Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At First Glance

Isador Verheyden, 1890
Edmund Blair Leighton, 1896

Edmund Blair Leighton, 1894 

A few 18th and 19th century paintings, which show the contrast between the male and female appearance.  A class for young ladies was held recently, in which some of these kinds of pictures were shown to illustrate how opposite they dressed, and how we can immitate the beauty of the garments of the past for dressing today. At first glance, can you identify the men and women as male or female? Is it easy to tell the difference or do you have to look closer?  What is the difference between the way men and women dressed then, and now?  What kind of clothes create the manly appearance, what kind create a female appearance?  These were some of the things discussed in the class. Photographs from the period, and links, with further comments, to follow soon.

Edmund Blair Leighton, 1882
The Railway Station by William Powel Frith 1819-1909

Frith in His Studio , by Ballantyne 1815-1897
Edward Frederick Brewtnall  1846-1902
Alfred Augustus Glendenning 1861-1907

Alexander Rossi 1887 "Harford Couple and Their Children"

Senators in the mid-1800's


Mrs.B said...

Lovely pictures and examples

who painted that third painting

Lydia said...

those two are Edmund Blair Leighton. I plan to put titles and links soon.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that in the beautiful paintings you present here, the ladies are all wearing long dresses and the men are all wearing pants with jackets or coats of a heavier, coarser material. The men are wearing darker, more neutral and less colorful clothing than the ladies. The women are wearing more white than the men, though the men do tend to have at least some white near their throats. Both the men and the women are wearing clothing that is neither too tight nor too loose. Both men and women are slim and appear to be fit and healthy. The men’s jackets are tailored in a more boxy, squarish style to suit their manly frames, whereas the ladies are wearing jackets that are “princess-seamed,” or tailored to their more hourglass shaped, womanly figures. The women are wearing more ruffles, puffed sleeves, trim, and pretty colors, such as lemon yellow, periwinkle and pink. The women’s hats are more often a light-colored straw with more trim and flowers on them. There is a beautiful distinction between the masculine and the feminine in these paintings—thank you for sharing them.

Our modern eyes become so used to seeing women’s “curvier” legs outlined unflatteringly in denim pants, and/or in boxy, mannish jackets. In our modern times, as the women stride along the sidewalks wearing men’s clothes, there is a blurring of distinction between women and men. In my mid-size U.S. city on the “Left Coast,” many people apparently congratulate themselves that they’ve “broken the bonds of the LORD in pieces.” Many men here “feel free” to wear long, streaked hair, pink, lavender, and even skirts (!), and the women stride along wearing all black and wearing pants and boots, hair shorn, carrying their briefcases, with tense, grim looks on their faces. Even a surface, cursory reading of the Bible would be enough for anyone to know these are not signs of God’s blessing on a land or people.

It’s so refreshing to see on your blog—not only the contrast between men and women of the 18th and 19th centuries, but also the contrast between 18th & 19th century women and modern women of the 20th and 21st centuries. Though the Bible does not mandate that women wear only long dresses and men only wear pants, the Bible does mandate feminine (distinctive from the masculine) and modest dress for women. The men and women of the 18th and 19th centuries certainly wore clothing styles that fell within the “boundary lines” of God’s word in “pleasant places.”

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
What a worthwhile approach to take with the young ladies! I am slowly changing my way of dress, bearing the principles of modesty and femininity in my mind. The change taking place in my life as a result is truly amazing. Enthusiasm for my home, my faith, and my marriage, as well as my long abandoned sewing hobby, are rekindled. My husband's behavior has changed as well. How much we communicate with our outer appearance! Our manner of dress has such a bearing on our own behavior, and that of others. We are "setting the bar" for how we are to be treated. I find myself feeling more gracious, and more patient, as well as less self conscious when I am wearing feminine clothes. This testimony is meant to reinforce, in gratitude, all that you do.

Lovely post,
Thank you,

Ginger said...

