Friday, May 02, 2014

Going Out

The Thames at Benson, by Albert Chevalier Taylor 1862-1925

( picnic basket with dishes) click on link for details of this basket

Faraway Thoughts, By Alfred Glendenning

(Heart-shape white wicker picnic hamper with goblets and other supplies) click link for details.

The First Arrivals by Alice Mary Havers, 1881

I enjoyed finding these beautiful outdoor scenes of 19th century women, and have included pictures of old-fashioned picnic baskets that are manufactured still today. They are expensive, but you can replicate the idea by placing a cloth of some kind (maybe from your sewing stash) inside a plain basket, filling it as desired, and bringing the cloth up and around the contents and tucking it in the edges. I have one of my own to show you, below.
Ice packs can be inserted in any of these baskets to preserve freshness.
Make your own version of a simple picnic carrier by lining a large basket with a quilt for little or no cost, with covered ice packs in the bottom, and filling it with light-weight plates or paper plates and cups and chilled foods, then folding the blanket over the top.
You might find it interesting that these paintings show women outdoors obviously relaxed, participating in casual activities, yet not so casual in their mode of dress. While we do not have to find Victorian costumes for outdoor activities, I believe that ladies young and not-so-young can add to the lovely scenes of such activities by wearing something more interesting than the uniform that is commonly on women outdoors.

These painting fashions can be imitated just by wearing a colorful long skirt. Think of "matching" the deep blue sea or the lovely flower-carpeted expanses and you can picture the idea. It is what I call mood dressing. You might observe in these paintings that the ladies are depicted in clothing that is as beautiful as their surroundings.

If you are new to this blog and you wonder why I post the Victorian paintings when I am discussing womanly clothing, the reason for it is that firstly, I like the Victorian era and the elements of their fashion. The styles looked feminine and good on women of all ages and sizes. The second reason is that the paintings and photographs reveal a time in history when all women wore dresses and skirts. The only women who wore pants or underwear in public were in the circus!

The 19th century photographs have left something to be remembered about the way our great grandmothers dressed. What will the photographs of our era say to generations to come?
Dress and apron: Cattle Kate
The last few posts are in a series of articles showing the interesting styles of what is known as the Victorian era. They had immodest styles back then, too, but it seems they had a lot of becoming styles that ladies preferred to wear at home and on outings.
There is a lot of controversy these days about what the meaning of the description of the Proverbs 31 woman really is. I have been thinking about some of the exaggerations and myths that are touted as facts, even by religious people, and I hope to address these in a post soon.

Someone has asked if I would write or show how I go about my daily life as a Christian older woman. The days have been so busy and so full, that I find myself too busy living them and not enough time to write about it all. However I hope to get my thoughts together and address this subject. In the meantime, there are quite a number of ladies at home represented by blogs on my sidebar, who take a few moments to post something they do during the day. Life at home is varied and busy.

Photographs of ladies outdoors in the 1800's:
When discovering more feminine ways to dress, consider old photographs and adapt the styles to modern clothing: longer, softer, more modest than the prevailing culture. You do not actually have to acquire the Victorian clothing or wear the style of the 1800s to accomplish a more ladylike way of dressing. In general, as in my previous article, a dress or skirt and a modest blouse. It does not have to be cumbersome or frumpy!
Current styles of skirts and blouses available today


Lydia said...

Think of car-travel clothes , as well. It does not have to be jeans and t-shirts. In fact, even at home and garden, it is not necessary to wear drab, unfeminine clothing. I believe even in times when popular fashion is all there seems to be in stores, that there is always, in every era, a feminine choice of clothing.

Lydia said...

