Well, it has come to my attention that there has been some grumbling on the internet regarding my attitude to clothing and girliness. It occurs to me that I have perhaps been a too bit "wear this, wear that" so I will try to make up for it.
If you are a Serious Single, and honestly, hand on heart, would just rather not be bothered with men, let alone get married, you go ahead and wear any old thing. Obviously, you'll need to wear professional clothes to work, and I can think of many modern nuns who look very professional. They have short professional hair, sturdy professional glasses, professional pantsuits, sensible shoes, and maybe a pin that signals to those in the know that this is a Sister [of community X]. Naturally they don't wear makeup, perfume or sparkly earrings. They look tidy, capable, comfortable, professional, no-nonsense, and if a man ever tried to chat them up on the bus, I would fall over from shock.
If, however, you are a Searching Single, you might just want to consider telegraphing "Hello, I am an attractive woman who would love to get married one day" through your clothing.
Again, really, honestly, truly don't care what men think? Then practical haircut, pantsuit, denim overalls, mohawk, shaved bald, nineteenth century ballgowns with denim jackets, days-of-the-week tracksuits --whatever. Go for it. And good for you--Saint Augustine, were he still alive, would totally approve. Saint Augustine thought that trying to attract a man was the worst part about being Single, if you couldn't become a nun, which naturally he thought was the best person you could be. After a martyr, of course. Presumably Saint Augustine would have extolled Elizabeth Taylor had she, at the last minute, proclaimed the Gospel in Tahrir Square and been shot.
Ah, Elizabeth Taylor. Now there was a gal who dressed for men. She claimed all those jewels were presents, although apparently she sometimes gave her husbands the money to buy them. Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle!
Now, as I wrote not too long ago, one of my teachers counselled my punker classmate Kathleen that if she persisted in dressing like that, she'd attract punker guys. He thought this a terrible fate. Kathleen thought it wonderful. I think it one of the few sensible things that teacher ever told us.
If you are interested in attracting and marrying traditional men, e.g. men who are willing to get married without a test drive, then I recommend dressing in traditional women's clothing. This does not necessarily mean the dreaded denim jumper of doom. I mean blouse & skirt or dress, tights, cute shoes. In the UK, a nice tweed jacket would not go amiss, if you're looking for a tweed-wearer. In the USA, a string of pearls sends a message pleasing to the eye of Young Republicans and not so much to the Young Democrats, apparently. (One of the useful things I learned at Boston College.)
That said, I have known tall, slim young women who looked great in denim jeans, pairing them with rather more hello-I'm-a-girl stuff, like pink scooped-necked T-shirts and silk scarves.
Again, I am addressing Searching Singles here. Serious Singles don't have to care. Except on the job, naturally. On your off-hours, anything. Star Trek uniform. Actually, I bet you could meet guys, especially computer programmers, if you wore a Star Trek uniform in public. So if you don't want to be bothered, comfy sweatpants. College hoodie.
If you love poetic beatnik guys, go to an Open Mic and see what the popular girl poets are wearing. Get the general idea and make it your own. If you love athletes, see what girls popular with athletes are wearing and, if you aren't flat-out embarrassed by their outfits, get the general idea and make it your own. If you love male feminists--the kind who actually read Kate Millet, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Klein et al--then dress like a teenage boy. This probably works best if you have the figure of a teenage boy, mind you.
The whole point of this piece is not to TELL you what to wear but to REMIND you that men can see you and that your clothes send a message. Whether you want them to or not, your clothes gossip about you to complete strangers. They say "She belongs to your club", "She's a real professional--24/7", and "Ideally, she'd like to be invisible." Naturally, your clothes might be lying about you. There are probably a lot of soccer moms who are goddesses at heart and are puzzled as to why no-one can see this. And the girls of Edinburgh who wear tight blue denim shorts with black tights are probably not trying to show off their bottoms, although that's what their lying shorts are telling me.
I earnestly believe, that as the differences between men and women are ignored more and more, one key to attracting men as suitors is reminding them, primarily visually(since men are extremely visual), that women are different from them. And since religious women naturally dislike doing this through clothes that scream I HAVE BREASTS AND BUTTOCKS, clothes-or-accessories-that-straight-men-would-never-wear strike me as the way to go.
Incidentally, your clothes gossip about you most loudly in uncrowded churches, e.g. at the Trad Mass. Woo! During my EF Mass, the tight jeans simply do not shut up. The priest is, like, "Oremus" and the congregation is like, "What did you say, jeans?" Don't get me started on the sports bra that spelled out "Sexy" in rhinestones. Fun at that nightclub no-one will take me to, no doubt, but not good for making friends at a church people travel two hours to get to because their parish mass depresses them in its modernity.
By the way, I haven't finished reading it, but I finally got my hands on a copy of Verily. Verily does not airbrush models and photographs clothes on non-models, so ordinary women can see how the clothes under discussion might look on them. It treats women as if we have both brains and limited budgets. It is a breath of fresh air, but more on it anon.