Friday, 24 February 2012

Retire the Jumper

One day I will give up this blog secure in the knowledge that there are a lot of other dames writing about the Single life. Currently the Crescat is Single, and she had this to say about the Church as matchmaker. It is partly a response to the incomparable Simcha Fischer, mother of nine, who recently asked Single readers what it is that you want the Church to do for you.

But what really got my interest was the first comment on Kat's post, which was from a Single woman noting that more men seem to go to Traditional Latin Masses but that she did not want to wear a jumper. I'm assuming this woman is Canadian or American because in the UK a jumper is not a utilitarian frock but a sweater/pullover. And at the risk of being one of those Catholic bloggers who fixates on women's clothing, I'm going to fixate on women's clothing. (As a stunning innovation, I'll mention men's, too.)

Now, I have nothing against jumpers, per se. I had a very nice charcoal grey jumper (utilitarian frock) when I was four years old. There is a time and place for jumpers, like your elementary school photographs. For girls under twelve, I recommend the trusty old jumper, perhaps with a fetching ladybug pin.

I do not recommend the jumper for girls and women over twelve, and I am staggered that anyone would mention the TLM and jumper in the same breath. I suppose girls and women don these things as a sort of modesty uniform, a sartorial placard reading "I am a chaste and modest woman who would not have shoddy, unthinkable affairs with local tradesmen while you are at work." But I assure you that such modesty uniforms are completely unnecessary. Modesty is a good and noble thing, but it is all the sweeter when it is subtle. The virgin who reminds people constantly that she is a virgin is not as modest as the virgin who keep her mouth shut on such a personal subject.

And as a husband-attracting device, modesty is highly over-rated and always has been. Back in Jane Austen's day, elegantly dressed young ladies made their Empire-waist frocks stick to their bodies by spraying them with water. Desperate matchmaking mothers prompted their scandalized daughters to smile more, to flirt more, to give more encouragement, for heaven's sake, Laetitia. Modesty should of course be on the list of your womanly attributes, but it is down around #5. It is not #1, except in places like rural Afghanistan.

Now I go to a TLM myself, and being a reasonably observant woman, I note who else is there and what they are wearing, and who looks good, and who needs to have a little talk with me. And one thing I can tell you about my TLM community is that there are a lot of men in it. A goodish percentage of these men are bachelors under 40, and with the exception of the rebel in the rugby shirt, these young bachelors are sartorial romantics. They are dressed according to their personal, and yet shared, vision of what men dressed like in 1948.

They wear jackets, naturally. These jackets are usually tweed and very often bought secondhand, either from the internet or from a vintage shop. Occasionally a sharp piece of non-tweed tailoring--either made-to-measure or pret-a-porter--makes an appearance. Then there are the woolly pullovers (aka UK jumpers), for Britain is cold and there wasn't much by way of central heating in 1948. Less attention is paid to trousers, but they tend to be corduroy and sometimes bright red. (N.B. Bright red corduroy trousers are best left to broad-shouldered men, mes vieux.)

There are, of course, ties--including school ties, even if that school was a comprehensive, and university ties. Sometimes there are a bow-ties and a keen flutter of interest amongst the bow-tie fans when an new initiate takes the plunge. Then there are the socks and the shoes, the pocket squares and the handkerchiefs, and, I am told (for of course I never see these things), the braces, the sleeve bands and the sock garters.

And this all makes complete sense. If a man wants back all the beauty, romance and fittingness of the Mass before 1963, he might very well want back all the beauty, romance and fittingness of men's fashion before 1963. And if he is that interested in men's fashion before 1963, imagine how he thinks women should dress. The Well Dressed Woman of 1948 was not wearing what Americans call a jumper, people. You should not be thinking Laura Ingalls Wilder; you should be thinking Veronica Lake.

Now I know somebody is itching to write in and tell me that women don't dress for men, we dress for ourselves, and blah blah blah blah. This has to be complete garbage because I cannot think why any woman would wear a stupid "jumper" unless she were worried about her audience. I certainly dress for an audience, and it is for the sake of politeness as much as for anything else, like not wearing jeans to a Goth bar because it would ruin the ambiance for the Goths. And as too often I am the only woman at TLM soirees, I owe it to everybody to look as well as possible.

