At the risk of sounding my age–or near to it–what are young women thinking these days with their “dressy” clothing choices–particularly skirt lengths? I suppose that this question is rather rhetorical given that style–a term used loosely here–seems to trump function. Ha!
A Case in Point
I volunteered to help with Commencement (graduation) at our local university again last Friday night [(1) right]. It was a beautiful day–the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, and no rain droplets to dampen anyone’s spirits. The graduates were tickled pink to have made it to graduation as the smiles on their faces showed. I love volunteering at graduation and congratulating students on their special day as I handout out their graduation line up cards. With over 1,100 graduates at this commencement ceremony alone–commencement ceremonies are by college at our university–the cards are needed for organization. The graduates were coiffed, manicured, and well groomed–the ladies mostly. I’ll address the men’s attire at the end of this post.
However, my typical amusement at the ladies’ shoe attire choices–five inch heels even at Winter Commencement in snow and ice–gave way to my incredulity at the length of their skirts, or lack thereof, on Friday. In some cases, it looked like the gals would not be sitting on any fabric were they to sit down! *Grati shakes her head ruefully* Ha! I don’t even think some of the dresses–and I use the term dresses loosely here, more like long blouses, Ha!–would fit the definition of mini skirts since fabric and mid thigh contact [(2) true mini skirt example at right] was in little evidence. And the gals dared not stride too widely or their dresses would indeed reveal their shortcomings–by revealing too much. Thank goodness, everyone wore black robes that created a uniform modest look! Oh, the gals’ dress fabrics were beautiful with lovely patterns or made of silk and satin. But I did wonder if the gals’ budgets caused them to think small–in case dress prices are connected to dress length, in terms of the amount of fabric used. Ha!
And yes, five inch spike heels [(3) right] were also worn by a few adventurous souls. I know that high heels are supposed to “lengthen” the look of the leg. But from my point of view, the high heeled shoes only seemed to lengthen the look of their feet. And one gal had what I swear looked like hoof heels on her dress shoes. I kid you not–pun intended. And though I might not be these gals nana’s–far from it–or nanny’s (as in goat, Ha!), I marveled that these gals didn’t topple over. I have to say that it is a definite skill walking on high heels these days–like stilt walking. There you go, they have a future in the circus–or the corporate world, same difference. Ha!
I remember the days of being “required” to wear dresses to elementary school–except on physical education tumbling days when we wore pants for modesty. These were cute little dresses covered with flowers or ribbons or ruffles, with hems that went down to the tops of my knees [(4) right]. These dresses and skirts probably couldn’t have passed the “kneel test”–where the nuns made you kneel on the floor and your school uniform skirt hem was supposed to touch the ground–but my dresses were of a modest and decorous length for a ten year old. Ha!
The only time I forayed into “mini-skirt” territory was in Junior High School. I had these cute little sweater sets–consisting of a skirt and matching vest–in light blue and some other color that I fail to remember now. Ha! But at least, these skirts went to past my mid thigh. Of course, it wasn’t like I had anything to show off in particular–not having developed womanly curves yet–no hips nor breasts to speak of, they came later. Yet, I did take an unfortunate tumble down a central stair case at my junior high school (I was about 12 years old)–landing with my tush unceremoniously in the air, and feeling quite drafty. Oh the ignominy of unintentionally mooning one’s classmates. *Giggles* Thereafter, I made sure that my skirts were much longer–at, or just below, my knees–or I wore pants. Ha!
And now? I only wear dresses and skirts out in public–with an average hem length of mid calf to my ankle. Capri mid calf pants are my comfy option around the house. It’s not that I am prudish about showing some leg with my dress lengths. It’s just that I’m short–5 ft 2 inches tall as of last week–and everything has to be hemmed shorter for me. But I gave up hemming when I turned forty. Ha! Oh and I do have zaftig womanly curves these days. I fear that I would fail the “Cosmo pencil test” miserably–to my hubby’s delight. Ha! But that means that my “girls” need proper support. And I am modest about my “girls”. They are always under wraps in public–no crevice showing. Hint hint, ladies. And that’s not easy to do with some styles these days having low cut blouses. So I wear feminine scarves to further cover them. Finally, although I love romantic stories set in the eras of crinolines, corsets, and lace, I daresay that the cleavage showcasing bodices would be too revealing for my modest tastes. I don’t frequent Renaissance Fairs. But if I did, my gown choice would lean more toward the modestly elegant–such as actress Drew Barrymore’s pink gown in her 1998 film Ever After, sans the wings, of course [(5) right]. Bounty should be kept securely under wraps in my estimation–until the proper moment, that is. *wink* Ha!
