Saturday, October 24, 2015

To Refuse the Chronic Casual Dress Code - Dressing to Inspire


A lady's paramount role is to inspire.  By inspiring a lady has profound potential to influence others to better themselves and aspire to all that is good, worthy, admirable, and lovely.  Not only does she hold the potential to inspire by the way she acts and speaks, but also by her appearance, and particularly her dress.  Herein lies a great misfortune of modern society:  women have largely lost their ability to inspire by the way they dress.

The chronic casual dress code of popular culture has left a dismal deficiency in feminine inspiration for people of all ages, particularly men and children.  There is nothing about women in sweatclothes to inspire a man to open doors like a gentleman.  There is nothing about teachers in graphic t-shirts and jeans to inspire a little one to her best while struggling to learn multiplication facts.  There is nothing about a mother in yoga pants to inspire children to enjoy the food their mother eats at the dinner table.  If a woman is not even pleasant to look at, how can she expect her loved ones to be inspired to her values and lifestyle?  How can she hope her daughter will wish to emulate her, or her son will want to look for a wife who is like his mother?

A lady does not slouch through life in leisure wear, but sees each day as an ocassion to be lived in loveliness. She chooses her clothing with care, always mindful of the mental image she is creating for those around her.  

Principle:  A lady refuses the chronic casual dress code and dresses to inspire others to gentle behavior.

Note: I am very grateful to Jennifer L. Scott, author of Lessons from Madame Chic, for her campaign to encourage people to "Be Presentable Always".

Art: The Pink Dress, Edward Cucuel 1875-1954

Monday, October 19, 2015

To Sit Like a Lady

Sitting with one's legs crossed at the knee has traditionally been considered masculine and not proper for a lady; yet today an estimated seventy percent of women sit this way.  While many may dismiss the traditional view, it is perhaps wiser to consider why it was widely accepted by past generations who knew better how to behave like a lady than the present population.

Unless a skirt or dress is long, crossing the legs at the knee is far less modest than the traditionally feminine way of sitting with legs together and uncrossed. Crossing legs at the knee raises the hemline toward the lap and exposes underneath the top leg. The result is always less attractive and less graceful than sitting with the legs parallel and to one side (see photo above).

Recently I had the opportunity to observe women sitting in folding chairs formed in a circle. Most of the twenty women sat with their legs crossed at the knee while two sat in the traditionally feminine position. Side by side comparison showed crossing legs at the knee gives the legs a strong, conspicuous presence (not discreet), whereas leaving the legs uncrossed, tucked slightly back, and off-center is a far more modest, unobtrusive, and elegant way to sit.

Principle:  A lady sits with legs together, uncrossed and slightly to one side.

Photo:  Jacqueline Kennedy, 1962.