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Via Media


FINALLY

posted by awelborn

Commentor Jason sends along this piece on the supposed decline of skin in fashion

(Tell it to the young woman sitting in front of us at the baseball game the other night. Well, it does take a while for the heartland to catch the newest trends)

The low-slung "waist" – line and belly shirts are supposedly out…in (and this I know is true) are the long peasant skirts, longer shirts, and so on. As the mother of an almost 14-year old who is starting to be interested in dressing not so much like a little girl any more…phew.

(Oh, and don’t say "Land’s End" blah, blah blah. Land’s End is good for many things, and good up to a certain age. But not every girl wants to look crisp and preppy all the time. )

I remember when a similar shift occurred back in the 70′s. In fact, I remember it vividly, for some reason – when minis started going out and longer skirts came in. I was a freshman in high school, in the fall of ’74, when one of my fellow students appeared on a no-uniform day in a skirt (plaid, probably, as was the style) that went down to her knees. And she was one of the "cool" ones. What struck me was how grown-up she looked, what a mature appearance that skirt gave her. I wanted to look that way, too.



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ro

posted July 24, 2005 at 11:01 am


Growing up in Brooklyn in the 80s and 90s I associated ordinary long skirts on young women with Orthodox Jews and only with them. I thought those low hemlines would look as out of place on me as a sari. Kids even noticed and made fun that my Catholic school uniform skirt was below the knee (not by my own choice.) I became more independent-minded re clothes as an older teen. But when I finally included a very pretty outfit with a long skirt in my every day wear, negative comments about the “Jew” were indeed once directed my way as I walked home from the local college. (It bothered me more that he would say such things to an apparently Jewish young woman than that I was the target, so I kept wearing that outfit.)



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LadyHatton

posted July 24, 2005 at 11:02 am


Today’s NY Times shows stylish women on the streets of NY in longish, sparkling, peasanty-style skirts, and floaty tops–a nice change. And on a hot humid day, much more comfortable than tight jeans or miniskirts.
OK end of fashion digression :)



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Lynn

posted July 24, 2005 at 12:30 pm


I’ll be glad when the new fashion trickles down to Florida.



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dymphna

posted July 24, 2005 at 1:45 pm


I’ll be glad when low rider jeans go. This week I saw a girl whose pants were so low that when she bent over everyone could see that judging by the hairs on her backside, she was not a natural blonde. Little Missy was fat on top of that.



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cecilia

posted July 24, 2005 at 1:50 pm


I went to Mass this AM in the LA area and it looks like the fashion for church among teenagers and even some adult women at this particular parish are shorts and skirts which barely cover the backside.



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Jacob

posted July 24, 2005 at 1:53 pm


I was at Mass this morning when this girl, who is say about 12 years old, headed up to the sacristy.
She had on this tank-top thing with spaghetti straps and a short pink skirt that came down to about mid-thigh.
She came out of the sacristy wearing her white robe, as she is an altar server.
I just found that rather humorous in a weird way. While I was sitting in Mass, I began entertaining the thought that everyone should have to wear white robes… It would be a lot less distracting and far more holy.



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carrieryckman

posted July 24, 2005 at 2:23 pm


I’m very fortunate the oldest of my 3 daughters (15) loves the Bohemian look. She has quite a few long peasant style skirts that go to her ankles, although she usually wears a cami with the skirt. I am the mean mom and make her wear a sweater over her cami at mass (although, duh, it’s always overly air-conditioned and cold anyway!). My second daughter (13) is much more of a challenge. The current trend in TIGHT and LOW tops is crazy. If a top is even a bit loose, I’m told to shrink it. I tried to get her to buy one of the in style “tunics” and she said those were for old women. Oh well, I guess at 37 I’m an old fuddy-duddy.



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KH

posted July 24, 2005 at 2:31 pm


I was thinking the very same thing when I got my latest Bloomie’s catalogue in the mail. Go see for yourself:
http://www.bloomingdales.com
Most of the stuff is very feminine, not hootchie-mama at all. You can find a short skirt if you really want one, but in general the clothes are dignified, elegant and pretty. It’ll be interesting to see if most women go out and buy this stuff, or will they still seek out the skimpy outfits? I’ve always said you can find the good stuff if you look; it’s there, but they can’t force you to buy. And I agree; Land’s End is for kids and men. Although covered up, those clothes are not stylish nor feminine.
Oh, and the best fitting jeans are those that sit one inch below your belly button. Waist-high do not look flattering on anyone. And enough with the butt-cleavage; I’m tired of looking at some chick’s thong strap. And yes, I’m a Stacey and Clinton devotee, mostly because they are always right, especially their comment about their mission being the “de-slobification” of America.



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Sonetka

posted July 24, 2005 at 3:19 pm


I like crinkle skirts a lot, but will have to hold off on wearing mine again until I’m a little thinner – if you’re at all big around the waist, they make you look like a circus tent. You can get them pretty much anywhere. And I’ll admit to a fondness for spaghetti straps and tank tops, just because it gets so broiling hot out here that even wearing a regular t-shirt will make you sweat like crazy. Doesn’t mean I’ll wear them to church, though.