Thanks to you and this ministry, I started out changing to dresses of knee length last year. This was a good change. However, I sort of felt naked with bare legs. This winter I added cotton leggings to keep me warm and really liked the added modesty. I found an ankle length skirt at the thrift store that is the find of the century for me. It feels stylish and modest. It doesn't ride up against my leggings, when I go out walking. I pair it with blouses and cardigans, sort of like the first picture in the wonderful article except the skirt is a bit narrower.

I'm going to Grandma's to learn how to take a newspaper pattern from existing garments very soon. I sat at my grandmother's knee to learn the art of sewing and remember her taking patterns like this without having to tear the original garment apart. The only change I'll make to my century skirt pattern is to replace the knee-length, rear slit with a kick pleat or gathers like on the Folkwear Pattern here. http://www.folkwear.com/209.html

I love feeling like a lady. At first my husband thought it was all sort of eccentric. Now he compliments me on my modest dress all the time. It's been a sort of new romance point between us. Thank you so much Lady Lydia for your dedication to godly femininity.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful article, Lydia, on clothing and costume 'then and now'...

I've shared my thoughts on universal modesty and femininity numerous times prior, on your blog. Indeed, in the developed world, by and large, women have allowed themselves to be sold a lie; especially over the past 45 years or so. And here we stand, at the dawn of the second decade of the 21st century with two ugly extremes dumped before women, masquerading as 'fashion'...

the first of these is the depressing, masculine attire that is often the only thing available in the mainstream clothing outlets.

The second is the ludicrous opposite; womens' wear that even 15 years ago no woman, not even a girl of 18, would be caught dead in in public! - I can only refer to it as 'hookerwear'. Tragically, women are having the adage 'flesh is best' rammed down their throats by the clothing industry, for the mostpart and the younger generations are becoming desensitized to it.

there are major problems with the latter, most eloquently expressed by Wendy Shallit in her masterpiece on femininity 'A return to Modesty'.

Additionally, Frances Fischer on www.quakerjane.com has written perhaps the most sensitive and loving article on modesty and its importance for women I have come across. All women, no matter one's religious affilliation, regardless of whether they are interested in the Plain path, would do well to read it. Sisters, you're being sold a lie; quiet literally...not to mention the disgraceful exploitative practices of the international clothing industry in places like China and the Subcontinent...'slavery' is very much alive and well in our day!

In australia, Margaret Caine makes beautiful feminine garments for women of all sizes. the cut and colour of her blouses and overshirts is lovely. though she does make slacks, she also makes skirts that are modest and elegant. Plus, her prices are reasonable for what she does.

makes gorgeous modest attire that is ageless and timeless.
www.thekingsdaughters.com also makes lovely garments, though they are more 'plain' oriented; though even 'plain' can be accessorized for the not so plain...

has written brilliant modesty articles on both mens' and womens' modesty. Mens' modesty is just as much an issue, as the casualization trend has degenerated into a culture of adolescentiszation of men that we must be watchful of. Modern estern mans' attire tends to rob a man of his dignity and maturity. 'the Quaker Ranter' has also blogged about mens' modesty; a good read.

Lydia said...

Some very very heartwarming comments here:

The "tense, grim look"---yes, I notice that tenseness in this decade and it goes with the clothing. I wonder if a more light hearted, innocent look for young women would make a difference. I remember in the 50's when the waisted dress was worn by nearly every woman, and it had daisies on it or some little print, and they wore a matching ribbon in their hair. Hair rarely just hung there. It was "done", which is different than the scrunch and go look. Shoes and handbags matched and it was loads of fun to match a skirt to a blouse to pick up a shade or pattern. We chose things that made our complexion look healthy, and we used the shades that looked besgt on us. Dressing up was a lot more fun than dressing down. Women wore jeans to the beach but shopping and eating out was considered more formal. We wore socks with our shoes but we still wore dresses. Sometimes we wore pedal-pushers or capris but never to church. I do think clothing is not as interesting as it once was.

You are right: we are at the mercy of the manufacturers and designers, who do not have a real feel for human beings and for the soul of a woman. Even if you sew, you have to go through the wacky prints that look like something out of a thunderstorm. How can that be in any way calming for a woman to wear?

