The Dignity of the Dress

La Cariñosa (Model courtesy of La Manila Dance Ambassadors) ©FrogDiva Photography

Summer is here and so is the season for wearing dresses again. In an age and culture where pants have become the norm in business communities, the classic dress has been relegated to being considered something more frivolous and unserious, an affirmation of the weak and flirty feminine side that cannot be taken seriously.

I love wearing dresses and don’t care whether they shout feminine or frivolous – they are comfortable, much better for the current weather, and always a timely reminder that Berlin is not all doom and gloom weather of clunky shoes and formless jackets.

I belong to the generation that was raised on Sunday best and for girls and women this always meant skirts or dresses. The years of attending all-girls Catholic schools during my primary years and having to wear uniforms (skirts) are deeply ingrained in me, as is a certain respect for the skirt . The nuns, as well as my parents, were always after us to sit properly, keep our legs together, wear the proper shoes, walk gracefully (regardless of the weather and the load you are carrying) and for heavens sake, no undignified running. So I, like the rest of the women in my family, grew up with strict rules about social graces when wearing a dress.

A dress, for example, should not be an extension of pyjamas or beachwear. It need not be prudish, and the decency of the hemline is debatable, but I firmly believe in the dress being age-appropriate. I object, for example, to older women insisting on dressing the same way they did when they were in their 20s, or young girls having no clue about sitting elegantly and gracefully in a short dress.

The right accessories, and that includes shoes, should accentuate the look and not ruin or overpower. Sneakers, for example, are an abomination when sporting long flowing skirts or pencil cuts. I am no fan of boots with skirts, but if done in a tasteful manner, and the woman wearing them does them justice with poise and confidence, then by all means, she should go ahead.

The dignity of the dress is dying, as is the appreciation and respect for them.

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