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Anna

posted July 24, 2005 at 4:04 pm


Those modest styles are dangerous. I wore a wide ancle lenght skirt yesterday, and it got stuck in an escalator. I managed to pull away, but the skirt got oil stains that don’t seem to be removable. Modern society requires miniskirts.



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Lynn

posted July 24, 2005 at 4:25 pm


And don’t even THINK about riding a bicycle in one!



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julie

posted July 24, 2005 at 4:49 pm


Yep it’s all boho chic now.



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DarwinCatholic

posted July 24, 2005 at 5:08 pm


Oh, and the best fitting jeans are those that sit one inch below your belly button. Waist-high do not look flattering on anyone.
You are so absolutely right about this, especially for those of us with hips. They’re not fashionable, I know, but I just can’t seem to throw them out…
My mom always thought it would be nice if I wore jumpers, but I just can’t equate modesty with ill-fitting frump. And Lands’ End stuff is fine, if all you care about is being covered. Some of us like to look attractive as well, though.



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Elizabeth

posted July 24, 2005 at 5:11 pm


The femininity of new clothes is refreshing; its been happening sbutly for a few years now but just now has really become common. I like it because they are both at the same time cute (not frumpy) and feminine. I think that more feminine and flowing clothes will also help girls with body image; when skin tight, short and bellies hanging out was in, that puts a lot of pressure on Teenage girls and young women to be unnaturally thin and buff for a woman. When clothes cover a little more, it makes it easier for girls to have some body confidence. Women are naturally a little “soft” (not fat, but soft), and its a lot easier to be soft and confident when your skin isn’t on display 24/7. The new clothes also seem to have a lot of options, you can mix and max flowing and fitted to suit your figure; ie. if your tiny on top and curvy on the bottom like moi, peasant skirt and fitted tank or halter top make a nice mix, or if you have skinny legs and more of a belly, a tunic is really flattering with jeans.
I also think it is nice that sloppy and super casual has been going out of style for the past few years. I think that for a long time clothing styles were being defined down, where more casual clothing became more and more acceptable in situations where dressiness had been previously required until society was downright sloppy all the time, and I think within the past few years that trend bottomed out and the trend has been going in the other direction, where casual dress is becoming more “dressy” and “dressy” dress is becoming more so. Ten years ago, walk into a gathering of young adults or teenagers just hanging out and it was all blue jeans and T shirts; today going down to my local Pub on a Friday night it is not uncommon at all to see the guys in button up shirts and khakis and girls in a cute and casual, but well put together “outfit” that often involves a knee length skirt. A few years ago, if a young girl wore a skirt or dress to anything but church, work, or something dressy, people said “What are you all dressed up for?” but now girls wear skirts casually all the time and it is totally socially acceptable again. I know people still can be sloppy and slutty, but I would like to hope that the style is bouncing back and perhaps fashion is going to start being defined “up” again.



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SteveM

posted July 24, 2005 at 5:29 pm


“The femininity of new clothes” has been usurped by tattoos and flip-flops.
Sigh…



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Elizabeth

posted July 24, 2005 at 5:48 pm


Steve: Perhaps, but aren’t flip flops with knee length floral skirts a step up from flip flops with shredded denim Daisy-Dukes?



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Maureen

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:05 pm


If you were wearing an ankle-length skirt on a staircase, you’d be controlling its movement with at least one hand, ne? Escalators are the same as stairs in the care required with skirts.
Re: ethnic clothes, etc.
You can buy really nice (and nothing if not modest!) tunics, pants, skirts, etc. from those online clothing stores which cater to folks from India. Those of you who are crafts mavens can even buy the cloth from them. There’s tons of customizations available which aren’t available from any American online stores I’ve seen, either. Since Bollywood movies are getting more popular, this might appeal to many teenagers.



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Lee Penn

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:14 pm


On a mundane note …
there is a Wall Street legend that stock prices go up when hem-lines rise, and vice versa. Does a fall in hem-lines presage a market slump?
Lee



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ambrose

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:17 pm


Lee:
I wonder if that has been modified now for pants-rise– rises go down, prices go up; rises return to the navel, prices go down?



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:23 pm


A few years ago, if a young girl wore a skirt or dress to anything but church, work, or something dressy, people said “What are you all dressed up for?” but now girls wear skirts casually all the time and it is totally socially acceptable again.
That’s true. Even in my size 6 days, I always thought my knees were weird (I want capris to stay in style forever – what a godsend!) and wore long skirts in the summer, even though I stuck out in the crowd. A guy I was dating at the time told me, “You always look so ladylike.” I was flattered at the time, but since we stopped dating shortly thereafter, I think a “lady” was not what he was looking for.
But I’ve always liked the feeling of long, swingy skirts swishing as I walked, particularly on beautiful summer days. They do make you feel more feminine and elegant.



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:33 pm


Oh, and since I see Amy is also a member of the “Dazed and Confused” generation, let me add that the absolute coolest mid-70′s look was a long plaid skirt with boots. A much better look than those plaid baggy pants with high waists that made everyone’s hips look wide as a house.



