What has happened to femininity? Where is that feminine presentation? My mom (mommy, as I continue to call her right up to the present) wore pants/jeans only while scrubbing the toilets or doing yardwork. The remainder of her wardrobe consisted of simple shift-style dresses she ran errands in. She may have shown up to a parent/teacher meeting wearing one. A few pieces in her closet were for special occasions out to dinner or a party. My mom was quite the seamstress as she made sweetly tailored clothes for my sister and myself and even took to fashioning Barbie doll clothes for my sister’s collection. Everything about my mom screamed feminine presentation. Nobody did her nails. She did her own manicure, fixed her hair without assist from the beauty parlor brigade, and wore simple make-up, usually just a touch of lipstick. She always looked polished and on a skimpy budget managed to work some minor miracles in her sessions with the mirror. Let’s examine the trend since then. Of course, this is from my skewed vantage point. Now, we see women of all ages showing up to work in jeans. Teachers, school attendance secretaries, pastor’s wives, retail clerks, receptionists, bank tellers, all have decided to don those Levi’s. Why? Comfort? Are you kidding me? After a few hours in jeans the inseam has become one with my thighs. And I’m trying to be delicate here. When I returned to college at the age of 51 in 2006 I made a pact with myself. I would never cross that campus with jeans on. Blend in with the other coeds? Why? But, rather, in a dress or skirt with heels, I traversed the full length of the campus from the hinterlands space where I left my car. By the way, I packed bandaids and gauze just in case my lady-like heels declared war on my feet. An unexpected phenomena came as a result of my desire to be a reasonably stylish individual. Several times other students thought I was a faculty member. I loved it! In fact, I encouraged it! I even lied and told a couple students that, yes, indeed, I was a faculty… sans degree. I guess I emitted professorial essence. Fine by me.
So, we’ve evolved from a certain level of decorum as evidenced by mom’s style to a lack of decorum as evidenced by a seeming neglect of all that is feminine presentation, for now anyway. Since my college commencement in 2008, I have made the conscious decision to wear only dresses and heels as long as I don’t face a flood condition on my way to my jobs. A year ago I threw out my last pair of jeans. No regrets. I got rid of my only pair of athletic shoes. Not a huge adjustment there. I’m not much of an athlete. By my example, I consider myself a throw-back to a more genteel era. Without pretentiousness as my guide, I hope to exude a lady-like quality in my physical appearance. Heads do turn, and even keep their gaze on me when I enter a store, restaurant…fill-in-the-blank. I was once asked by one of several friends as I entered our meeting place, “Are you trying to make us look bad?”. “No” was my answer. But if a woman feels bad standing beside a nicely dressed female, perhaps that casual Friday (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…you get it) fashion statement needs re-examination. You’re safe following my mom as the standard for femininity. I do.