Besides, there is the singular thrill of giving men whiplash. You gorgeous young things are probably too, too used to this sort of thing, but it was a revelation for your belle-laide Auntie when she wore a dashing new hat and (she was told) every Young Fogey in the congregation craned his head to get a better look. Elderly widowers danced attendance; it was a very pleasant morning.

And that thought brings me back to the question of what the Church can do for Singles. As feminists say, when they are not calling the Church a "male monolith", WE are the Church--which is to say, helpful older married ladies like me. And I am telling you not to wear dumb, shapeless, what-Americans-call-jumpers to Mass, particularly not the TLM Mass. I am telling you to have a look at the best sartorial zeitgeist of your parish and then look wonderful.

You're welcome.

59 comments:

Johannes Faber said...

What on earth is an American jumper?!

I never wear tweed but braces are a must.

Maggie said...

YES! Well-dressed and modest are not mutually exclusive. My favorite counter-example to this jumper phenomenon is a [Single] teacher friend of mine who works at a very observant Catholic school. Every day the students and teachers attend daily Mass, where many of the parish ladies choose to wear chapel veils (it's a Novus Ordo parish). My friend wears one too, and it looks lovely, especially atop her nicely-done hair and very flattering suits, with which she wears practical-for-a-teacher-but-still-very-pretty high heeled shoes.

This always makes me want to cheer.

Ashley said...

I cannot tell you how refreshing this post was to read!! Thank you for healing my heart a little bit. There have been numerous occasions burned into my memory of being pulled aside at a TLM by well-meaning "aunties" with a contrary view to your own, chastening me about my skirts, my shirts, and for heaven's sake, no swing dancing with the men-folk... it would be terribly immodest!

Nate said...

There's nothing better than second hand tweed though I personally go in for more of the 1928 look when I can get around to it. It was one of the more enjoyable aspects of the Cup of Tea of Peace (I believe I have that right) to see all the quite purposeful but laid back fashion of the Edinburgh Trid.

Seraphic said...

A jumper is like the dress little English schoolgirls wear as uniforms, usually with a blouse. One might call it a skirt with a bib attached, although it is not so nice as a dirndl.

Unfortunately numbers of traditionalist Catholic women don this garment or an ankle-length denim skirt. I myself own an ankle-length denim skirt but you won't catch me wearing it at Mass. It's for hikes and running out for groceries and washing the floor.

Ashley, I want to sharply reprove my rival aunties. No swing-dancing? Are they mad? Any girl who enjoys partner dancing should do partner dancing as much as she possibly can as as to become very good at it, so that every man in the room will want to dance with her. Dancing belongs to the democracy of talent, and gives a girl an edge over her less nimble-footed sisters. Like clumsy me, for example. (Ahem.)

Beyond not wanting to be seen with girls who look scary or slapperish (same thing), NCBs--the normal ones, not the control freaks--really don't have the same standards of modesty for girls as little busybody old ladies have. Really, truly, cross my heart and hope to die. NCBs of a certain sophistication will court belly-dancers, okay? Don't ask me how I know this, but I do.

Seraphic said...

Oh, 1928, 1948. All the same, really, though no plus-fours, so probably more 1948ish, really.

Young Canadian RC Male said...

Well Seraphic, Interesting post.

To me, when it comes to women and Men dressing for the TLM, just wear the fashion of the times that is Sunday Best, but modest. dress shirt and pants for men with the suit to go really fancy or for Xmas and the Triduum, women just not dressing in spaghetti strap tube tops and shorts and such is all I care about.

The men in your parish really sound like they get carried away with the dressing up bit. Pocket squares and those sock holder things? I wouldn't mind doing that, say for a themed party or maybe just to be "the stand out" at a black tie affair (with a top hat and cape and white gloves to boot. I so love and desire a cape like my pastor's: black with a gold clasp on the neck).

