Monday, May 10, 2010

Clothes make the person

Our older daughter is getting confirmed in our church this coming Sunday. She and two other young people in our church have been attending confirmation classes for two years, so this is something of a Big Deal.

So, naturally, the thought of a pretty and appropriate new dress came to mind.

My parents are in town staying through the end of June, and they decided to take Older Daughter...(ominous drum roll)

Putting aside the fact that both my girls hate shopping (they get that from me), they came home empty-handed. According to my mother, they went to seven or eight stores, including Sears, Penny's, and a host of smaller places, and found -- nothing.

It's not that there weren't any dresses, of course. It's that the dresses they found were patently unsuited to a church function. In other words, immodest. Lots of short skirts and spaghetti straps, according to my daughter. Even the saleswomen at the stores, she reports, admitted they had nothing suitable for church wear.

"It's funny," she mused later on. "I've seen pictures from when Grandma was a young woman, and all the dresses make women look - I don't know - elegant somehow. Gracious."

Contrast that with today, when all the dresses seem to make women look tarty. At least, all the dresses they found in regular retail stores.

"It's like the fashions for 14 to 18 year olds are now meant for 8 to 12 year olds," Older Daughter commented last night. "And fashions for girls my age are too adult."

Fortunately she has a dress (picked up at a thrift store) which is suitable to wear next Sunday, but I'll still take her shopping this week - at thrift stores. While we exclusively shop in thrift stores anyway, increasingly we're realizing that it's the only place we CAN shop if I want to keep my daughters from looking like tarts. At least thrift stores are not slaves to "fashion."


  1. So true! In church yesterday, I noticed so many beautiful young women (ranging in ages from 13-17) wearing short, tight, strapless, or spaghetti-strapped dresses. Not good.

  2. Also (and more importantly), congratulations to your daughter on her confirmation!!!!

  3. I feel your pain. My oldest daughter is 11.6 yrs old and 5'7. She doesn't fit into her "age" of clothes and stores think if you are her size trashy is the way to go.

    Thankfully I live in an area of very conservative churches so I can catch long flowy skirts in the stores (if I go the day the new stock comes out)and I have Mennonite friends that can sew any pattern taylored to my girls. But still buying off the rack is a huge challenge full of long days of driving store to store to snag ONE good piece of clothing.

  4. Congratulations to you and Oldest Daughter. You should rightfully be very proud of her.

    She is head and shoulders above her peers in attitude, intelligence and maturity.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  5. It is even hard to find clothes for my 6 year old. I'm no prude, but some things just are not appropriate.
    I hate shopping for me. So many of the shirts are low cut. If they are in any way modest, they often look like something my grandmother would like much better than I do.
    I'm trying to learn to sew a bit better so I can make my own fashion statement. ;)

  6. It seems like the typical conservative type dress for young women these days leans toward pants and shirts these days instead of dresses. Not too many gals are looking for conservative dresses so stores don't stock them. Glad she has one she likes none the less.

  7. I am thankful I learned to sew when I was in my youth. I have now taught my youngest daughters to make their own clothes. We have bought our patterns from We have not bought any clothes in a store of any kind for over 5 years. I would encourage all mothers to learn how to sew so they can teach their daughters. I have taught several younger mothers how to sew and they are now making most of their childrens clothing. It is so rewarding to see young ladies get excited about making their own clothes and desiring to be modest.

    Patrice, congratulations on your daughter's accomplishment. And also congratulations for raising a modest young lady who seems very mature for you young age:)

  8. Congratulations to your daughter! I'm right there with ya on the dress thing. My 12yo has been having trouble for a few years now finding modest dresses for functions.

    It seems that we've had the best luck with buying one of the pretty longs skirts that are out now and pairing it with a classic top.

  9. We only very rarely go to restaurants these days, but we were in one recently that (regrettably) also happened to have a single's type of bar. It was starting to fill up just as we were leaving.

    As we were walking out I couldn't help but notice the (very) immodestly dressed 20-something gals walking in who I thought were, well, "working" girls. I remarked to my wife, "Wow, honey! They let hookers just come walking in as plain as day!"

    My wife, after we got outside, explained to me that those were just regular gals out for a drink after a day at the office, and that's how they dress these days in the real world.

    "You can tell he doesn't get out very much," she remarked to the people that we were with.

    Like you, Patrice, my wife and daughter buy most of their clothes at the thrift store -- not only for the price, but because they just plain got tired of making fruitless trips to mall stores which resulted in them coming home without anything.


  10. I hear you! I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores, if I don't make them. I found the cutest skirt, long, slimming, nice circular ruffle on the bottom, really cute and even a bit fashionable. Maybe I'll make another like it when I get pregnant and can't wear it anymore. :)

    But the really sad thing is, the fashions are getting "tarty" for kids younger and younger. I was looking for pajamas for my son, and walking through the preschooler section made me shake my head. Not that it was all that bad, you understand, but the styles were too mature. Not immodest necessarily, but mimicking styles that adult women would wear. Whatever happened to letting little girls be little girls?

    Okay, I'm going to get off my soapbox now!

  11. @ Lisa...I do so love a circle skirt! They are my choice for summer wear, very cool and comfortable. I make my own clothes as well...I don't like most of the so-called "fashion". I'm 49, and would look pretty stupid in a pair of those low rise hip-huggers. My slacks are usually some variant of BDU's.