Friday, April 11, 2008

Fashion Forum on the Farm II

Famous Farming Females

Franklin Springs Media filmed footage of the girls from the Eden String Quartet working on their dad's farm, wearing skirts and looking feminine. Their work included cleaning and driving a tractor (see below). In a skirt.

Peter Bradrick tells us in "The Return of the Daughters" of an incident when he was walking on the farm with his future bride and father-in-law. They came to a hotwire fence which the men could step over in their blue jeans, but Kelly was wearing a skirt. Peter describes how impressed he was when she dropped down, rolled under the fence, and popped straight up again to carry on walking like a lady, proving in his mind that she possessed a very rare balance between beautiful femininity and sturdy womanhood. He'd never seen both in one woman before. Clearly the incident had a big impact on him.

Stephanie's Tips for Active Wear

Stephanie is an energetic Canadian who takes consistent precautions to ensure her modest and feminine appearance. She is a missionary teacher who has served in many countries around the world. She loves to play sports such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer. She loves to hike in the mountains. She grew up on a farm doing all the physical work men do. She's never found any of these an excuse for wearing trousers, and she generously shares with us secrets of how she does it whilst remaining modest and feminine.

"First off, I'm a skirt/dress person, so I understand the 'geeky' look of wearing trousers under a skirt. For people who get cold, you wear a longer skirt, then put a pair of comfortable cozy sweats on underneath and roll the legs up to the knees. No one knows you've got anything besides a skirt on. I've had many people come and wonder how I can stand barelegged -- ha! Mind you, if I have sweats to the knees, my legs don't seem to get cold (I have hot feet!!) However, hiking on the beach here, it's VERY windy, and nasty, so my legs DO get cold. So here I try and put my other pants, warm and long with tapered legs (which can't be rolled up), under a long skirt, and then color coded long socks. The pants can be tucked into the socks with only a scarcely visible bulge to them.

"I usually have something under my skirt all year round -- sweats in the winter for warmth, and shorts in the summer. I use shorts as a safety precaution -- I have a tendency to physical upsets. Also, culottes [a divided skirt] are wonderful for biking, hiking, tennis, etc, but if you get into vigorous stuff, a pair of 'biker shorts' or something underneath can keep the modesty surviving.

"I wear a ski suit when I go skiing, but I either wear culottes underneath and remove the ski suit as soon as we get to the lodge, or wear a skirt to and from the lodge, changing at the lodge into long underwear and ski pants for the day's skiing.

"I farm wearing a skirt. I use jeans with a wrap-around jean skirt over it for hay making -- denim is the best material for preventing the straw sticking and pricking you.

"I've water-skiied in t-shirt and culottes over a bathing suit....but long shorts are probably better, as culottes can really hike up when wet. There is a rock wall here which I've tried. My rolled-up sweatpants came down, I hiked the back of my skirt between my legs to the front (kinda like a diaper) for the harness to be buckled on around me, and did the climbing no problem. Finished, took the harness off, and the skirt dropped back down into place. = )

"To be honest, I can hardly think of a thing I haven't or couldn't do with a skirt on -- maybe parachuting might not be good, but otherwise...!! = ) To paraphrase a Bible verse....'Long skirts cover a multitude of sins.' = )

"I've made a lot of my own culottes, but I'm not a good sewer and it's more complicated than a skirt. Something to beware of is the culotte design, because often they looks like a skirt in front but not in back." [Culotte Feature coming shortly to Boutique Narelle.]

Narelle asked Stephanie if she prefered trackpants (sweats) to long-johns (long underwear), and how does she handle all that bulk at her waistline. She replied:

"Yes, sweatpants are much more comfortable to me than long-johns, and cozier. All long-johns I've tried are scratchier, and tight -- sweats give you room to breathe and are fleecy. My sweats/shorts tend not to be exactly at the same spot that my skirtband is, so that doesn't make it feel bulky."

Stephanie finds hot climates difficult, and knowing the Lord constantly leads her into the heat, Narelle asked how she handles the layers in warm conditions. She said:

"If I use shorts, I don't use a slip (petticoat), unless the color is too light and the skirt is see-through, then I'll still throw a slip on, but I don't have many clothes like that, since I don't like slips! To solve this problem, I go with dark solid fabrics, or lightweight fabrics that are heavily patterned. I also tend to use cotton so that it's breathable even in the hot weather, and I'll often use culottes in the summer instead of skirt/shorts." [Ed: Stephanie has a lot of ironing in her basket.]

Horse Riding?

Chara puts on trousers under her long skirt and allows the skirt to hike up behind her when she's riding. It drops back into place when she's on the ground. Stephanie does this too, and declares that the extra padding is helpful!

Top the Trews with a Tunic

Narelle's solution for active wear is the tunic suit, an arrangement of trousers and long top with which she's been experimenting for some time.

Here we have black jeans (The Warehouse), a denim shirt dress (found at SaveMart Recylcled Clothing for about NZ$4), a black t-shirt (The Warehouse), an Australian Akubra hat, and leather lace-up ankle boots (Josef Seibel).

A long-sleeved roll-neck can be worn underneath if it's cold. In the heat, she doesn't need anything under the tunic, and swaps the jeans for lighter weight trousers.

Remember, click on the image to view an enlargement.

This long-sleeved tunic is also adaptable to varying temperatures. In these pictures, the neck is worn open. Roll the sleeves up if it's hot. Add layers underneath if it's cold (i.e. long johns under the trousers, roll-neck top under the tunic).

The tunic is 100% cotton. Originally NZ$26/meter, Narelle got the fabric for half price. It has proved to be worth every cent. It launders easily, is soft but hard wearing, and the light sprig and vibrant colour have drawn many positive comments. She didn't top-stitch the tunic as the pattern suggests, and regretted it once the garment was finished. The seams sit better and the garment looks smarter if it's top-stitched.

The trousers are 100% polyester, need little if any ironing (they certainly handle being in a suitcase without a dent), and drape beautifully. They were hemmed for urbanwear, not for tramping about in mud, but they tuck into gumboots perfectly well.

The corduroy "baker boy" cap was purchased from Ezibuy.

There are a couple of things to beware of when piecing together your long shirt and trousers. Choose a fabric and style that won't encourage the hem to fly up in the wind. I advise against gathered waists or excessive fullness. Go for the shirt dress style, a princess line (see Outfit for Summer Outdoors), or darted A-line with inverted pleats (see B'Ethel's Tuning in the the Tunic Suit) if you need extra movement. If it has buttons down the front, add extra strength to the lower buttons by placing a small piece of interfacing on the fabric where you will stitch the button. An extra layer of interfacing in the buttonhole region won't hurt either.

How do YOU manage sport or farm activities whilst retaining modesty and femininity? Email us at BoutiqueNarelle(at) We'd love to hear your ideas.

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