When I think about fashion and elegance, I imagine a woman from the 1950s, on an airplane, with seamed stockings and a garment belt underneath, a skirt, high heels, and her hair that she's done the night before, perfectly done eyeliner, lipstick, gloves, perhaps, and all this just to sit on an airplane for a transcontinental flight.
Femininity in general is seen as frivolous. People often say feminine people are doing 'the most,' meaning that to don a dress, heels, lipstick and big hair is artifice, fake, and a distraction. But I knew even as a teenager that my femininity was more than just adornments: they were extensions of me, enabling me to express myself and my identity.
I just kind of opened up and said, 'I feel like a rag doll. I have hair and makeup people coming to my house every day and putting me in new, uncomfortable, weird dresses and expensive shoes, and I just shut down and raise my arms up for them to get the dress on, and pout my lips when they need to put the lipstick on.'
We were a family that made our Halloween costumes. Or, more accurately, my mother made them. She took no suggestions or advice. Halloween costumes were her territory. She was the brain behind my brother's winning girl costume, stuffing her own bra with newspapers for him to wear under a cashmere sweater and smearing red lipstick on his lips.
Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength.