--they seemed much more modest than today's pants. The waist was very high and fitted and then around the backside it was very loose and the legs were wide as well. Even the jeans were styled this way and nothing clung to anything it shouldn't.

Don't get me wrong, I still think dresses/skirts are more modest and feminine but at least those were WAY better than what is worn today.

Anonymous said...

When women first wore jeans, it was generally out of necessity in rough conditions, but they did not wear them to church or in special places. THey really were not used as fashion, and no one really liked them. When profits are low in the clothing business, people think of ways to get women to spend money. THey observe that people are wearing worn out clothing and that they prefer old jeans, so they market clothing to look exactly like that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

You commented that you had a 'favourite pattern [for a dress] that is in the pattern catalogue. Could you please let me know what that pattern is? I love dresses and sew. I would love to make something attractive and modest.

Anonymous said...

I've been on vacation and missed this post!!! Now, I'm sure with all the comments, my comment might not be read, but it will feel good to type it :o)

I have an 8 year old daughter that is so tall she is at a 16 kid's size. We have the MOST difficult time finding beautiful, modest clothing. Everything looks like "street girl in training" clothing, or it has the 1960's "peace" symbol plastered on it.

I, too, have a difficult time finding attractive, modest clothing. I am not dresses only, but I do love dresses. My favorite styles are the peasant style or the artsy, eastern Indian styles. They are feminine, they flow, they are comfortable and colorful. They are also IMPOSSIBLE to find and IMPOSSIBLE to sew if you're a novice like me. I will keep trying to find a good pattern.

My biggest pet peeve is the clingy tee shirt material that grips the belly ~ showing the puckered navel and jiggling when walking!! I am not a spindly type and have my own "muffin top" waist to deal with, but I would never show it off. Good grief!!

Anonymous said...

What a FUN post and comments!!!

I am particularly convicted.

I'm a jeans/tshirt/sneakers person. I've regretfully passed that on to my 11 year old daughter.

I'm going to start dressing in a more feminine way. I always attributed the "jeans are comfortable" to why I dress that way.... Thinking back though, my mother always dressed in blue jeans! I never questioned it.

I especially liked the comment by someone who pointed out that Jesus died a naked shameful death on the cross to keep us "covered" and even Adam & Eve were "clothed" although no one else was on Earth at the time. VERY interesting.

Thanks for the food for thought. I'm going out to buy some skirts!

The Lady of the House said...

This is for the previous poster. I can only imagine what it must be like to shop for a little girl.

Regarding your love of eastern peasant style clothing, there is a shop in our mall that is a Tibetan gift shop. I've never been in, but outside the shop there is a rack of colorful, flowing skirts. The skirts are not my style, but are such a delight at which to look.

Anonymous said...

"Bottom Dressing" HA HA that is exactly what it is. We have been taken to the bottom of the line and are reduced to bottom dressing in our styles. It makes the Victorian bustle look not so ridiculous. How can any one make fun of the Victorian styles, as crazy as some of them were at the time, when we have the bottom dressers all around us, "hoisting up" the bottom with their high heels and tight jeans. Shame on all of us. I imagine if a Victorian were to live to day they would indeed cry and wish they were dead.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Frank Benson or any Victorian painter would have been as succesful or withstood the passage of time and still be popular, if they did not have such lovely subjects dressed beautifully to compliment their surroundings.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord that there are so many of you ladies out there! I so often feel alone when it comes to feminine dress. My husband despises the trend that most women wear today, especially the overweight ladies that wear tight slacks. But he usually comments on big women that wear long skirts to cover up all that unattractive fat. I will continue to proudly wear my lovely skirts for him and feel real ladylike doing so, while all others can keep feeling as ugly as they look. Sorry, but if you dress ugly, you look ugly.

"Do not be fashioned according to this world...Romans 12:2a"

Anonymous said...

A pet peeve of mine is "tanning". There are so many young women and yes,even women my age who seem to think they look good although they are a strange shade of orange. Then they top if off with garish colors in their clothing and make-up. Yuck. It looks so fake and tacky. And I HATE the chunky, ugly eyeglass frames that look like welding glasses!

I saw a young woman walking down the street the other day in a city nearby. She was rather large but was wearing very short shorts and a top that exposed her ENTIRE stomach (I am not kidding) and it hung out over the shorts. Gross!

And please, please, bring back decent maternity clothes like we used to wear. I hate seeing these young mothers in a spandex top stretched over their huge belly, belly button protruding for all to see. Is it just me? I used to have such pretty, loose, feminine, flowing tops that didn't cling to my belly. And I would think they would be much cooler than this elastic they are wearing now.

Thank you Lady Lydia for this post!

Anonymous said...

The new Laura Ashley line of so called vintage clothing, is nothing at all like the clothes they designed in the 80's and before, from what I have seen. I discovered that her designs were prominent in the 60's and 70's as well, as I have seen sewing patterns at Goodwill.

Shorts are not very pretty and older women, even thin ones, need to avoid them.

This all began with the introduction of stretch materials such as spandex. It created the clinging styles we see today.

