Fun with a fashion, 30 days of dressing like a girl…

… Pretty. Pretty. Pretty.

I would love to dress like that all time. Well, maybe not all the time. I suppose it would be terribly impracticable. However, everyone dressed like that at one time and it was practical enough then. They certainly are pretty dresses and it seems because of the show Downton Abbey women may be taking an interest in more feminine fashions now.

There is one particular lady who has been dressing like this for years. It’s an interesting enough article and she has some very insightful things to say; ” Jeans? Never. To me they represent everything that is wrong with modern society. Everything is too casual these days. There is casual sex, casual talk. Everything is disposable — from microwave meals to morals. It’s all gone to pot really.”

I think she’s on to something. I’ve written before how I hate casual clothing, more specifically, clothing that isn’t age appropriate. I’ve seen grandmothers dressing like their teenage granddaughters. I’ve seen men in their 40′s dressed like hispters with faux hawks. It’s the worst case of arrested development.

Everyone keeps saying that clothes aren’t important, it matters instead what’s on the inside. This is the same nonsense you hear in justification of wearing tube tops and ripped jeans to mass.

Listen, it’s simply not true. Outward appearances have dramatic influence internally and effect they way we behave. Ask anyone whose job requires they wear a uniform. Heck, there is even a noticeable difference in my son’s demeanor when he puts on his Scout uniform. He becomes all “Yes m’am” and “Hello elderly gentleman, may I escort you across the street?”

When we have on our best clothes we act more cordially and proper because we look the part. You can call it putting on airs but do we really need to behave casually all the time? Having it all “hang out” just shows a lack of maturity and an inability to adjust your demeanor to certain social situations.

So I decided to have a little experiment with myself. For one month I plan to not wear jeans or pants. I want to dress like a woman and see what changes I notice in people’s attitude toward me and see if there are any changes in my own demeanor. I mean , it’s one thing to talk about the notions of proper dress while I sit here and blog in tattered sweats and quite another thing all together to put those notions into practice.

I’ve been thinking about doing something like this for some time. It started in Rome when I met a lovely lady who told me she simply decide one day to throw out her trousers and wears skirts instead. She stated she saw no need to dress like a man. The issue wasn’t modesty but more about femininity, at least that was the impression I got and I was so taken aback I didn’t think to ask her more about it.

It’s getting late and I want to post more, but I do want to stress this little experiment of mine isn’t really about modesty. I don’t think pants are immodest and wearing a skirt doesn’t automatically make you modest either — think miniskirts. This is more about dressing like a grown up and in a more womanly fashion… and having an excuse to shop.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • http://rosariorodriguez.wordpress.com/ Rosario Rodriguez

    Every year for the month of May some friends of mine in LA have what they call the “dress dare” where they wear dresses or skirts for the entire month. They do it to be feminine and modest. They blog about it and encourage everyone to comment and share about their experience. http://networkedblogs.com/hk4XU

    I admit that while living in MI it’s still pretty chilly in May and being the winter wimp that I am I don’t join in the dare. But as soon as it’s warm out (70′s and above) I’m usually in a dress or a skirt everyday. Although, I do try hard to wear a dress or skirt to Mass even in the winter. I try… I don’t always succeed! Darn that bitter, cold air in Jan & Feb!!! *shakes fist*

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Ooo. Thanks Rosario for the link. In the south I have the good fortune of the temperature never dropping below 30 degrees. I was out last night at the ballet and didn’t even need a jacket. I can’t imagine how truly bitter cold must feel.

      • http://rosariorodriguez.wordpress.com/ Rosario Rodriguez

        You’re welcome! My friends are way more strict about modesty issues then I am which you’ll notice when reading their blog posts. I’m pretty sure I scandalize them. I try…hard. Just not as extreme as they do. I’m sooo jealous of your weather. Friday night I went out to a pachanga and of course wore a dress but didn’t wear any stockings or tights because I didn’t want them to get gross from dancing all night. It was a painful ride home at 2am … soooo cold! My wardrobe is mostly dresses & more appropriate for LA. I still haven’t invested much in winter clothes which means I have three pairs of jeans and three sweater dresses for the entire winter. Not ideal! Must. Move. Immediately!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          Come one down here. Charlotte is a fantastic city in a superb diocese.

          • http://rosariorodriguez.wordpress.com/ Rosario Rodriguez

            Thanks for the invite… I never considered Charlotte, even though I have family who live there. I was out there in August for my Abuelita’s funeral and the priest was very kind, welcoming and helpful since none of us were familiar with the church & the diocese. (my cousins there aren’t Catholic)

  • the ranter

    I would love to do this, but lack money &power intestinal fortitude to shop for dresses/skirts that are flattering.

    • the ranter

      Gah, stupid phone. Did not mean to add the word “power” in my sentence.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        Oh, believe me I am not rich by any means. I have a few skirt staples I wear in the winter… 4 dress skirts. I think with a bit a creativity and some tights [which aren't expensive at all] I can eek out enough outfits in rotation to pull this off. Here’s hoping. I may break down and buy myself a skirt in the middle of the month but thank goodness for retailers like TJ Maxx.