Speaking of a themed party, that picture is awesome! Is that one of your Sunday parties? Because that looks jolly good fun and if I were ever to visit Edinburgh, I'd love to find those kind of clothes at a shop or on e-bay and have a party like yours. And is that young table-bashing fellow with the Pipe B.A? Based on your past accounts on your other blog and here, I can picture that man being B.A.

~Katherine~ said...

Came over via Orwell's Picnic. Having read this...I hope you don't mind if I add you to my blog roll?

As a single and Traddie woman, if only I could print this out, roll it up, and apply it firmly about the head and shoulders of the next dense female to eye askance my rather fetching (if I do say so myself)Sunday getups...*sighs happily*

Seraphic said...

My dear boy, if you cannot rock the 1948 look, by all means refrain from trying. But I will tell you this: a suit jacket gives you something of which nature might have robbed you, and that is bigger shoulders. Also, women are not blind, and nothing says "good catch" like a good suit or tweed jacket and general disdain for the dress-down culture of the post-Vatican II universe. Heavens, how I would love to beautify the men of StVdeP of Rncvls just the tiniest wee bit.

The photograph does not show a themed party. That is just how life is when you prefer to live it in style.

Wifely modesty prevents me from revealing which of the handsome men at that table, not all of whom can be seen, is B.A.

Seraphic said...

Katherine, hello, thank-you and go right ahead! Glad to help thwart the askance glances!

sciencegirl said...

Is that a fur stole you have around your neck, there? You look so much like a young Auntie Mame! I love it.

margaret said...

Jumpers/pinafore dresses are worn by women who get pregnant every year whether Catholic or Evangelical or Something Else. They hide one's figure, baby sick and leaked breast milk wash off easily and they are flags of virtue. I think they are ghastly but then I think getting pregnant every year is rather ghastly too.

Meredith said...

Hear, hear! Don't let jealous women cut you down!

As for maternity outfits, if I become a mother I plan to rely on leggings + knit dress/tunic. Comfy yet fashionable.

Seraphic said...

Oh dear--flags of virtue. Deadly deadly deadly.

That is not a fur stole, although I very much want one. It is my hair. But I am delighted that in the photo my hair looks like a fur stole. Actually, hair sort of is fur, isn't it?

I cannot imagine what it is like getting pregnant every year, but that has happened to women since before the invention of the jumper.

If I got pregnant I could at long last wear knit dresses because they would no longer make me look fat but pregnant instead. Yay! Stretch knit! Stretch knit!

Seraphic said...

To be fair, though, if jumpers/pinnies are the most comfortable and practical thing for nursing mothers to wear, then I guess they should wear though. All I object to is any kind of expectation that an unmarried woman, or really any woman but a nursing mother, should be expected to dress in clothes only appropriate to nursing mothers, or postulants.

sciencegirl said...

Ah, it was the black and white photo that tricked me! Well, you look lovely.

fifi said...

Marvelous post! Brava, Auntie Seraphic!

healthily sanguine said...

Always one to root for the underdog, I feel called upon to say a word on behalf of jumper-wearers--not, mind you, that I am or ever was one. Often, the decision to wear a jumper is HIGHLY motivated by parental influence/control and not at all to do with guys. Where it is a personal choice of dress, it is an attempt to be counter-cultural in a GOOD way--that is, not to adopt styles of dress that are immodest and in fact giving them a very wide berth. I think it is just going to an extreme, and this is something not to be "called out" but to be approached with understanding in a fellow Catholic: just as you might gently steer one against excessive fasting or overly rigorous penance, if you could, while agreeing that the root of the desire to do these things is a good one. But in itself, wearing jumpers really isn't the worst thing ever. And as to the point of it making you less desirable/attractive to men, I just shake my head--these young ladies are just as likely to find a husband as anyone, and probably much MORE likely to find someone super-conservative who doesn't mind a woman in jumpers, which might be a desirable trait for a husband, who knows! Finally, margaret's comment above mine is just a slur, and a very unpleasant one at that. I'd rather be friends with a simple, figure-hiding, jumper-wearing mom than with someone who looks down their nose at others because of the way they dress and demeans excessive breeding as "ghastly."

healthily sanguine said...