The women's clothing of the era of the paintings seem to emphasise the waist, which I can find no fault in, for a woman's waist is different from a man's. Today girls are encouraged to let their waistlines go, whereas once they were cautioned to watch their waistline. I feel sorry for the young, who have never lived in an era when clothing was really designed to fit a woman's body. The designs today are not female friendly, and as I have said before, make women look like boys.
There was no doubt in the old paintings which one was a man and which was a woman.

Lydia said...

Re: the comment about knee length dresses or skirts: Years ago I began to question why women should be required by fashion to bare their legs below the knee. It is uncomfortable and it does not suit everyone. The purpose of it is to show of the legs, which is not modest. Even if you look modest in a knee length skirt, by the time you sit down, it comes quite a few inches above the thigh.

Isnt it sad the fashion-nazis are so dictatorial about what will be worn in the 21st century, which makes everyone miserable and makes them look fat and ugly. No wonder so many of the young girls are wearing costumes instead. They long for a more gentle and beautiful era and have decicded just to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

The slut wear of the decade would not have been worn by any woman even if she was not a Christian. It is a design to make every western woman look like a street walker or call girl

Anonymous said...

About the "modern" big waistlines of women, I don't think this is just a product of the modern fashion of low-cut pants, making a muffin-top, although that definitely accentuates it.

There is research to show that the reason that women have accumulated more fat around the waist area (sides of waist, and back as well, causing an "apple" vs. "pear" shape) than they have in centuries past (for example, many years ago, a bigger woman would have put more weight on around the bottom and thigh, now we have ladies' with "tires around their waists" everywhere) is that the unnatural hydrogenated fat that we were innundated with over the last 20 years, causes an unnatural pattern of fat-laying that "real" fats do not. Even young, normal-weight women everywhere tend to have these high, swollen waists now.

It also shows a swing in the hormonal balance in women's bodies, as fat distribution is determined by male/female hormones. This is related to the above statement about hydrogenated fats, in that they are believed to mess with proper hormone balance themselves.

I don't think the feminine figure should have a flat stomach, by any means (Song of Songs calls it a "mound of wheat", and the "classic" figure was very curvy, full, and shapely), but the larger part of a woman's stomach has classically been below the waist. There shouldn't be a lot of back fat, side fat, etc around the waist. I am not critiquing or condemning anyone's shape because of aesthetics, I am saying this as a warning that if you are experiencing these problems, it is not just the "body type" you were given, as we hear all the time, it is a result of an unnatural diet. It is a warning sign and predictor of many chronic problems like heart attack, etc.

Even young women, who are not past menopause (change in hormones) and who are not particularly overweight, are having this problem. Go back to natural foods, without all the hydrogenated, genetically modified, etc. junk. Don't eat meat that has been fed genetically modified grain. Even if you eat a lot and are large, your shape should return to a more feminine distribution of fat, and your health risk will come down enormously.

This really is a symptom of chronical illness and is not the inevitable result of aging. When you begin to discover what monstrous food we are being fed, you will understand why we are all looking so bad.

You are right, I think when women have their waistlines taken away, they don't feel feminine, and it can be discouraging and depressing (with the exception being the beautiful, swollen waistline of pregnancy!)

We can relieve a lot of our feelings of loss and guilt about this by discovering why this is happening to us, and finding ways to reverse it.

Lydia said...

Anyone who would like to write about foods that help you get your waistline back , is welcome to do so.

I know that if you have a waistline that is smaller than the rest of your trunk area, even if you are a large woman, it is considered a lot healthier than a thick waistline. The waistline size has a lot to do with good health, for both men and women.

Anonymous said...

I agree with knee-length not being comfortable when doing a lot of active things with children, animals, or plants.

In my long dresses, I can feel comfortable reaching my arms as high as they will go above my head to lift up and play with a small child. I can bend fully over to tend to a weed. I can sit down on the floor or lawn to care for a pet or an animal, or enjoy a picnic or out-door meeting, and tuck my skirts around me when I sit down on the ground. I am so comfortable. My waist is never pinched by a button or zipper.

