Say “No” to the Dress

Seems like Moms (and Dads) have been under peer pressure forever.  “But Mother, no one is wearing hoop skirts anymore.”  “But Mama, corsets are so out of style.”  “But Mother, skirts above the ankle are the latest fashion.”  “Really, mother, all the girls are wearing nylons these days.”  “Why can’t I wear red lipstick? I’m 16!”  “Mom, no one wears anklets anymore.  That’s so 1950s; it was just to protect the gym floor during sock hops!”  “Come on, Mom; the skirt is only just above the knee.”  “No, I’m not wearing a bra, anymore.  No one is.  All the girls are burning their bras.  It’s not like I’m 13, you know.”  “But Muther, all the girls wear bikinis nowadays!  It’s just a two-piece bathing suit.”  “You wore two piece-bathing suits.  There is so enough material.  All the important places are covered up.  What do you mean, ‘they look like the strings on the Venetian blinds’?  They’re supposed to look that way!”

I remember being in school when the older girls were being measured for how far up from their knees their skirts were.  I remember the fandango over girls wearing pants to school.  I was a fan of that particular fad.  I remember when, finally, no one cared what they wore to school.  Actually, the kids in my day were more covered up at school, not less.  Baggy was just starting to come into fashion.  It came up from the cities, of course, being very convenient for hiding stolen booty.

The other week, a friend held a “facial” party for her 10 year-old daughter.  Girls still love to play dress up and practice putting on make-up.  I wasn’t allowed to even think about it until I was 13 – and then, it was just a little mascara.  This group of young girls got the full treatment, including facial scrub and some sort of vegetable masque.  The mother meant well, but it was a disaster once the girls put the masque on.  I gave the birthday celebrant’s chief a cursory brush with my finger, wondering how tender her skin was and what the masque – intended for older women – would do to it.  Her skin was dewy fresh.  She no more needed that masque than I needed to tie my hair up in pink ribbons and chew bubble gum.

The other ladies at the party helped the girls apply the masque cream.  Immediately, upon application, their skin began to burn and the girls started crying.  Luckily, each girl had a wash bowl filled with water and towels.  The matron attendants immediately removed the scrub.  Once it was off, though, the girls twittered about how soft their skin felt – now.  The next application was moisturizer which hopefully undid the damage of the masque.

Where do girls get these notions about fashion and style?  They start out as little Disney Princesses and wind up like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears (No. 4 on a list of the 200 greatest female singers.  Judy Garland only managed a mere 115; Peggy Lee was even further down on the list, somewhere in the 120s.  Garland’s daughter, Liza, did much better).  Spears was so sweet as a young girl.  But it all turned out to be a mirage, to the dismay of fathers everywhere.  Didn’t hurt her career, though.

Girls and women have always looked to Hollywood for their fashion yardstick.  They also look to the fashion magazines.  The Big Four are Seventeen (for the pre- and early teens), Glamour (for the older teens and college freshmen), Vogue (for the college girls looking forward to their graduation into womanhood), and Cosmopolitan (for the young, single career woman possibly looking for a career man, or just a hook-up).

The current style of the strapless gown no doubt began on Hollywood’s red carpet, where only women with artificial breasts could possibly stand up to the demands of what is also known as a décolletage gown.  They’re not unheard of or necessarily objectionable, under the right circumstances, such as a ball.  An adult ball.  There’s a famous scene in the 1957 film The King and I when Anna reveals an off the shoulder gown with a decidedly low neckline.  The King (Yul Brynner) points out the, well, hypocrisy of such a gown when she’s dressed his harem up in “proper” European clothes.  She demurs about revealing shoulders.

The strapless craze really heated up about a decade or so ago when brides started showing up at the church door revealing far more than mere shoulders.  At the height of the fad, a bride could not find a modest gown.  Magazines like Bride and Modern Bride overflowed with voluptuous models displaying minimalist bodices.  Soon, real life brides were donning these half-dresses.  Reality TV shows featured real young brides battling with their mothers and grandmothers over the suitability of such dresses at a church wedding.  Princess Kate helped bring modesty somewhat back into fashion at her 2011 wedding, looking slim and extremely modest in a long-sleeved gown.

The latest flap over wardrobe malfunctions is a middle school in New Jersey where the principal has abolished strapless gowns at an 8th grade dance.  The parents of the students are paying a whopping price for this party – something like $1,200 per student.  But the protest is over the girls’ attire and how it will “distract” the boys, hence the ban.

We can sympathize with the principal’s intentions and agree that strapless gowns are highly inappropriate for 13 year-old girls.  Still, we must remind ourselves that is parents who must make the final decision about what their children wear, not the government, not even when we agree with them and appreciate their help.  Progressives are already claiming publicly that our children don’t belong to us but to the community.

Parents of America, that should be over your dead bodies.  Real fathers would let their 13 year-old daughters out of the house over their dead bodies.  Real mothers would let their husbands see their daughters dressed that way over their dead bodies.  Hollywood, never a good role model for children, is a hopeless case.  Starlets have nothing between their ears but hairspray and hemp.  We should have realized something was wrong when normal brides started dressing that way for their weddings.

Thanks to Princess Kate, couturiers are grudgingly offering brides some sort of choice in the way of more modest gowns.  Still, the designer ads even in Martha Stewart’s Wedding magazine show page after page of “shoulders.”  Not to mention mini-skirt wedding dresses and even flapper wedding dresses.  One model in a web ad looked more like she was wearing a one-piece strapless bathing suit than a dress.  Other ads are beginning to show models outfitted for lesbian weddings.  Of course, not every young woman is endowed with the physique to pull off that look.  Some look like scarecrows and others look, well, Rubenesque.

Wasn’t there a time when women didn’t want to be regarded as “sex objects?”  Especially when they were getting married?  In a church?  This is what our 13 year-olds aspire to now.  Every girl used to dream of how beautiful she would look on her wedding day.  This generation is dreaming of how “sexy” they’ll look ten years from now. 

Well, that’s what comes of putting the cart before the horse and saying “you may” and instead of “you will not” wear that dress to our judgment-challenged teeny-boppers.  It’s up to you, Moms and Dads, not the school and not the government.  Just say “no” to the dress.









Published in: on April 27, 2013 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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