Also, it looks like that party was held in a sacristy! :)

magistra05 said...

I rarely post comments on any blog, but as your post nicely sums up my own thoughts on the matter, I feel compelled to offer a few words of gratitude. In particular, thank you for reminding your readers that is it possible for one's clothing to scream out "Look at me!" not only by being skimpy but also by being frumpy (the latter doing so in a particularly raspy and grating voice). The aesthetically offensive look you describe - tantamount to a uniform in some trad circles - really begs to be retired. As an aside, your fellow parishioners of the bachelor persuasion sound quite dashing.

Seraphic said...

They are indeed all quite dashing. It is a mystery to me why the young Catholic women of south-east Scotland (Scots, English, Polish or other) do not all come and have a look at our parishioners of bachelor persuasion.

To stop a potentially nasty fight, I will interject that Margaret is neither a Roman Catholic or a married woman, and perhaps has not considered what our adherence to the Gospel of Life can entail.

Meanwhile I firmly discourage the idea that any man is hard-wired to prefer the jumper to a dashing outfit. I simply don't believe it--except for the rare control freak who thinks we should dress according to the standards of 1st century Judea.

I know a lot of super-conservative men. Actually, most of the men I know are super-conservative. And whereas no doubt the American ones would pick Mary Ann over Ginger (snork snork) they wouldn't pick Laura Ingalls over Mary Ann. I mean, come ON!!!!

Young Canadian RC Male said...

Thanks for the reply Seraphic. I'll just keep that person in mind then when I think of B.A. even if he is not. Oh and I noticed your top hat in the pic. Nice!

Hey Seraphic, perhaps your next post could cover a fun social idea: How to do a "Seraphic" dinner party, like the one pictued above. Maybe a few parts every so often: Decor, what to serve as a mean and apertifs and cocktails, dress for men and women, discussion topics, ... Again this sounds like a fun thing to do. I would be interested in this 1) because of your post 2) because I need some social skill acumen on something like this 3) Cause, hey I'd love to know where to get snazzy dress clothes like this and 4) Well this is a Seraphic Singles page right? I'm sure that single men and women who love classically social activities and culture, or are of good nature would love this.

Seraphic said...

Oh deary dear. I am reminded of my CR article about the Cup of Tea of Peace, a scene very specific to a certain place and time, and how it was illustrated by a photo of a presumably very nice African-American lady in a messy and utilitarian kitchen or box-room in Who-knows-where, USA.

The above photograph was taken at a perfectly normal Edinburgh lunch party of Edinburgh-based people wearing their perfectly normal, if conservative, Sunday clothing. Honestly, it was not a special party or a theme party or anything like that--although, come to think of it, we were also celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. Conversation included football, as I argued with my right-hand neighbour about how many players in the DFB are ethnic Germans.

I imagine a Toronto version would include a lot of suits from, at very least, Tip Top Taylors, and fun retro finds from Courage My Love in Kensington Market, although I could not say for sure. The Trid crowd I know in Toronto goes to a greasy spoon for brunch after Mass, and the Trid crowd I met at Notre Dame got together for lunch in a beautiful dining hall rather like U of T's Hart House. All these lunches are specific to place and local culture.

That said, I do wish Toronto Trids would do a better job of embracing Toronto's British heritage and dress up a bit more like, well, Robertson Davies and, er, whoever the female equivalent was. That might make a great theme party: Toronto in the 1950s. Not a "1950s" party, but "TORONTO in the 1950s." It might take some research for, as we all know, nothing before the election of Pierre Trudeau matters a damn today.

Anonymous said...

Excellent.

My late mother was a serious Traditionalist Catholic -unattached to any chapel or group because there simply weren't any in her part of the country at the time she moved in that spiritual direction - and she would have been thoroughly mystified by the Catholic Amish/Prairie look - she came of age in the 40's and 50's, dressed sharply, and was quite comfortable in slacks. She would have laughed an incredulous laugh at the "pants-no pants" arguments that regularly pop up on the Catholic internet.