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KH

posted July 24, 2005 at 6:40 pm


Since we’re going all girly here, I’ll throw out a little more estrogen; my favorite store this year is
http://www.anthropologie.com
Take a look at those long-sleeved blouses and tell me there isn’t at least one there that you wouldn’t love. The jackets are gorgeous, too. The Edwardian coat is calling out to me… I’m not big into ethnic stuff but this is more like vintage-grown-up-lady-from-a-long-time-ago.
(Yes, I used to play dress-up when I was a kid, long after all my friends stopped).
And, DarwinCatholic, you knew it even before I said it…go on, chuck those waist jeans. You’ll be happy. You’ll be free. You’ll look thinner! They cinch you at the waist, the narrowest part, calling attention to…the widest part. (And it’s not just you; we all had them in the 80s). I’d say give ‘em to the poor, but to paraphrase Fraulein Maria, the poor don’t want ‘em. I live close enough to Fr. Groeschel’s Trinity House to drop off donations and they take donations of everything…except women’s clothes. Apparently, they really do love the poor!



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MrsDarwin

posted July 24, 2005 at 7:05 pm


My apologies to DarwinCatholic (my husband) for carelessly posting under his name and claiming that his mother wanted him to wear jumpers. He claims that no such thing EVER happened!
But never fear, I haven’t worn waist-high jeans since my teen years. I love the (slightly) lower fit, except that now I’m pregnant and don’t want ANYTHING sitting on my stomach because it makes me feel queasy. I have to say that I like the new maternity styles — these aren’t my mom’s maternity clothes!
KH — whoa, what a great site! Absolutely fabulous. I love vintage-inspired styles. I only wish my clothing budget were in line with the prices, but for a special occasion, wouldn’t one of those dresses and jackets be swank?



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diane

posted July 24, 2005 at 7:11 pm


A tangential note: Am I the only mom here who would be in the poor house if she had to rely on Bloomie’s or even Lands End for all her kids’ clothes? Eek!
Intimidated by all this apparent affluence,
Diane
P.S. I have boys, thank God, so I haven’t had to face all the sartorial challenges moms of girls have faced these past few years. Of course, the girls in their teeny tank tops and low-rise jeans have galvanized my boys’ attention, but that’s a whole ‘nuther issue.



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 8:16 pm


KH: The poor are entitled to their dignity! :-D
KH: That Edwardian coat is a beaut. I’m one of those who watches “Masterpiece Theatre” shows set in the ’20′s and ’30′s and drools over the womens’ clothes.
I once (in the late ’70′s) got a lovely long red coat with fur trim on the collars and cuffs for Christmas. I still smile when I think of that coat. When I wore it with black boots, I felt like I had just stepped out of a Russian novel:-)
Diane: All boys? Think of the money you’ve saved! Of course, when I look at my teenaged nephews with their oversized clothes and baseball caps worn backwards (a style which seems to instantly deduct 25 IQ points from the wearer), I know dressing boys these days ain’t easy either! But I’ll bet it’s cheaper!



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Boniface McInnes

posted July 24, 2005 at 8:23 pm


Diane,
Don’t be intimidated. Just remember, Christianity is, traditionally, a religion of the poor and marginalised. We may be outnumbered on these blogs, or in our parishes, but we are closer to the “mainstream” of the Faith, viewed globally across space and time.
Plus, we are free to pursue moral lives without confusing morality for bourgeois pretension. Its rather liberating, really.



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Andrea Harris

posted July 24, 2005 at 8:33 pm


Dear Fashion and Clothing Industry:
All I ask of you is that you produce and make available for sale a plan, slightly-below-the-knee skirt for business casual wear. Not one-half inch above the knee. I have long legs with big thighs and when I wear that one and sit down the hemline flies right up to just below my rump. Not an inch above the ankle. I live in Florida and I walk to work. And I would like it to be straight, or at the most no more than slightly a-line. Not with extravagant pleats that pouf out so that I look like the Black Dahlia literally. Not ankle-length and crinkly and swirly — I already own one of those and I have to wad it up and jam it between my legs when I sit at my desk or else it gets caught under my chair wheels. Not body-fitting, knee-cincturing tight either — see how I have to walk to work through the Floridian humidity above.
I would also like this skirt to be made of something opaque, with or without a lining. I’d rather not have to wear a slip. (Florida.) I also want it to be of something a bit lighter than 100% wool (Florida), and for it not to be part of a suit since you can’t get a decent business suit in Florida for under $75.00 and there will be another jacket I’ll never wear anyway. I would like it to be versatile, meaning I can wear it with tailored shirts and tunic-type blouses. This means no ugly, bumpy. thick elastic waistline and no beltloops. Also, it must be plain black, not batik-print or sequin-embroidered or jacquard.
A simple, slightly straight, just-a-few-inches (three maybe) below-the-knee skirt. Is that too much to ask? From what I’ve seen in the stores, apparently so.



