by rantywoman

Now that the art principles have been lost, has luring men become our only standard for beauty in dress? Young women may imagine that sex appeal is the single most important public identity a woman can attain. Living in an age when the only standard of female attractiveness is hotness, and when every detail of life is offered up on Facebook, young women find it normal that the whole world, not just their sweetheart, their gynecologist, and their mother, should know the exact shape of their bodies.

But if men do not feel compelled to have the world pass judgment on every inch, why should we? The early Dress Doctors were so pleased at the thought that the modern woman faced such a world of possibilities. No longer did she have to dress solely to attract a husband. If the Dress Doctors looked around at womankind today, they would wonder why so many of us are determined to appear ready to seduce at all hours of the day. Don’t we have anything else to do?

Today’s culture seems to have little appreciation for what years of living can do for you. We all know that growing older usually makes you less of an idiot. But there’s little sense today that age might endow you with sophistication, dignity, grace, stateliness, and wisdom. Or that we might aspire to dress in a way that expresses all these qualities.

— Linda Przybyszewski, The Lost Art of Dress, pp. 277-278