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February 22, 2014

Looking Back: Dressing modestly for success never goes out of style

The Daily Star

---- — Where have all the years gone? It seems like just yesterday that I was able to go and go … do and do so much more: Shopping all the “clearance racks” store after store and enjoying seeing all the new items and keeping up-to-date with what the fashions will be for the next season (that is, if they weren’t too hilariously out of line with good taste and lacking modesty). I really enjoyed “shopping ‘til I drop.”

Now I do what I call “shopping in my closet.” Time does go on and fashions repeat themselves ever so often. Yes, sometimes it does pay to “pack-rat” many of the basic well-made clothes to wait for a fashion repeat. (A definite savings there.)

Talking about modesty and good taste: I wonder what my mother would have said if I appeared downstairs, ready to go to school, wearing blue jeans with big gaping holes exposing my fleshy legs? Never mind the holes … that would be for the rag bag. But blue jeans for us gals?

My high school days were back in the late 1940s. We girls wore mainly skirts and sweaters or blouses, but always skirts, and no slacks or blue jeans. We were feminine and dressed the part.

But to mention the male gender: They wore slacks — no jeans in suburbia, much less the droopy-drawer, baggy pants to expose you-know-what when bending over. Hair was well groomed for the most part. And of all things, no jewelry or glaring tattoos to make a personal statement: “Looky, looky, look at me,” or perhaps to demonstrate the rebellious attitude toward the acceptable norm of society. But then what is acceptable today?

Yes, we females looked likes females and the males looked like males! All that was certainly with 1 Timothy 2:9 in mind and good admonition for all, including the male gender, which incidentally is also highlighted at 1 Corinthians 11:14. Did I step on someone’s toes?

I must relate this personal experience that happened just last month when waiting for my doctor’s appointment. Per usual, we gals head for the girls’ room and upon coming out in the hallway, I passed a tall person going into the ladies’ restroom. The next person was an elderly lady who drew my attention. Her eyes wide in disbelief and mouth agape … shaking her head at the tall person ahead of her.

A double-take told me the problem: She thought that the tall person was a male going into the ladies room. Horrors! Why? You can just imagine what she thought when seeing what looked like a man, but was not. I smiled at her and gestured to let her know all was OK.

Remembering when our girls went to high school (that was in the mid-1970s): Things did change regarding the acceptable dress code. (Did they have any? I never found out.)

But we made sure our girls were dressed neatly and modestly with good taste. At that point in time, we did acquiesce about wearing slacks for girls. Our daughters had pointed out that the stairways in the school were open stairways and many guys loved to strain their necks to get a glimpse of skirt-wearing gals climbing up the steps ahead of them. So dress slacks were apropos and the gawking taken care of (on our part).

Must give my hubby a lot of credit, for he thoughtfully hung a long full-size mirror next to the kitchen door. As the children left to go to school, or anywhere else for that manner, they would see what they looked like … what someone else would see. They knew the family rules and what was acceptable. Modesty is modesty and being sound in mind are both godly qualities.

Why do I say all this and perhaps to some who don’t adhere to Bible principles? Let me quote something that will benefit all: The U.S. News & World Report magazine, back about 1979, published comments on the value of proper apparel, based on an interview with business consultant John T. Molloy. “What I have found,” he said, “is that the way you dress can move you up socially and in business, or can hold you back ... it can make a man or woman more effective and more successful.”

Makes sense?

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 81-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at www.