Saturday, May 31, 2008

Who needs a dress?

I find people fascinating. As a result I can waste a lot of time cruising from blog to blog reading about people's lives & what they believe & one thing that fascinates me is the whole *dresses only* thing amongst conservative Christians. Now I know all about women not wearing men's clothing & vice versa, which is why the dress thing fascinates me so much because in a good part of the world it has always been men wearing the *dresses!*

I'm a history buff so that's where I immediately go. The Celts, the Scots, the Irish wore *skirts* ~ as an aside shirt & skirt come from the same root.The Romans wore them; the elite wore togas & the soldiers wore very short skirts & the male prostitutes could get up in some highly questionable shorter than short skirts. Moving right along, the Chinese wore them, the Greeks wore them, the Arabs wore them, hose & tunic were worn throughout a good part of Europe & priests still often wear them; think cassocks. So no, I don't get Christian women only wear dresses when it seems so many men of all shapes & sizes do too.

Having said that I do believe in *distinction of dress* between the genders, just as I believe in modesty of attire. I also really dislike yards of cloth flapping about my calves & ankles & likely as not sending me sprawling. I dislike skirts that ride up with the child climbing my lap & exposing me in a stiff breeze & the vulnerable feeling of nothing covering my legs. In short I like pants. So God brought into my life a charming compromise that meets His & my requirements to cover my legs in something that isn't going to send me crazy itching or balloon out like a parachute in a parody of modesty. It is called a *salwar kameeze*, the traditional Indian dress. It comes with a dupatta (lightweight stole) which is perfect as a prayer covering for those so inclined.

Thanks to my Sri Lankan friend I own a number of these pretty & feminine clothing items but wait, there is more. They are incredibly comfortable to wear & the cut of pants & top adjust month by month for a growing baby without the need to buy expensive maternity wear.

Even better, the style is simple & the sewing straightforward ~ perfect for inept little me who can't manage much beyond the sewing basics.

Thirdly the cut is often elegant & graceful. I own several that are quite tailored & they are a delight to wear. Durable & washable they are very economical in cotton or linen. Silk ones are simply gorgeous & flattering. I have a lovely cream one that I delight in wearing for special occasions. These are clothes that flatter most female figures. Actually, I haven't seen anyone look bad in one!

Bigger plus, it removes the whole fashion squeeze out of the picture. I don't have to worry about how high hemlines are going this year because my kameeze will come well down my thighs. I don't have to worry about how low cut jeans are getting; my kameeze hides that as well.

And I know, because I've done it, one can play soccer quite well in a salwar kameeze! So who needs a dress?


molytail said...

oh how pretty they are! I googled to see what came up because the image you've attached is small, and wow - so many colours!! I *love* colour - I'm sitting here wearing pj pants with stripes of fluorescent green and pink LOL - and they *do* look comfortable. :-)

I've never known for sure what to make of the 'dresses only' thing...though, I *have* been trying to wear more dresses & skirts...It's funny for me because I've always said I felt silly in them - but actually...I feel kinda good in them.... though I get a few laughs because while I'll wear the dresses and skirts, I DON'T do dress shoes. Can't walk in a heel at all and have the worst time finding shoes that fit right, so I live in my Crocs (do they sell those there?) ...heh, I even got married with blue Crocs on my feet. *grin*

Persuaded said...

these are very beautiful! as one of the dresses only gals that you referred to, i am determined to write a post about my reasonings someday. you might be surprised to hear that i do agree with you that there is little to support the idea of dresses being specifically feminine wear- men have worn dress-like garments all through history and women in many areas of the world (such as china) have always worn pants.

so even though we might dress differently- we agree:)
no surprise there(to me anyway!)

Ganeida said...

I think they are beautiful & hardly *mannish*. Diane, I keep hoping someone will explain the dress thing sensibly ~ ranting at me illogically, which I see far too often, only makes me think those that do it foolish so I shall look forward to that post :)Not surprised we agree either. I am genuiely interested in why people do what they do.

Moly, now what are you doing with my feet girl? I have so much trouble with my feet at present I don't even own a pair of shoes. :D

Ganeida said...