I lie down for a nap around my family and never worry about anything "hanging out", rolls appearing, or skirts "hiking up".

When in a messy situation, I put a pinafore-sized apron on, and proceed as normal

I have observed that people do not feel relaxed enough to play around children, or get down on their level, because their clothing is too restrictive and binding and short!

I have had so many people comment that they are worried about how uncomfortable I must be, "accidentally" wearing a dress to a "casual" occasion. My dresses are made of the same "casual", comfortable material that their clothes are, except more so - my corduroy, denim, or twill are lighter weight than theirs, my washed linen feels softer than a nightgown as it ages. My slips are made of the softest muslin, even batiste when the weather gets too hot. I can change them often if I have been sweating. I am cool, soft, and comfortable, running around, wrestling and spinning children, while those same people who "worried" about my dress, all sit, uncomfortable in their stuffed-sausage shorts and t-shirts, telling me to sit down and talk to the adults for a while, and stop acting like such a child! :) I notice none of the children are too interested in being around these people.

I believe that dressing femininely affords us a positive influence over the next generation. That is why I have gone to great lengths in effort, and cost, to make my own clothes that make me and my children happy. It is worth every minute of inconvenience that it takes to learn how to sew them, even though it has been a very, very long-term project.

Thank you for your guidance, Lady Lydia!

The Lady of the House said...

Regarding waistline foods: I have found that by simply eliminating most starches from my diet (only eating one or two a day like potatoes or oatmeal), my waist went down almost an inch in about three weeks. Also, although my abdomen below the waist is still plump, the part above the waist is now almost completely flat and lacking even a 1/2 an inch of fat to pinch. Truly amazing.

Regarding healthy fats: I've been off hydrogenated fats for a few years now and have been consuming generous amounts (by modern standards) of butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. My hair, nails, and skin have never looked better.

Anonymous said...

Yes, nature made it that we should be able to tell at first glance who the men and who the women are. Our clothing should reflect the same.

Anonymous said...

Emphasising a waistline, covered, is not blatantly or overtly sexual, the way showing cleavage or naked thighs. The previous centuries had it right: you could show where you were female without making men feel they had violated you by looking at your flesh. They brought the white ruffle to the throat, showing off the face and making it glow. They donned the fascinator or hat, topping the hair. They used the fan to hide the face if they wanted more privacy. The long skirt gave them privacy of the legs. You know how the legs are such a sex symbol these days; well the ankle was enough for them in those days and the bare feet were considered quite personal and beautiful. Nowadays they dont even give anyone a prelude to their beauty by focusing on the eyes or hair or hands. They distract directly to the cleavage or to the rear end. I heard a teacher say that if you dressed like they do today, you will lose your innocense and get nothing for it, but if you dress like a worthy woman, you get a husband and care for life. I do not see how anyone can miss this. You can see the young girls dressing immodestly, coming home pregnant, but never marrying the man. They get a baby but no man to help them raise it.

Anonymous said...

Another bane of the waistline in High Fructose Corn Syrup (hfcs). It has been shown to increase abdominal or visceral fat build up. This leads to myriad health problems. I recently read an article that Agave nectar, often touted as a healthy sweetener in even higher in fructose.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:42 is so correct regarding playing on the floor with children- I still wear pants and jeans and I'm always acutely aware of my shirt separating from my pants and revealing skin- or worse, 'plumber's crack'... it's so strange to think that most people assume dresses are restrictive to activity- I feel restricted with low cut pants even crouching down to do up my son's coat. Anyways, I'd really like to sew some dresses and work on a more feminine wardrobe, but I find myself so ashamed of my thick mid section that I can't bring myself to go to the effort until my size is closer to where it should be. On a more positive note, I have lost 9 pounds and will continue- I'm determined to be fit, feminine, and ready to keep up with my children! Thanks to all for the encouraging comments and suggestions. For anyone struggling with weight loss, I recommend the Weight Watchers program. It's expensive, but when followed it's very healthy and effective for weight loss.

