Thursday, October 20, 2005

Feminine doesn’t just mean wearing any old dress.


At the website ladiesagainstfeminism.com one article mentions a girl who looked as if her clothing had been thrown on with a pitchfork. And Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote in her defense of Christian women aspiring to modest dress, “I’ve heard women describe modesty as ‘no style’, ‘prudish’, ‘unattractive’ and ‘boring.”

What is it that we have done to make people think of this? Has our idea of modesty really been transformed to lack of style and unattractiveness? DeMoss reminds us that God in His creation displays much beauty, lavish colors and infinite variety.

Two years ago I rarely ever wore a dress. Skirts were the closest I got to dressing in feminine clothing. Although a tomboy, I was still a girl at heart and I liked pretty things, but so much of what I saw were frumpy denim dresses that resembled feedbags with sleeves sewn onto them. And in my opinion a pair of jeans and a t-shirt were much more attractive then those dresses that often did look as though they had been thrown on with a pitchfork.

Then I read articles on wearing dresses in which the author explained that when you wear a dress you will most likely feel more feminine and ladylike. You will not slouch and sprawl but try to live up to what your appearance says about you. I have been experimenting with wearing long, lovely dresses and I have discovered their transforming power. My brothers even treat me differently!

Conversely, masculine, sloppy clothes do not make me feel feminine or distinct from all the guys in our home. And I have to ask myself, is this kind of gender blurring God glorifying? Femininity is supposed to be a beautiful thing. As Caddie Woodlawn’s father tells her in the Newberry prize winning book by Carol Ryrie Brink, “ It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful. What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things their rough way!”

Can we really make the world a more beautiful place when we appear to be rough like the men and boys? I do not think so. Will you give this transforming idea a chance? Put on a pretty feminine dress. If you need to cook don’t take it off, just slip on an apron. You’ll be amazed how much more you’ll want to make the make the world sweet and beautiful, when you embrace another aspect of God's purpose and design in your life.

18 comments:

Joe Powel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hannah Beth said...

Great post, Sarah! I used to feel the same way about wearing dresses too, but I've come to see that femininity, (though not often glorified these days) is truly a beautiful thing.

I look forward to your future posts!!

By the way, you might be interested in a blog that a friend and I have started recently: http://femininebeauty.blogspot.com/

Bitta said...

That was a very interesting post, Sarah. I love the idea and think that it would be interesting to try. I think it is interesting that men and women both can wear pants, but only women get to wear dresses and skirts. It is something that only we get to do. Forget getting to do everything that men do! I'd rather do something specifically female.

I am really looking forward to reading more posts on your site. It is necessary to have encouragement to be feminine when the world tells you otherwise.

Thanks,

Elizabeth

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Maria said...

Thank you Sarah! I have for many years loved skirts and dresses, although I do not wear them regularly, except in the summer. I am truly much more feminine when I wear skirts. I will have to try to acquire more skirts and wear them more often.

Anonymous said...

I really love dresses, but I have a lot of problems trying to wear them. I am very tiny up top, have no defined waist, and wide hips. I have tried to sew, but it's just not one of my talents. Does anyone know a reasonably priced place online where I can get custom dresses?

agodlyhomemaker said...

i loved this post! i so agree with what you said.

Anonymous said...

In't it still possible to be feminine without nessecarily wearing dresses? I am a seamstress and even patterns you find are the ugly bags. I wonder if remaining feminine isn't what you where but how you wear it?

Mariah said...

I also agree. I don't have many dresses. I can't seem to find any modest ones. But I have a few skirts and I really like wearing those. Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I found your blog on accident and thought I'd put in my two cents.

I hardly ever wear dresses by themselves, because I find them very impractical for getting around, and it can be very cold to have bare legs or just stockings. Usually, if I do wear a dress (I actually have many of them), I'll wear some pants underneath (I don't know if that's fashionable where you live, but here it's very common) so that it's easier to ride bikes, stay warm, etc.

I'd also like to emphasize the fact that there are many, many feminine clothes out there that are not dresses or skirts. Yes, most of the women's shirts and pants available at regular chain stores and the mall can be very boyish or too revealing. But it's quite easy to find feminine shirts, pants, coats or whatever at local stores or used/consignment shops. In my opinion, a soft blouse or pants with a nice cut (not too tight) can be just as feminine as a dress. These are usually more unique too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sarah!
I enjoyed your post very much and hope to hear more from you. I agree with everything you say and I think I can help you. Go to colleenhammond.com and you'll find many wonderful sources of modest clothes and even modest swimwear. I can't guarantee that they'll be inexpensive, but whatever the price, modesty is well worth it. Colleen Hammond has a book called "Dressing With Dignity," in which she explains a lot of stuff concerning modesty and how to dress modestly and elegantly at the same time.
God bless you and good luck in your search!

Carissa said...

I think they have some really cute modest dresses out there too that we can wear... I personally don't wear dresses very often, I only own two... but also pairing short dressed with leggings or jeans can make it cute... or a low cut dress put a cute lace cami under it. For a spaghetti strap or strapless dress, put on a shrug or cardigan to make it cute and modest... what are some of your convictions on modesty? like personally I wouldn't wear a dress/skirt above my knees more than an inch or two... what do you think?

