I have always loved wearing dresses. Part of the reason, I admit, is that I was always very uncomfortable with my behind and legs and felt exposed in pants. But I did wear them. About eight years ago, though, I decided not to wear them anymore. I don’t think the Bible commands this, though it does command that women, being different from men by God’s design, are to look like women and not like men.
Around the time I was planning and carrying out my leaving work and coming home, I became very convicted about wearing dresses. Resonating with my growing inclincation, articles at the LAF/Beautiful Womanhood website, and especially the articles by Lady Lydia, encouraged and informed me a great deal. I was also influenced by Fascinating Womanhood, the book by Helen Andelin (who, I didn’t know at the time, was Mormon). I started wearing more feminine clothes – longish skirts and dresses (rather than the Talbot’s suits and coordinates) – to work and I began to feel more and more domestic and out of place. Correspondingly, I developed more feminine mannerisms and I found that I just felt more delicate and in need of protection (not weak and wimpy, but, I think more aware of the creation order and my place in it). One of the ways I intuitively knew I would find the necessary protection was by being home (in terms of primary role rather than exclusive place), in the private sphere where I sensed I better belonged, and out of the public sphere in which I had come to feel incongruent.
After some thought and investigation, I came up with the wardrobe elements that would stylishly and comfortably take me though my days in dresses, and I took the plunge. Since I tend to be obsessive and perfectionist (just a few of my sinful tendencies!), I decided that I would, as much as possible, exclusively wear skirts. Otherwise I would spend time deliberating each morning and drive myself crazy. I was and continue to be bold – in that I wear skirts easily and comfortably everywhere, including to professional hockey games and walks around our (currently) snowy property. I can climb bleachers and snow banks without difficulty, yet I do often elicit chivalrous assistance on account of my feminine attire.
In my dresses and skirts, I feel so wonderfully feminine. I am what I dreamed of as a young girl, before my feminist detour. It is in part the attire, but it is also what I know the attire represents to me – my biblical role as my husband’s respectful helper suitable, the keeper, guard and ruler of the home, the lover of husband and children, neighbor, widow, fatherless. The Keeper of the Springs, as Peter Marshall calls us. Oh, the delight in my heart from knowing that this is where my Father wants me! And the joy I experience being a feminine woman. I just love being a woman!
Sometimes I am tempted to and sometimes I do, wear pants, and that is ok. But when I do the mystique, the softness, the sense of modesty is for me more elusive and is replaced with a feeling of hardness and self-exaltation. My mannerisms change instantly as does my attitude. Maybe it is because of my history as a feminist, striving, discontented, bossy unbeliever that makes me so sensitive to and needful of the encouragement that wearing dresses gives me. It may seem superficial, and it may well be superficial, but my heart’s desire and intent is not. More important than anything is that I am clothed with Christ and that I adorn myself, by God’s grace and power, with a quiet and gentle spirit, with kindness, patience, humility and love. I simply want to praise and obey my glorious God who made me different by design. Wearing dresses is one way I delight in His design.