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jane

posted July 24, 2005 at 8:39 pm


My 13 year old daughter loves TJ MAXX. We can buy her name brands at huge discount. She bought the cutest plaid cropped pants. She took the matching fabric belt that came with it and used it as a head band. we bought Ralph Lauren sneakers for $20. And a knock off Polo shirt. She looked so cute. Thank God the sluts-r-us look is waning! Britney’s leagacy is dying. Long live the ladies with style and grace.



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:00 pm


We may be outnumbered on these blogs, or in our parishes, but we are closer to the “mainstream” of the Faith, viewed globally across space and time.
“Bonnie” :-):
I hold a managerial position in a nonprofit Catholic hospital. I live in a one-bedroom apartment. Believe me, my paycheck stub would not tempt you into committing the sin of Envy.
I just like to talk about clothes- doesn’t mean I have closets full! ;-)



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Beth

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:07 pm


Andrea,
Way off topic, but have you considered taking up sewing? A straight, below-the-knee skirt would be an easy project and you could move on to other custom clothing with practice. Check out the “quick & easy” patterns at a fabric store. I rarely get beyond hemming things these days, but when I’m looking for a specific piece, I find I could SEW the thing in the amount of time I spent fruitlessly shopping for something I have to alter anyway.



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:07 pm


And I have no money to spend on clothes right now anyway. I’m spending it all on Catholic books! (Just picked up “A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days” at Border’s today, along with a few tomes by Chesterton and Weigel.)



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Andrea Harris

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:16 pm


Beth: frequently. But I’m one of those working poor people, and a sewing machine, even a cheap one, is rather beyond my means at the moment. Also it would probably go into the pile of Sudden, Abandoned Enthusiasms that are currently piled by my door waiting for me to call Goodwill.
I do have friends that sew. But it would be so much easier if Walmart would simply stock what I want (and then not run out of everything in my size at the color wanted so that everything left in my size is in teal or hot pink). But Walmart thinks I want sequinned Indian-print skirts in olive green and poufy short flared things with tropical flowers all over them.



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jane

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:43 pm


dear andrea
try this on for size
http://www.netuniform.com/product.ASP?pfid=RST-HS-0-6200&dept_Id=12550
it is from a uniform comapny but the price is right and with a nice blouse and accessories….
just a thought



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Kate

posted July 24, 2005 at 9:53 pm


Andrea,
Check yahoo groups for a freecycle in your area. It’s a online meeting palace for people to get rid of stuff they don’t need, and to ask for stuff they need, but can’t afford to buy. Everything goes for free. I just got a sewing machine from freecycle, and now I don’t have to sort through used racks and walmart counters to find clothes that fit the way I want!



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amy

posted July 24, 2005 at 10:10 pm


Donna:
Let’s put it this way: Have you looked at the girls’ clothes at Wal-Mart for the past, say 5 years? It’s ho city, frankly. A Lands’ End pair of shorts, at a decent length (which you CAN’T find at Wal-Mart) will last a girl who’s not in a growth spurt a couple of years, and will cover her and will be in great condition to be passed on to someone else. I bought my older sons Lands End boys shorts when they were small, and frankly, 20 years later, Joseph could wear them – they’re of that quality.
A
A



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Donna

posted July 24, 2005 at 10:27 pm


Amy, there’s no need to sell me on the quality of Land’s End. I bought winter boots from them about 8 years ago (not glam boots, shovel-the-snow-at-5-a.m. boots) and they’re still in great shape after quite a few Wisconsin winters. My Land’s End parka has saved me from dying of exposure at Lambeau Field any number of times. :-)
I haven’t checked out the girl’s section in WalMart, but I’ve seen the girls walking arould with thongs sticking out of their pants and breasts sticking out of their tops. I completely sympathize with parents who don’t want their children dressing like off-duty porn stars.



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Andrea Harris

posted July 24, 2005 at 11:51 pm


Thanks, Jane! It’s going in my bookmarks, waiting for a free payday.
Uniforms — I wish my company would just break down and make us wear them; then I wouldn’t have to worry about how to turn my Walmart, Kmart, and thrift shop rags into presentable “business casual.” But all my coworkers would hit the roof — there is already mutinous muttering from the memo that was passed around warning us that jeans were not considered “business casual.”



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2005 at 12:05 am


As a woman who absolutely detests the whole mall scene, I order many items from Land’s End. It saves me the trouble of taking a day to go to the city to shop and saves on gas money. We are a single-income family. Land’s End is not all that pricey as long as you don’t order the cashmere cardigan.
And who up there referred to looking frumpy as opposed to attractive? Attractive in what sense? Sexually? Even intelligent, Christian women have bought into the Hollywood-perpetuated notion that every woman has to be sexy every minute of the day or she’s of no value to civilization. Give me a break!



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Mary Kay

posted July 25, 2005 at 5:23 am


Andrea,
Not having money and needing clothes was the impetus that got me into seriously sewing my own clothes.
Any time that I’ve gotten the least bit impatient with sewing, all it’s taken is one trip to a store and I’m back at my sewing machine.
Email me if you’re interested in sewing but what’s stopping you are the “yes, but”s.



