Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hidden Art: Chapter Twelve


What a strange topic for a "hidden art" chapter! I'm embarrassed to say my first thought was, "What's artistic about clothes?" Of course, that's silly. It's just that fashion is not my forte. I've struggled with this in the past few years. Are only shallow women interested in fashion? Isn't it a waste of time and money to focus on something so changeable, so futile, so ... worldly?

It's a case of "what I'm not interested in, is easy to criticize." Some fellow bloggy ladies have helped me to realize that I should take more interest in what I wear, dedicate at least a dozen brain cells to looking attractive, and not always buy things a size or two too big. Honestly, I have trouble yanking myself away from shopping at the local thrift store. After a few years of that, I find it nearly impossible to pay more than $2 for anything. Sheesh!

Two points from this chapter hit me:

#1 -- God compares how He clothes us, to wildflowers in a field. Remember that passage? So, our clothing should be beautiful. Colorful. Extremely varied. It should smell delightful. It should have lovely texture. It's the emphasis on color and variety that got me -- you mean I need to expand beyond my wardrobe of black, gray, and a splash of white? I need to realize that variety is intrinsic to beauty?

#2 -- Dress appropriately for where God has planted you for ministry. For us, it's a very casual coastal town. The first time Adam met his church elder to go visiting people, the elder looked at Adam's khaki pants and said, "Pastor, you're over-dressed." In Pamlico County (and particularly Oriental) shorts are the name-of-the-game. I no longer own a dress. I rarely wear my skirts. Casual attire is what helps you "fit in." As a pastor's wife, I have a fine line to walk. Do I wear tank tops? Yes, but they have to be modest. Lots of ladies here wear the tiny-strap tanks without bras. Mini-shorts. Mini-skirts. It's for me to decide where "fitting in" must bow to a sense of modesty.

And then there's the two ever-looming obstacles to my clothing situation:  Money and Size. I don't have the funds to do much shopping. (Which is nice, because I don't much like shopping.) But the dislike of shopping is probably related to the fact that I'm large, and (for those who don't know this) shopping is depressing for large women. It just is. It seems that variety is celebrated ... as long as it's a size 14 and under.

Tonight I'm going to town to shop for a mid-summer, on-sale bathing suit. Bathing suit shopping is something I attempt each year. Successful bathing suit shopping (in which a suit is actually purchased) occurs only once every few years. This must be the year because my suits are worn out and I'm down to the Last One. I'm doing water aerobics three times weekly, and it's only a matter of time before the elastic in this last suit cries "UNCLE!!!" When I lived in the mountains, I really didn't need a bathing suit. Now that I'm on the coast, with beaches and pools and friends who want me to swim ... having a couple of good swim suits is also part of fitting in.

A few of the suits at JC Penney online that caught my eye --
Clothing! Will we be shed of it on the New Earth? Is clothing only a by-product of Adam's and Eve's sin? Is it merely utilitarian? If clothing is also beautiful, creative, lovely, appealing ... then I think we'll dress ourselves on the New Earth, if only because we enjoy it.

(Other posts on this chapter can be found at Cindy's Ordo Amoris blog.)


  1. I just got caught up on your Hidden Art posts. I am woefully behind in the book study, but I am just not going to worry about it. I do like how you think though because I agree with you. Haha. I am in that point of life where I am struggling how to dress...approaching 50 and not feeling young but not wanting to be old. And I don't like how much culture probably dictates my ways I don't even realize. I am not as content about this subject in my life as I would like to be.

  2. I, too, struggle in this area. (I struggle so much that I didn't even write about it!). I enjoyed your post, anyway. :)

  3. It's a little harder to look nice, the older one gets. I think it's true for men, too. And M.K., in my opinion I think it's even harder if you have to be ultra casual! I'm quite a bit older than you ladies, and it's a struggle every day, trying to keep these principles and realities in balance. I'm sure I'm out of whack on this issue!

  4. After a long hiatus, for some reason this past year or two I've gotten reinterested in clothes. While I do have a good eye at the thrift store, sewing my clothes has become a creative outlet for me (and also for my daughter). Despite all the trial and error, it's somehow liberating to THINK of something and then MAKE it, and make it to fit my particular body with all its foibles. I'm aware of the shallow side of it too, but life is full of stress and hardships for most of us, so a "merry heart" in dressing can be a little tonic:)

    I like all the bathing suits you've chosen!

  5. I agree about the dearth of nice clothes in plus sizes.

    It is hard sometimes to balance style and appropriateness but I agree modesty is the higher principle.

  6. I am a plus-sized gal, and I agree that it is harder to find great clothes. The ratio of "try it on and hate it" to "try it on and like it enough to buy it" is probably something like 25 to 1! It's either not flattering, not modest, not my price. I keep trying though...

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful and candid evaluations of each chapter in this book club.

  7. Thanks, ladies!! Just wanted you all to know that I did have SWIM SUIT SUCCESS when I went to TJ Maxx. Their suits were very reasonable, comparatively speaking, and give good support and are attractive. To you plus-size gals, keep trying! Go shopping with you have time, a feeling of leisure, and are willing to try on things. I can never, ever shop in a rush.

  8. Congratulations on the successful shopping trip! I know how stressful and potentially traumatic swimsuit shopping is.
    Enjoyed your post on Clothing. I'm looking at my wardrobe these days, trying to make decision about how to defrump it. It's an overwhelming task, but it will encourage my husband and give me a little pick me up.
    Your thoughts on this chapter encouraged me - thanks!


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