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.


  1. When Eli started going to theaters, I researched proper attire for an evening opera.. I was saddened to see the standard has slipped to jeans and t shirts! Proper etiquette is still formal dress, but nearly everyone had toned that down. Eli and I decided on him in a suit, me in a dress with heels. We were some of the dressiest people there! Eli and I are both predisposed to being sloppy dressers (as we were grungy 90's teenagers) but I realized after we had a couple of children, that I wanted to look respectable now that I was a mother.. not like a teenage slob. This has been pretty difficult for me and Eli to keep up, but it does make you feel better to dress nicely! And people treat you with more respect. My friend and I have a joke about not wanting to look like a homeschool mom; in other words look frazzled, make up less. baggy tee shirt and sweats. And our kids not to look like homeschool kids :) I wish that we could go back to a time when we women wear dresses and heels the house, with our hair nicely made up, but these days it would just look a bit costume. I am glad that we are not bound to uncomfortable, restrictive, dolled up attire, which purpose I think was to make women more of an ornament, and not an able bodied person; for no one could be able in womens dress before the 20's. I think we owe it to family especially to look nice. I would not want a slob for a wife or mother :) good post :)

  2. Brilliant entry Talz, really enjoyed reading it... it was worth getting car sick :-)

    and btw... couldn't agree more!