Today there are many styles to choose from in feminine clothes. By feminine I mean skirts and blouses or tunics that look different than men's clothes. Consider Western wear styles, which have a cut with more shape for a lady's figure. There are shabby chic styles that are a bit more Lacey and ruffle. If you prefer something more taylored, try Chadwicks catalog. If you are an older woman and want to cover your arms or wear garments that are not too tight and just skim the body and hang withing clinging, try the dresses at The Paragon catalog. This is not formal wear but things you can wear at home. Feminine clothing isn't necessarily fussy or frilly or impractical. You can have a plain look, if you like.

Katrinka said...

It seems the fashions today are unflattering to even young slender women unless they have the build of a child. The clothing uses the body for structure rather than the fabric having structure of its own and draping gracefully over bumps and ridges.

Lydia said...

Summer clothing was not heavy wool lens. It was thin natural fibers like cotton. And as for layers, two layers of clothing would be what was under the dress, and the dress itself. We have a problem today in that women still wear a lot of layers , even in summer, and it is tight tee shirts, jeans and thick belts. So I criticizing the Victorian clothing, if you have never worn it ( it is cool and comfortable, surprisingly). Its good to first look at some of the trends people indulge in today that make no sense.

Housewife59 said...

I believe it is equally important to dress femininely and take thought over our clothes at home and in the garden, as when we 'go out'. This is one way of showing our husbands that we consider them and don't take them for granted. Our little children will remember those long, pretty skirts that made them smile (and they hid behind) and our older children will appreciate the gentleness and beauty of a mother who dresses in a feminine manner. How many adult children are ashamed of the slovenly way their mothers dress? If we dress in a rebellious, arrogant or 'in your face' manner, what message is that sending to our children?

Rightthinker said...

When I was still blogging, I did several posts about clothing, as well. We live in North Idaho, where the summers are nice and warm and the winters are COLD! So many women who wear jeans, do so because "they are warm in the winter". However, I did a post and challenged them to wear a long skirt with nice heavy tights underneath and some feminine and stylish boots. Pair it with a camisole or tank, and then a nice blouse and cardigan that can be removed if you get too warm indoors....they all said they were far warmer.

Skin tight jeans do not promote warmth in the winter, and unfortunately, are terribly hot in the Summer so they are usually exchanged for very immodest shorts.

We have had some very nice Spring days this last week and I found myself cringing, because out crept the disgusting immodest apparel.

There seems to be two camps nowadays. The fat, unkept, frumpy sweat pants/pajamas to the grocery store crowd, and the immodest.

Women need to understand that jeans look "good" on VERY few ladies..and when they look good (meaning revealing a very shapely, thin body) they are revealing a shape and are a second skin and immodest.

I always ask my husband, "why do husbands today allow their wives to dress like that and show every many her body?" I think it is because women have learned to tell their men to mind their business they will do as they please, and because relationships are so out of whack with the misunderstanding of our God-given roles, that many men would rather have a sexualized trophy for others to look at than a modest and attractive lady like representation of womanhood.

Women would do well to understand and appreciate that bodies change with child bearing and age, and not pretend they have bodies of 16 year old models, and then subject us all to looking at their rolls (and other undesirables) in skin tight, low rise jeans and bulging tight t-shirts.

I have eight children, but get complimented on my figure constantly. Partly because I live a healthy lifestyle, but my body is not what it was when I was younger. It's because I dress attractively and modestly that I look appropriate. I choose flattering apparel, and it hides the imperfections, and it is practical and feminine.

I never have to feel ashamed that my husband or children are embarrassed of me for either pretending my body is what it is not, and then dressing like an immodest teen, or for looking frumpy and unkept.

Great post!

MonicasDaughter said...

I disagree with the comment about clothes being easier to find for thin women. As a thin, middle-aged woman who wishes to dress conservatively it is nearly impossible to find something decent to wear in any retail outlet: physical or online. The Misses' sizes are cut larger, and hang like curtains on my skinny chest and narrow hips. Everything is scoop neck or v neck. And forget about the juniors dept where they have mini skirts and skinny jeans and little scraps of fabric that pass for tops and blouses.