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kate

posted July 25, 2005 at 7:29 am


midwestmom – I think Elizabeth was commenting on dressing attractively (not frumpily) as in dressing in a manner which is aesthetically pleasing and feminine, I think. If you will reread her post, you’ll see she is discussing how mice it is for young women to have option that are pretty without being revealing, and modest without being unflattering.
That a Christian would assume that attractive = sexually stimulating/immodest, indicates something about our culture. I think that we have, by and large, as inheritors of a Puritan culture, forgotten that the human body has meaning beyond sex…and forgotten as well that it is not evil to be sexual creatures – that is, to be evidently male and female. There’s no need to pretend we don’t have a shape – God made us curvy for a reason, and it isn’t just to turn men on, but also to emphasize the feminine in us and outwardly express our nature. Women are beautiful, when they don’t try to look like potato sacks.



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scotch meg

posted July 25, 2005 at 7:44 am


Re: affordable sources of modest clothing. Those who live where they are, try Kohl’s on sale days. Also, I use second hand stores a lot — Savers, local church stores, Salvation Army, whatever. I am not squeamish about this. I get excellent quality clothing and I can afford it. Since I spend all my real money on music lessons, sports fees, etc., I have no clothing budget. This makes up the difference. I drool over Land’s End but never have that kind of money for clothes from moment to moment.



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sharon d.

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:01 am


MrsDarwin-
Better get used to jumpers if you plan to homeschool. I’m fairly sure state law requires hs’ers to own at least one denim jumper. To be worn with birkenstocks.



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Elizabeth

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:36 am


“I think that we have, by and large, as inheritors of a Puritan culture, forgotten that the human body has meaning beyond sex…and forgotten as well that it is not evil to be sexual creatures – that is, to be evidently male and female. There’s no need to pretend we don’t have a shape – God made us curvy for a reason, and it isn’t just to turn men on, but also to emphasize the feminine in us and outwardly express our nature. Women are beautiful, when they don’t try to look like potato sacks.”
Kate…Thank you, thank you, thank you! The polarizing attitudes that women either have to be slutty to be attractive or frumpy to be modest are both, in my opinion, opposed to the dignity of our bodies and femininity. There is nothing wrong with women wanting to be appealing and beautiful, and yes, that does have a sexual componant, whether someone is being attractive for their spouse or for potential spouses with the hope of attracting one. There is a difference, unfortunately ignored in our uber-polarized culture, between being “sexy” in an exploitive, undignified way that distracts from the personality and makes a person an object, and being “sexy” in a dignified way that both covers what needs to be covered while showing off the personality through the body and the way it is adorned. The latter is, contrary to what some people in Christian dating circles say, a VERY important part of dating and finding a spouse. God gave us eyes and beautiful bodies and made attraction a major part of the process of falling in love and marrying for a reason, and I know a lot of “frumpy-jumper” girls who have ended up in painful dating and marraige situations because they ignored the material and sexual side of their God-given human nature, and a lot of girls who ended up in equally painful situations because they exploited beauty at the expense of the spiritual and intellectual aspects of falling in love. What is needed is balance, not extremes.
BTW, I love jumpers, just not frumpy ones. :)



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MrsDarwin

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:37 am


No, No! I won’t do it! (Jumper-wearing, that is; not homeschooling.)
But seriously folks: Looking attractive doesn’t have to be equated with looking sexy. Clothes that fit well don’t have to be revealing or slutty. And God did create our bodies and call them good.
We’ve been struggling with our daughters, who believe that “less is more” in terms of clothing, but at their age that generally translates to running shrieking around the house in panties or diapers.



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:38 am


Kate,
Actually, it was DarwinCatholic at 5:08. “And Land’s End stuff is fine, if all you care about is being covered. Some of us like to look attractive as well, though.” This just after describing her admittedly unflattering but comfortable low-rise jeans.
Too much time, effort, and money is spent trying to look and act like every other person in the world. There certainly is nothing wrong with looking nice and attractive but this undying need by Americans to be hip and trendy is getting old.
Whom are we emulating, Christ and the B.V.M. or Britney?



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MrsDarwin

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:52 am


Actually, it was my high-rise jeans that were unattractive… “Low-rise” is not really an accurate description of pants that, as mentioned earlier, sit only a finger below belly-button. I don’t feel like showing off my stretch marks — that’s definitely not attractive.
I think it was Francis de Sales who said that he would have Christians be the best- and most simply-dressed in the room. Is that trying to look like Britney? No one here has claimed to be trying to dress attractively to emulate a pop-tart. I’ve no doubt that most of us end up wearing what’s practical for our occupations. The point is that we’re not relegated to the shapeless or baggy simply because we’re Christians, and nor (thank God!) are we condemned to be blown about by the winds of whatever’s new and fashionable.



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:52 am


Looks like there’s a bunch of us on here at the same time!
Kate and Elizabeth, your points are well taken. Our femininity is a gift and I’m not advocating the floor length denim jumper-and-clogs look. At present, our culture is hyper-sexual. Our kids are bombarded with the sex message on a daily basis from several directions.
I think it’s vital for parents to make a conscious effort to downplay the trappings of pop culture.