A couple of months ago, I saw a photograph of the congregation at a TLM in Paris - I noted the lack of jumpers and even the lack of chapel veils on the women.

American Traditionalism is its own thing, to be sure.

Elise

sciencegirl said...

This is a total distraction, but I don't care, I'm high on tartar sauce. Laura Ingalls Wilder wore a corset, bustle, and frilly girly clothes that she and Ma sewed from the latest fashions in the Godey's Ladies Book. She was really quite fetching, though of course I suppose modern American men would prefer Mary Anne to Laura, even in her bustle. Unless they are into steampunk, in which case Laura wins by a landslide. I read all her books. I went to her house! I saw her Bible! Laura looked quite cute, though practical, and if she could have traveled through time and hung out with us for a year, and converted to Catholicism, she'd be wearing some very charming clothes indeed.

Little Hottie on the Prairie

Seraphic said...

I think this comments box got just a little bit weirder!

Johannes Faber said...

Right - I braved google images and didn't really like what I saw.

But since when have women ever cared what men think about these things? Do they really? I've always got the impression that women dress for each other rather than for/against men.

Kate P said...

But, Auntie Seraphic, my mom told me that when she was in high school, the nuns would tell the girls, "Get your hair out of your face--you look like Veronica Lake!" Was her hairstyle frowned upon back in the day?

Lina said...

"And one thing I can tell you about my TLM community is that there are a lot of men in it. A goodish percentage of these men are bachelors under 40, and with the exception of the rebel in the rugby shirt, these young bachelors are sartorial romantics. They are dressed according to their personal, and yet shared, vision of what men dressed like in 1948."

Do you take visitors? I've always wanted to go to Scotland... I dress modestly but well - cute vintagey shoes (always heels for Mass), colourful clothes that fit properly, nice scarves, etc. Ladylike and classic with a twist. The main single man of my parish here in Canada has been wearing the same faded, oversized black jeans, deathly dull oversized polo shirt, and baggy green polyester ski jacket every Sunday for the five and a half years I've lived here (and also doesn't work, but spends his days playing video games in his basement). Other single men of the parish include the creepy dude with the ostentatious religious medals who brings his Infant of Prague statue to sit in the pew with him, the one who comes with his mother and turns around to stare at the person behind him singing the credo all the way through, the morbidly obese one who works part-time at the sewage plant, and the very good-looking, well-dressed and intelligent-seeming young man who manages to drag his non-Catholic girlfriend (?) to Mass once in a blue moon only to have her slumped in the pew, sulking the whole time (headdesk).
Great article though. Having attended a certain SSPX high school in Kansas, I can confirm that attractiveness is nigh on viewed as sinful in some circles. Where's our pride in being feminine, ladies?

Shiraz said...

Lina, the single man options in your parish sound DIRE. I laughed out loud at the tote-everywhere Infant of Prague statue! My parish, for what it's worth, has lots of lovely, normal, middle of the road young single men. You know, who are just Catholic, but not at all fanatical about it. It's not even remotely traddy though, so might not appeal to some readers here. (Tweed and corduroy are, however, worn.)

On jumpers: the thing is, little girls in pinafores wear cute, sturdy knee-length ones that are designed to stand up to vigorous play. They also have waistbands. The ones I've seen on uber-conservative types (most often of the fundamentalist Protestant stripe, actually) are ankle-length and waist-less. Because heaven forbid anyone see that you have a wait. Or SHINS. Gargh! The whole thing is just incomprehensible to me. (Also, ladies: there is no excuse for wearing such a sack with ATHLETIC TRAINERS.) OK. Now I've got that out of my system. Thanks for the post, Seraphic.

Anna said...

@Johannes: Women use clothing to attract mates; there's no getting around that! Immature women care very much about dressing to attract men. When they grow up they care about what their clothes communicate to everyone, not just men.

Lina said...

Shiraz, you have no idea. There are plenty of very nice, normal men there as well, but they're all married. And I'm most definitely a traddie (though no longer SSPX, and will attend the NO on occasion); I must say, though, that most trad parishes fare better than mine in the men region. Oof.

