Today, March 8 is International Women's Day. Originally started as a Socialist political event, the holiday made a point of celebrating the achievements and struggles of women. For me, it's also a celebration of 'flounce.' One hundred years ago when the holiday was started, women were just beginning to show the world just what they can do, stepping into careers previously dominated by men, and doing it all in a flouncy flourish. They were called 'flappers,' and they put on hats and pearls just as easily as they did their jobs at the factories. All that flounce that the women wore on their dresses symbolized the creativity and great attention to detail that only women can do. It is also such a potent reminder that underneath all those ruffles were creatures of substance, women who were becoming more educated, speaking and thinking more freely than ever before, and working outside the home while raising a family.
Here's an excerpt from a 1923 edition of Ladies Home Journal:
"There are two other features to make this model a favorite, and they are the tiny bows and the two half flounces which are only in the front. These flounces are shirred to a band, placed one above the other like little aprons, and attached to the sides."
Lately, the flounces have been making a big comeback. Off-the-rack tops and dresses are more feminine and be-ruffled than ever. The Oscar fashions of last night showed that it is indeed back, big time. Colorful, ruffly dresses were everywhere. More importantly, Barbra Streisand said, "It's about time," and Kathryn Bigelow, became the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar award for her movie, "The Hurt Locker."
So, Happy International Women's Day to all the women out there. What I would like to celebrate about women is our ability to add the 'flounce' to life. I think the genius of the feminine is the way we all roll up our sleeves and do the job, while not forgetting the flourishes that make life fun and beautiful. These days, women's flounces are smaller and often don't make a daily appearance. The flounce of today is sometimes just a concept, an ideal, that one of the greatest things about being female is that we are naturally attuned to creating a world that is substantial but nevertheless beautiful.
Pillow at top of page: Ruffles pillow, $29.95, Pier 1, left, Grace pillow, $49.95, Z Gallerie, bottom left, Diller pillow, $49.95, Z Gallerie, bottom right, Bianca pillows, $49.95, Z Gallerie.