Oops! I mean ranting is foolish, not wearing dresses.

MamaOlive said...

You aren't meddling, are you? If this is bait you might be disappointed;; I'm still feeling the burn from my headcovering post.

I do like the Indian style you posted, but I don't know any Indians who actually wear that. The ones we saw in Texas wore a very short top that left their midriff exposed.

Anyway, I guess the simplest way for me to put it (without being legalistic) is that a person's dress should be gender-specific, and modest within their culture (if possible). In my culture, women wear dresses. I can tell by the signs on the bathroom doors. :-) Some cultures encourage nudity or pagan symbols, and a Christian in that culture would have to be different.

What I have recently found fascinating is the history of underwear. Who needs a bra? ha

molytail said...


haha - I had to leave the above letters...Cola is jumping up trying to get my vegetable lasagna breakfast and he stomped on the keyboard LOL...crazy little thing. >^..^<

What I *was* about to write:

I can't go barefoot - I have to have socks on all the time, even in sandals... I'm weird. :-P ...but I hate hate hate shoe shopping - unless I can just go choose another colour of crocs LOL

Ganeida said...

No, mamaO, my love, it wasn't bait. It was exactly what I said it was. I read some weird stuff & I seriously don't get it. I know where you stand & wasn't expecting flack from your direction.

I can't stand the bare midriff thing but in Fiji the salwar kameze is popluar amongst Indians (or it was when I was there); Fijian men wear a wrap around skirt thing & in Aus the Indians I know personally wear the kameeze.

What happened with the covering? Do I need to go back & re~read? I thought that was rather civilized, as these things go. that's a history definitely worth looking into. :)

Moly, I wear thongs (flip~flops for the northerners). In winter I add toe socks. A fashion guru I am not.

molytail said...

I love all the different colours and styles of toe socks that I see around ( my friend Diane wears a lot of them, and Cindy has some too) and I wish I could wear 'em - they drive me nuts though, having my toes in little glove holes LOL .....

heh - if you came here in the winter, you'd have to insulate those toe socks LOL

Ganeida said...

Ygh boots, my dear, Ugh boots.:D

MamaOlive said...

Hey, sorry to be so ... about me. ha.

I know you weren't being mean or anything, I didn't intend to imply that.
Um, I guess the headcovering article was civilly received, but ... I did get into a conversation with my aunt about it, and she concluded that yes, that is what the Bible says, but she's never met a church that practiced that and she doesn't think it would help her feel more spiritual. And so it's frustrating to me that I cannot influence people, but rather stir them up and maybe cause a strain. I really don't see any good of me talking about dresses.

As for shoes, I wear tennis shoes (here they call them 'trainers') all the time - I need arch support - when I go out on my daily business. At home I am happily barefoot, and I can wear dress flats for an hour or two at church. (Though I usually slip them off in the pew.)

I hope that made sense - I smell a dirty diaper.

Ganeida said...

MamaO, I think the thing is just to live in obedience to how we are called. I've always found God likes variety far more than His people do so you get to have your dresses & covering & I can have my kameeze & we are both in a place of good standing with God. Influence comes less from what we say than how we live...or that's my take on it. I really liked your take on the covering in your e~mail, if I didn't already say. I talk too much & it's late here so I am joining the cat in my bed. ;D

tamlovesran said...

These are beautiful. I would love to have a few to wear, but I can't sew a thing.


molytail said...

Ugh boots are those fuzzy things - the ones that, strangely enough, became popular to wear with miniskirts? (or at least, they did here!...I thought that was odd...winter boots with a super short mini makes about as much sense as mittens & a tank top.)

The boots themselves are cute though!

And to the dresses/coverings/etc...

I think the thing is just to live in obedience to how we are called. I've always found God likes variety far more than His people do so you get to have your dresses & covering & I can have my kameeze & we are both in a place of good standing with God.

Perfectly put! :-)

I like reading posts and discussions about dresses and head coverings and all that - because I find it interesting to learn different people's opinions and interpretations of things. :-)