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LadyHatton

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:00 am


Andrea–if there is a Target near you, check it out. Very pretty, stylish clothes and not too expensive. MUCH nicer and more fashionable, in a grown-up way, than Walmart, imo. I believe someone mentioned Kohl’s? We just got one near us. Some days they have 70% off and I have gotten nice sleeveless shirts with the pique collar, cool but not slutty. They have plain khaki and black skirts (all lenghths) and pants, too. Good luck. I hate to shop too.



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:00 am


MrsDarwin,
My mistake-I misread your post. I, too, own a pair of the jeans that sit just below the waist. They are more comfy than regular jeans.
Speaking of unflattering styles, I think the true low-rise jeans, made popular by Britney, are the most unflattering thing out there. Even skinny teenage girls look like they’ve got huge hips in those things. So why do they wear them?



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sharon d.

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:09 am


Mrs. Darwin-
Wow–you can get yours to run around in underpants or diapers?



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KH

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:22 am


Yes, Kate, that’s pretty much what I believe, too. Also, the world reacts to you differently – for the better – when you look pulled together, esp. in a feminine way.
I will tell you guys of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine, whom you all know but I won’t mention her name, as she’s away for the summer and since it was a private conversation, I wouldn’t want to put her name out there without clearing it with her. But you know her, you know that she often speaks on feminism and femininity…and she believes that our culture is chock-full of immodesty, but those that walk around in giant, over-sized, up-to-the-jaw necklines, severe I-don’t-ever-think-about-my-hair buns, unattractive glasses, no makeup ever, I’m-in-your-face-more-modest-than-you are actually…immodest! An interesting take, for sure, and to be clear, we were talking about someone who appeared on TV dressed as I described. My friend actually always looks pretty fabulous when on TV, because her clothes are top-of-the-line, best European quality, but bought decades ago. That’s typical for old-world Europeans and they wear them until they are thread-bare. But they are classic, well-designed and always look sharp.



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MrsDarwin

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:30 am


KH — I wouldn’t disagree at all with your friend, since I think that dressing in an aggressively unattractive manner is as off-putting as letting it all hang out, but did she elaborate on her thought? I’d be interested to hear her reasoning.



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Kate

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:59 am


KH – I can guess of whom you are speaking, and I’ll take a stab at a reason for holding that ugly is immmodest.
Modesty is motivated by respect for the dignity of the human person. To show this respect, we dress in a way that does not invite others to view the body as something to be used, since that would be disrepectful to our dignity. Immodest clothing invites a seperation of the person and the body.
But dressing in a way that obscures the form and beauty of the person is also disrespectful of our dignity, since it suggests that there is something wrong with the female form, and seeks to again seperate our body and our person.
Secondarily, modesty involves not drawing unue attention to oneself – but a poorly or unattractively dressed woman draws attention to herself by her dress, as much as does the immodest woman.
Ideally, a modest woman should dress well, in well-fitting, well-cut clothes of good material but a simple pattern, which covers her body, flattering her form without being too tight or baggy.
Anyway, that’s what I think.



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Holly

posted July 25, 2005 at 10:05 am


I work in clothing retail (Old Navy), and I can definitely concur that showing skin is not the trend. We have uncountable blazers, corduoroy skirts, and other items that cover adequately. Layering tops is a big trend, which means absolutely no midriff showing.
I agree about high-rise jeans being terribly unflattering. At Old Navy, we sell something like 6 different rises of jeans, but unfortunately, the fit isn’t very conducive to hips. Incidentally, we just started stocking ultra-ultra low waist jeans, but I don’t think I’ve seen more than 1 pair actually sell. BTW, for anyone looking for decent-length shorts next summer, Old navy is the only store I’ve seen that has shorts in a 7-inch inseam length.
As far as Lands End – I agree with Amy about the quality of their clothing. I have a couple pairs of jeans that have lasted me for about 8 months, and I’m pretty rough on jeans. They also have the best fit of any jeans I’ve worn. I couldn’t afford to pay the regular price for their clothing, but their Not Quite Perfect outlet stores have stuff at steeply discounted prices (I got the aforementioned jeans for less than $10 each).
As far as sewing goes, I’ve got a few half-finished skirts lying around myself, waiting for me to get back to them in a few weeks. I’ve generally found that sewing is cheaper than buying, plus you’re guaranteed a good fit. And once you get the hang of it, it only takes a few hours to whip together a straight skirt.
Okay, this comment is officially way too long. Pax vobiscum.



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 25, 2005 at 10:27 am


I can empathize with the comments on this thread. When I get up it is so difficult deciding which of my white shirts to wear and which of my suits, all completely the same other than color, to wear. The ties do give me a moment’s pause however. I do try to show as little flesh as possible, for which I am sure the World is aesthetically grateful.