Anonymous said...

What interesting comments! I am enjoying this post and the conversation very much, especially the notes about how comfortable dresses are. I couldn't agree more. It heartened me to hear all these kind words about the practicality of dressing in a feminine way.

According to a quote in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook, it's actually carbohydrates that create fat deposits and not fat itself. So the wonderful thing is that even if you want to lose weight, you can feel free to eat as much fat and cholesterol as you like-- eggs, meat, butter, lard, etc. This is healthy, especially for your brain. It's so counterintuitive, and the medical brainwashing is so widespread, that most Americans don't believe it's true.

But try it! Try eating fresh, organic meat and eggs, and as much fat as you like, but cut out sugar and carbohydrates as much as possible. As I've been eating more fat, my face structure has become healthier and more defined.

Well, thanks for this lovely post & comments.

Suzanne said...

I always feel better in my skirts and dresses and would love to see more ladies and girls in them:-) I am glad not to have to wear the many layers the ladies of those times did, but I do wish a few more feminine touches were on ladies dresses and skirts today.

Anonymous said...

I agree about the fats. Simple carbs turn into fat and gather at the waistline, creating a kind of diabetic "system" that is fed even more by other carbs. If you follow a diet of vegetables and real fats like avocado, olive oil, butter and such, you will not be hungry and will be able to lose weight around the middle.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog, Lady Lydia. I just found it several months ago. I have been dresses-only for 6 years, but you have encouraged me to look even more feminine than I have by way of embellishments, pattern of fabric and garment.

Rosemary, I also have a thick waist (have 6 blessings, ages 8 months to 12 years) at age 43, but feel that my skirts hide more of the bulges than my jeans and pants used to. I would be happy to share with you some of my wardrobe as a gift if you'd like to get started. :)

A site I have used is: http://www.myculottes.com/
I have been very happy with them and it is not too expensive, if you don't have time to sew. They will also make your skirt or jumper to your preference in length, which I really love, since I like my skirts 36 inches at least, which is hard to find.

Thanks to everyone for their comments--I don't feel so alone when I read them!

Anonymous said...

I also appreciate the reminders about the veritable slave labor and theft of our jobs here, and to support industry here, make our own, or purchase at thrift stores/ yard sales.

Anonymous said...

To 'Annonymous Rosemary' at 12:01PM, as a fellow 'woman of size' (5'2" and 90kg, I can assure you that well made long dresses or skirt sets are incredibly practical; the dresses moreso (only one garment, one piece, nothing to ride up or become caught). nothing is above around 3" past the ancle with my skirts/dresses, underpinnings give even more comfort (leggings and tights in winter, pettipants in summer) and good sandals during the warmer months that provide protection but don't look too out of place (Living in a hot Southern hemisphere climate, where it is above 30 degrees c for a majority of the time from september through to late april, striking the balance between modesty and comfort is important.

to the commentator who wrote concerning the layering of past times, remember, no synthetic fabrics were availalble. Everything breathed wonderfully, from those garments worn closest to the skin, to outerwear. The only natural fibre that does not breathe is silk, however, certain silk weaves would have been most suitable for stockings etc (different from the silk used in silk stockings today; wider weave, heavier, non slippery fabric). Additionally, public buildings were not heated to within an inch of their lives with air conditioning turned up to ridiculous levels (something all southern hemisphere dwellers notice when in Northern hemisphere countries during their winters).

To the commentator re cloth for home sewing, good material sold as dress fabric 20 years ago is now sold as quilting fabric at four times the price! In Australia, fabric is ridiculously expensive. Even with the exchange rate and international shipping, it costs half the price to support 'The King's Daughters' in the US than it does to purchase from the leading Australian equivalent (all the more troubling when one is simply unable to sew for oneself and learning is not an option. (Lydia understands the specific limitations at play here).


Anonymous said...


