Picture from Tumblr.
I am fond of shirtwwaists. I grew up when they were popular and made many when in school. I made several dressier variations called coat dresses. They were great for church and special occasions, i.e., Mom graduating fom college with an M.Ed., brother graduating from High School. We wore DRESSES in those days. No woman in her right mind went to most functions in anything other than a decent looking dress, suit, or a coat over a nice dress, and with heels. The men were dressed up, too. People had a sense of respect for occasions and people. They wanted to present themselves clean, neat, orderly, and dressed for the occasion.
I like to see the forties and fifties pictures of families where the mother is dressed femininely and looks graceful.
One of the great misconceptions of this era (40s and 50s) seems to be the size of the waist. The waists seemed to be quite small on most patterns and pictures. I remember that women wore dresses that were nipped in at the waist but it looked comfortable. They might have had waists that were smaller then than what we sport now. I believe what we eat and how we wear our clothes determines how much waist we have. If we don't wear anything that fits close to our waist it seems that we are not conscious of our midsection as most styles tends to hide it and we aren't noticing that something gets tighter around our waist when we have let our restraints go.
We do desire to have a femininely-looking figure yet modestly attired and covered, i.e. meaning not tight fitting, not a lot of flesh showing (wide, low necklines, bare arms, leg above the knee--you could almost ask a non-Christian what a Christian lady should dress like and get some interesting answers!). One could get legalistic, but it boils down to "whom do I dress to please", and "why do I want to wear this ___?" At any rate, our clothing should glorify the Lord as He has provided the means for us to get our clothing.
I have found a few more shirtwaists dresses I would like to sew.