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KH

posted July 25, 2005 at 10:43 am


MrsDarwin, I like what Kate has to say. I know my friend hasn’t written anything specifically about the immodesty at the other end of the spectrum; it was just a few informal comments. I do remember her saying that it’s similar to the holier-than-thou type at mass during the confiteor who will, instead of simply putting fist-to-breast , will actually make sound when punching his chest! It’s a way of catching everyones attention, of going far beyond the norm, to show everyone how saintly you’d like people to think you are. That’s not modest.
To be fair, judging by what we do see on most women – everywhere, even at mass – that’s not the bigger problem! But – and this is my own thought – if we are to be oriented toward the True, the Good and the Beautiful, well, beautiful doesn’t work with ugly even in clothes. There is great beauty in simplicity and in modesty; the tough thing is to find what works for you, for all the right reasons.
And a tip for those looking for good deals on quality clothes: try finding out where the consignment/2nd hand shops are in affluent neighborhoods. I’ve done this myself and you can get top-of-the-line, high quality clothes for a fraction of the orginal cost. This works for both adults and kids; actually, especially kids as I find they are easier to fit.



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Ed the Roman

posted July 25, 2005 at 11:12 am


Re the spaghetti-strap altar server, you probably don’t want to know what some choristers at an unnamed cathedral (whose patron’s feast is today) have been known to do once their cassocks are on, during the warmer months.
Which in that city are April through November.



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James Kabala

posted July 25, 2005 at 11:23 am


It wasn’t really until the twentieth century that it was considered OK for respectable women to wear makeup. The Fathers of the Church were generally very skeptical toward the practice. Not that I advocate following their example in all things, since they were against a lot of things I like (e.g., the theater), but the idea that “feminine = dolled up,” although often presented as a conservative idea, is not one.



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C johnson

posted July 25, 2005 at 11:59 am


For all who don’t want to (or can’t) pay full price: Land’s End Overstocks, especially for kids. New stuff is posted on the web on Wednesdays.



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tk

posted July 25, 2005 at 1:10 pm


ahhh…so this explains all the western girls going into the Indian Clothing stores – “The Sari Shops”, in the 20′s on Lex, just down the street from the HQ of OD.



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Catherine L

posted July 25, 2005 at 3:27 pm


I’m a little late to this conversation, as I just got back from D.C. I did notice there many, many young women dressed in knee-length skirts and blouses and flip-flops. For the most part they looked really good–stylish but covered up.
Back in Houston I just got back from a trip to Target for backpacks, lunchboxes, etc. Once again my young daughters and I were faced with a lot of winking belly-buttons. Sigh. I can’t wait for the newer styles to make their way down here.
I’ve never understood why a young woman would aspire to look like a prostitute. Keep fighting the good fight everybody.



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Nance

posted July 25, 2005 at 5:04 pm


Long, flowy skirts may be in style this year, but tomorrow is another season, and adolescence generally lasts longer than that. It’s been my experience that the diversity of available styles for most sizes is deep and wide. Keep looking.
Amy, your post about Colleen Hammond a few days back sent me nosing around the “modest clothing” industry — such as it is — and I found the experience rather creepy. Some of the sites promoted a style of dressing that was well-nigh Islamic, and carried a strong anti-female vibe. Call me crazy, but when I see a mother approvingly report, “My daughters say they just don’t feel dressed until they put on their bloomers” it’s hard not to think the most threatening thing in the world, to these people, is not the devil incarnate but their own beautiful teenage daughters.
Maybe it’s the hot weather (92 at the moment). But I’m pretty much in the whatever-makes-you-comfortable camp. If seeing spaghetti straps makes you faint, stay in the air conditioning.



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Elizabeth

posted July 25, 2005 at 5:36 pm


“…undying need by Americans to be hip and trendy is getting old.”
There, I definately agree, midwestmom. Maybe this is slightly off topic, but while we’re talking about clothes, human dignity, trendiness, etc…I would just like to ask, as a Catholic high school teacher who looks out everyday on a classroom of identically cloned teenage girls with stick straight processed blond-highlighted hair and fake tans…PLEASE, PLEASE, try your natural beauty for once! Dark, curly hair is beautiful, ladies! Fair skin is beautiful (and healthier!) than those icky tans. I’m so tired of seeing so many beautiful young Irish and Italian girls bake and bleach and straighten their natural beauty and uniqueness away to all look like Britney Spears.



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Kate

posted July 25, 2005 at 5:49 pm


I agree that we definately don’t want to be encouraging fashion conformity, but rather a real sense of taste founded on recognising the true, good beautiful, and pondering thereupon, etc.
James – I’m not much for a lot of makeup either. A little, yes – some foundation for the dermatolically disadvantaged among us, lip gloss and eyeliner/mascara. But not in Barbie doll amounts. If a lady puts on makeup, and her friends say, “my, you look nice today,” but can’t put their finger on why, then she’s got the right amount.