        • http://profiles.google.com/christinehebert65 Christine Hebert

          My biggest issue is finding things that look decent on my larger than the women in the above photos body. After 4 children, 2 born by c-section, I have a rather round shape. Not much looks good on round.

          • Barb

            I think ladies with a few extra pounds look better in dresses …with the right style, they accent the good areas and flow over the problem areas. Look for something tailored/fitted at your smallest point below the bust, that drapes at the tummy and hip area. Also, invest in some good foundation garments to wear when you go out. They are not so uncomfortable as in the old days.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Hutchinson/669694459 Linda Hutchinson

          There are some great resale shops in Charlotte, if you get that itch to buy something new, try checking some of them out.

        • http://oxyparadoxy.blogspot.com/ The Ranter

          I think if I had a few more skirts, I could pull it off (I have enough shirts in my closet to put together different outfits). Hopefully I can hit the after-Christmas sales!

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, can’t do it. I don’t have lots of spare cash, and I will not wear uncomfortable shoes no matter what. I might like the dresses, but not the shoes.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      The most daring I get with footwear is a nice sensible kitten heel. I’m too clumsy to pull off a heel with any more height. They make all sorts of ballerina flats now that are quite cute while still being comfortable.

    • Anonymous

      You can find lots of cute clothes at thrift shops for cents on the dollar… and as for shoes, simple ballet flats are way comfy. Just wanted to let you know there is a practical way to go about dressing feminine.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry but ballerina flats have no support. I have to stand and walk a lot. Right now I am wearing Merrill walking shoes. Not pretty, but my feet need the support.

        • http://quiltingbibliophagist.blogspot.com/ Catholic Bibliophagist

          I buy my shoes at SAS. They are kind of pricey, but they have excellent support and are well made and last forever. They have some flats that work with skirts. (I work in a library where I’m on my feet a lot, so I know whereof I speak.)

          Even though I buy my clothes at thrift stores (or make them) I don’t begrudge spending the money on good shoes. I just don’t have very many pairs.

  • Alix

    I wear dresses and skirts a lot, very occasionally pants. I have a few pairs that are very fluid and drapey, and they feel very feminine to me (like Sibyl’s above, but not so poofy.) I look forward to reading your thoughts as the experiment progresses.

    Love, love, love Downton, especially seeing all the amazing hats. I can’t wait until Season 2 gets here!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      OOOOOoooo the hats! Aren’t they delicious!

      • Alix

        I especially love how they coordinate the black ribbon on the hat w/ the black gloves w/ an otherwise all white (or cream, I guess) ensemble. I am not quite sure of how to pull that off, but once I figure it out, I’m putting away my veil and going hats all the way for mass!

  • Mlalexand99

    When I was young and idealist and not the jaded, withered up old hag that I am now, I wore only dresses and skirts for about a year. Unfortunately I was treated like a LDS cult member. Maybe my fashion choices weren’t spot on but there is a strong prejudice against women who wear only dresses. But I say this by means of an argument in favor of wearing dresses and skirts because it would be nice for that perception to change.

    One important note is that when we idealize femininity a la Downton Abbey (which I adore) we are idealizing a femininity where women do not do anything but dress for tea. Dress for dinner. Go out riding in an older man’s car. There are no chores. No scrubbing floors and toilets. No gardening or farm animals to care for.

    A life like that would be nice but so far has been unattainable.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Mary, this is precisely what I hope to tackle. I was writing this post @ 2am and couldn’t write further. But yes, I notice some women hold other women in contempt for dressing “pretty”. I have my own sad prejudices and that’s why I am doing this little challenge. More about those prejudices later…

  • Babs

    I like this. I think the point is not so much the specific article of clothing, but what makes you feel it. I just can’t give up pants due to my penchant for playing like a five year old at the park with my kids. Yet, every day I put on mascara, a necklace and some lip color. I plan, after the baby is born, to sew some elastic in some oversized button downs to shir them in a feminine way, while allowing me to be comfortable while I’m in that awkward postpartum phase. I can’t wait to see a new and gorgeous apron for the days I spend scrubbing toilets

  • marcosandolini333

    Three guesses as to which side I am on concerning this issue…Yah! to feminine women.

  • Kharrison80

    I’m struggling with this myself. After 4 kids (and counting, God willing) it isn’t practical to wear pants – especially dress pants to church. My size fluctuates to much, I would need a half dozen in various sizes. I started wearing more skirts to church last year and it has been fun. My only issue is having kids crawling on my legs and snagging my panty hose while I’m praying. I don’t find skirts practical around the house, especially in winter time (knee length A-line skirts best compliment my figure). I’d rather wear yoga pants during our sub arctic Michigan months if I’m crawling around the floor with kids. Though I became closely aquainted with compression stockings during my last pregnancy, so I grew used to wearing tights for many months. Who knows, maybe things will change.

