My generation has been bombarded with the “me” attitude. We expect our lives to be what we want them to be. We only do what we want to, because if we do not, then we are not being “true” to ourselves. We make material things matter so much to us that they are our main source of definition. Instead of our clothing being a simple outward example of who we are in the inside- our clothing (and various other material goods) speak as to who we want to be (or want others to see us as). I will even go farther. Instead of our clothing being something to simply cover us- it has become something that is easily idolized.
I remember spending a Christmas with relatives where Nike brand socks were given to all the guys. They were good quality gym socks and brand new. One guy in particular said he would never wear them because they displayed the common Nike swoop and that just wasn’t something that “was” him. He ended up giving them to someone else who gladly took free socks. This example sticks with me because it is exactly what comes from this way of thinking. In order to keep appearances, you can only use certain things. You enslave yourself to a worldly idea. Not only that- but you end up putting yourself above others- even when they giving you something. You also miss out on things- in this case free, new gym socks.
In this part of my journey I am actually feeling the freedom from clothing. Like I said earlier, I never considered myself a fashionista or someone too concerned with clothing. But with the lack of money came the lack of shopping. The lack of open television came the lack of commercials. I was put in a place where the only feminine clothing I owned was what I had collected and wore to church, which made my skirts nicer than now-a-days everyday wear. I decided to try something new. The sometimes hard to find jean skirt.
In a jean skirt I can clean house, play with my daughter on the floor, talk to my neighbors, and wear a basic top without clashing. It does not alienate those who are less fortunate than me, because I am practically wearing jeans. In fact, I can use our culture with me on this one. If the average person sees a woman in a plain skirt that is below her knees to them she is either a “conservative” or going to a funeral. I can use that. I have even noticed that if I have a warm countenance, this simple way of dressing actually accentuates what I want to be accentuated. Me. My face. My personality. My heart. But I am not just talking pants and skirts here. I have a pair of pants. That is not the issue. I am talking about wearing your clothing, and not letting it wear you.
I wore a new dress to visit a church while we were vacationing in Florida with my in-laws. When I stood it hit right below my knee. In every way I was comfortable in it and I thought it looked nice for church. I felt fine until I sat down. It was no longer lingering around my knees. It was above them. I was instantly uncomfortable. But not specifically because I was in church. I was uncomfortable because skin was showing where I no longer wanted it to. I fidgeted through the service, pulling it down as I could. I was finally able to go back and change into a longer more comfortable skirt and instantly felt better.
But I noticed something. It wasn’t just this idea of modesty that made my wardrobe change more comfortable. I felt free. I was not worrying about stretch marks or missed hairs. I did not have a care about cellulite or pale white legs. My legs were covered, I was oh so comfortable- and I could do everything I wanted to in this longer skirt. The same goes for tops. Once you let go of the tight, short, low cut top- you stop caring about the color of your bra, the lack of six-pack and your flabby arms. You can look great, modern, and feminine and not deal with the chains of showing off too much. Instead of buying a Stairmaster and diet pills, I can buy clothes that fit and cover well, and that I look good in just the way I am.
So if I am dressing in a way that is practical, modest and simple, I am not telling anyone I am better than them with my attire. And that is what I have been trying to do. The last thing I want is someone not to approach me on the street because of how I look. My own sin nature can do that on it’s own. I can be hard. I can be aloof and quizzical and down right judgmental looking without even thinking about it. I need all the help I can get. And if I am dressing each morning intentionally- as to draw people to me (all types of people) and not push them away – then I am already thinking about how my face looks, and how hard my tone is, and if I am scowling or smiling. And trust me, I have a long way to go.
Please read my ending thoughts on this, HERE.