Monday, January 15, 2007

A Different Way of Dressing


One year ago, I started down a way of life that has left me happier, made me feel better about the way I looked, and helped me feel more comfortable. What did I do? Well, I began to wear skirts or dresses almost entirely.

Before I go any farther, let me say that I do not in any way look down on or judge those who mainly wear pants. In fact, my own sisters mainly wear pants, which is fine. As a personal preference, I began wearing skirts and dresses, and haven't regretted it for a moment.

For quite a while before I "made the switch" - for years in fact - I struggled with what I should wear. I was careful to dress modestly, yet I was rarely altogether happy with the clothes I wore. In order to get clothes that weren't skin-tight or immodest, I would often end up with a baggy outfit that I felt very unattractive in. Oftentimes, I would inwardly wrestle. "Should I wear only dresses? They're so pretty! I feel so comfortable and pretty and free from worry in them. But, if I did, people would think me weird..." And that's what it usually came down to: what people would think.

Like I said, I struggled with it on and off for years. Finally, last January, I decided what to do. I didn't care what people thought of me. I was going to wear what I enjoyed wearing, because I'd simply rather wear a dress. The peace that came when I made that decision was so worth it. I began that day, and haven't looked back. Yes, my family did think I was rather weird, (and maybe still do!) =) but they understand my decision. Contrary to what I thought, (that people everywhere I went would demand why in the world I was wearing a dress on a day other than Sunday) not many people noticed the change, or at least didn't say anything. I did, however, notice a difference in the way I felt and acted, and often in the way strangers responded to me.

When I'm in a dress, I'm careful to sit and behave like a lady. Do I spend all day sitting primly, barely stirring for fear of mussing my clothes? Definitely not! =) I've found that there's many things easily done in a dress. After all, women have worn dresses for centuries! Wearing them reminds me that I am a lady, and I try to live like one. When I'm out and about, people call me "ma'am" more, and men seem to remember more to behave like gentlemen. Besides, dress are just more fun!

Have you ever thought of wearing a dress more often? Maybe it's not for you, but you'd be surprised how delightful they are to wear. Experiment; see how they make you feel; see how you feel like acting when you wear a feminine skirt or dress. You may decide to wear pants more. You may decide to wear dresses more. Whatever it is, seek God's will for what you should wear.

It's been a whole year of wearing dresses, and it's been wonderful. It feels like I've been doing it my whole life. Yes, it's a different way of dressing, but it certainly is delightful!

30 comments:

Ella said...

Anna, I love the dresses that you make. (Too bad you can't come here and teach me how!) I do wear pants, but I only wear them once to twice a week. I wear skirts for the most part, and you do feel way more feminine in them! I love to wear them!

thepatriot said...

Anna, I think you are such a thoughtful and God-honoring young lady to have made that decision on your own...

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

I feel the same way! Skirts and dresses are much more comfortable, and they make me feel feminine and genteel in a way pants never could. Great post!

Miriam Rebekah said...

Anna, you've been blessed in the choice that you've made.

I don't wear dresses all the time, but I sort of half and half. I normally wear skirts when in public (but not always), but I like to wear pants around the house. But it depends on what I feel like wearing. Today, we don't have anywhere to go, but I'm wearing a skirt.
I would like to eventually switch over to completely dresses and skirts, I just haven't made the choice yet.

Jessica said...

That's great that you enjoy wearing primarily skirts and dresses...I too am glad that I also do so. People seem to think that it would be oh-so-hard to wear them most of the time, but it's definitely much easier than many think!

Would-be dress wearer said...

I love wearing skirts in the summer, but I find it hard to do when it's cold outside. Could you help me? (I realize you live in AL, so it might not get too cold.) I wear skirts to church, but then I wear pantyhose. I can't wear panyhose everyday, and it isn't even practical. I am also unsure as to what kind of shoes I can wear with skirts in the colder months - in the summer I wear sandals. Any ideas or tips to help me out would be great! I also love the way I feel when I wear skirts, and really admire girls who wear them a lot/all the time.

Miriam Rebekah said...

I guess it might depend on how long your skirt or dress might be. If they are ankle length, I don't get as cold. Even a slip will help with the chill.

I'm one of those crazy people that wears sandals in winter. :) Not all the time, but I do wear them. If it's just too cold for them, then I'll wear Birkies with socks or my sister wears ankle boots.

Hope this helps.
~Miriam Rebekah~

Anna Naomi said...

It definitely doesn't get as cold here as it does other places, but it's still pretty chilly. I try to find ankle-length skirts or dresses for the cold, although they're hard to find. Usually I'll sew something and just lengthen the pattern. I wear a long cotton petticoat to layer for warmth, and often wear nylons or tights if I'm really cold. For shoes, I mainly wear Birkenstock's with socks. I've been looking for nice brown shoes that would look good with skirts, but haven't found them yet. Anything you can layer to keep warm underneath is good!