    • Kharrison80

      P.S. I’ve had great luck at Goodwill and local consignment shops finding dirt cheap modest-but-trendy skirts and dresses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728802907 Christine Niles

    I adore skirts and dresses, and enjoy looking like a woman. I sometimes wear slacks around the house, particularly in winter time, but if given the choice, it’s always skirts or dresses, which outnumber my slacks about 4-1.

    I just gave birth to my fourth child 7 weeks ago, and I’ve found that nursing, exercise, and moderate eating can work wonders on getting the figure back into shape…

  • http://locusotium.wordpress.com Pere

    Those Downton Abbey pictures are gorgeous, but they are definitely dress clothes – the equivalent of what you would wear to church, to a party, or (sometimes) to a state dinner. So, I really *don’t* think it’s practical to dress that way all the time (witness what the servants wore.)

    (I say this with new-found passion, because I have recently moved to a house with all this gorgeous early 20th century molding. It’s beautiful, but, my word!! the dust!! Every one of those grooves, every bit of ornamentation, every piece of turned wood is dust magnet. It’s never-ending; dusting once a week is not enough. No wonder people had maids.)

    I have just one piece of advice for those attempting this challenge in cold weather: boots.

    Mine are at the cobbler so skirt-wearing lately has not resulted in me looking more feminine, but rather me rocking the homelessness chic. (This morning, for example: pretty skirt (work party) but no skirt can take on a windy 25 degrees by itself, so under I wore tights, leggings over the tights, and loud argyle socks over the leggings (laundry fail = loud argyle) and topped it off with my beaten sneakers.)

  • samcarter

    For a while, I wore nothing but skirts–long skirts, usually denim because it felt the most practical (I have four boys, one a baby). But I actually got so much…well, attention, especially from elderly gentlemen who kept telling me I looked so lovely, that it felt like the opposite of modesty. I stood out like a sore thumb in my neighborhood.

    I decided to wear skirts to church–and I do–and jeans for errands.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728802907 Christine Niles

      If more women dressed like women, then men probably wouldn’t go around being surprised at the sight of it and feeling the need to compliment a woman who actually looks feminine.

      • samcarter

        I appreciate what you said, and I agree with you. But until we convince the majority of women out there to return to skirt-wearing, I would rather practice my brand of modesty, which is not attracting a lot of attention when I’m out and about. I also didn’t like how other women’s husbands would pay more attention to me than I found comfortable. . I don’t think my wearing skirts was ever going to get the neighbor women thinking, “Hm, I should wear skirts more often.”

        I thought about this for a long time, trust me. For nearly a year I wore long, very modest denim skirts and my t shirts are always modest (and long sleeved if I can manage it, or I wear a light cardigan over my shirt).

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728802907 Christine Niles

          I understand. What’s strange is that I have worn skirts and dresses for years, and have never noticed men looking at me any more than at other women, much less making comments. I don’t know if the men in your particular area are more forward, or perhaps you feel self-conscious–I don’t know. I just know that, in my many years of experience dressing in a feminine manner, I’ve never experienced what you have.

          • Christine

            Wow, I totally have. I rarely wear skirts during the weekdays, and have three times been stopped by little old (lonely?) men while running errands in skirts, and told how nice it is to see me looking so pretty. Not men I knew. Random men. Really weirded me out. Perhaps it shouldn’t have. Perhaps men miss “Women.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512090760 Melissa SueAnne Batty

    im sorry to inform you , but lying to your kids about santa is detremental to their health. I was lied to about it all.. santa, the tooth fairy, ect.. and i held it personally against my parents for lying to me about such nonsense, when there was a much more important factor in play here.. They never really cared to celebrate the birth of christ, it was more about the presents and the decor, and EVERY present was from santa.. hmmm.. parents lying to us since we were little kids. If they can lie to us about something so damn important, what ELSE could they lie or hide from us.!!!! THINK ABOUT IT

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      You’ve posted this reply in the wrong thread. This is for commenting about my fashion experiment. However, I will still address you here. How nice of you to assume to know me well enough and know how we celebrate in my household. You see, if you’d had read through the comments you’d know we do St. Nicholas and never once did I indicate Christmas was solely about present or the decor. I believe you can balance both. An automatic indulgence in the myth of Santa does not automatically infer that we don’t talk about the Nativity. My goodness, presumptions abound. And yes, I have “thought about it”. I’ve given it a great deal a thought. Probably more thought than you put into your reply.

  • http://quiltingbibliophagist.blogspot.com Catholic Bibliophagist

    I hang around on sewing blogs for people who sew from vintage patterns. Many of the people there report that wearing more feminine garb really does change the way the general public perceives and interacts with them.

    When I was raising my kids I always wore jeans, but I always wore a skirt or dress to Mass because I wanted to signal to my children that we were going somewhere important and special.