By the way, the Infant of Prague in question is about two feet tall.

Charming Disarray said...

"Modesty is a good and noble thing, but it is all the sweeter when it is subtle."

I'm going to remember this!

Great post; thank you.

Nate said...

My sister studied at St. Andrew's for a semester and apparently the Catholic social scene is brilliant there I think it's all based around a house called "Canmore House"). I've tried to have something like this at Notre Dame (I called it the "Catholic House Rager." It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it wasn't in an historical house or in a rectory after Sunday Mass so there wasn't a lot of classy dress going on.

The South Dining Hall After-Mass Brunch at Notre Dame is also quite awesome especially when we can get what is called the Jesus Table (raised on a dais.) Generally everyone is quite well dressed and great discussion is had.

Seraphic said...

Now I want to see Mr Holy Infant of Prague. Wah ha ha! I know of a man in Glasgow who is kind of like that. Lina, your parish sounds like a novel crying out to be written.

Nate's sister is quite right about St. Andrew's. Meanwhile, no Trid should ever visit Edinburgh without going to Mass at our spot. And the best thing that can happen at Notre Dame is to be whisked off to the South Dining Hall After-Mass Brunch.

Seraphic said...

Oh, as for Veronica Lake, it is true that the nuns would not have liked her as a model of anything as she was a 1940s screen Bad Girl. She was famous for having long, long blonde hair that she wore over one eye and gave her a come-hither expression. Exactly the sort of thing old-style nuns, and today's jumper fans, do not like. But screen Bad Girls are now so shocking, vulgar and--frankly--unsexy, that Veronica's image has an almost saintly glow, if you ask me.

Johannes, Johannes. Women are always saying that they don't dress for men, and if they look like the cat dragged them in over the doorway backwards, you can believe that. But if they look smashing, don't. Feel encouraged and important.

Sarah said...

No way, Seraphic. Women dress for other women at least as much as they dress for other men, but for different reasons. I'm currently wrapping up a week of staying in the house of my priest, the 4 young men who live with him, and three other visiting boys. All but the priest, his brother who is the boyfriend of a friend of mine, and two of the visiting boys who are only in high school are husband material. And yet, I've spend much of the week in work and play clothes, (jeans and a tshirt or sweater) and changing into a semi-casual skirt only in the evening. I'd be much more self conscious if there were other girls around.

This is evolution in the mating game at work here, I'd wager. Women want to send competitive messages to other women. When other women are around (whether men are around or not) we subconsciously try to create an hierarchy of the "most mate-worthy." The one who is the prettiest, the most confident, etc., will establish herself as the dominant female and therefore send the message to other women that she has the first pick of the men. It all sounds very base and animalistic, and even cruel, but there are reasons for it that make sense. I think men do this, too, though describing how would be difficult, as I am not a man.

Lynn said...

For those of you seeking an excuse to dress up, but maybe need a specific setting for it so that it isn't weird, might I suggest the very-weird-sounding Host a Murder Mystery? Look for the kits online. I just did one as part of a parish fundraiser, and it was so much fun! We were a group of 8 having dinner together on a boat, owned by a mutual friend who was found dead before the dinner began. We each had secret booklets which told us which parts of our pre-assigned identities were really and what was a sham, and during each of four acts we were secretly told what more we knew and what was to be disclosed to the group as a whole. It was fun and funny and playful, and a marvelous chance to dress up. No one there was an eligible single, but I could imagine that having a role to play would take much of the nervousness away if one were.

Shiraz said...

Lina, maybe Mr. two feet high (!!!) Infant of Prague was aiming for a mystique like Sebastian Flyte's carrying a teddy bear everywhere in Brideshead Revisited ... and missed by THAT much.

Juventutem London said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I used to argue and make fabulous points about this issue in blogs every time it came up but I don't any more. Let them wear their frump clothes. Let them parade around in those asexual schmattas that look like kiddie clothes. And let them eschew make up, view unplucked eyebrows as a virtue, wear socks and sneakers, and embrace unstyled hair. You know what I mean: either the barbershop chop or the ubiquitous long braid, pony tail or God help us, bun to compete the look. Prairie-wear, as contemporary Americans see it. Let them have it.