I enjoyed all your comments, girls!

Jessica said...

To the "would-be dress wearer"...

For cold/winter weather,I wear longer, warmer skirts (wool, heavy corduroy, etc.), with long underwear underneath and high boots. Sometimes I add another skirt underneath for warmth, but if the original skirt is heavy enough and I have long underwear on, I usually don't need the other skirt.

Ladies Against Feminism (www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com) has two good pieces on dressing femininely in cold weather... (sorry, I have a headache and I've forgotten how to do links short of posting them) they are: http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/artman/publish/Femininity_amp_Modesty_16/Feminine_Dressing_in_Cold_Weather_662100662.shtml and http://www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com/artman/publish/Femininity_amp_Modesty_16/Dressing_for_Cold_Weather_Part_II_Reader_Response_674100674.shtml . I hope that helps...if you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them!

Susan said...

Yay for skirts! They're too pretty and feminine and just plain old fun to not wear them :-).

Elijah said...

Wearing dresses all the time is weird. But weird is GOOD!! :) ;) :O)
Rock on!

Congratulations Anna!

You rock!

Miriam Rebekah said...

I personally think "different" is a better word to use than "weird".

Anna Naomi said...

Elijah gives "weird" as a compliment, Miriam. =)

thusia said...

Early last year, I too, made the decision to be "pants-free." I have not regretted it one bit! Although I'm still not as ladylike as I wish to be, I have found a small change in my character. My sisters still wear pants, but my mom now wears only skirts and dresses. We have both found we're more respected by men in public and in general. Thank you for posting your thoughts on how wearing skirts and dresses has affected you.

Anna Naomi said...

Welcome to our blog, Thusia. Yes, it's amazing how wearing dresses can change one's outlook.

Maria Pauline said...

I really admire you Anna. I'd love to wear only skirts, but I fear everyone would think me strange. I will make the change eventually as I have always loved skirts/dresses. I don't have very many skirts I would wear every day, although I always wear skirts to church though. That is an easily fixed problem. :D Used stores often have a large selection and sewing is another option. It seems that skirts are just as practical for everyday work, play, and events as long as they aren't too narrow, delicate, or short.

I usually wear long underwear for warmth in the winter, and for skirts, I just add knee highs. I wear my skirts with black buckled shoes, but I'd recommend black or brown loafers of some sort.

~Bryant~ said...

Wonderful post, Anna! I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! My father prefers that we wears skirts mostly, and I used to really struggle with it. It is a blessing to me to know that I am not the only girl who has! :-)One particular time about 2 months ago, I was in a room eating lunch with other young people. The other girls there were wearing things which weren't very modest and were chatting happily with the guys. There I was in a ankle-length jean skirt, standing by myself, and feeling very lonely and different. Then, a young man came into the room and came immediately over and began talking to me. He asked me about myself, and then said that he loves it when girls wear skirts, and appreciated seeing me in modest clothes. Even though it is not my aim to get guy's attention, his conversation was so encouraging to me! I know the Lord provided this special encouragment just when I neede it most! Anyway, thank you, and sorry for being so long! :-)

Anna Naomi said...

Maria Pauline: Skirts can be hard to find, but it's pretty easy to sew them. The only hard thing about that is finding time to do it!

Bryant: That's a wonderful encouraging story! Natalie Nyquist actually wrote a wonderful story along those lines that you can read about here: http://nataliephotography.blogspot.com/2005/09/unexpected-benefit-of-dressing.html

Sheila said...

I agree conpletely!!! I personally wear pants most of the time, for the simple reason that finding decent dresses is very hard, and I'm not very good at sewing. Fortunately, I've just gotten a sewing machine, and I'm learning! :) I used to wear dresses all the time when I was little, and I loved it - in fact, I hated pants. My problem was that I got sucked in by the 'what others think' thing, and for a while was afraid of that. Now, I just love twirling in dresses, and feeling elegant and feminine - especially in pink, which to me is the crown of all feminine colours. :D Thankyou for the encouragement! :)
Sheila

Anonymous said...

To those of you who are looking for a way to stay warm in skirts, I have two suggestions. First, a full skirt without a slit will keep you much warmer than a skirt with a slit. 2nd, KNEE SOCKS ARE A GIRLS BEST FRIEND!!!! You can get neutral colors, or, if you have a wild side, there are plenty of spunky socks our there too. I try to avoid tennis even with jean skirts, cause I think they look dorky, but almost any black or brown walking shoe looks pretty decent with most skirts. Hope it helps, I too looooooove skirts!!! God bless, Melissa

Devyn Karyn said...

I throughly love the idea of limiting my wardrobe to dresses and skirts, but also worry about what others will think, especially in my public school environment. I do prefer them, but find it hard to find modest ones that I like in stores. (I've found plenty online, but my mother doesn't like buying clothing online) I think when I do find the courage in myself to not care what people think, I will credit youu ladies, who have already made this decision.

