What is it in human nature that drives the desire for attractive clothes, hair, shoes, jewelry? How innate is this desire?
Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” (Thank you, http://www.biblegateway.com)
Silk and purple are far from being simple, plain clothing. Tapestry is labor intensive but stunning.
Then Jesus said in Matthew 6:28 (Amplified):
“And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and [a]learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”
What I believe the Lord is teaching us here is that it’s no sin to want or wear beautiful clothes, that it’s actually considered a virtue for a woman to clothe herself thusly.
It becomes sin when we obsess and become anxious about it.
What a relief! Because I do like pretty clothes. I don’t have very many due to … what? Laziness? Lack of planning? The Proverbs 31 woman seeks wool and flax and works them willingly with her hands. I need to do more of that because I can sew. I’d never win a 4-H competition but I can put together a garment. Hopefully I just need more practice.
This line of thinking began today after reading Robert Avrech’s May 10, 2010 post, Friday Fashion. (He doesn’t have a direct link to that post; just go to his website and page down to it.)
Mr. Avrech is a Hollywood screenwriter and he describes the change that comes when a plain looking actress is dressed and coiffed by movie studio professionals. The transformation even changes how the actress feels about herself; she becomes much more self confident.
Freda & Stella Sexton, 1917
And that reminds me of something my mother used to say: casual dress leads to casual behavior. I grew up during the late 1960s – early 1970s and jeans and a t-shirt were fine with me, even for church at a time when that was considered a little too radical.
But now there’s been a lot of water under my bridge and I not only see her point, I agree with it. I’ve noticed that when I dress up, I behave more lady-like. My husband dons a suit and he becomes Mr. Debonair.
This subject fascinates me – in fact, there are 22 entries under Fashion in my Categories list. And as I mentioned before, what someone wore on a particular occasion usually sticks in my memory. On Saturday my sister and I were talking about the Christmas trip back home to Oklahoma that she and her husband made in 1965. I recalled her outfit when we picked them up at Tulsa International Airport: a royal blue suit (skirt and jacket), made of a wool-like fabric.
The news about Dorothy Provine’s death last week reminded me of her paper doll. Included in the set were some costumes from her television show The Roaring Twenties. I just loved them. Ebay usually has a set of them and you can go here to see them.
Girls just naturally want to have and wear pretty clothes. Paper dolls fulfilled that desire by making it much more affordable to have lots of changes. The creator of the Barbie doll observed her daughter playing with paper dolls and changing their clothes. Her idea was to make a doll with a big wardrobe which could be attained one piece at a time, by marketing them separately from the dolls.
Back to Mr. Avrech’s post: he mentioned a new book by Linda Grant titled “The Thoughtful Dresser“.
If you click on the link, you can read a few pages from the book. I found it very interesting and hope that the rest of it lives up to my expectations because I’ve put it in my cart.
Miss Grant tells of a requisition for lipstick for females liberated from a concentration camp. How puzzling.
Lipstick? They needed so many things!
Why lipstick? It was an attempt to restore their human dignity.
Which reminds me of a documentary, Steal a Pencil for Me
. (Available for free viewing at hulu.com). It’s the story of a man and woman who survived the Holocaust. Of course, the very subject matter is deadly serious. How could it be otherwise? But the featured couple are wonderful, uplifting people and survived with a joy for life.
The tie in to fashion? Manja Polak tells of her style efforts in the camp: she had taken with her a few hair curlers. Even though she was unable to wash her hair, she used the curlers every night. In the midst of the squalid conditions, she did what she could to beautify her appearance.
What a lady!
She’s still lovely.