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By Rachel Allison

Several years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to India.  We were there for eleven days to tour and inspect progress being made in the slums of Hyderabad, so we weren’t expecting modern or state of the art anything.    The Indian culture shock was anticipated, but what we didn’t foresee was how impressed we were with the Indian women.  Have you ever seen pictures of the way they dress?  If you haven’t, Google “Indian women’s attire.”  Even the poorest of the poor, those who live in cardboard huts, are dressed in saris…beautiful saris…elegant, modest, flattering saris.  They may only have one, but they wear it elegantly…even regally.  Their long dark hair is usually pulled back in an attractive bun or a braid, and their posture could make runway models look klutzy.

Hence the great disappointment when we entered the LA airport at the end of our trip, and saw women everywhere dressed in t-shirts, denims, cut offs, tennis shoes and other clothing that looked anything but attractive.  And our posture…yes, mine included, is sloppy.  Granted, most of us have never had to carry a water pot on our head for miles, but I wish we would if it would help us develop their grace and elegance.

Observation tells me that too many in our society are all about comfort and convenience.  Whatever’s comfortable is what they wear.  Gone are the days when men wore suits and women wore dresses every day.  But didn’t we look like an up-and-coming society back then?  If you can’t imagine such style and class travel to Manhattan.  I love walking the streets where suits and high-heel pumps are still the norm rather than the exception.  Surely there are other cities where “frump” is not the standard.

Unfortunately, we are also a society that puts emphasis on sex and sexuality.  Too often bosoms or buttocks are on display for anyone who is within eyeshot.  What are women thinking???   As a teenager my mother taught me that skin exposed makes boys think they have license to touch.  Didn’t all mothers teach their teenage daughters this important piece of information?

Should we take a good long look at ourselves and the non-verbal communication we are making when we are in public?  What example are our sons and daughters seeing when Mom and Dad leave the house? In my opinion women who wear skirts, blouses, modest t-shirts, and dresses look so much more feminine and attractive no matter what their body shape or size.  We can dress stylishly and not ‘scream,’ “I want to look like a teenager again!”

The best way to age is gracefully.  The best way to do that is by dressing femininely, modestly, and age appropriately. …Kudos to the women who embrace this philosophy.  Kudos to the millions of Indian women who apparently already have this philosophy rooted deeply within their culture.  Your example has certainly had an impact on me.

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