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Boniface McInnes

posted July 25, 2005 at 7:07 pm


Boy, Donna, two posts defending yourself from some vague comment not directed at you. There’s a Shakespeare quote thats fitting, but for the life of me, I can’t summon it at the moment. And regardless of the size of your paycheck, thats not what tempts me to envy. A man with a doting wife and 9 loyal children can be a big temptation, however.
I hover around the poverty line, by choice, and have since I abandoned a very successful career many years ago. But, I’m still materially wealthy compared to the average person today. Mega-rich if compared across time.
Talking clothes is no less a shallow pastime of modernity than talking cars. And obviously Amy isn’t talking clothes, but modesty. As are some others here.



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Maureen

posted July 25, 2005 at 7:16 pm


I never wear makeup. And as long as I get enough sleep, I never need it. But I’m not against other women wearing it, and my mom wears lipstick on special occasions.
(My basic objection is that makeup feels gooey and itchy and yick — and it gets in my eyes — and I can’t touch my face. The one time someone gave me a makeover, I couldn’t wait to get home and get that stuff off my skin!!! I was prepared to suffer for my art in the school play, but not for daily folk art. Nope, everyone else can just suffer for me.)
Amusingly, the fact I don’t wear makeup constantly misleads people into thinking I’m just out of high school or still in college. And I’m almost 35. So perhaps less really is more.



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2005 at 7:34 pm


Elizabeth,
I am sooo with you on that! I see the same thing here. A local girls’ h.s. basketball team picture appeared in the newpaper and they looked like clones – 1970′s long, blonde hair, plastered to the sides of their heads and overdone tanning-bed tans.
Whatever happened to cultural diversity? How about a little ‘white diversity’?



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James Kabala

posted July 25, 2005 at 8:19 pm


Nance:
If you think that’s nuts, I know of people who reject even bloomers on the grounds that all pants blur the male/female distinction.
I’m surprised that no one has brought up the flip-flops-at-the-White-House pseudo-controversy.



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Nance

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:09 pm


James, you misunderstand. These are bloomers that go under floor-length skirts, so if they object to those as “pants,” they’d have to object to all undies. I mean, wouldn’t they?
This was the site that offered circa-1900 swimwear. The kind that’s an actual drowning risk. But modest!



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Donald R. McClarey

posted July 25, 2005 at 9:50 pm


This is Don’s wife Cathy writing now. We buy a lot of our kids’ clothes (for boys & girls) at garage sales & thrift shops, some on eBay (esp. for hard-to-find stuff, like plus-size girl’s clothing for my 10-year-old daughter), Wal-Mart/K-Mart/Target for things that have to be bought new, and places like Sears once in a great while (usually for special-occasion clothing, like 1st Communion suits).
My daughter knows that I won’t spend the family’s money on “slutty” clothing, and her dad & I won’t let her wear such garments — and she’s figured out that such garments aren’t as comfortable on her as more modest attire, anyway. (For example, she decided on her own that she prefers one-piece swimsuits, because they don’t pinch as much as 2-piece suits and they stay on better on her.) So far, my daughter seems to have pretty sensible tastes in regard to clothing preferences (thank goodness!).



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James Kabala

posted July 26, 2005 at 8:43 am


OK. The people I was thinking of were talking about the invention of bloomers in a historical context, so I think they were only thinking of bloomers as a substitute for a skirt.
I wonder if there are still people who object to women’s sports on the grounds that soccer and basketball uniforms are immodest. I hope not, but I bet they are still out there.



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Nance

posted July 26, 2005 at 11:09 am


If there’s at least one woman in the world who would consider this appropriate beachwear, then yes, I’m sure there are people out there who think girls in basketball uniforms are a bunch of hussy temptresses.



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midwestmom

posted July 26, 2005 at 9:41 pm


Oh yeah, sign me up! Do I get one of those Aunt Jemima head wraps with the suit?



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The Hidden Life

posted July 26, 2005 at 11:54 pm


I have three daughters and we shop a combination of Sears, Land’s End, JCPenney and Target. Unfortunately, my older two are really different in body types so what fit my eldest at 6 won’t fit my middle one till she’s 8 and then will probably be too short!
I have also found miniBoden (bodenusa.com, I think) to be helpful (although quite pricey, like $35 for pants and $25 for tops) for pants with drawstring and elastic waists that are a little more exciting than what the department stores carry.
Hanna Andersson is another good place to buy quality clothing, but again pricey and my girls seem to have grown out of the technicolor stripes and flowers stage of life already!
EBay is good if you are buying a lot of clothes but individually (by the piece) it usually not worth it although perhaps for a special occasion outfit (Christmas dress, etc.).
Regarding styles getting more modest: will someone please post public service announcements to this effect at the local high school? There is a certain type of high school girl that doggedly wears low-rise jeans and skimpy tops seemingly to show off her fat rolls around here. It’s like they take pride in showing how much skin is bulging out over their waistband no matter how unattractive it is.
Also the girls that wear pajamas or boys’ clothing to school, will someone give them the “Femininity is IN” memo? I literally had a double take the other day when I saw two boys walking down the street holding hands and nuzzling each other and then realized one was a girl. They were dressed nearly identically but the girl had earrings I think. It is sad that some girls feel they have to dress “tough.” Does a boy feel strange kissing a girl dressed in the same clothes as himself?



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