A Fun Exercise With Femininity

Prom DressIn my last post, The Church’s Influence on Modesty, an interesting point in comments was made: the distinction that femininity is not synonymous with modesty.

What do you immediately think of when you are asked to describe “femininity”? Lace? Denim jumpers? Not me.

I picture a mother with longish hair and a flowing dress. Her beauty isn’t reliant on make-up, and she has her hair twisted back into some graceful style. When she fixes supper for her family she’s barefoot (no June Cleaver image here!) and has a white halter-style apron protecting her dress. The apron has delicate flowers embroidered on the bib and pocket.

Susie mentioned yesterday in comments,

“I am so thankful that current fashions are much more feminine than they were a few years ago. Remember the grunge/military fad?! At least you can buy clothes that have lace and frills now. Does anybody else struggle with the balance between looking feminine and being modest?”

Waving my hand! For instance, I just love Laura Ashley dresses…but I’d have to wear a light sweater with most of them because the bust is so emphasized. Their summer line is gorgeous, ultra feminine, but the materials just stroke each and every curve above the waist. Or they show a bit too much cleavage…

Do you have a favorite source for modest and feminine clothing? Share it in comments! Here’s mine for those of you with little girls: Practically Pretty Design.

Now it’s your turn to paint a word picture for us: What comes to mind when you envision “femininity”?

10 thoughts on “A Fun Exercise With Femininity”

  1. I thought it funny that your ‘picture’ of femininity included barefoot! Mine always has too and I’m usually barefoot. (Not that it means I’m feminine of course! LOL)

    I too think of long flowing skirts, usually in a floral pattern. I also love lacy, ruffled blouses in light, floral materials. I used to wear dresses like this most of the time…until I thought I was getting a little old for it. I know many women have said I’m crazy, but I would have loved to have lived during the years when women wore hoop skirts, long skirts and wore their hair up. It didn’t seem to matter if you were old, young, thin or overweight, pretty or not so good looking. All women looked…feminine.

    You can definitely be dressed modest and not be very feminine. I think of an old t-shirt over an old worn out jean skirt or jeans. You may have everything covered, but you missed the boat in the area of being feminine.

  2. Good question. I think how a woman carries herself can be quite feminine. Remember Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance?” She was in an old sweatshirt and torn jeans and she exudes femininity.

    Clothes can be a help, but it’s really how a woman carries herself.

  3. Both of you make good points. :)

    Deborah, I love those “old” styles too…so beautiful. And those women didn’t have the modern comforts of air conditioning, plumbing for quick showers, or dry cleaning for their ball gowns. How did they exist? We are so spoiled with our cool houses in summer, and we wear less clothing than ever in history! Did you check out that Laura Ashley link I put in my post? I’m drooling over those dresses…the skirts on them are divine. Ultra feminine in my book. I’m not a good enough seamstress to do a dress w/o help. I hate zippers for one thing, and the only collared shirt I’ve ever done made me so mad I gave it to my big sis when I was done sewing it. (my excuse? I was in junior high home ec class) :)

    Leticia, I vaguely remember Flashdance being popular, but I’m not sure I ever saw it. I am curious though, now that you mention it. Do you think some people would think she was exuding sexuality rather than femininity?

  4. Oh, and I was going to add that long hair definitely isn’t a prerequisite (imo) to femininity. I’ve seen women with very short hair who really have that graceful, feminine air about them. I used to babysit for one in high school. Besides the cut being an attractive frame for her face, she had a sweet spirit that you couldn’t miss.

  5. Mary, yes, I did check out the Laura Ashley site. I LOVE the dresses they show there and they are very reasonably priced. I’m happy to know about that site because Laura Ashley has always been one of my favorites. Jessica McClintock is another. BTW, my DH has always liked LA too! I was very surprised about that when we married.

  6. They are beautiful…I’ll have to check out Jessica McClintock…though I have a feeling they’d be more pricey than my budget allows! :)

    See ya in a little!

  7. Mary, I believe it was a little bit of both. However, in this movie she was a welder and she still looked and acted feminine.

    Sorry I responded so late on this.

  8. Okay, if she was a welder, I sure didn’t see it. That doesn’t ring any bells!

    No time frame is too late around here!

  9. Dare I say that femininity is something that comes from within ?
    You’re right about some clothing being less than feminine, but I’ve seen some women in jeans who could not be more feminine and some in dresses who look far from it!
    By the way, if you’re thinking of what the church says about modesty, how’s about looking at what it says about women in Proverbs 31 – that woman is far from being a pushover !

  10. Femininity is definitely a reflection of what’s within us, I agree. I’m not a “dresses only” person by any means, and can agree with your statement of seeing women in jeans who were more feminine than some in dresses.

    Great point about the Proverbs 31 woman, but I’ve never thought of dressing modestly as being synonymous with being a “pushover”. Maybe that’s not what you meant? I picture the P31 woman doing all she did with her husband’s and God’s blessing, not in spite of it. If we dress modestly out of a desire to please God, how is that being a pushover? Again, I’m not saying the only way to dress modestly is by wearing dresses…

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