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More on Pursuing Prettiness

July 29, 2011



THE DISCUSSION in the previous entry of the search for modest and feminine clothing in the desert of feminist junkwear and ultra-bland chinos and polo shirts continues here. It has yielded great suggestions from readers of retailers and styles. You can even go so far as to buy historical reenactment wear. This dress above could be worn with a a white bolero cotton sweater such as this when going out to make it more modest. Obviously, sewing things yourself is far more economical. But if you are like me and do not sew, it makes sense to spend a little more on a dress that you may wear over and over again. There are also great deals. I wore one calico blouse which I bought at a thrift store for 25 cents about 5,000 times because it was pretty and modest. I finally was so embarrassed by its overuse (it was virtually indestructible cotton) that I gave it away to charity.

Aminty writes:

First off, thank you for your website. I don’t have the time to go into it right now, but I find much of what you say to be true, true, true. As a woman with a degree in philosophy, masters in writing, and a law degree, I bought into feminism hook, line and sinker like so many of my contemporaries. Read More »


In Pursuit of Prettiness

July 28, 2011


AMY writes:

I have been enjoying your blog for nearly two years now and have been enjoying a look down “blog memory lane” while perusing your archives. The wisdom contained in your archives is immense and your perspective both refreshing and fascinating. Several afternoons a week I sit at my computer with a cup of tea and a treat to enjoy while soaking in the latest commentary on The Thinking Housewife. Read More »


Dressed in Mud

March 6, 2011



I have been looking at the Paris fashion fiasco on your blog with interest. What could these designers be thinking? Perhaps they are preparing women to work in prison camps or plowing fields. Maybe they are trying to eliminate the task of sorting lights from darks when doing the laundry. Are they seeing the world from inside a munitions factory? 

I will tell the modern designers something: they need to get out more and see the real world. They are rich enough to afford sea cruises and tours of the best and most beautiful parts of the world. They can go to rose gardens and take in the beauty and let it translate to their designs. They can view ocean scenes and colorful sunsets in great places. They do not even have to have a prestigious education to find ideas for designs in clothing. The web now affords even the most ignorant person a glimpse into clothing designs of former days. Consider garments in the painting, “Lamentations Over a Dead Christ” by Andrea del Sarto, 1524, attached below. Even the poor who followed Christ were depicted as having more cloth on their bodies. more design and more color than today’s designers give to the world. One biography of this artist describes his subject matter as “lacking in embellishment,” but it looks more greatly embellished than the cold looking steel and mud colors of the new fashions.


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The Death of Prettiness

March 4, 2011



NOT ALL fashion designers despise femininity and refinement. But many of them do. Here are some of the latest from the runways in Paris. Look, and rejoice that you are not rich and fashionable. Civilization resides elsewhere.



Every Day is Dress-Down Day

January 7, 2010

By today's standards, these men are wearing formal attire.

 The previous post on male attire criticized the self-deprecating, informal dress of men today, an outward sign of the flight from masculinity and authority. At work and on public occasions, most men look better in suits than they do in polo shirts and slacks, or even open shirts without jackets. Why have men abandoned suits? One reader offers an explanation and a brief history of dress-down dress.

Sean writes:

I work for a bank and belong to that shrinking pool of white-collar men who actually still wear a suit and tie every day to work. My employer officially switched to a “business casual” dress code fifteen years ago, but tellingly, suits are still the preferred dress for all of its client-facing officers. Woe to the new hire who doesn’t show up with at least a blazer (ties are somewhat optional if you don’t have a client meeting).

I spend a great deal of time meeting with clients who wish to borrow money from the bank and it is vital to appear sober and serious. You have a much harder time doing this in a polo shirt and khakis than in a suit. Men’s casual dress is not fitted, it shows off every sag and wrinkle in one’s body and subtly destroys any sort of distance or objectivity between the businessmen and his client, not to mention the businessman and his boss.

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The Male with No Plumage

January 5, 2010


Here is a picture taken a few years ago of Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives. I chose it because it seemed to typify the dress of men today, the schleppy, non-descript, I-wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly look. The wealthiest man in the world exhibits not the slightest hint of male authority or masculine bravado. Now here is a picture of a Roman general.roman-general-t2998

The cloak, the scepter, the feathered helmet – all suggest stature, boldness, courage and refinement. Imagine this man smiling directly into the camera, the way Bill Gates always does. It’s unthinkable. He is preoccupied and looks to the side, burdened and sober.

It is sometimes said that feminism is the result of the female lust for power and envy of men. But it’s more complicated than that. I agree with Elizabeth Bisland, who argued that men shed the beautiful trappings and the substance of male authority in the nineteenth century, leaving women bereft of heroes. So women decided to become heroes themselves. No wonder it was rare for women to choose lesbianism as a way of life. The masculine mystique once fed the imagination of every woman, whether she married a general or not.

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Female Immodesty and its Effects

December 29, 2009


Catherine writes:

I have a question about your article “Married to a Wimp.” I’ve been wondering about it, but haven’t had the chance to ask until now.

In that article, it seemed to me that you implied that immodestly dressed girls are forcing young men to or toward becoming effeminate. You said something about having to “tone down” their hormones or it would be impossible to function.

I have a friend who is a member of a familybigstockphoto_Flowers_2715960[1] filled with attractive, immodest women, and extremely feminine men. One is an “out of the closet” gay.  I’ve thought for some time that it all seemed connected. 


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Clothing, Then and Now

November 4, 2009


LYDIA Sherman writes in response to the previous post about her blog:

I wanted to do a PowerPoint presentation to a group of women on the subject of clothing. I was going to say, “How did we get from this?”


“To this?”



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