    Now that I’m a retired homeschooling mom, I almost always wear skirts or dresses. But that’s because I now have to wear support hose and they make me feel too warm if I wear them under pants.

    I made a denim jumper to wear at work. I’m library aide, so I made the length medium long so that I could squat down modestly to reach the lower bookshelves. The clean-cut guy at Jiffy-Lube mistook me for a member of his Pentecostal church. So now I make sure that I wear my Miraculous Medal with that jumper.

    –C.B.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I few commented on the denim jumper. I’m afraid that is not something I will ever wear do it’s connotations here in the South… it’s the uniform of Southern Baptists and cultish evangelicals. Plus they are, in my opinion, completely homely and unflattering. But that’s just my opinion.

      Sewing blogs are fun. One day I hope to learn to sew. It’s on my list of feminine things to master and other lost Lady Arts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557361413 Laura Lowder

        A lot of the stereotype about the denim jumper depends on the style. I had a waisted jumper a few years ago that got a lot of compliments. I found it at Belks – but haven’t seen one like it for years. HATE the tent-like denim jumpers. Yuck!

      • http://quiltingbibliophagist.blogspot.com/ Catholic Bibliophagist

        Well, you can bet that my next jumper is going to be made out of a different fabric. Right now though, I’m sewing skirts. I found a really cute pattern from Sewaholic Patterns which actually minimizes my middle-aged tummy.

  • Lirioroja

    I am *not* wearing skirts or dresses in the winter time. No way, no how. I make an exception for things like weddings but boy do I suffer for it! I am very sensitive to cold and I’m the type that once I’m cold I can’t get warm. :-( I have to curl up in a ball under blankets to get warm again. Anything below 72 degrees is cold for me, so yeah, I’m in one of those extreme categories. Warm tights and boots worn with a skirt or dress don’t cut it for me; I need pants. That said, I do have a lot of lovely and feminine tops and I always wear earrings. Paired with some well-fitting dress pants it looks great and yes, even feminine. Since I don’t live in a warm clime I’ll be wearing my dress pants until summer. And I relish those warm days not only for the sunlight and warm weather but also for the chance to rock my cute skirts and dresses.

    • http://twitter.com/heirsinhope Drusilla Barron

      Houston is a great place to live & it’s warm year round.

      • http://oxyparadoxy.blogspot.com/ The Ranter

        I hope you’re joking ;-) If you think that a good reason to move is the weather – just to be able to wear skirts year round.

  • gmpas

    I’ve worn skirts exclusively for over a year now. I found them to be the most comfortable and flattering after giving birth to my 5th baby, but didn’t take the full skirt plunge until pregnant with my 6th baby. I have 1 pair of yoga pants and 1 pair of stained carpri’s that I have just in case. In case of what I have no idea.

    I live in New England where is it COLD in the winter and I simply wear leggings/tights and knee high socks under long skirts and I’m plenty warm. I find it warmer than pants actually.

    I have found I can do anything in a skirt and it isn’t an issue. I garden, take care of chickens, milk goats, clean the house, etc. And I find them very comfortable and I feel feminine regardless of what I’m doing. It helps that my husband loves me in skirts. I now have several friends who only wear skirts as well as my mother. It’s funny how it’s taken off. I do only wear long skirts b/c with 6 kids, the youngest being a year old, I have people climbing on me all the time.

  • Ink

    For almost two years now (I believe) I have worn nothing but skirts–even in winter. Hue sells good heavy tights–I still have a pair from many years ago. I’ve walked through the bottoms and can (and do!) still wear them. I tend to dress more classy than trendy, though I am a fan of knee-length floofy skirts. (Being a bit on the shorter side helps with this, though paired with a long shirt they make me look a bit frumpy so I try to avoid that.) And there is no denim in my wardrobe. Velvet, yes. Denim, no.

    Lots of people ask why I wear only skirts. It’s comfortable, I reply, and I prefer it that way. Even in winter. That’s what long wool coats are for, right? And tall boots?

    ~Ink, college student to the world, old-fashioned lady at heart

  • Elise Hilton

    I’ll be curious to see how this goes. I love dressing up and being a girly-girl, but I wear trousers about half the time (I work outside the home). I also can’t imagine a weekend without my jeans or my sweats (inside the house, please!).

    http://www.kissingtheleper.com
    Elise

  • Mark Abeln

    I travelled in Europe with two friends years back. They wore jeans and t-shirts while I wore a jacket and tie.

    Invariably, the locals would talk to them in English — even though neither of them were Americans — while they would talk to me in the local language.

  • Anonymous

    I only skimmed the comments, so maybe these things have already been addressed, but I’ll throw my two cents in, anyway.

    For one thing, I went to a Catholic boarding school in middle and part of high school, where plaid skirts and knee-high socks were pretty much all we wore. I thought I was free of that oppression when I went back to live at home until I was 16 and my mom enforced a “skirts only” policy for a year-ish. She had been wearing skirts-only for…oh, years by then. For her, too, it wasn’t a modesty issue so much as a feminine issue. Oh, and my sister and I were PISSED. Royally. My parents sat us down, and the standoff that ensued lasted for days before we grudgingly complied.