I understand there is no sympathy for the thin in this culture ... boo hoo .. but it's not just average sized women who have trouble with clothes these days.

MonicasDaughter said...

As a thin, small-framed, middle-aged woman, I find that I also cannot find anything in the stores. The Misses' clothing is cut for fuller figures with scoop and v-necks, with bodices that billow, pants that generously allow for "curves" ...skirts are larger in the waist, still short in length.

In the juniors dept it's all skinny jeans and mini skirts and tops and blouses made out of tiny scraps of clothing.

I realize that few care about the complaints of someone smaller than average ... but the retail stores online and in real life do not make shopping for conservative clothes that fit easy for anyone.

Lydia said...

Leslie, there have been discussions here over the years about how children grow up looking at women in drab clothing, and at vacation bible school the teachers come in denim shirts or jeans. How much nicer to remember a print their mothers wore on a skirt, and also it's no wonder the teens go for a radical rock star style..who wants to imitate the drabness of the older women with t shirts and jeans? At least the popular styles,methought immodest and so we hat unfeminine, will have color and some sparkles and maybe a ruffle or something that looks female

Valerie said...

What a beautiful post! Love the picnic baskets. I actually have a picnic basket...I need to pull it out and use it this summer. Those paintings are gorgeous too! Love, love, long skirts. Blessings and Sunshine, Valerie

Katrinka said...

We went out shopping recently and after reading this post I paid attention to the way the older ladies were dressed. Most of the very elderly, although mostly in slacks or jeans, were very well groomed,sometimes with creases in their shirt sleeves or jeans from pressing them. Most of the ladies my age (60) wore jeans and t-shirts, worn sloppily, some with their hair chopped in a scraggy manner. Those ladies I tried envisioning in a loose summer skirt and blouse, and the effect was amazing.

However, there's a story behind the way these ladies dress and I don't think it's simply lack of concern over their grooming. These are the women who have done, and continue to do, it ALL. Careers, raising children, caring for the home, and now continuing to work, both in their homes and in the workplace, caring for grandchildren and sometimes parents. Couple that with the ease of pulling a pair of jeans and t-shirt out of the drawer, and the notion that everyone's doing it the same way, and many of them probably give it little thought.

My daughter recently made a couple of observations. She said she didn't want to become one of those older ladies running around in sweat pants with her hair chopped off. She said it seems most older women think that's stylish (I've even seen some blogs, by men, who state that a woman who doesn't cut her hair is lazy!).

The other observation is regarding the mother of a friend of hers. This woman is my age and has raised several children, kept her home, homeschooled her kids, and has been helping with her grandchildren, parents, and in-laws. Now her husband wants to start a new business, and the solution was for her to get a job to help out. So she's a server at Applebees. On her feet and running tables. My daughter said, "She's worked all her life, it's time for her to retire, too. She shouldn't be waiting tables and wearing herself out."

I have to agree. I know there are special, temporary circumstances, and hopefully that will be so in this case. Anyone can wait tables, but only she can keep her own home. If these women are HAPPY this way, that's one thing. But many of them don't know they have another option.

Lydia said...


These clothes are sold in abundance and are easily found. The nicer clothes seem elusive and the fashions constantly change, leaving out a lot of women with different tastes in styles. When the hemlines get shorter and the tops get more immodest, some women find the jeans and horizontally striped shirts an easier alternative, which also makes them feel more anonymous, and they
Fit in with the crowd. It is one thing if a woman is actually a construction workers but for women at home or going out to tea rooms with their daughters, they should not have to resort to dressing like they are digging ditches or working on the highway. These days at home, the place is pleasant and modern for most of us, and it does not require dressing like we don't care what our husbands and children have to look at. That being said, unless you make your own skirts, its is hard to find feminine styles and you have to pay a high price.

Kimberly said...

This is beautiful and it brightened up my moment

Mary said...

Beautiful pictures;nice outfits!