Inspiration in Conservative Dress: Beautiful Pleated Skirts!

Inspiration in Conservative Dress is a reoccurring series of posts of various modest and feminine outfits to inspire other women to dress modestly and resist society’s pressure to dress provocatively and subscribe to “hook up” culture. Through conservative dress, A Lady of Reason sends a message of resistance to the “sexual revolution” and radical liberal feminism, and the upholding of feminine virtue. Arguably, this could also extend to the support for social conservatism in general. How we dress signals who we are in society. I also want to state that this idea is not mine originally, but done on another religious blog called The Catholic Lady. I was inspired by hers to make a secular version for A Lady of Reason. 

A favorite fashion of mine is the pleated skirt: its flowy fabric, especially chiffon fabrics look really feminine and graceful! I’m glad they’re in style now in many stores such as H and M and Forever 21 to name some. Burlington Coat Factory also has a great selection of pleated chiffon skirts too at times. The style is great for being more modest as it is not too clingy to your form, and many come in midi and maxi lengths. The only con is in most cases, you need to find a shirt you can tuck into the skirt, as it looks more frumpy or odd to have the shirt tucked in an A line pleated skirt, or a shorter shirt. Also, be very careful washing pleated skirts, or any pleated thing in general in the dryer! I’ve learned the hard way that the pleats can come out and somewhat ruin a nice pleated outfit 😦  Overall though, a chiffon pleated skirt is a great feminine and modest edition to your wardrobe! When we can embrace ourselves as feminine women, and dress the part, it can show the world we stand for traditional femininity and are not afraid to be women in a society that pressures women to become radical feminists and emulate men all the time.

Here are some gorgeous midi-styles!

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And here are some fun and elegant maxi styles!

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Inspiration in Conservative Dress: Inspiration or Appropriation?

Inspiration in Conservative Dress is a reoccurring series of posts of various modest and feminine outfits to inspire other women to dress modestly and resist society’s pressure to dress provocatively and subscribe to “hook up” culture. Through conservative dress, A Lady of Reason sends a message of resistance to the “sexual revolution” and radical liberal feminism, and the upholding of feminine virtue. Arguably, this could also extend to the support for social conservatism in general. How we dress signals who we are in society. I also want to state that this idea is not mine originally, but done on another religious blog called The Catholic Lady. I was inspired by hers to make a secular version for A Lady of Reason. 

For many of us, it is cool to be inspired by other peoples and cultures in our fashion. From what was once an innocuous Halloween costume, to cornrows, hoop earrings, tribal prints and more, are now deemed politically incorrect by the radical liberals. While many see it as innocuous fun, they feel it has a more sinister undertone. To them, it’s “cultural appropriation”. The idea is in essence, white people are “appropriating” or “stealing” another culture’s or country’s material culture and treating it condescendingly as “exotic” and “foreign”. Also they feel it sends the wrong message of “we’re entitled to use and enjoy your cultural assets, but not face the hardships and struggles of your people. We can just take off the costume when we feel like it…” whereas real people of that marginalized group cannot and have no choice in facing discrimination. For example, it’s “cool” for white people to act hipster and have cornrows, but when black people do it, they’re thugs. Or, you can pretend to be from the Orient, all reinforcing Orientalism and Western supremacy by treating their objects as exotic, as some examples.

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Now, it’s true we shouldn’t be mocking or condescending another culture and what is important to them, but the question is, is that the intent of many who use other cultures’ styles today? The issue I have with it is, first of all, cultures have been borrowing from other cultures for centuries. In the ancient world, places like Ancient Rome, for example, were very cosmopolitan and they borrowed plenty of ideas and items, especially from the Greeks. Now, one could argue, then, as they argue for today’s cultural borrowing, or “cultural diffusion” in scholarly terms, that it’s a power imbalance for us, as the dominant group, or even Ancient Rome as the conquerors. They argue, minorities have to mimic us to be seen as valid and taken seriously, whereas we can simply choose what parts of their culture seem “cool” and imitate it without acknowledging the cultural context of it. That’s also why the liberals don’t see it as a double standard that many have adopted our way of life.