I don't argue against it anymore because it makes life easier for me. If I'm the only one in a Chanel-copy suit or my one real Dior I saved from grandma's closet or my velvet medieval-inspired cloak or brocade riding jacket, the more people want to talk to me, connect and network with me. It's just how humans are and it's not a bad thing. If beauty matters - and for Catholics it should - then we should want to turn towards beauty, or, at least, not away from it.

The only snide comments I've gotten were from the prairie-wearers, which makes me think they want all women to dress like them to even the playing field, even when the playing field is simply a mixed community of both married and single people.

St. Fashionista

Seraphic said...

Juventum London, we don't like it when men go on about trousers because we hate the fact that men stare at our derrieres at Mass and then blame us for this shocking behaviour. We also don't like it when men tell us what to wear because such men sound like control freaks and, incidentally, it is rude.

Finally, the very question "What Would Our Lady and St. Joseph Wear To Mass?" should make any woman slowly edge away from the asker. It is even crazier than the well-meaning priestly advice that a married woman should be a wife "like Our Lady." Um, no. Our Lady and St. Joseph are good models of how to behave towards God and powerful intercessors on our behalf; they are not good imaginary fashion icons.

Johannes Faber said...

Sorry Seraphic [and anyone who saw it], I was logged into the wrong account, that was me that wrote this:
-----
"LOL! Then why do ladies get so annoyed about the men who want to talk about trousers and/or modesty?

"I was just wondering how our Lady and St Joseph would dress if they were about nowadays, generally and at Mass."
-----
Sorry - I was being flippant Re the trousers thing etc, because it's such a ubiquitous discussion. And you write: "Because such men sound like control freaks and, incidentally, it is rude." Heartily agreed! Had I been writing on this account I'm sure that it would have been clearer that I was being tongue-in-cheek.

Re Our Lady & St Joseph - I wasn't suggesting people should dress like 1st century Palestinians! Lol, I literally meant what I said, 'I wonder what they'd wear'. With the assumption that they would be wearing modern clothes - not that men or women should be dressing with fashions of 2000 years ago. I was starting with clear assumption (clear in my mind anyway) that St Joseph would wear a suit to Mass were he in the twenty-first century.

Seraphic said...

Okay, nobody judge Juventum London harshly, peeps. Johannes was just kidding, and JL has lovely boys at least one of whom I've met in person--the charming Mr. Smeaton. In fact, why not go check out their website?

Johannes Faber said...

Lol thanks Seraphic. I look like a backtracking slug of course - 'I was joking' is a pretty lame excuse, and rarely true. It's true here, but oh well - I've made my bed and will lie in it!

Johannes Faber said...

PS Seraphic is right about the blokes at JL - if you're in the area on 23rd March come along!

http://juventutemlondon.blogspot.com/

Maggie said...

And the maxim holds true... discuss fashion in the Catholic blogosphere, and the comments SPIKE. :-)

I don't understand why this is so complicated. Be feminine, but not dowdy, pretty, but not trampy; and keep our focus (all of us) on the Lord...

fifi said...

This is quite possibly the most entertaining combox in the history of this blog. That is all. ;)

Lina said...

Shiraz, if Mr. 24-inch Infant of Prague had been anything like Sebastian Flyte, he wouldn't have opened the church kitchen door with his FACE this week (door opens a crack, part of face appears, face rubs up and down against door until door is open enough for the rest of head to appear and crane around corner - WEIRD ALERT!!!), only to stare at us girls and ask where the men's choir was (um, in the outer room? You can kind of hear them singing...)
Sebastian, for all his faults, was at least intelligent and capable of getting by in public, I think, though it's been a few years since I read that excellent book.
I'm way off the topic of Dorothy's post here, though, so my apologies to her. Can we all agree that clothing IS important, for both sexes, especially if you're in the market? And that statues of the child Jesus are neither clothing nor accessories.