'Count it all Joy!'

Devyn

Catherine said...

Hi! Seeing so many young ladies who have decided to reclaim their lost femininity has inspired me to post here. I'm a teacher in my mid twenties, and a few years ago, upon meeting other ladies around my age, I too decided to wear only skirts and dresses. It was just the female thing to do! It is so admirable to wear skirts and dresses to public school. Kids can be real persistent demons to anyone who doesn't cater to THEIR fashion sense. Winters here are cold, and that is no problem. I wear long skirts, long underwear, leg warmers, ladylike boots, warm socks, a slip, layers, and infinite combinations of all of the above. How much colder I would be in pants! Then in the Spring, it is a wonderful feeling to go in the attic and get out the below-the-knee length, flowery, flowing skirts, dresses, and summery shoes. Don't give up! Be an example to women everywhere, and we can reverse the terrible effects of the feminist movement.

Catherine said...

Just to clarify, I meant those of you who attend public school and wear skirts and dresses are especially admirable. I never had to suffer through that experience, but it has to be extremely difficult. Hang in there! I'll pray for God to give you strength.

An Ethereal Forest of Stars said...

Wow! I love that dress in the last picture! That's the kind of dresses I really love. The prairie-style, calico or plain type long dresses. I find them to be so modest and I am more old-fashioned myself.

I really want to make my own though. I'll get to it some time. Do you know of any good patterns for it?

I myself much prefer wearing skirts and dresses. I am definitely not a "dresses and skirts only" person though. I still often wear pants around the house or if I have to quickly run an erranc; but in that case it's a pair of baggy pants or sweat pants. I feel so frumpy and unfeminine in them, and I find it to be MUCH EASIER to be modest in skirts and dresses, since pants, no matter how baggy, tend to always cling to my backside, which is something I consider immodest.

Thus, to make things much easier, and to feel and look more feminine and "free", I prefer dresses+ skirts. :)

I too sometimes struggle with what people think. For an example, before I was worried of what people would think by my always wearing dresses/skirts, and now I'm too worried about Christians thinking I'm some "skirts and dresses-only" person. I don't want anyone to think I look down on those who wear pants. I still wear pants sometimes.

But it's about what lies in my heart, about God seeing my true motives for my dress, and about modesty. :) If anyone judges me for it, then it's their issue between them and God. So there you go! Yay.

Anna Naomi said...

An Ethreal Forest of Stars: The best pattern I've found to make dresses like the one in the last picture is Simplicity Pattern #5041, which is listed in the costume section in pattern books.

Katie said...

Thank you SO much for this post! I feel mostly the same way! I'm in 7th grade and I have just begun to start having a preference of skirts/dresses over pants. Most of my friends think they would be uncomfortable but I love them and I think they're the most comfortable. I feel like pants are too tight and people probably look in the wrong places. But with dresses and skirts I feel so free since they are flowy and soft. Since this post was so long ago I don't know if you will get this comment but I hope you do!
Love, Katie

P.S. I've heard some people say that to be modest, a dress/skirt has to reach the knee or lower. Is there a rule that you follow like that?

Anna Naomi said...

Katie: Good to hear from you! I'm glad this post encouraged you. Yes, I only wear skirts/dresses that are to the knee or lower.

Katie said...

Hi Anna, it's Katie again. I just wanted to say that I have been wearing skirts and dresses more now. I only wear skirts and dresses that reach my knee or lower too. Since I started wearing them skirts more I am much more pleasant to be around and I am more cautious of what I do (i.e. I sit more ladylike and walk/run more ladylike. Also, I used to HATE picking out my outfit for the day but now it's fun! I usually pick out what I will wear the next day at night, and then I can't wait to get out of bed to wear my pretty outfit! =)
Love, Katie
P.S. My switch has been so sudden that my sister calls me "her amish sister!" Haha

scooper said...

I'm a closet skirt wearer; usually I only wear them in my room. My mom has actually asked me, have you been reading those weird Christian websites? (I'm Jewish) Of course, I don't think it's weird at all. I have been looking at these blogs for years and just recently realized that yes, maybe I do want to wear skirts more than pants, except at track or cross country practice :) Anyway, I was wondering how I could make the switch without my mom thinking I was strange. Do you have any advice?
-Stephanie from New york (suburb)

Anna Naomi said...

Scooper: Sorry it's taken me a while to respond; this year has been a busy one.

People will think you're somewhat strange when you switch from mainly pants to mainly skirts/dresses. In fact, some people still think I'm change even though I've been wearing them primarily for 5 years! But, if you don't act like you're strange (being apologetic or ashamed), but instead are confident and joyful in what you wear, others will be drawn to that. The change may be abrupt at first, but people do get used to it. :)