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I argue, however, that imitation can be a form of flattery too, or simply innocuous. In the historical example, Rome conquered the Greeks, and did in modern terms, “appropriate” much of their culture and ideologies, like philosophy. However, the Romans admired Greek culture, and thought much of it would help enhance Rome and make Rome better. Ancient Greek, like Latin is today, for them was the language of scholars and the well-educated. Greek slaves were prized as teachers and scholars. While there was a definite power imbalance, that did not mean the Romans looked condescendingly when they imitated the Greeks, quite the contrary, they wanted to emulate them. Now, we may not be trying to model our culture after others we borrowed stuff from time to time, but borrowing certainly does not mean condescension! I think much of the hoopla over it hearkens back to resentment over past colonialism when we were imposing our culture on theirs. Nowadays, many have a knee-jerk response to anything Western crossing their “turf” so to speak as they feel they have to be guarded and territorial over what they feel is “theirs”, like a dog guarding its food as it’s been taken away in the past. Emotion, not logic rules much of this debate. The stewing resentment of past colonialism.

Most people don’t think much of when they dress up in a cultural costume for Halloween, or decide to wear a cultural thing as a fashion piece. Condescension and Related imagedisrespect never even cross the minds of many at all, and would be horrified to think they did something disrespectful.  Sometimes, the idea to borrow something from another culture is because it looks interesting or they admire the craftsmanship, or the look. It’s something new and different, which aren’t bad things, like the snowflakes say. “Exotic” does not have to mean foreign in a bad way, or in a condescending way. It can simply mean something different, unique to what you’re used to. After all, what’s exotic is relative. Hamburgers and fries are quite “exotic” to the Bedouin nomads of Africa and the Middle East, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 Sometimes a little difference adds some flavor to life. As they say, if we were all the same, it would be pretty boring! Why not incorporate and be inspired another culture’s style sometimes? Cultures have exchanged looks, materials, technologies and ideas throughout history, why not us too?

A last point to make is also, who says certain items only “belong” to a certain group? what makes a group have the right to claim ownership of an item, such as hoop earrings for example? They’re not religious items, or some sort of medal, or even tied to one group! It’s not like a bindi dot for Hindus, or some native country’s traditional dress. Even then, there’s the hypocrisy of anyone can appropriate native European stuff, like Lederhosen, even if you’re not Germanic for example. You can dress up like a French person, or Italian, or English! It’s only for non-white peoples you can’t appropriate, but plenty of European groups faced ethnic prejudice in this country and towards each other in Europe! Why can we celebrate St. Patrick’s day if we’re not Irish when the Irish were caricatured as brutish apes by Americans only a century ago? African Americans haven’t been slaves in over a century, yet we’re not allowed hoop earrings? Or cornrows for that matter? Who said they own the concept of braided hair? A sombrero on Cinco de Mayo does not mean you’re bigoted and wish to subjugate Mexicans! It’s simply having fun sharing another culture’s tradition. I can see how some items may be best left alone if you’re not an insider, like religious-wear, ceremonies of deep significance, and such, but many things, like a fun Halloween costume, or hoop earrings, or braided hair, can “belong” to everyone. I think the key is intent: are you trying to mock another or be disrespectful? If the answer is no, I’d say it’s probably innocuous. Whatever happened to being able to laugh at yourself and letting others join in the fun? History has shown cultures can be inspired by everyone, why can’t we?

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Inspiration in Conservative Dress: Problems with Prom

Inspiration in Conservative Dress is a reoccurring series of posts of various modest and feminine outfits to inspire other women to dress modestly and resist society’s pressure to dress provocatively and subscribe to “hook up” culture. Through conservative dress, A Lady of Reason sends a message of resistance to the “sexual revolution” and radical liberal feminism, and the upholding of feminine virtue. Arguably, this could also extend to the support for social conservatism in general. How we dress signals who we are in society. I also want to state that this idea is not mine originally, but done on another religious blog called The Catholic Lady. I was inspired by hers to make a secular version for A Lady of Reason. 

Prom season is coming up for many young women around the country going into May and June! I remember my prom vividly. I didn’t go with any date, but it was a special occasion to get all dressed to the nines and do my hair just so and wear a dress that made me feel like a princess! Prom is a special time where you can celebrate the end of High school and look forward to a night of fun and having fun dressing up. Unfortunately for many young women though, prom is an excuse to go crazy and throw away one’s values in doing things like underage drinking, drugs and hook ups. The innocence of what prom is supposed to be is often subverted for more nefarious activities and worry many parents. Some families even go as far as forbidding their children from going due to those reasons, however, one does not need to go to such extremes!

