June 03, 2016

Lesson 231: A Year After Getting Rid of All the Clothes

It's been a year since sharing my magnus opus of fashion in blog form and then, ahh, succumbing myself to posting pictures of me wearing clothes. All very strange!

Since then, there's been no talk of fashion on here for two reasons. 1. It's not like I post regularly anyway. But also, 2. I haven't thought about clothes much this year.

Translation: the concept worked.

After devoting a week or so, thinking intentionally about the clothes I own and how they work together in multiple ways, I spent the rest of the summer, well, wearing them. Occasionally, I'd think of something revolutionary that would inject life and love into the rotation, like white denim or a leather tote, and I'd confidently make the purchase and quickly begin wearing said garment.

It's been fun and frankly, stress-free.

Soon after posting my own content on a paired down wardrobe, my favorite blogger and inspiration gave up blogging for the year. She felt she had said her message and was ready to do something new. In that time, she loosened up her own standards, allowing the capsule wardrobe to work for her life, growing and shrinking as needed.

Currently, she's blogging again, having moved in the direction of ethical fashion (which if you follow any of this stuff is a natural progression) and in a recent post, she reflected. 

Even though capsule wardrobes got super trendy last year (almost a little too trendy, if I’m allowed to say that), I’m still fascinated by them.
Creating a strong style concept through a small, thoughtful collection of clothes? I don’t know why, but I love it.
I learned so much about my style and myself from my capsule experiment, and I’ve been wanting to explore the concept in a less structured way — something practical that honors the heart of it while being free to flow as life changes.
Her thoughts got me thinking about the whole idea of capsule wardrobes and pairing down one's wardrobe, and I've concluded that serious thought, cleaning out, and purposeful purchasing are practices that are especially useful for women going through life transitions. It's beneficial for graduating college students to rework their wardrobes as they move into a life of full-fledged adulthood. The way they spend their time changes, and so their clothing needs naturally change as well. A similar transition occurs as a young woman moves into motherhood. It's a strange time in numerous ways, a strangeness that is amplified by feeling uncomfortable in one's entire set of clothing. Such emotional and situational changes occur every five to ten years. Life looks different. I mean y'all, 30 was a big deal!

At times like this, a new shirt simply doesn't cut it.

Hard-lined clean-out is most beneficial during these times of transition. Get rid of everything associated with the old life patterns and attitudes. Think freshly about the adventures and trials ahead.

And get fitted for it.

Pairing down and thinking strategically allows the space to identify real needs, and then to slowly and wisely meet them.

But this summer, my life looks a lot like it did last summer. I spend time with the same people, frequent the same places, and do the same activities. I don't need a whole new set of clothes. The ones I have, the ones I bought for this particular season of life, are working out great!

I still vaguely am following the trends, and am considering, very hesitantly the move back to wider leg pants. I'm more interested in black than I have been in a while, and it's officially the color of my toes this season.

I took the plunge and bought a high waisted bathing suit.

But these are all just small details. (Ones I'm sure many of you are rolling your eyes at.)

For the most part, I'm just wearing what I'm wearing. And it's working. No purging this summer. No shopping sprees this summer. Just life.

Lesson Learned: Perhaps "the capsule wardrobe" reboot is more of a life-stage change event than an annual habit.

April 25, 2016

Lesson 230: These Senior Girls (Heart Emoji)

For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about feminism lately. It could be the seemingly unending search to find the roots of the perfectionism phenomenon taking out my generation of mamas. It could be that a book I recently read pointed out the correlation between the increased prominence of women in society and the importance of the kitchen. Think about the woman's movement and home trends through the decades. Our kitchens just keep getting bigger!

It could be Hilary. 

Regardless, last night when RUF at Winthrop celebrated our graduating seniors, I couldn't help but think about feminism, which honestly is kind of annoying. Let me explain. 

I sat looking around the room at a group of truly beautiful women, all dressed up, glowing really. They were smiling and chatting, taking pictures together, giving hugs and making sad faces about leaving each other, but also possessing an inward assurance that it was time to move on. As hard as leaving is, they are ready for what is next. They're prepared.

And though their talk included the standard "I don't know what I'm going to do when I graduate" line, the tone didn't carry anxiety as much as anticipation. (Though some anxiety for sure.)

During the speeches, where we all get to say the wonderful and embarrassing contributions each has made to the ministry, I was overcome for a moment by the incredible femininity that was represented in our group. 

Seeing them together, collected as a set, I was amazed by how perfectly this group represents everything good that's come from the feminist movement. The parts of the dialogue that ultimately reflect Scripture and the ways in which the Lord, our creator, sees his beloved daughters. 

These women are smart and strong and beautiful. They are quiet and calm, they are energetic and powerful. They can command a room, gather a crowd, welcome outsiders in large ways. They are slow to speak, but quick to listen. They are faithful, loving friends. They desire to know the Lord in sweeter ways, to study his Word, and they are blown away by the truth they find. They tell their stories to each other, weep together, and pray. They create art that so perfectly captures the complexity of life that it makes you cry. They are funny, in sophisticated and playful ways. They care deeply for children and for education, and they are good at what they do. They're humble and willing and open. They are not afraid. 

And they are all so different from each other. 

As I sat and thought about the ways I've grown from knowing each of our seniors, I was struck that the important thoughts I had about one student were different than the ones I had concerning another. I loved each for the person she is and the gifts she brought to our group. 

I didn't expect the introvert, kind soul to stand up front and pray for the masses. I wasn't sad that our natural gatherer wasn't moving sound equipment for the music team. I was grateful for their differences and within the microcosm of our little ministry, I could see so clearly why they were all essential. 

I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the various manifestations of the Lord's grace in these women, and I was so excited to envision the ways they would love and serve him throughout the course of their lives in the church. 

And it made me think of my sweet friends, ten years ahead of this group, with our thoughts of perfectionism and our anxiety about doing everything as well as everyone else. 

And I just thought, y'all, we need to relax. I need to relax. 

We're not called to all be the same. We're called to bring what we have and to gratefully offer it up to the Lord for his use. And to rest in his goodness. 

And to be grateful, because we are loved. 

Lesson Learned: "As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "Truly I tell you," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." - Luke 21:1-4

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