Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Week in Feminine Dress

I participated again in A Week in Feminine Dress over at The Catholic Lady.  Stop by to see what her readers and I have been wearing.

As I was looking over my photos before sending them to her, it occurred to me that I've finally found my own personal style.  I know what sort of clothes I feel happy in now, and that's all I let myself buy and keep.  I'm attracted to bright colors and bold prints.  I like clothes that with a bit of a boho feel to them, and I accessorize with colorful jewelry.

For too long, I let myself be limited by what the latest styles were - in other words, the often disappointing selection for sale in the stores.

I was twenty years old when I decided to start increasing the number of skirts in my wardrobe, and to otherwise strive to dress more femininely (previously, I was a self-professed "jeans and a t-shirt kind of gal").  That was almost ten years ago now.  Over that time, popular styles have gone through several periods where it was almost impossible to find a skirt that wasn't a mini-skirt or a top that didn't show half my chest.  I would be out shopping, searching in vain.  And then I'd spot the one skirt in the store that was slightly on the longer side and get so excited by my victory that I'd just buy it right away without a thought to whether I really and truly liked the style and the fit.  So I amassed a closet full of clothes that may have met my impression of feminine, but just weren't fun to wear.

And when you don't feel pretty in the majority of your wardrobe, you begin to just feel frumpy.  I would find myself wearing a preppy polo shirt, or a pink lacy top, or a silky floral skirt and just feel as if I was wearing a costume.  I was dressing like someone else, instead of like me.

I suspect this might be one reason some women hesitate to start wearing more skirts, even when they're attracted to the idea.  They imagine that they must dress to fit some mold, or some very specific notion of "feminine."  They know they don't want to look like they just walked out of Little House on the Prairie, or a Jane Austen novel, or the Duggar house (God love 'em!).

But the good news is, you don't have to look like anyone else!  Think of all the ways women have found to dress over the centuries in ways which fit their unique personality, yet still respect their feminine nature.  There's a look for everyone, and I guess my advice is to just pick pieces that you love and stop following the latest trends.

I'm pretty sure the reason I finally arrived at a point where I feel that my wardrobe is all truly "me" is because I stopped shopping at the retail stores.  When Sly was born, I quit my job, and we suddenly had to survive on a teeny tiny tiny budget.  I had already been using thrift store clothes to supplement my wardrobe, but at that point I had to learn how to start shopping at them exclusively - or else get no "new" clothes ever.  At thrift stores, you're not bound by the current hot trends.  Everything in there is at least a year old (sometimes as much as thirty years old!), so you have a wide range of styles to browse and try on.  You get to know what you like, what works on your body.

It does take some time to build up your wardrobe with clothes that are "you", and weed out those that aren't.  But when you arrive there, it feels so great to be truly comfortable and satisfied with almost everything you wear!

If anyone is looking to enhance their wardrobe with some beautiful feminine styles from eShakti (see my review of one of their dresses here), you can use the code "extraordinaries" to receive 10% off your order through July 21st.


  1. Agreed. Another argument people have tried on me way too many times is "Skirts just don't flatter me". It's always hard for me not to resort to the sarcastic "And you think pants do?" when that's said to me by a woman who is very much NOT flattered by the pair of pants she's currently wearing. Honestly, though, that's nonsense. I think skirts are universally more flattering to the female figure than pants. And if you think your figure is not flattered by skirts, it is simply because you haven't put forth the effort to find which skirt flatters you. Many women can wear a variety of skirt styles well. Some women have to be more choosy. But guess what -the same goes for pants! Do we all look good in skinny jeans? Bermuda shorts? No. So of course, not every woman will look her best in a pencil skirt or a billowy tiered skirt. You have to find the lengths and cuts of skirt that fit you best, which is no harder to do than it is with pants. And I think, when you find "your" skirt, even if you refuse to see it, your body will be more flattered by it than any pair of pants you thought you looked good in.

    Your outfits are lovely! You have some really cute skirts.

    1. Thank you! and great points about how not all styles of pants look right on everyone either.

  2. I think the reason I feel frumpy in skirts is because of the shoe difficulty. I feel great in skirts during the summer. But I never challenge myself to go full time because I know it will all be for nothing come winter. And I would love to carry over into winter but I think that to do that comfortably I would need to invest $$$$ into a great pair of boots. And then more into the actual clothes. When wearing jeans I love my wool socks and PUMAs. But I will not wear socks and sneakers with skirts not ever ever ever. I would much rather just dress like a lumberjack.

    I also don't think my single gal style carried over well into pregnancy and motherhood. I like things that are well tailored. When I was single I went for high cut dresses because modesty...but no good for nursing. Pencil skirts don't work well with bending over and chasing toddlers but slacks can be tastefully fitted and still allow movement. And I know I could find styles that look nice and work well but I would need to buy them, while for the past seven years I've just been going through my stash. That and buying maternity/postpartum, never willing to spend good money on quality items because I always hope to get skinny again, then I get skinny and don't feel like putting on pencil skirts because of kids or dresses because of nursing, then I get pregnant and my waist expands again...I'm sure you know the cycle well.

    This is a timely post because yesterday I made a huge purchase at eshakiti (thanks for the code Christine). My husband will be great with it if I wear the stuff a lot but he'll be livid if I don't so I will. Probably each dress once a week until October. If they are as fabulous is real life as they were on the screen then I will enjoy it immensely.

    1. I'm glad you took the plunge and bought some dresses! Let me know how they turn out.

      I'm with you on not wearing sneakers and socks with skirts. I wear sandals in the summer, flats (with either barefeet or tights depending on temperature) in the transitional months, and boots in the winter. But I don't think decent boots need to cost "$$$$"! You can find some cute synthetic-material ones for pretty cheap, especially if you shop during sales (I usually wait for "cyber Monday" right after Thanksgiving, when all the websites have amazing sales).

      It took me awhile, but I finally had to accept that with my newly shaped (and also constantly changing) motherly body, I just wouldn't really be able to wear certain styles again for a long time, and maybe not ever again. It was sad to give away some of my favorite outfits. I had to get used to dressing in a new way that I liked (appearance and comfort-wise), but that was also practical for my lifestyle (extra room for a growing or post-partum belly, loose enough to lift for nursing, etc.). Maybe you could slowly replace some of your now-impractical items with new pretty things that make more sense for you right now?

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  4. Hi Christine! I think this is why I noticed lately how much I like your style, because it's YOUR style. I struggle with this still, but am slowly learning what works best with my body and my style. I agree that it gets even harder when your body is changing with pregnancy and postpartum and nursing... It's a constant struggle to adapt style and cut to function and figure. For the longest time I hated maternity clothes until I found an outfit that actually looked good on me, a long flowy skirt and stretchy ruched/ruffled top. I am still struggling with regular clothes now. :( Thank you for addressing this topic. Dressing your figure and style is SO important!!

  5. I will check out the site you posted, been looking for a more dressier dress for when company is over