Of course, the whole popular hook up culture associations with prom night doesn’t help much. The expectation of spending the night with your date and “doing it” and losing your virginity on prom night than your wedding night is obviously detrimental, but you don’t have to succumb to the pressure to “do it”. nor do you have to succumb to the pressure to drink so much you’ll forget the entire evening, or go to wild after parties and get in trouble. Many of my classmates during my prom drank and got busted, and had to be picked up early by their parents and missed the whole rest of the night! As with most peer pressure, peer pressure on prom night can be resisted in favor of your true values. One night is not worth the feeling of knowing you weren’t true to yourself and your values.

Another major pressure point for young women is the dress. Many prom dresses are very immodest and skanky, more appropriate for a Vegas showgirl than a high school prom or other classy event! Excessive cutouts, too high slits, plunging necklines and sheer fabrics are just asking for a wardrobe malfunction! There’s nothing wrong with

Illusion Floor Length Sleeveless JVN by Jovani Prom Dress at PromGirl.com
This dress looks more appropriate for a Vegas showgirl or a stripper! Doesn’t leave much to the imagination! I’d be surprised if most schools would even let it in the door!

showing a few curves or a little skin for a formal gown, but there’s a point where it’s too much! A formal event should be classy, not trashy, and the atmosphere of a strip club! Young women being told that they must wear provocative dresses at prom is just another part of hook up culture, and the whole radical feminist movement trying to “liberate” young women with promiscuity! Why not accentuate your beauty with the gown itself, not how much of your body is peeking out if it! The stunning gowns of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, as well as many historical prom dresses are ornate and modest, and focus the attention on a woman’s beauty, not her sexuality. They convey more of a sense of innocence and purity, reflective of a more wholesome society where sex and intimacy are expressed in committed relationships, and not vulgarly flaunted for the viewing public! Ladies of elegance and grace should dress tastefully and modestly, even during formal events. Formality is not an excuse to wear plunging necklines with boobs hanging out and excessive cutouts and up one’s butt mini skirts. Young women at prom should feel like princesses and ladies of elegance and grace in their gowns, not hookers tying to turn out tricks!

Now, many women say that it is extremely hard to find modest prom dresses, except at special stores and online for exorbitant prices. However, many mainstream retailers, like Kohl’s Burlington Coat Factory, JC Penny and Macy’s, for examples do sell modest formal dresses! The trick, to to expand your search. The Juniors department as well as prom stores for teens are often is the main culprit for the immodest prom gowns. If you look in the Women’s section in these stores, you will often find beautiful, yet modest gowns. Many of them, in my experience, are not frumpy, and look stunning! An added plus too, is that many are under $100 on sale, in places like JC Penny and Burlington Coat Factory. Many teen boutiques have dresses ranging in prices from $200 and up to near $1000! Just because all of the other girls are getting those $500 dresses, doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the pressure to buy the most expensive one just to fit in. Try to find the look, without the hefty price. You can get the same style, more modestly, from common retailers for fractions of those prices! Of course too, not all dresses for Juniors are immodest either, you just have to be patient and look around. The prom dress I got for my own prom was from a website for teens called Prom Girl, which has several options for modest prom dresses and great sales! Just because some dresses might be too immodest for your standards, don’t close your mind to the store or website and look some more. They often carry a variety of looks for all different people. Here are some ideas of modest prom dresses from various common retailers:

JC Penny:

One By Eight Short Sleeve Evening Gown Blu Sage 3/4 Sleeve Evening Gown

  Blue Sage Long-Sleeve Lace Formal Gown

Macy’s:

 

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Kohl’s:

My Michelle® Open-Back Lace Long Dress  found at @JCPenney Trixxi Juniors' Sleeveless Beaded Dress

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Burlington Coat Factory:

Juniors+Embellished+Ball+Gown Jeweled Lace Gown - Jr.

Prom Girl:

A-Line Tulle High Neck Long Prom Dress Long Blush Pink Sleeveless Prom Dress with Jewels at PromGirl.com

High Neck Teal A-Line Dress with Beaded Top at PromGirl.com Long Mermaid Style Dress with Sequin Accents at PromGirl.com

Other Retailers:

Primavera Couture - REGAL SEQUINED LONG SLEEVES BATEAU SHEATH GOWN 1747 Maci

Related image Colette CLM18333 Modest Prom

You don’t need to splurge a lot of money on an elegant, modest prom dress, nor do you have to compromise your standards! There are plenty of elegant, tasteful gowns out there that show you are a lady of elegance and grace!