The Stepford Wives Dressing Page
Most women dress to please each other, hoping to garner approval based on the latest trend and an unwritten code for style. The charm of a Stepford wife is in how she dresses to please her husband. While she should aim for a balance between feminine modesty and an excitement in the male gaze, the home is a perfect place to dress as one's husband pleases, far from the prying eyes of the public.
A misconception about the "uniform" of the Stepford wife was propagated by director Bryan Forbes in his 1975 movie version of Ira Levin's book. While the original Stepford wives dressed in tight sweaters and skirts, Forbes reformulated the wardrobe into frumpy Victorian-style frocks in order to hide his wife, actress Nanette Newman's figure. Nowadays, dressing like a Stepford wife conjures up images of homely women in flower-print shapeless dresses that go all the way to the floor.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Remember that the essence of a Stepford wife, first and foremost, is to appear pleasing to the male gaze. Therefore, a good physique, wrapped expertly, becomes a gift waiting to be opened behind the privacy of closed doors. So before you continue, remember the golden rule: Diet constantly, as the rewards of a frail body will not only accentuate the feminine helplessness, but also the fashion sketch lines in the silhouette that men love.
Though we have mentioned in past entries that there isn't a particular dress code to the Stepford housewife, we girls do cherish certain styles and symbols in our daily outfits. We start with a simple theme: "Daddy's little girl." And we build from there.
"Daddy's little girl" brings us back to the time of our childhood, when we are seen as unmarried little girls who were well-behaved and obedient to the male heads of our households. It also reminds us to remain pure and true to our calling as wives. As being less learned and knowledgeable as our husbands, dressing with little girl motifs also displays to our husbands that we are wives playing house in our little homes, taking care of our men. It's a gentle reminder for them to talk simply to us when explaining the complicated matters in their world.
While wearing ribbons, bows, ruffles, and lace (only one or two at a time please and not altogether at once!) enhances our delicate side, it also establishes an appearance that takes constant work and maintenance to upkeep. These are things that show our men that we make that extra effort to appear decorative while pleasing them at all times. And they sure do appreciate that!
The bow blouse (or in more traditional 1950s style, the bowed suit) combined with a suit, or worn alone is a signature piece in the Stepford wardrobe. Not to be confused with the "pussy bow" blouse, which has an unusually large bow and was characteristically worn during the 1980s, the Stepford bow consists of a neat bow, tied specifically as one would a traditional ribbon bow on a present.
The signature Stepford bow should be preferably white or solid light colors, worn with modest daywear styles that cover up your body when out and about. This simultaneously hints that we are gifts that await to be unwrapped, but only in the privacy of our homes, behind close doors, at the disposal only, of our husbands.
Furthermore, the bow enhances the Stepford wife's role as one that is purely decorative: to complete a man's look at the side of his arm but otherwise, utterly useless when away from the home.
One of the questions we get asked most often is about the Stepford Wives dress code.
Guess what girls? There is none!
The Stepford mindframe is an emotional attainment. You can dress any way your husband wants you to, and still serve him, or you can dress in floral prints- which by the way, was an intervention by director Bryan Forbes to hide his wife Nanette Newman's less-than-spectacular body in 1975's Stepford Wife - and still fail to be the little domestic goddess in pleasing your husband. For those of you who have read Ira Levin's novel, the original Stepford Wives outfit is tight, sexy, and appeals to the male gaze. (Take a look at the woman (black and white outfit) standing behind Peter Masterson and Katharine Ross at the supermarket checkout counter in the 1975 movie: that is how the Stepford wives in Levin's novel was suppose to dress like.
Bree Hodge (Van de Kamp) of Desperate Housewives is often regarded as the Stepford Wife to the new generation of tv viewers. But even though we approve of her conservative and well-turned out style, it is by no means the authoritative last word. There are no specific rules, though our rule of thumb here at the organization is that if it looks as if no average woman would have the time to put the look together, it's a keeper!