Staying with wovens, such as cotton, will provide modestly immediately, just by the very fact that such garments do not cling as badly.

The word "apparel" means "loose and flowing." I do not think jeans are loose and flowing, and I quit wearing them when I realized this. Besides that, when you have seen one pair, you have seen them all. Whatever happened to our individualism? If women want to be so "independence" why dont they get independent of looking like everyone else?

WHen mothers made dresses for their children, the garments were all different. In our home, we have recently been challenged to use up our fabric and fabric scraps. The clothing is going to be quite interesting, using coordinating colors for cufs and collars, bodice, skirt and hems, etc. They wont look like everyone else's clothing and will be quite functional at home. It is no fun to see yourself coming and going, when every other woman wears a duplicate of your dress. Home sewing is a lot of fun when you do it your way.

In hot weather, loose, flowing clothing is much more healthful to wear. That is one reason the Hawaiian women wore the mu-mu's.

Clinging is the opposite of loose and flowing. Anything that outlines the exact shape of your private areas, is clinging. This increases the self-consciousness of women regarding every extra bit of weight they gain. Clinging clothing makes women look fat.

Fashion has a "focus" and for almost 20 years now, you know where that focus has been. It is time to ditch that look and keep it in the ditch forever.

Anonymous said...

Heh-heh: the term "tight slacks" is actually an oxymoron. After all, the word "slack" means "loose".

I, too, hate the mannish glasses.

I, too, hate the new maternity wear. Why, because it is not feminine either. God help us if we have to look masculine when we are expectinig!!!

Sheila said...

Here's a tip for finding more modest clothing. I shop the church thrift stores and have no trouble finding lovely skirts for $2-4. Just this week I found an a-line blue skirt and a madras skirt both in cotton. They feel very nice in the humid weather we have in Florida.

Anonymous said...

How can father and mothers let their girls leave their homes dressed like "jail bait"?

Last summer on the bus, I saw a woman I still remember--she wore high heeled pumps, bare legs, a skirt to the tops of her thighs--and sat with her legs wide apart. The poor, dear man sitting across from her kept his face buried in his newspaper, wrapped practically around his ears, for the entire hour-long bus ride. His neck must have cramped up terribly.

Jeans have been designed, especially since the 1970's, to draw attention to the crotch and buttocks. This seems "se*y" to some people, and, of course, we must advertize ourselves s*x*ally to every person we pass on the street--that's the fasion rule. The wrinkles in the tight jeans point to the crotch and sometimes form a revealing V shape that draws the eye. Many times the back pockets are embroidered or decorated so ostentatiously, they look like "baboon butt" walking down the street. They even have an awkward, "my jeans are too tight," baboon gait.

Christian boys and men struggle very, very, very much with sin, lust, and se*ual perversion, including fornication/adultery and fantansies about it. 1000% more than women struggle. Maybe a million times more. It gives women a "power high" to know various men they know or just pass on the street are lusting after them. They enjoy it when men can't tear their gaze away from their cleavage. This is evil.

Absolutely no Christian woman whatsoever should ever, ever tempt a man to sin. She should not allow her daughters to do so. Ever.

These girls want to show off their bodies so that men will like them. They are immature and have no idea of the kind of objectification and humiliation they are inviting.

Men have absolutely no idea that women "don't really mean it" when they dress and act and present themselves as if they do "mean it."

Hugh Hefner would indeed be pleased, but God is not pleased, according to the Bible, when women dress and act like whores.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lady Lydia, for always showing us such beautiful pictures of ladies, modestly and femininely dressed.

Sometimes when I'm on the bus, I play a game--is it a man or a woman? Sometimes, I never can figure it out. I'm not joking.

Feminine, draped, constructed clothing that fully covers all but the hands and face, draw the eye to the face, especially with a soft and pleasing neckline, a soft hairstyle, a hat, and a smile.

Along with this goes good posture, graceful movements and ladylike behavior. (For example, keeping your legs together when sitting, or bending at the knees to reach a child or something on the floor.)

Only wear your best colors that flatter your coloring. I like the seasonal color palette as described in Carole Jackson's book "Color Me Beautiful."

Anonymous said...

To be feminine is to be protected, covered, cared for, cherished. To bring softness, refinement, joyfulness, cheerfulness, and purity to company, society and family. Why would any woman give all that up to try to compete with men? In dress, or anything else?

Lydia said...

I would like to add a huge "ditto" to the recent comments. Thank you so much for bringing up these wonderful points concerning women being thoughtful of men, thoughtful of those who have to look at them, and thoughtful about what they wear. Carol Jackson's book is still a classic and there has been nothing like it since.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the maternity clothing.....what did women wear when they were expecting back in the days when they did wear these beautiful dresses you have been posting paintings of? I don't think I have ever noticed a pregnant women in any of the art from that period in time.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone is still reading these comments, but I just want to share a thought: WHY do Christian men allow their daughters and wives to wear immodest and/or ugly clothing to church or anywhere? Where is their protectiveness? Where is their manliness? Where is their concern? Ack!

