Thursday, July 18, 2013

Old Fashioned Style, Grooming and Behavior

In the past, people were embarrassed and ashamed to wear torn and tattered clothing.  It was an indication of poverty.  During the Great Depression many people had so little money that they were unable to buy new clothes or patch their old clothes.  It has always been a sign of prosperity to be seen wearing new clothing in the latest styles.  Time was set aside to take care of  clothing by properly cleaning, pressing and storing each garment correctly.  People took pride in their public appearance and went to great lengths to insure that all was in order before they left their homes.  Articles of clothing matched and coordinated.  The "thrill of the hunt" was a woman's hobby, so to speak.  Putting together an outfit or ensemble (a matching dress and coat), matching shoes, handbag, gloves, jewelry and hat was an exciting challenge as a woman prepared for a special event or an evening out.  Shoes were properly cared for.  A woman would be thought of as "slovenly" if she didn't go to the effort to put herself together as stylishly as her means would allow. 

It was traditional for girls to be taught how to sew and do needlework as soon as they were old enough.  Clothing used to be home made because there were so few stores that sold "ready to wear" clothing for women.  When a gentleman was looking for a lady to "court" he would shy away from a young woman who was not dressed and groomed properly.  He looked for a modestly dressed and well groomed "Lady" because it meant that she cared about her appearance and would not embarrass him in public.  Good grooming was also a sign of good "breeding."  It proved that the women in the family took care to teach their girls how to dress and act appropriately.  Little girls and pre-teen girls always wore modest clothing.  It was frowned upon for a young woman to show her shoulders and décolleté before a certain age.  It was also frowned upon for a woman of any age to drink alcohol to excess allowing her to lose control of herself.  Sipping was preferable to gulping, especially in polite company.  A couple stood the chance of losing their social status if they routinely abused alcohol and embarrassed themselves in public or in someone's home.

The times have changed and now we see plenty of poor behavior through media sources and social networks.  Women have forgotten what it's like to act like a Lady and be treated as one. Torn and distressed clothing has been around for a long time.  I remember people dressing that way in the 1960's.  Later on rock stars were photographed in faded jeans with the knees worn completely through acting like they didn't care about their appearance or behavior.  Just because rock stars and celebrities dress and act that way doesn't mean the rest of us should.  If a young person is seeking employment they should take extra care in putting together clothing to wear to a job interview.  They should study business etiquette so they will know how to conduct themselves during the interview. Modest, clean and pressed clothing gives the best first impression and that's very important.  The way a person dresses and behaves in a job interview says a lot about the kind of employee they will be. 

Putting forth a little more effort in your appearance will pay dividends down the road.  If you always leave your home looking "put together" you will feel better about yourself.  You won't have to worry about running into someone you know and feeling ashamed of  the way you look.  If you organize your closets and drawers, getting dressed will become effortless.  Get rid of what you no longer wear to make room for the size you are now.  If you don't like to iron your clothes then invest in a home steamer.  They are small, portable and will keep you looking freshly pressed every day.

I have never believed that good grooming and dressing well was "vanity."  Being a vain person is completely different.  Many women have grown up in homes where they were ridiculed for spending too much time "primping" in front of a mirror.  I think it's perfectly natural for a girl to work on her appearance to come up with outfits, hairstyles and make up that fit her personality.  We are not robots, therefore we need to do the things that set us apart from others.  The best way to set yourself apart is by wearing modest clothing that is visually appealing with very little make up and a conservative hairstyle.  When a woman of any age covers her face with layers of make up she is wearing a "mask."   Don't hide behind heavy make up.  It's okay to let the world see who you really are.

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