No matter what background one is from, be it european, North American, Australian, Italian, Indian, Greek etc, a rule of thumb re food is, if it wasn't eaten in our grand parents' generation, (or even great grandparents, for Gen Y readers), we shouldn't be eating it either. Since 1940, or thereabouts, our food supply has been tampered with on all levels in ways that we are now having to deal with re the long term health outcomes of such meddling; this is not conspiracy website stuff; this was spoken publically on ABC Radio by a respected health and wellbeing commentator earlier this week.

Contributing factors to the degredation of our food supply:

Artificial fertilizers
Global owned seed-stock (terminator seeds)
Global trade in food (shipping ice berg lettuces by plane around the world - ridiculous!! and a disgraceful exercise of Biblical stewardship!)
Turning away from seasonal eating
distruction of agricultural land around our cities; leading to shipping costs, waste of energy etc for transportation, warehousing, etc, that leads to strains of fruits and vegetables having to be bred to cope with long travel and shelf times; robbing them of nutriants and taste!
distruction of the family unit and family meal-times, the private/public sphere balance eroded with both parents out at work; nobody to take the time to feed the family traditionally.

Finally, globalization of clothing manufacture is not only an issue of jobs removed off-shore; it also encompasses the repugnant practices companies engage in once these jobs have moved; little or no worker safety, worker health virtually non existant, no fair pay, guaranteed poverty wages, little or no checks and balances on polution, nor on materials used in the manufacturing process.

The time for pussy footing is over; as a society, we NEED to take a long hard look and DO SOMETHING! we need to 'Return to the old paths, and now!

Anonymous said...

I must say, these comments are so instructive and encouraging...for eating wisely and dressing beautifully.

Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions PLUS their quarterly publication, Wise Traditions, is THE place to go for truth in foods and real health!!! Become a member of their organization as soon as you can! Go to www.westonaprice.org.

I am so thankful for taking the time tonight to sit in my big comfy stuffed chair, laptop in hand and just dwelling here through all the wonderful comments with their great suggestions and teachings.

Thank you Lady Lydia for your blog where wise ladies can meet and share most important issues for us all. The hem lengths, undergarments for comfort and the talk about dresses is wonderful and stirs me to get out that sewing machine again after many months of indecision about just what to sew. My wide middle being a problem, I look forward to getting away even from skirts and doing some dresses with perhaps a waistline even so. I have always felt the MOST UNcomfortable garment to wear is a pair of jeans. Cold in winter...hot in summer....and always binding at the waistline and pulling at the knees when bending down...I just do NOT 'get' the love affair with them!

These comments really helped me to get serious about cutting WAY back on bread and simple carbs....and the info about real fats is true.

Lydia...I also was gladened to read your words on the '50's attire...those were the good ole days of feminine dress...which disappeared by the late 60's if I recall correctly. Peasant dresses of the 60's and 70's were nice...I may even make some for this summer again!!

I love all you all wrote here ....blessings to everyone.

Anonymous said...


You may wish to read 'health Wars' and 'Food for Thought' by author and investigative medical journalist Phillip Day. His writing style is accessible, easy to understand and even light hearted, though he is deadly serious concerning the topics at hand that are raised.

Another easy, simple resource:


And yet again (especially for readers in Australia'

'A Year in Pete's patch'
This DVD will turn the blackest of black-thumbs into confident gardeners, even if all one has is a humeunit balcany or handkerchief back garden.

Additionally the magazine 'Organic Gardener' (both DVD and mag are ABC publications) are fantastic resources.

to get a handle on traditional cookery, back to basics local produce etc, take a look at the BBC DVD Rick Stein's 'Food Heroes'.

Furthermore, the UK, many countries in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand all have thriving 'slow food' movements. This is not just a middle class naffy obsession, its downright common sense.

EVen learning to bake bread (its easy, without a breadmaker) is a start; Even one slice of white homemade bread is far more filling than a slice of commercial pap; as Delia Smith stated in her 'Learning to Cook' series, one has to wonder about bread that when a slice is rolled up into a ball, almost identically resembles the dough from which it was made.

If you can't bake, support good local provadors who produce quality goods.

Yup; I'll be the first to admit this is a passion of mine that I am not ashamed of;

Anonymous said...