    It definitely does change how people perceive you. I worked in a portrait studio at the time, and was thus surrounded by people 10+ years older than me. Between my somewhat shy-seeming (I say seeming, because I’m actually not a shy person.) demeanor, and the way I dressed, I was treated very um… softly. People would see me hop out of my giant truck and say, “Wow, what a big truck for such a little girl!” or would come up behind me and cover my ears if the conversation turned ever-so-slightly smutty.

    When I was 17, my mom started letting me wear jeans again, as I was buying all my own clothes, had had this job for a while, was in college and it just seemed silly to have her give me rules about what I could wear (as long as it fell within the obvious modesty standards). The day I walked into work, people literally did double takes, gasped and fawned over the never-before-seen silhouette of my butt and legs for weeks.

    But I will say this: Even now that I live hundreds of miles away from my parents, I still wear skirts at least as often as I wear pants, and often wish I could wear them more. I get compliments on them all the time (yeah, no frumpy denim for me) and comments on my femininity abounds. I walk into my part time job to choruses of “Wow, you always look so nice.” and I usually respond with a cocked eyebrow and a “Seriously? Cause I haven’t washed my hair in three days, and I just threw this on this morning and I feel like a mess.”

    I don’t buy the “I CAN’T wear skirts for X reason.” (cold weather, impracticality, etc.)

    Ladies, I too am sensitive to cold, but I’ve worn skirts through bitter Colorado winters and icy Midwestern ones (leggings are the joy of my life); I climb fences, trek fields, play volleyball. Granted, if I know I’m going to be doing something active and have pants available, I’ll probably pick the pants. But when you commit to it, skirts are remarkably workable for everyday. (I’ve actually had to jump three feet off the ground into a moving vehicle while wearing a pencil skirt once.) And yeah, it takes some getting used to. But once you start, you’ll learn to love the grace and femininity that a flattering skirt or dress can afford you.

    Personally, my favorite are tea-length a-line skirts.

    • Lirioroja

      Until you’ve walked around in someone else’s skin don’t dismiss their cold weather excuse to not wear skirts and dresses. A dear friend of mine has an honest-to-goodness medical condition were she starts to lose circulation and suffer hypothermia when the temperature dips below 72 degrees and she’s not properly covered. She had to move to the deep South and away from her dearest friends in the frigid north because she was so debilitated by the winters. She wears whatever keeps her warm and is always stylish – after all, she did work in fashion. And that of course includes pants. She is modest too as she is a devout Catholic. You say you’re sensitive to cold but you may still be hardier than other folks. If I say that warm tights and boots are not enough to keep me warm it’s because I’ve tried it and it didn’t work. I’m glad it works for you but it doesn’t for me. My body is much better at cooling itself off than warming-up so I’d rather be warm and even sweat a bit than be cold and shiver all day. And I really do mean all day, even if I do get myself by heat source eventually. When I’m cold I don’t function normally – it takes me twice as long to do things and I notice my cognitive functions are slow. I would like to wear skirts and dresses outside the summertime but for me that’s not realistic. And I won’t jeopardize my health and well-being just to wear something that is considered more feminine.

      • Anonymous

        I think it goes without saying that my comment shouldn’t have been taken so personally by you. You can tell me I’m wrong, sure, but I certainly was not attacking YOU. I was saying this with the numberless women in mind who tell me, “I can’t understand how you wear skirts so often, especially in this weather.” Pretty much all of them other than the ones who have actually done it already.

        And for what it’s worth, personally I think a longer skirt paired with leggings, because of their snugness and the cotton-knit fabric, is much warmer than normal pants. Wearing a skirt with leggings is like wearing pants and having a blanket wrapped around you.

      • http://twitter.com/heirsinhope Drusilla Barron

        Thanks Lirioja. I’m the friend who is so sensitive to cold I moved to Houston. Many people w/ autoimmune disorders can’t stand cold. Trousers, a fur coat, fur boots, fur hat & gloves/mittens – I wore it all & none of it was enough. For several years I was far more concerned w/ warmth than femininity.

        But I’m in Houston now & I can wear skirts & dresses, which I love. In fact, skirts & dresses are more comfortable in hot weather. I’m still switching my wardrobe from icy north to delightfully warm south but one of my goals is to wear only skirts & dresses for Lent. (Lent is perfect because it will take planning & discipline; I hope it will e part of not letting the whole world know when I’m fasting or, in my case, ill.) As others have noted, it’s not a matter of modesty but of femininity & also beauty. My other goal is to put Vogue out of business, to replace “sexy” & “hot” w/ “beautiful” & “feminine.” It’s taking longer than I hoped but eventually “Glam of God” will be born; this post is an excellent resource & is chock full of great ideas.

