Friday, April 30, 2010

Dressing UP!

19th April 1926: Two Parisian women dressed for the theatre in simple outfits with detailed decoration. (Photo by Seeberger Freres/General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

I will be attending a play tonight, Frankenstein, at the Little Theatre in Port Arthur, TX. Marshall told me that Frankenstein is one of the best books, if not his favourite, that he's ever read. Like most women I imagine, I began pondering on what to wear to the play hours before hand... do I wear a dress and heels? That is what I think would be most appropriate. However, we are going with another couple and what if they dress casual,jeans perhaps.. then I would feel kind of over dressed.. What if Marshall doesn't want to dress up? Shall I just wear jeans too? Hmm... this started my thinking about how much society's dress standards have dropped over the centuries. I'm referring to the dress standards I suppose in Australia, the US & Europe.. just what I've seen.

I believe we are suffering from a gradual disappearance or terminal lack of etiquette, in the way we dress, interact with people, table etiquette, speech and just general good manners. We have become lazy, disrespectful of others and especially ourselves. I think having respect should start with oneself. I believe we need to have integrity & respect for ourself in the way we dress, speak and act and then in how we treat others. I specifically want to direct this blog post toward the way people dress and present themselves these days.

Take a look at that picture above taken in the mid 1920's when women dressed up to go to the theatre. They were modest, not excessively showy but elegant and although their hair is neatly tucked under their hats I imagine they had their hair combed or tucked into pin curls. A friend and I went to the cinema's sometime last year and whilst waiting in line I was deeply disturbed and offended by the dress of some of those waiting in line with us. Teenagers were barefoot, clothing was sloppy and hair was all over the place. In fact.. what alarms me most is seeing young girls & boys purposely messing up their hair so it looks as though they just got out of bed because it is the "in thing" right now. I recently read an article written by a lady named Joan Collins. She wrote "we have all turned into putative slobs, spending our days in baggy tracksuits and T-shirts. I think standards have slipped," she says, "If they continue slipping, we'll all be walking around barefoot with a minimum of clothes, and lots of tattoos and piercings."
Well, can she be any more correct? People have become sloppy in their grooming and in themselves. They're more interested in being on the internet for hours, in texting, emailing and watching t.v. Literally spending hours inside, not dressing up for anything and when it comes time to go out to eat or go to the store or even to the movies with friends people will just stay in their sloppy attire. I have even seen people go to wedding receptions in jeans or shorts!!! shorts??! We are all so busy our clothes have changed to reflect this. Gone are the days when women would dress up for their husbands of an evening, or where men would wear pants that actually fit them & not hung around their knees or were so incredibly tight they might burst something... how uncomfortable. A skirt & a blouse and a little makeup seem too much effort for most women these days. Sometimes it is tricky to be glamorous, even exhausting! Especially when the norm is, quote "At the school gates, the "slummy mummy" uniform of jeans, trainers and no make-up. Anything beyond that is viewed with suspicion."

The fashion styles of today don't help this crisis. People don't know how to dress anymore & don't know what to wear for their body type. I have seen far too many very overweight women & girls in too tight, too revealing clothing that it is very unattractive. Not comely or tidy in any way. Plain ugly and indecent. Magazines, t.v, fashion designers are pushing this grungy look of not caring. Women are lost. Men and women, boys & girls are just following along with the dress-down or dress-less attitude of the world right now. I see so many boys with pants around their ankles, the crutch between their knees and girls with skirts or dresses so short if they bent over you'd see their....! Short skirts and ugg boots, tank tops with underwear showing, men dressing like women and women dressing like men. It is atrocious! 

I must say, I have many friends who dress well and some who could dress better :) including myself. I think there has been a shift from dressing to impress men, to dressing to impress other women. Fashion plays a big part. So much so that it just about dictates what is sold in clothing stores everywhere and leaves very little option for people like myself who do not want to follow the crowd. I think a good question to ask is, 'who am I dressing for?' I believe that true beauty or glamour comes from within. It is not about what you wear. Quote ""If I put on high heels, I immediately feel fabulous. I don't think that it's particularly glamorous to appear as if you have spent three days putting on your make-up. Some pared-down jeans, a simple shirt and trainers is, to me, a perfectly good look that takes little effort. Women who criticise other women for not wearing glamorous enough clothes are not celebrating women for what they are. That's not good in my book."