Caccini Povero; food of the poor, as it were, (watch Italian food safari on SBS TV tonight in Australia (Thursday) at 7:30pm) is the food that has nourished centuries of men and women who worked a good deal more strenuously than the majority of folk do today, using simple yet nourishing ingredients; wholegrains, llocally grown seasonal fruits vegetables, meats, locally made dairy products without a list of additives as long as your arm.

We have lost, over the past 50 years or so, the equivalent of 2 kilometres walking per day simply due to mechanization, automation and reliance on the car to get around (often unavoidable in post-WWII suburbs without local infrastructure, commercial opportunities or public transport). Yes; all these different issues interlace to form the picture that we are faced with today; dress, diet, stewardship, and it is not merely about 'me', it is about US! it is about cohesive families and communities, organic communities(see www.traditioninaction.com and their articles on organic society) It is about being open to the Holy Spirit, loving god with our whole hearts and loving our neighbours as ourselves; which this post modern insanity renders quite impotent on many levels.

Read Laborem Exercens just for a tiny insight into what has gone wrong and what (based on Biblical principles, we are all called to. Not incidentally, the role of the work of the keeper at home is enshrined deep within the pages of this encyclical... Also, look up the Biblical references that undergird this document.

Lydia, you are truly open to the working of the Holy Spirit, in your life, ministry to your family, community, and the globe, via your blog and the comments it inspires.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful piece, Mrs. Sherman, & I also loved the conversation that followed!

Two days ago I was out doing a little grocery shopping. It was a gorgeous day, weather-wise, & I just felt like matching it in my dress. I chose a red "new-to-me" wrap skirt with a kind of deeper red floral at the hem, & a white 3/4 sleeve blouse. My shoes were some "new-to-me" slip on sandals, with about a 2 inch heel. I was comfortable throughout my day of running errands....but perhaps the nicest thing that happened to me was that as I pushed my cart around a corner to head into the next aisle, another lady (I'd say in her 70's) caught my eye & we smiled at each other. Then, she looked me up & down (well, actually, down & then up again!) & smiled even bigger & said, "That looks so nice! I wish more gals would wear dresses & skirts. I have a closet full of them, & I never wear them anymore." I nodded my agreement & thanked her for her kind words, then said, "Me too....what are we waiting for?"

Tonight my second daughter asked if a favorite skirt of hers was washed yet. It was, but not yet ironed. She wanted to wear it to school tomorrow. She wears skirts or dresses maybe only once a week, but always looks so fresh & pretty when she does. The pants she chooses aren't bad either, but I just like the skirts better, & she knows it. Tomorrow (probably) I will begin cutting out a new dress for her. She chose the pattern, & I think it'll be a flattering one. I'm eager to get going on this! :o)


Lydia said...

The housewife can manage quite a bit of exercise. Sweeping,mopping, cleaning a bathroom,making beds, washing windows, cleaning the fridge, picking up heavy laundry baskets, carrying little children, fixing up flower beds, cleaning different rooms, washing dishes, cooking, unloading groceries, etc. all can build strength and do take a lot of stamina.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say to the heavier lady...don't let your weight keep you from being an elegant lady. In fact, as a plus size woman myself (size 18/20, American sizes), I purposely choose more feminine wear, almost in a way to make up for the fact that I am overweight. Have we not all seen the fat women at the store, wearing pants too small, tops too tight, even shoes that don't fit, looking like sausage in casing? This is not a fat rant, clearly, as I am one of them, but I choose to present myself differently than that.

Pants cut into my fat on my waist. Dresses glide over it. I have no muffin top when I wear a dress. Not only that, but here in the northern hemisphere, it is nearly summer time. There is nothing like a cool skirt around your legs, instead of heavy, sweaty jeans.