Michelle said...

I agree with what you had to say. However, as I am reading all these comments, I would like to say something. There is no list of rules for modesty. I believe that as you grow as a Christian, the Lord will convict you on what you could change as far as your dress. Also, modesty still can vary a bit from state to state and culture to culture and that is not a bad thing. Of course, you also have to take in body types. What style might be modest on one girl might not be modest on another and vice versa. Also, there is many feminine clothes that are not dresses or skirts. If a stylish top is revealing, put a tank top or another shirt on underneath. In fact, I keep a couple drawers full of tank tops and shirts, in case something is too low cut or too short that way I can wear it underneath and still keep up with the current styles. Also remember, we are representatives of Christ. We should be modest in our appearance, yet still dress up to date in a fashionable way. Remember, Paul says to be all things to all people. I also do not feel that we can be good witnesses to the non-believer if we dress like we are from the early 1900s or 1800s. Aren't we already different enough as Christians. Too often, I think that Christians are known for everything that they are against, but not known what they are for. We still need to live in 2007 and not 1920, if we ever plan on reaching our non saved friends.
Keep up the good work though with this site!!

Anonymous said...

Some good websites for modest dresses, both formal and everyday ones, are:

modestbydesign.com
beautifullymodest.com
mikarose.com

Good luck with your efforts. It is worth it!

Anonymous said...

I only wear dresses or skirts... I have for many years...believing that it is specifically womens clothing.... I love all the choices I have.... I always love getting dressed. I have the prettiest cloths and am always modest and covered. I wear denim skirts a lot but with pretty blouses, and of course feminine shoes.... I do not look drab... I will not tolerate it....I do not like to look sloopy either.... getting dressed is too much fun to be frumpy... and it doesn't take a lot of money. Thrift stores are great sources, I shop and will make alterations. I think part of being feminine is looking like a lady..... modest and pretty.

Becca said...

I was looking at different blogs when I found yours. I have just recently decided to wear more dresses too! But it just doesn't happen over night.
I am in the process of making some 1940's dresses for myself, I am also making some 1900's dresses for my sisters and mother.
I look forward to reading more entry's from you.
P.S. The Web site is my family's that I sometimes write on.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you like to wear dresses and dress modestly, but still fashionably. One thing I have noticed while reading this blog is that many women are saying how dresses make them feel more feminine, because it is solely a female garment. This is true...in American culture. Please remember, though, there was a time when everyone wore robes or gowns. It was the men who decided to change what they wore and wear pants, for practicality purposes and ease of movement. So I don't think that is necessarily non-feminine to wear pants, just because men were the first to wear them.

Dresses CAN be more modest; it doesn't necessarily hold true that they ARE more modest than pants. The past few years in fashion have brought forth some of the most immodest skirts I've seen in a long time. Not just short, but full, so they are more likely to fly up. Or long skirts with an overly high slit. Why choose clothing that we KNOW will distract guys? Do some soul-searching before you purchase...is the reason you find some of these fashions "cute" because you know that guys will find you "cute" wearing them? They may SAY you are "cute," but honey, their thoughts are going elsewhere, to a much less innocent place. Yes, men are responsible for their own lustful thoughts, but it is not appropriate for us to be a stumbling block and help them commit adultery in their heart by wearing immodest clothing. When I was teaching high school, a friend of mine summed up the answer to the whole fashion/modesty issue: "When you get dressed in the morning, make sure you are as cute as a button, and make sure that Jesus would be proud of you."

In the late 1800s/early 1900s, one of the reasons bloomers or pants were considered immodest (when they were first invented for women) was the fact that they accentuated and defined a woman's legs. They do the same thing for men, but I would venture to say that we don't look at men's legs the same way that they look at ours! Basically, the issue was that women were exposing things that should have been left to the imagination. I have often heard men say that it is MUCH more attractive to see a woman covered up than very exposed. Many men enjoy when you "leave things to the imagination." In addition to that, it is important to remember that we must dress for the message we want to send. It is not appropriate to dress in a way that advertises items that are "not for sale."

It IS difficult to find things that are comfortable, modest, and stylish at the same time. I want to feel beautiful when I get dressed, but I don't like to wear nylons and dress shoes; they are very uncomfortable and the shoes hurt my back. So I wear pants with sneakers or loafers. I wear dress pants to work with beautiful, feminine tops and simple, elegant jewelry. I do like to dress up in a dress or skirt for church, but doing it every day would be incapacitating. As a worship/music director at my church, I work with preschool children-middle school kids. We do activities that involve the whole body. I would be IMMODEST if I wore a skirt or dress. But I don't feel unfeminine in pants. I think that both are okay, and I am glad that we live in a society that allows us to choose what is best for each of us.

Amy said...

I hope there are some attractive young ladies who attend church reading this. I have seen many young ladies who seem to have good hearts and love the Lord, who do not seem to understand modesty.

Young ladies on our worship team, for instance, wear tight and/or low-cut blouses quite often. High skirts are something I also see. It just isn't modest. If I notice, certainly my husband and boys are going to notice too. It's rather distracting, especially up on stage! Please, ladies, if this applies to you, prayerfully consider whether your clothing honors the Lord. Are your tight, low cut shirts tempting your brothers?