I can relate to this comment. Looking good can make a woman feel better but I don't believe we have to wear what the fashion guru's say we should. I think taking pride in the way you look, not being vain but making an effort to dress-up can boost self esteem. I believe many women lack confidence and have lost their "glamour" or inner beauty because they want to be like something or someone else. They want equality, they want to keep up with the trends, or they can't afford to and make no effort at all and resolve to wearing ugly jeans and baggy shirts the rest of their lives. 

Making an effort to look your best says that you're worth taking the time to be the best you can be. It says you care about yourself, about hygiene & cleanliness and about your influence on others. It doesn't have to be expensive, in fact, it shouldn't be. It does take a little time, a little self-discipline. But I truly believe that with a little bit of effort to take pride in the way we dress and to do so appropriately (appropriately being the key word here) that we can feel better about ourselves and perhaps even lift the standards of those around us. 

I would like to include this, the 13th Article of Faith written by Joseph Smith. "We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

I seek after these things that are virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy. I seek to be the kind of person described in this statement. I seek to stand out from the crowd and endure whatever it is I have to endure whilst in this world and not succumb to the evil or trendy influences that are so prominent & distracting today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

new beginnings....

Well... here is just another example of my bad habit - not completing or following through on something I start... unless it's food.
It's been a while... Spring has sprung and appropriately I've attached a picture of the beautiful bouquet of flowers I picked from a traffic island in the middle of the road last week. I drive by them each morning I drop Marshall at school and think to myself 'gee they would make a lovely bouquet.. free too..'.... so, last week as I was leaving after I had surprised Marshall during his lunch break with balloons & a bag of goodies - for our "UN-anniversary"... it was about 1pm & there very few cars around. I pulled over and ran across into the middle of the island and bent down to pick the flowers trying very hard to look like I was just.. well, smelling the flowers. I'm pretty sure it was illegal... maybe.. I don't know.. I'm a foreigner and there was no sign. hehe.... I am amazed at the many different kinds of flowers all growing amongst each other. I tried to get some of every kind, but there were just too many! All different kinds and brilliantly coloured. So here they are...

I attended my first book club last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, now I wish I had joined in earlier! Last night was held at Stephanie's home and there were 5 of us. It was a lovely time. She served some delicious treats, lemon madelines, blood orange soda and a platter of strawberries & grapes. Yum! I think I counted I ate about.. 7 madelines - I had been craving sugar it seems. 

We each shared words and thoughts about our chosen books - this month we had the option to read a biography of our choice. I kind of decided to join at the last minute so  I wasn't very prepared but had read the book 'How to be like Women of Influence' last year and it was fantastic. It is full of 20 short biographies of some of the most amazing women ever. It is educational, engaging, uplifting and inspiring! I can't wait to read it again as I think I had only read about half way through when I had to return it to it's owner. So now I have a renewed interest in reading.. I like to read and when I do I can't put a book down til I've finished it. I normally finish a book in about 2 to 3 days. I just don't read as often as I'd like because I'm indecisive as to what to read and there are SO MANY good books I become overwhelmed and don't know where to start, so I don't. I think being apart of this book club will give me a little bit of encouragement and really the motivation and will to read. I'm excited! I just recently finished 'The Lovely Bones' and then watched the film. As always, the book was better. It is pretty sad & depressing though so I don't know that I would really recommend it. But it's different, it's original and overall I did like it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times and almost in tears at other times. It was a quick read and now I'm on to 'Trail of Crumbs' by Kim Sunee. I'll start it tonight. I stayed quite late at Stephanie's and little did I know my husband was anxiously waiting for me to hurry home. I arrived home close to 10pm to find him eager to greet me and I was very pleasantly surprised, actually extremely grateful to him as he had spent the time cleaning the house. The dinner was put away, lunch was packed, kitchen perfectly clean, clothes put away AND he had walked to walmart to get us a dvd & pulled out our heavy mattress into the lounge-room to watch it :) not to mention the 2 brownies waiting on a plate for me... after all those madelines I don't know how I fit them in, but I did :)

Now today hasn't been especially productive for me as I'm really struggling to work from home. I am finding it extremely difficult to do and very little gets done. I hate Wednesday's because Marshall has a night class he attends after work and I don't have the car and don't get to see him til about 9:30pm. It is a looooong day. I have been investigating various courses of study I'd like to take though and I think that has been productive. I definitely know better now than I did 5yrs ago about what I wanted to pursue. I've almost narrowed it down. 
Well, it's 4.30pm.. time to get out of my p.j's I think, drink up this blueberry smoothie I just made and take a walk outside before it gets too dark. YAY for free HUGE bags of frozen blueberries free from Relief from a sister's brother's blueberry farm... FREE! :)