While I do own a few black dresses, my wardrobe is mostly colorful. I own about 25 dresses. Sounds like a lot, but I pick them up one at a time, when on sale, or on eBay, or at Goodwill. I can assure you that 25-30 decent dresses will keep you clothed for a good 6 weeks without doing much laundry except for underthings. You can wear a dress two or three times without washing it, just hang it up and let it air out. Unless of course you are gardening or other sweaty work in it! And the dresses take up very little room in a closet. I also own a few skirts, in length from knee to ankle, for tasks such as housecleaning, gardening, laundry, and painting (so I don't ruin my pretty dresses!) Plus I have a collection of tank tops and camis to keep under my tops and dresses to ensure modesty (most of us plus size gals have an ample bosom, and I am no exception.)

Right now, I am sitting at my desk, wearing a coral colored cotton sundress, and a white tank underneath since this dress is quite low cut. It is sleeveless as well, so when I go out later, I will don my white cardigan to cover my arms. I also am wearing coral sandals to go with it, and turquoise earrings and necklace to contrast it. I bought most of this stuff at Walmart and Target. I know it seems an insurmountable task to change your wardrobe all of a sudden. Do it slowly, so as not to create havoc on your budget.

You can do it! xoxox

Anonymous said...

I love this conversation about dressing nicely and femininely and I love the topic of eating well. Upon looking in the mirror last night, I confirmed to myself (again) that what used to be a nice hourglass is now an apple and I was (again) disappointed.

So let me ask a question: what is the best way to dress to camouflage my apple shape? Most of the dresses I see (even in the pattern books) assume and emphasize a narrower waist, but mine is the same size (almost) as my bust and hips!

I have adopted the Nourishing Traditions lifestyle and there is another GREAT resource out there called Perfect Weight America by Jordan Rubin. The author uses Biblical guidelines to his eating regime. It is very helpful and I am starting on his diet plan now. HOWEVER, in the meantime (it took me a few years to put on the weight, I imagine it will take a while to get it all off), what do I wear that is both pretty and flattering while still being feminine and modern?

Thanks for all the help!!!

Anonymous said...

natural fibers adjust better to the body. Some synthetics just are not right for hard work. The fabric collects moisture and does not air out or evaporate. Cottons are always good.

Anonymous said...

A one piece dress, rather than one that is waisted, helps disguise a thick waistline. You can also wear a one piece apron at home during the day.

Anonymous said...

For Kristi @8:49
There was an article in "Sew News" magazine about fashion for different figure types (apples & pears, etc.). I cannot find mine, but this is a similar article:

Anonymous said...

Kristi, I've provided a link
http://www.myshape.com/shop/body-shape to a place called MyShape. You can put in your measurements to determine your shape if you don't already know,but it isn't required. I looked at the types and you are likely an E from your description. If you click onto the E shape it will give you style ideas. Please note- this site is not a "modest" site so not all styles are appropriate for everyone. However, by determining your shape you can see what style of skirts, dresses and tops are most flattering on your body type. By looking at what they offer that does flatter your particular shape you may get ideas . I don't care to throw the baby out with the bath water, so if this link assists anyone in finding more flattering styles by finding their shape, it's worth a look. The purpose of the site was so that women could put in their measurements to find the correct size in styles that suited their particular body type rather than order incorrect sizes as not all garments are cut the same.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

Here is a link to a blog for those who know basic sewing. Thre are many pattern drafting instructions. we can draft the patterns as per our body measurements. It is preferable to use some cheap fabric first for trials and then go on to make proper dresses. we can use newpapers for patterns or brown paper. Of course some patterns are not suitable but we can lengthen hemlines etc ..

Fathima from uae

Anonymous said...

There is some theory, rather new, that high fructose corn syrup and poly unsaturated fatty acids have caused many people to become insulin resistant and therefore to gain weight around the waist (apple shape).

Once this happens, we become much more sensitive to all forms of carbohydrates and can gain weight from them easily.

So once we have this disordered carbohydrate metabolism, we cannot enjoy the same levels of healthy (and unhealthy) carbs as others.

It is important to realize that the same diet will not affect everyone in the same manner.

Here is a link to a recent lecture given by Gary Taubes who wrote the book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.


Swedish.org is the website of a large hospital in Seattle, WA.