Anonymous said...

To the commenter who asked why men are standing by while wives/daughters dress the way they do, oftentime they dare not even dream of breathing a word of advice - the end product of over forty years of feminism strangling the voice of husbands and fathers - and ministers of religion.

Couple this with the overwhelming tendancy of virtually all denominations to rail against the importance of faith to impact directly upon behavioural/physical/outwardly visible aspects of our relationship with Christ, as individuals and as members of the body of believers - stamping all with the lable of 'legalism' and the influence of men (and concerned women) upon matters of modesty, civility and mindfulness in this area of life is expertly silenced.

Additionally, I believe there is a more subtle theological influence at work here also. for those that are concerned, many believe that things will invariably and irredeemably deteriorate as this old world lurches toward the end of this present age and the return of Christ, ushering in the kingdom of God - be it fifty, one hundred or one thousand years from now. Because such deterioration is a foregone conclusion, many simply baton down the hatches, living their lives in accordance with the Scriptures, believing things for the wider world and vast majority of Christianity will not improve.

Just a few thoughts that I hope answer some questions.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia said:

They are in stead , establishing fashion policy and in a sense saying, "I dont care if women don't like it ---we are going to flood the market with so much of it so cheaply that they will feel they have no choice."

YES!!!! That is exactly right! Only I think it is worse than that. I think they are dictating what we will wear with the intention of forcing our conformity to a social agenda which includes (but is not limited to) the comprehensive degradation of women and men. What they want to do is separate us from the sense of modesty as a concept and the appropriateness of it. They want us to regard modesty per se as offensive and elitist- something we not only have no right to but should be castigated or worse for embracing.

That this is working is evident from some of these comments. Someone had described a mother's response to her daughter's complaint of men learing by saying she could handle herself!! Imagine telling your young daughter that she is expected to endure the lears of strange men! That is sick child abuse. I can just hear it now: Daughter, "But mom! I don't want to dress like this anymore! The men look at me funny and it makes me uncomfortable. I don't like it." Mom, "Too bad. You are a big girl. You must just handle yourself."

What is this young girl supposed to do when (I don't think "when" is the wrong word) one of these men takes it beyond a lear? Charge him??!!

Anonymous said...

For those of you ladies with short hair, hair pieces can help you fake long hair. They have been acceptably used for years. I think hair pieces are another thing that in recent years have gained a bad reputation.

Also, emphasis on the rear in fashion appeared once before during the bustle years. Though, we all know how much more modest, covered up, and feminine those clothes were.

I'm with all of you. I can't stand tight pants, skirts that barely cover the bottom, unnatural hair colors, tattoos, or piercings.

One piece of clothing I really dislike are legging. Many women seem to think their pants. Gross!

And why do over weight women think its ok o dress sexy with all their flab hanging out. I've noticed they're the roast offenders and tend to want yo dress sexier then even skinny girls.

And tanning? Why? It is not beautiful. For years tanned skin was a sign of poverty because one had to work in the fields and could not cover themselves properly for protection. White skin was a sign of beauty. During Marie Antoinette's days, ladies went to great extremes, sometimes deadly, to make themselves look whiter and therefore more beautiful.

Also, remember not to be fooled by historical fashion plates. Look at extant images. Fashion plates are exaggeration a of high fashion during their time. A photograph, while not too far off from the fashion plates of the time, gives you a better idea. Though, many photographs are of the subject in their best. So, the more casual, the better.

I had a lady just today tell me she wears pants in summer because they're more comfortable then a dress. I was confused. Dresses don't hug you as much. That loose and Florine's seems more comfortable in the heat to me. Wear a skip and shorts underneath. Put on a girdle. You'll feel much more comfortable.

There is so much self centered selfishness in the world!

Notice I did not use lady, but woman. Woman has man in it. Lady in my dictionary is reserved for someone who deserves the title by the way she looks, act, speaks, carries herself, dresses, etc. her activities, what she reads, the type of movies she sees are what make her a lady to me.

Anonymous said...

To the commenter asking about what Victorian and Edwardian women wore when they were expecting.

They wore the same things as when they were not. Corsets had extra panels with extra lacing added in order to expand. Dresses and other tight fitting garments were done the same way or a soft flowing panel was adding to the front to allow it to gracefully drape over the expanding belly. After pregnancy, a less fortunate lady could remove these and fix her dress and corset normally again.

Joy said...

Let us carry ourselves in such a way as to attract the attention of these young women positively. They need role models, not condemnation. The carnal person will act carnal unless the Spirit of the Living God moves in their heart. Our society as a whole has fallen far from God. We are to be salt and light. Smile a genuine smile to the girl or women who is dressed poorly and give her a reason to desire something better. Be a lady of influence wherever you go. Pray for influence. Share Christ. He is the answer. What would it profit to gain all the modest femininity in the world and lose your own soul in the end. Let’s give them Jesus and keep giving them Jesus and ask Jesus to keep giving us more grace. As we embrace the beauty of sweet femininity, let’s remember that it comes from our creator and He has asked us to point the world to Him.
Blessings ~