Wednesday, July 09, 2008

30 Days of Skirts

The Experiment:

A couple months ago I told a friend that I wasn't sure but I kind of thought I noticed that I was maybe treated slightly differently when I wore a skirt. She laughed and jokingly suggested that I only wear skirts for a month and record my findings. "It could be called 30 Days of Skirts," she giggled.

Well, the joke's on you M, because I did it! I did not wear a skirt every day for a full month, but close. Instead I counted each time I wore a skirt or dress and yesterday was day 30. The total number of days since I started counting is 39.

The skirts I wore were all long bohemian style skirts. So I was still casual and not at all overdressed for any place I went.

How I was Treated:

On the days that I wore a skirt or a dress I noticed that more doors were opened for me and that people (men and women) would wait longer by doors just to open them for me. I had more offers from men to help carry things. And not just men who worked at the grocery store. Complete strangers. One guy carried a kiddie pool inside Fred Meyer for me, waited until I had paid for it, and then carried it to my car before returning inside the store to do his own shopping.

I don't think these offers of help from men were flirtatious in any way. The pool guy even mentioned his wife, saying, "I know how hard it can be for my wife to juggle kids, keys, and groceries. I can't imagine trying to add a swimming pool to the mix!" What I honestly believe is that these men saw femininity in me and in response rose up in their own nobility. There were also no hints of chauvinism. I never once got the impression that anyone thought I was weak or that some macho-man felt like he needed to help "the little lady."

I also noticed that I received more compliments on the days I wore skirts. My outfits were complimented, of course, but I also got praise for my jewelry, hairstyle, skin, and make-up. I don't believe I was dressing in a showy or show-offy way, but people payed more attention to my whole look when I wore a skirt than they did when I just wore jeans.

How I Felt:

Wearing a skirt made me feel prettier, more feminine, and more confident. I think that as a result of feeling those things I, in turn, acted more graceful, gracious, and gentle. So maybe my own attitude is what spurred the kindness of others. Maybe it was everything working together. One skirt day I went to the farm to do a favor for my mother-in-law. Immediately afterward I met a friend at Washington Square Mall. I didn't notice until I got to the mall that I was semi-covered in farm dust. But just the fact of wearing a skirt seemed to excuse my dustiness. I still felt pretty and as a result felt a lot more confident. I was able to focus on my friend and have a good time with her family instead of obsessing about how dirty/gross/ugly I must have looked.

Another benefit I found from wearing skirts was the pure comfort. On our recent hot days skirts kept me cool and I felt much more comfortable in them than I would have felt in shorts. With shorts on I would have felt insecure, immodest, and ugly. But skirts let me have a nice breeze and let me pretend that I was the beautiful girl in a summer perfume commercial with her skirt rustling in the breeze.

Okay, I know that last sentence was cheesy beyond belief. But it's a good segway to what I'm about to say. Wearing skirts helped me to feel romantic. I felt beautiful, confident, etc. And when I saw my husband regarding my outfit with appreciation...well, you know. Plus, wearing skirts forced me to shave my legs which was also regarded with appreciation. And, yeah. That's all I'm going to say about that.

The Conclusion:

I definitely felt that I was treated with more respect and courtesy from others when I wore a skirt. But mostly I noticed changes in me. Wearing skirts and dresses helped me to feel like a woman. Please don't read that as me telling you to start wearing dresses and skirts. Obviously, I don't believe that women must wear skirts and if you hate to that's fine. If wearing jeans or business suits or a potato sack makes you feel pretty and confident, do it! As for me, I liked the way I felt in skirts. I liked my attitude in skirts. I felt beautiful and because of that my desire to spread beauty was deepened.

I know that some people will get huffy reading this post and have a lot to say about vanity and clothes not having anything to do with beauty and how true beauty is inside and that God looks on the heart, etc. And I agree with all that. But I also think what C.S. Lewis said about playing dress-up is true. Just like children pretending to be grown-ups actually prepares kids to be adults, my putting on a skirt actually helps prepare my heart and mind to behave like a woman after God's heart. Of course I don't need the skirt to act like a true princess. But I am in no way opposed to using a prop or a mask that I can grow into. If putting on a skirt becomes my daily reminder to put on Christ then that is what I'm going to do.


  1. this is AWESOME jeana! i totally hear what you are saying about bringing out your inner beauty and spreading it to others and in turn bringing out their God-given beauty. wow. that's profound. i know it has nothing to do with the cloth covering your lower half and everything to do with the creator of your heart (and the hearts of those who responded to yours).

  2. p.s. this reminds me of the guy who did "supersize me" and other "30 day" documentaries and who now has his own show. what a meaningful exercise to "walk in someone else's shoes" or to try something new for 30 days. we can learn so much! i'm gonna keep that in mind and see if i am struck with something to give my own "30 days" to:)

  3. I Love Skirts! I live in them. They are so handy. Great post! I have a feeling Allen will be encouraging me to wear skirts even more now that you have shared "ALL" the benefits :-)

  4. Jeana, I appreciate that you're like Prof Needham: that guy could talk about sex all day long and still maintain absolute grace and tact. Very cool experiment.

    And yes, my wife is right.

  5. Jeana... I loved what you said... I always wear a skirt when I go do my shopping... I feel a little more dressed up, but comfortably casual! I love how you put that... what a fun experiment!

  6. Officially not huffy.

    Skirts are great in Rio, especially since I can't wear shorts to work. Tim, in his dress-code long pants, frequently envies my cool, breezy skirtedness.


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