Saturday, 7 October 2006

Dressing with Dignity

One of my friends gave me a copy of this book by Colleen Hammond a couple of weeks back: my heart sank when I got it, as right now I don't really need any distractions. Reading material which is nothing to do with either work or my Divinity course right now gets classed as a distraction. So I stuck it in my bag and decided that I'd get round to reading it, out of politeness, but not quite yet.

As luck would have it, I found myself with rather a long wait in Outpatients (I'm finally having physiotherapy on my reluctant-to-heal ankle) and as I'd omitted to empty my handbag for a while, the book was still there. So I started to read...

I showed the book to my Parish Priest - he borrowed it (on the basis that he reads much faster than I do) and he said that he was going to do a post on it. Seeing my one chance at a decent post subject slipping from my grasp, I begged him not to post on it until I had done mine (and shamelessly distracted him with the loan of another book which was more up his street post-wise anyway!) And so, here goes...

Colleen Hammond writes very well - she is a former beauty queen and model who is keen to share her concerns about the way women are forced to dress by the fashion industry, and to encourage modesty in dress. Importantly, she points out that "modest" does not mean "frumpy" and she also talks about femininity and grace, which equally have nothing to do with frills and flounces!

When I started to read the book, I thought that there was little in it for me personally, though I was interested in her views on the driving forces behind the revolution in women's fashions. I thought that, over the years, my choice of clothing had become more modest, especially since my return to the Church.

However, some of what Colleen had written really touched a nerve: I used never to go out without wearing makeup, but in the past few years I had skimped a little on this, with the excuse that I was being vain in making such a fuss, but in fact I was getting too lazy to put the makeup on. Reading Colleen's book made me realise that putting on my makeup (a small amount, nothing excessive) was a sign of respect for myself and respect for other people - neglecting my appearance is not a sign of modesty. And I know that I feel (and act) differently when I have "put my face on."

Colleen's comments about dressing smartly also struck home. Dressing for comfort is fine inside the house, but outside needs a little more attention. And what we wear to Mass is also important: sure, the externals shouldn't concern us too much, but what I wear shouldn't be a distraction to either myself or to others... and dressing in a sloppy, careless manner can draw attention to yourself just as much as being overdressed.

Hmmn. I feel a shopping trip to Bluewater might be in order...

1 comment:

Ma Beck said...

I got home from Mass last night, caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and said, "My Lord! I look like an orthodox Jew!"
(Skirt to ankles, sensible boots to knees, long sleeved shirt.)

(Not that there's anything wrong with that.) ;)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...