Lina said...

I mean, people should marry for love and admiration for eachother's personalities, but a little dressing up doesn't hurt, especially at the beginning. I've been surprised by how often utter strangers have commented favourably on my shoes. Also, living in an apartment tower, I have noticed that men in elevators rarely strike up conversations with me when I'm in my Saturday-errands jeans and sweater, but when I'm dressed up for work or church in a nice skirt, wool coat and boots (it's almost always winter here) and have done my hair and makeup, it's a different matter entirely. They almost always say hello, make a comment about the weather or whatever else you can discuss for 45 seconds, hold doors open, etc. People are nicer to you when you look nice. True story.
(Really, with all this advice I'm dishing out, it's amazing I'm still single. Wonders abound.)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm,

A very interesting read with lots of good suggestions. I've thankfully managed to avoid seeing jumpers at my TLM community here in Canada and feel thankful for that!

As for men's fashion, I'd be curious to know whether or not your male churchgoing friends in the UK could advise on how best to acquire a decent set of tweed jackets and sportswear. Further to Sunday Mass and brunch, I'd just love the idea of wearing tweed jackets, breeks, etc. when engaging in shooting as well as dressing up for salmon fishing. Much of the items I can find online from the UK are unconscionably expensive or in the used category, which seems to require some knowledge about what's worth getting (especially if it also needs to be tough enough for the woods, valleys and handling large gamefish).

I hope that I'm not pulling away too much from the original themes of women's modesty, but I think that there's much to be said of your points about men trying to revive classy fashions from the past, especially in more than just a costume like setting so long as it's all done in moderation.

Frank Monozlai

Seraphic said...

Dear Frank, I think you could find some decent tweeds if you scour Kensington Market. But the thing abou tweed is that it is SOOO United Kingdom. Even Canadian university professors can look totally wrong if they do not get the whole Young (or Old) British Fogey look right.

For smart clothes,I suggest you think about what your Hungarian grandfathers wore and then channel that. And the next time you go Hungary, go off to a village and get the village tailor to make you a suit jacket. This way you will look very smart and also Mittel Europa, which is what you are at heart, let's face it.

But as for hunting-shooting-fishing clothes, the first name that jumps to mind is Barbour. Barbour is a tad expensive, but Barbour is what you should google if you really want to see the British sporting look.

Barona said...

Interestingly, the puritanical attire cross-pollinates with the flower-child/hippy appearance. Ironic! Yet Catholicism should be about common sense...

Having said that: there seem to be two extremes to be avoided (the human condition, alas): rejecting the feminine, or degrading the feminine.

kozz said...

Lina, I almost died laughing.
Oh wow!

I agree with St. Fashionista above. I'm tend to be "inspired" to dress better when in company of well-dressed women. On the other hand, I do find it quite a chore to dress up for meeting men who I have no interest in (i.e., colleagues).

I have noticed that people find it quite hard to take a frumpy person seriously.

The Crescat said...

Thank you for addressing men's attire as well. I get so tired of the perpetual frat boy outfit that men in their 30-40's wear.

Jeanne Chabot said...

Just so we are completely clear on the subject, Canadian women do NOT wear jumpers, (unless they have been hanging around their American friends for too long.) :) That is the domain of the American conservative. In fact, until the past 7-8 years, when the Catholic online community really took off, I wasn't even aware that there WAS a "conservative women's uniform". (I'm Canadian) I just figured women wore whatever they wanted to, and some were frumpier than others.

I completely agree with you that a jumper is cute on a little girl, but after that, it needs to be updated to something else.

Johannes Faber said...

Jeanne,

I don't think I've seen English women in 'jumpers' either. Interesting...!

ArchaicSteam said...

Pretty much everyone that attends my church (except older ladies and one traditional family) wears football (American, btw) jerseys, flannel shirts and jeans.

It is rather frightening how "casual" people are about going to church, it is as if they are squeezing in Mass before heading to a ball game or something.

ArchaicSteam said...

So sorry for the multiple comments, WordPress was acting funny.