        One question I have is would snow suits which could be worn over a dress be a possibility for women who can’t stand the cold or are those too childish? What of flowing trousers such as women wore in the 30s or 40s? How does the woman who can’t stand cold dress today & be feminine? Most trousers fit poorly, they’re cut for boys rather than women. (Actually, they’re cut for the bodies of females in their teens – 20s from the mid 1940s, it’s a cut closer to a modern boy’s body than a modern woman’s.) But things are changing. The # of spot on comments here is evidence that the culture is changing. The great links is more evidence. Maybe we won’t all wear skirts & dresses all the time but we can dress like women, beautiful, feminine women.

  • Peony Moss

    I hope you’ll consider posting photos of some of your outfits. They would be great inspiration for those of us who are sympathetic to the “dress like a girl” idea, but aren’t good at the whole shopping and picking out clothes thing.

  • http://twitter.com/3pages Diane Sherlock

    found cute affordable dresses at Mod Cloth (http://www.modcloth.com/) and Shabby Apple (http://www.shabbyapple.com/) Am considering the 30 days of dresses…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Two of my favorite retailers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melanie-Shovelski/1651596065 Melanie Shovelski

    I haven’t worn pants (except PJ pants at home, not to the store) in over 5 years. I learned how to stay warm, cool and chafing free :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/fiona.ruminski Fiona Rogers Ruminski

    I can happily address this. I took the plunge and switched over to wearing skirts/dresses, although I do occasionally dress “down” and wear pants inside the home, when I’m feeling “meh”, or because I have a snazzy pants outfit I want to wear out. I did notice a huge difference in how men treated me. They will open doors, be much more circumspect in their language (for the most part), and generally more gentlemanly. I have had little problems with other women, mainly because of where I reside, but I do get looked at sideways by some. I have pondered this, and wonder if it’s because a seed has been planted w/in them that perhaps being more feminine is something they’re called for, and it niggles them, or because, for some strange reason, they feel I’m judging them by my choice in clothes. Finally, it brought about a big change within ME. I feel more “ready” to do my job as homeschool wife and mother, as if I’m wearing my “uniform”, as you stated in your post. I will be interested to hear if you find the same results!

  • Karyn

    When I was discerning a vocation I was always wearing skirts, though my typical dress was slacks/jeans and sweaters. I spent about 4 years completely in skirts-2 as aspirant/postulant and 2 wearing a habit. When I left the monastery it just struck me as how masculine women looked wearing pants. Not 100% of the time, but often enough that it struck me. That has faded somewhat now that I’m back out “in the world” so to speak. Anyway, I decided I would wear skirts and dresses, even on days off. I still occasionally wear jeans, usually because I need to do laundry, and I wear sweats for exercising or when I’m not feeling well (easier to grab a quick nap that way). I was never very fashion conscious, but now I find myself wanting to look more put together and find flattering as well as feminine clothes. (That’s the “What Not to Wear” influence.) I saw an article in a magazine at a drs. office about people dressing to show their religion. I have to say the Christian woman to me looked kind of dowdy and old fashioned, while an orthodox Jewish woman looked stylish and feminine. Here’s another link if you’re interested, to another woman trying the same thing, only for a year and not a month. I’ll be interested in your experience as well.
    http://ayearinskirts.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/a-year-in-skirts-day-1/

  • Ad Orientem

    These aren’t girls. They are ladies. Big difference. They have more class in their white gloved little finger than 95% of the females in modern society put together. BTW have you seen this? If you are looking for a fashion statement that screams class and elegance look no further.

    http://ad-orientem.blogspot.com/2011/10/la-belle-epoque.html

  • Mac_anne

    I fully agree with the thought that our attire influences our behavior and I think it sad that we no longer live in a time where our men are men and our women, women. Instead we live in a world where you have to guess whether someone is male or female. Women cut their hair as men and dress in suits and men grow their hair and wear make up. I would love to pitch all my jeans and wear nothing but dresses and skirts and perhapse one day I will have the finances to do so. I am working toward it. On a side note, as to Downton Abbey, the clothing is lovely but the content of the show is nothing short of moraly repugnant and offensive! For anyone to watch this show would be to welcome sin into your mind and for any Catholic to watch it would be against the very teachings of the church.

    • Alix

      I have to disagree that watching “Downton Abby” is welcoming sin into my mind, or against the teachings of the church… While it is true that some of the characters do bad things, I don’t see that this is ever held up as admirable or correct behavior. Often a character’s bad actions result in serious consequences for him (or her, as poor Lady Mary discovered.) Many of the characters behave in generous and noble ways, and the honest servants especially are portrayed as the heroes of the show, while the scheming ones are portrayed as villains. There is also real character development towards virtue, I think, in some of them.