For example, one of our girls, Liz has a husband who greatly enjoys air travel. Although Matthew does construction work and seldom goes on flights, he has a love of being attended to by pretty, cheery stewardesses since childhood. Before Liz met Matthew, she was on a meteoric rise to becoming a senior VP at a financial firm in downtown Manhattan. Now to please Matthew was a full time job, and Liz felt that treating her husband like a king was something that had to be performed with excellence. So, she asked Matthew's permission to opt out with an early retirement and return to their home full time. Liz noticed that her business suits closely resembled the tailoring of stewardesses' uniforms, especially those belonging to airlines outside of the U.S. She brought her most expensive executive skirt suits to her tailor to have the darts taken in so that the silhouette became more form fitting.
Matthew just loved the idea. He was so enchanted the first day he came home to find Liz at the door, dressed like a CEO, a power broker at a Fortune 100 company, giving him a big hug and a kiss, followed by the hanging of his jacket and kneeling down to untie his dusty work boots. Just the thought that here was a young woman - who could have been making landmark decisions on international holdings- giving up her phenomenal ascent in the business world just to make attending to his needs her #1 account, fortified his masculine pride. In Matthew's eyes, the fact that his personal comfort and gratification was above the success of her career, the fact that his incidental happiness decimated her entire professional future, and pulled her away from the reaches of being a powerful, liberated modern woman made him feel like a man in full.
Liz's resume now contains only one career goal, and that is the success in the business of attending to Matthew.
We girls at Stepford cooed at the thought that Matthew's male entitlement controlled the fate of Liz's destiny and ultimately put an end to her formidable stature in a man's world. Where departmental officers and investment managers once did her bidding, Liz now rushes enthusiastically to Matthew's side when he whistles for her or snaps his fingers - awaiting eagerly to carry out her biological boss's orders. It's a man's right to put his wife back in the home, to empower her with the privilege to be at his beck and call. And we girls at Stepford sure do support that!
Ever wondered why the most lavish lingerie is bought and worn (only once) for a wedding's honeymoon night? Sure, it may last for several weeks, but eventually couples fall into practicality, opting for comfort and a good night's sleep versus the high maintenance of dressing sexy at bedtime.
Men are limited in what they can wear to bed, but not so, for the diligent Stepford wife. While it is true that bedtime is a time for night creams, leave-in conditioners, and assorted skin improvement practices, a Stepford wife should always dress sexy to welcome her man to bed. While any place any time is the mantra of the unceasingly available Stepford wife, she should make sure that the bedroom is especially inviting to her man after a day out in the harsh world.
The girdle was around since the early 20th century. Garter belts, a shortening of the girdle design came around the 20s. It was a lingerie that was worn by girls who were in better shape. Because they did not need the body-flattering enhancement offered by the girdle, the garter belt was the primary domain of women who were fit. Needless to say, women in shape and in garter belts soon took imagination of men by storm. They were featured on pinups, calendars, posters, and on the sides of American bombers and fighter planes. The garter belt is essentially associated with the male fantasy, even though girls-on-the-go initially wore it as a less constricting alternative to the girdle. Today, the garter belt continues to be featured on spreads and photos in male magazines such as FHM and Maxim. Therefore, if there's one indispensable piece in a Stepford wife's bedroom wardrobe, it should undoubtedly be the garter belt.
Wear yours with a non-elastic top thigh hi stockings (many modern thigh hi stockings have a sure-grip band at the top, making them difficult to use with a garter belt's fasteners) such as the ones in the vintage era. You can wear them comfortably to bed with matching panties. The Stepford Wives Organization recommends you try wearing them without panties occasionally, to entice your husband to help himself if he's in need and you happen to be asleep.
It's also fun to wear a full garter belt ensemble and greet your hubbie at the door with a martini at the end of his workday.
Stepfordwives.org recommends you to switch between lingerie styles, always remembering to keep it tasteful and never stray into gaudiness. Whatever you decide on, just make sure that allure always take priority over comfort. Pleasing our men should be our first concern, and there's no better place to do it than in the bedroom.
This site was last updated on April 14, 2015 4:23 pm EST.
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Stepfordwives Organization is not a public organization. It does not seek to convert nor encourage how people should behave outside our community. We do NOT take donations, collect any information or funds. We are NOT an introductory service and we do NOT provide any matchmaking assistance . We are a group of women who document our way of life and try to share our information with like-minded people. The term "Stepford" is utlized at Stepfordwives.org / Stepfordwife.com as a trope and cultural idiom, and bares no relation to any fictional character(s) or fictional works. Any similarities in name are incidental and are not representative of individuals who are not associated with our organization.