“Zealotry is often fueled by people working out their psychological wounds.”
Boy, isn’t that the truth.
How we need healing.
“Think about all the ways you are different.”
That makes much more sense to me than trying to pull traits from all the questions on the page. Why didn’t I see that question in the first place? (https://blog.colettehq.com/wardrobe-architect/week-1-making-style-more-personal)
This is a scary question to answer, though. I’ve always feared that my identity is something people will reject.
I am different because I refuse to wear things just because they are trendy. I have to like them. It has to feel like “me.”
I am different because I want to get everything as cheaply as possible, as quickly as possible.
I am different because I want to look modest and feminine.
I am different because I am conservative in everything.
I am different because I am extra sensitive to the way things feel.
I am different because I want people to think I look cute.
I am different because I never want to dye or damage my hair in any way.
I am different because I have really sensitive ears.
I am different because I have high arches that may have fallen, and wide, veiny feet.
I am different because my skin tone is pretty darn neutral, falling slightly on the “cool” side.
I am different because I have bigger thighs, bigger chest, a slim waist, and a tummy pooch from pregnancy.
I am different because my features do not have much contrast in them.
I am different because I am keenly aware of aesthetics.
I am different because I like the fashion of the 40s and 50s.
I am different because I believe in being authentic and kind.
I am different because I get tired of ruts, but I am slow to embrace change.
How has your personal history informed the way you dress? When did your tastes crystallize? Have they changed over the years, and why?
As an awkward teen from a conservative, religious, rural town, I was terrified to dress in anything too immodest. I went the opposite direction and wore very baggy clothes and crewnecks. No one told me to, I just didn’t feel comfortable wearing anything else. And I wore tennis shoes everywhere. My mom actually tried to make me dress cuter. She specifically addressed my tennis shoes and the fact that I never wore spaghetti straps.
As I got older, I went with a bit cuter cuts. It probably had something to do with being given some financial freedom with clothes shopping. Every year, my aunt or my mom would give us a big chunk of money for back-to-school shopping and we’d drive 2 hours to the nearest mall and buy clothes there. Or we’d go to the malls in my aunt’s city, which were more upscale.
I remember falling in love with a pair of off-white/light tan J. Crew pants and the comfort and colors of Gap clothes.
In college, I felt more comfortable in my own skin and started dressing modest-but-cute like all the other girls at my school. I started wearing makeup then, too.
I personally hate change and don’t deal with it well, so when I go shopping, I tend to avoid the trendiest things, because I know in a year or three those things will be “out.” I go for more classic pieces and cuts that will survive many fashion changes. But I like switching things up every once in a while–just not as often as the fashion and advertising companies would like me to.
Being classy is important to me, although at this phase of my life, that’s something I only manage to achieve on Sundays.
How does your philosophy, spirituality, or religion affect your aesthetics and buying
habits? Or, what aspects of those things would you like to see reflected?
Modesty, beauty, color, aesthetic appreciation, femininity, but doesn’t value body over mind. Also, I don’t want to idolize fashion or my appearance or people’s opinions of me. But that’s really hard.
How has your cultural background shaped the way you look? How did the aesthetics
and values you grew up with affect your tastes as you got older?
I grew up in a rural, white, conservative area. So lots of “country” themed things. As a result, I still like plaid, denim, cotton, gingham, and lace–but I don’t like cowboy boots or cowboy hats or bandannas or fringe or overly bedazzled clothing (gag).
My mom likes glitz. I adopted that when I was younger. As I got older, I realized I really didn’t care for the over-the-top sparkles and glitz or giant flowers. Or giant anything. I like subtlety better. But I do still like hints of sparkle or glitter or shimmer or shine. Anything that plays with the light…Subtly.
I learned early on that I hate polyester. In my hometown the summers were 85-100 degrees from May until September. Polyester clothes were the cheapest available clothes and I figured out that polyester is awful for hot weather. Or when you get hot and sweaty just from running around a lot.
I also figured out that I should avoid shirts that fit up into my armpit, unless I want everyone to see how much I sweat. :Z
How are you influenced by the people around you, including friends, family, and other
communities you’re involved in?
The city I lived in for 8 years is young and trendy, but they also put their own spin on things. Now I live in a city that is like a bigger-population version of my hometown.
I go to a conservative church now with a mix of ideas about Biblical mandates on appearance. Some of them don’t wear makeup or dress fashionably, but some of them are very stylish.
How do your day to day activities influence your choices?
I’m a mom of two very young kids.
Does the place you live inform the way you dress? How does climate factor in?
I live in a place with seasons. Fairly warm, dry summer, perfect-weather fall, cold, wet winter and slightly less cold, and still wet spring. It bugs me to no end that fashion is based on a southern California climate! I can’t wear half that stuff in the winter and definitely not the spring.
That’s about the summation of my thoughts when I walked into my house today after a breakfast date with my husband, courtesy of a family from church.
Apparently the breakfast date was part of a plan to bless me by cleaning my entire house as a surprise.
How do you feel about your house? Do you hold secret shame about your pack-rat tendencies, handed down for 3 generations? Do you always hear yourself saying, “If I could just declutter, this place wouldn’t be such a wreck”? Do you feel overwhelmed by the state of your house as you just try to survive daily life? Do you say, “If I could just stop hanging onto the past, I could get rid of all these things”? Do you remember the panic in your house growing up, rushing around trying to make a place look presentable, whenever someone was going to come over, which as almost never, because letting anyone come over was too guilt-inducing?
Imagine you are all of those things, you are a young adult woman trying very hard to break the hold of All That Stuff, you are starting to get on top of it, and then you are slammed with postpartum anxiety and depression and a baby who doesn’t sleep well. You’re just barely scraping by, but every day you look at the growing chaos in your home and face your actual inability to do anything about it. Then imagine a group of people, out of the sheer spirit of Christ-given generosity within them, and completely unbeknownst to you, comes and cleans your house while you’re out on a date. And you come home to that.
I was so shocked that I just walked around my house speechless for a good 10 minutes, and then I just sat in the rocking chair in my baby’s freshly picked-up room and took it all in. There just aren’t words to describe. I’m going to be processing this deep, deep down for a long time. I’ll get back to you in a year about it…
Soaking myself in gospel-centered books (like “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full” that I have been reading lately) is helping teach me to look at my life through a gospel lens.
Last night around 4 AM, as I was trying to get back to sleep, letting thoughts spin around in my head, this thought occurred to me–really, a perspective change, a rearranging of ideas that I needed: How can my particular kind of suffering act as vessel for God’s redemptive work to shine through?
It really stopped me in my tracks. I obviously haven’t been doing a good job of shining lately in my particular circumstances.
But then again, that’s the point.
Where does God OUTshine me in this? That is really the question I should be asking–for ALL of life that goes wrong. How does God outshine this? How does the person of God shine out against the background of our circumstances? How or why or where can we place our hope in Him instead of in our circumstances?
Trying out some of my 4 AM thinking–this is going to take some practice.
Tonight as I listen to the sound of my overtired, refluxy baby as my husband holds him, I remember that God holds us in our storms, too.
That’s the best I got.
Careers I Could’ve Pursued If I’d Only Known:
I was a florist before I was a stay-at-home mom. I’m so glad I got a chance to do something creative like that. Maybe one day I’ll go back.