      I suppose if I found the immoral aspects of the show titillating (my gosh, it took me three attempts to spell that word correctly… I obviously don’t get to use it enough!) I would be bound *not* to watch, for the sake of my soul, but I don’t. Many classic works of literature feature plots that revolve around behavior that isn’t in line with Church teaching… that’s not reason to consign them to the dust heap. Of course, you are free to watch, or not to watch, whatever you like!

      • Mac_anne

        I dont think you have to find sin “titillating” to be influenced by it, and there are so many ways to illude to certain behavior without being so explicit and descriptive. I will admit that I never made it past the first episode because I was so disturbed by it but so much of what is on TV these days is so full of smutt. Those images and thoughts are placed in our minds whether we like it or not and I do believe that what we put in eventually and in some way finds its way of coming back out. (The “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy)I believe that as Christians and Catholics we have a need to filter what goes in. Their headline is “sex…scandal…” (forgive me I cant recall the rest.) This is used to preface the series in order to grab viewers and I do feel that the “bad behavior”, though it may have consequences, is romanticized in the telling of the show. I fear that it is sneaky and incidious. I do pray that this show does all that you say and encourages morals and virtuous behavior but I pray that folks will be carefull what they expose themselves to.

  • ayearinskirts

    That’s awesome! I look forward to seeing your outfits!!

  • Anonymous

    Please post pics! We would love to see the transformation…. As I sit here wearing jeans. But I mostly wear skirts (this is my only pair of jeans and they are ready for the trash bin).

    I went on a crazy shopping spree at a thrift store when I got pregnant with #3 this past year and bought a ton of long skirts because anything else was too uncomfortable for my expanding belly. I have to say it does make me feel very feminine and I do think it changes how people perceive me. I get a lot more doors opened for me. :)

    Can’t wait to hear all about your experiment!

  • http://thecatholicsciencegeek.blogspot.com/ The Catholic Science Geek

    Guilty as charged. Though I wear mostly t-shirts and jeans in the laboratory, I have started frequenting consignment shops and purchasing clothing that is much older than I am. My two latest major purchases are two black wool capes that are at least 40 years old. I was supposed to be shopping for some dress to wear to a wedding…but ended up reusing a dress I got a Target months ago for $7….(yes, I know…very classy)….and splurging on one cape. I then had to buy the second one a few weeks later.

    They are stunning and I have been wearing them to Church along with my black gloves and mantilla. I’ve gotten so many compliments for them, especially from older women with a touch of nostalgia in their eyes. I am currently looking for a fur muff and a pill box hat (which may be impossible considering how my huge head can’t pull off anything but a beret). They make me feel like I belong to an era where women were ladies and men were gentlemen…

    My other guilty pleasures: Medieval/Renaissance clothing…

    Thank you so much for posting this and giving me a new role model.

  • http://Catholicanuck.blogspot.com/ JP

    I don’t mind the skirts. I’ve even shovelled snow in a skirt! But I can’t stand heels. Flats are not at all flattering, and they fall off my heels. I don’t like the look of kitten heels. I have very wide feet and legs kinda like tree stumps.

    And I cannot imagine how I could work in anything but thick soled shoes…like the runners I currently use.

    BTW for those who have extreme sensitivity to cold (and I’ve been there…whisper the word “draft” and I’d get muscle spasms) I would suggest getting thyroid tests done. I can’t tell you how much difference it made to my temperature tolerance.

    • http://Catholicanuck.blogspot.com/ JP

      Yikes! It should read that treating my hypothyroidism made all the difference…

  • Lynn

    I have to be careful not to be mistaken for a pentecostal at times, but I wear dresses/skirts 99% of the time and I swear that people treat me differently, with just a bit more respect and deference, especially men. In the winter it can be tough to keep my legs and feet warm without doing a Granny Clampett, but in the summer I am so comfortable in long flowy skirts, feminine-cut tshirts, and sandals.

  • http://www.gardenofholiness.blogspot.com/ Christie @ Garden of Holiness

    I tried this too, but I was an idiot. I have learned that modesty and feminine also means dressing for the occasion. We live where 30 mph winds with gusts enough to stagger you are commonplace. I went out to help a neighbor with a sick cow on a windy Spring day in an ankle length denim skirt because I was going to stick to my experiment in spite of common sense. Because I was having to squat, the skirt dragged in the crap filled mud. Then the wind flipped it over my head. Nothing says “feminine” quite like e-coli!

    Go and be a girl, but be a smart one.

  • JaneC

    My problem with wearing skirts all the time isn’t the winter, it’s the summer when it’s too hot and humid to wear tights or leggings. If I’m just sitting at home, it’s fine, but if I have to walk a lot (walking the dog or sightseeing), it’s a problem. Not to be indelicate, but I experience chafing. I’ve tried all sorts of things to prevent it, but nothing works for long.

    I also have trouble finding skirts and dresses that look cute, have some shape, and are machine washable. As soon as I see “dry clean” or “hand wash,” it goes back on the rack. I cannot afford to have things dry cleaned regularly and I don’t have space to hang very many things up to air dry.

