Sunday, January 26, 2014

What I Wore Sunday: how low will it go?

As I got dressed for church this morning, it occurred to me that this was the first time I've worn pants to Mass in several months.  (Of course related to the fact that the wind chill was a toasty -15 degrees and it seemed like all of the warm shirts that matched warm skirts had disappeared from my closet this morning).  I've been wearing more and more skirts and dresses (even at home during the day), and I've appreciated feeling more feminine - and perhaps surprisingly - more comfortable & able to move freely.  So, naturally, at the pinnacle of the week, going to Mass, I've been pants-less (but skirted/dressed!) almost exclusively.

Technically, I'm still wearing a dress, or at least what used to be a dress before my (cold-water, no-dryer) laundry routine still managed to shorten this one!  Or I had a growth spurt, one or the other.

But whether you're a die-hard skirts wearer (even in today's weather!) or you wouldn't wear a skirt if someone paid you, I propose to you these thoughts (heavily influenced by hours of recent exposure to Downton, of course) as a socially interesting observation.  I'm not writing this post to convince anyone (I'm not even sure 100% I understand my own opinion yet) - so take it for what it's worth: things I've been thinking about recently.

Watching Downton Abbey, I've been so interested to see the recurring theme of societal change/progress, and how it's perceived by different generations.  That's a common theme of humanity, at essence.  The younger generations crave the progress and want to move forward, leaving the older generation shaking their head in disappointment as their "old-fashioned" ways are cast aside for something that - to them - doesn't seem like an improvement.

People who get carried into Mass with blankets wrapped around them can still wear skirts in this weather!

Each generation takes a little more liberty - a few inches shorter on the hemline, a little less attention to detail, etc, etc.  I can remember arguing many times with my mom about whether or not (I said not) I needed nylons or a slip with my church dress.

And maybe those little changes doesn't make a big difference.  Will women's bare legs under their dresses cause society to crumble?   No, it's falling apart in more ways than a pair of nylons can fix.  But take those little changes, together, generation by generation, and look how far we've gone.

From an era of class, where people changed from their (lovely dresses) to be presentable enough to be seen for dinner - to an era of wearing gym clothes everywhere but the gym.

50 years ago, women wouldn't be caught dead in church wearing pants (and most likely, without a hat and gloves, too!), and now it's almost the exception to be wearing a skirt, let alone something that isn't denim.

Her hair-do is my favorite part of her outfit, even though she kept taking out the bow on her ponytail.

It's alarming, I think, how quickly these changes have come.  Justin's great-grandmother passed away last fall, and her (amazing) 102 years of life spanned both the time frame of Downton Abbey and today.  One lifetime, all that change.

And I don't mean to pick on fashion - it's societal norms in general.  It struck me one Saturday afternoon recently when we walked around an antique mall - admiring all of the beautiful glassware and elegant table settings and clothing (many not more than a few generations old) and imagining all of the lovely dinner parties that used these treasured belongings - followed by a dinner at the local Chinese buffet.  I couldn't help but feel sad at the contrast, as I watched people clad in pajama pants piling mountains food onto cheap melamine plates.  Certainly, as we've de-emphasized meals or clothing as trivial things that don't matter, this has affected the important things they represent - family, friendship, respect in general.

As we sacrifice each little change for "progress," do we know where we're going?  Or will we all be struck - as many of us have - by a totally foreign lifestyle depicted in Downton Abbey, and yearn for so many things that we can never have back?

Like our temperatures today, so I ask you about our societal expectations and norms, our sense of propriety:  how low will it go?  Am I the only one nostalgic enough to wish the rate of change would stop, or at least slow?

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

Anna's sweater: Gymboree (hand-me-down), skirt: homemade / My dress: Kohl's (a great find by my mom!), pants: TJ Maxx, Necklace: Target


  1. Excellent post! Dressing nicely, proper manners, I do wish that as a society we would return to these niceties.

  2. Great post! I definitely wonder sometimes if much of our "progress" has come at too high a price...

    You and Anna look adorable :) I used to have a sweater "dress" like that but it too, lost its dress status thanks to a dryer mishap...

  3. Great post! I work very hard at teaching our girls proper social manners and the importance of dressing nicely (and modestly). In fact, we watched a football game at my parents' house over the holidays and we saw the halftime show. My brother and his family, who are not Christian, were stunned when the singers took to the stage and my girls announced that "they weren't modest at all!" LOL That said, I wear skirts and dresses much out of the year but I wear pants a lot in the winter... hello, windchills and all. Your daughter is adorable! I love her skirt.

  4. Interesting post. Over the last few years, I've taken to wearing more and more skirts. I do still wear jeans and pants, but skirts have become a greater part of my wardrobe.

    I wonder about progress...too, especially progress in fashion. I mean, I think society has pretty much hit rock bottom now when it comes to modestly...Short of doing away with clothes all together (and I think the clothing manufactores would have a thing or two to say about that)..society is pretty much at the bottom right now.

  5. Do you still say no to slips under your skirts and dresses? lol