‘Aunt Grati’s’ Final Notes on Women’s Dressy Attire Common Sense–and Sensibility
So my parting advice when shopping for dressy clothes are:
(2) Dresses–Invest in fabric length. You might want to wear this dress when you’re older and you don’t want your then knobby knees to show–let alone let your hooha be your calling card. Oh and, make sure that you’re not spilling out of your dress’ bodice either. Nothing says a dress is ill fitting more than it being too loose, too tight, or barely there. Ha! Instead, embrace your inner elegance! The lovely and talented Ms. Queen Latifah is my Curvy Women Kind style guru [(6) right]. Snap!
(3) Hair–It shouldn’t take longer to do than it will take to wilt and fall apart. Life is short–put it in a ponytail or barrettes. Ha!
(5) Smile–This is always your most attractive feature. You should never leave home without it [(7) Ms. Queen Latifah, right].
‘Aunt Grati’s’ Dressy Attire Advice for Men is Very Basic:
(1) Take a shower, shave or trim your beard, and comb your hair. Brush your teeth and floss, too.
(2) Tuck in your shirt and button it up all the way. No one wants to see your chest. And if you haven’t ironed your shirt, at least it will be underneath a graduation robe. For other occasions, after you wash and dry your shirt, hang it up right away. The point of permanent press fabrics is that they won’t need ironing–unless you leave them in a crumpled heap in your dryer or clothes basket. I’m still trying to help my hubby learn this tip. Ha!
(3) Wear long pants, trousers–shorts are for the beach or a picnic, or mowing the lawn. Sadly, a few shorts were in evidence at commencement on Friday. Again, graduation robes cover a multitude of style sins. Clothing frays and tatters should be mended or patched if possible–otherwise, invest in a new pair of trousers. The look of mismatched or tattered clothing only works on charming 5 year olds.
(4) Leather dress shoes are preferable. But if you must wear tennis shoes, make them basic black. And don’t wear shoes with Velcro closures. Ha!
(5) Smile–This is always your most attractive feature. You should never leave home without it.
P.S. The oh so talented British actor Richard Armitage’s style is a good one for men to emulate–classic and elegant style [(8) right]–not a wrinkle in sight.
And to close, here’s a little fashionista scene from one of my favorite films poking fun at fashion, “The Devil Wears Prada – Vogue scene” starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, video by elias1rodriguez [(9) below]:
(1) Stock photo of graduates from MSOffice Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=graduation&ctt=1#ai:MP900414104|mt:2|
(2) Stock photo of “correct” mini skirt length at mid thigh from MSOffice Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=mini%20skirt&ctt=1#ai:MP900401846|mt:2|
(3) Stock photo of 3 inch red high heeled shoes from MSOffice Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=shoes&ctt=1#ai:MP900404922|mt:2|
(4) Stock photo of a little girl in a jumper dress with a modest hem from MSOffice Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=kid%20dresses&ctt=1#ai:MP900399328|mt:2|
(5) Drew Barrymore in exquisite pink gown from the 1998 movie Ever After that was based on the Cinderella tale was found at http://www.everaftercostumes.com/breathe/breathe12.jpg; for more about how this beautiful gown was created, visit http://www.everaftercostumes.com/breathe.shtml
(6) Queen Latifah portrait from the 2009 People’s Choice Awards was found at http://images.teamsugar.com/files/upl1/0/3987/02_2009/8a81437f7a1fb3f9_QueenLatifah.jpg
(7) Smiling Queen Latifah Cover Girl portrait was found at http://pitchryder.com/covergirl-queen-latifah-hand-picks-female-emcees/
(8) Richard Armitage portrait (pix 7) from the Recognise Magazine photo shoot in Summer 2011 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/Recognisemag/slides/Recognise-7.html
(9) “The Devil Wears Prada – Vogue scene” starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, video by elias1rodriguez was found at