    • Christine

      Spandex shorts. Just saying.

  • Christine

    I think there are two issues: dressing formally and dressing feminely. I am female, and I am a vet. I understand dressing formally. It brings a self consciousness to your actions, a purpose (I dressed for the role I am playing today) to what you do. The point of wearing “civvies” is to feel “off duty” and “anonymous.” But should we feel anonymous all the time? Is that good for our souls?

    The second issue is separate, actually, from dressing formally. The “feminine” part. Interestingly, the military generally gives two choices to female soldiers in dress attire: trousers or skirts. Those who wish to emphasize their femininity gravitate to skirts, unsurprisingly. Those who wish to avoid stocking hose gravitate to trousers. I always enjoyed the effect of black pumps with trousers, myself. Your feet click when you walk, in a way that screams “woman!” Yet you don’t have to wear stockings! ;-)

  • tcn

    I bought a nice pair of flat but feminine shoes from Israel to wear with my skirts. They are like Maryjanes, but updated and comfortable.

    I wear skirts all year, regardless of the weather. They are comfortable, stylish, and inexpensive, and I don’t have to change what I wear because of the time of the month or if I have overindulged or whatever. When it is warm, I go without stockings and wear nice sandals–not crappy ones or anything that looks shabby. When it is cold, stockings (tights, not nylons) or even leggings if it’s cold enough (below 0 or so). Knee socks are fine with longer skirts, and much more comfortable than stockings.

    I wear skirts to do yard work, gardening, laundry, wash the car, and chase the boy around the playground. Somehow, our grandmothers managed this as well, mostly without complaining.

    I buy skirts at St. Vinnie’s, at Goodwill, and I even make some if I find a nice piece of fabric that isn’t too expensive.

    Men, for the most part, treat me as if I were a lady, provided I remember to act like one, which is most of the time. The skirt helps to remind me to do so.

    I do wear pants at the gym, mostly because there really isn’t a way to do those leg machines without exposing what shouldn’t be shown, but my swim suit has a little skirt, too.

    It has simply become a good habit for me, like covering my head in church, reminding me of who I am and what I should try to be, even when I fail. I still retain a weakness for, as Kat says, using the “driving finger,” but I’m getting better even at that.

    To each her own, and more power to you.

  • Donalbain

    The women in Downton could dress like that because they were essentially parasites. They contributed nothing of any value, and could waft about looking pretty while the work was done by the poor. Remember the scenes where the middle daughter goes off to help at the farm? The farmer’s wife was not wafting around in delightful tea dresses, was she? She was in trousers as often as she was in a skirt, because that is what you wear when you are doing hard manual labour on a farm.

    But, if wearing a dress makes you feel better than other people, then I suppose that is up to you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Oh don’t be ridiculous. It’s not about feeling better than other people. I live in the city where no one farms – there is nothing more practical about trousers over dresses in my situation.

      My experiment is an exercise in dressing more like a grown up lady. I want to see what all the hub-bub is about. Judging from the 70+ comments there’s quite a bit of “hub-bub” on the topic.

      • Donalbain

        So, you aren’t saying you are better, just that you are more grown up than women in trousers. Fair enough.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        I don’t patience for your impertinence, Donalbain. Please find another outlet for your frustration elsewhere. Good day.

  • flirtyintrovert

    I like dresses, I like pants, I like leggings+tunics. I think I look pretty and feminine in all of them! I do think that dresses are more womanly, of course, but I don’t feel like making them into a uniform. Nevertheless, I *would* like to try a “30 Days of Dresses” challenge. I would have to be really creative about hair and accessories, which is hard for me.

    If anyone is interested, I have a post about fashion vs. modesty here:

    http://flirtyintrovert.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/its-impossible-to-find-modest-clothing/

  • Io

    Being feminine is fun and I can imagine an experiment like this would be an amusing challenge. However, there is a huge problem among more conservative Catholics in that this pants/skirts is getting to be an obsession. Men think it’s perfectly fine to speak about women who wear pants with disgust and disrespect, and some women encourage them. I wish everyone would just stop talking about it, because in the long run, no one should give a damn if you’re in pants or a dress, and no one has the right to criticize how you look. Why is it that “I’m going to wear skirts for a month” gets a lot of praise and encouragement, but if a woman said, “I’m going to wear nothing but pink for a whole month because it’s more feminine” I’m sure it wouldn’t get the same reaction. People would think any woman who tried that was a bit nuts. And yet wearing pink is girly just like wearing a dress is girly. It’s also an outward sign of femininity. So please, everyone, be as girly as you want, but lets’ go easy on the fanaticism about this particular issue. I wasn’t allowed to wear pants growing up and I can tell you it did NOT make me feel feminine. It made me feel awkward and judged–and now as an adult I wear mostly skirts and dresses because I like them. Not because some loud-mouthed trad guy thinks I look “like a woman” in a dress and somehow has the right to have an opinion. Let’s all recognise this insanity for what it is.


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