Thursday, April 10, 2008

Clothing: All my thoughts hung out on the line!

Ok, sorry for the pun! I couldn't resist! I've been thinking recently about clothing. And, about how it reflects on who I am: my personality, my values. But, this is an area I struggle with. I'm not really good at fashion - and shopping takes time which is a precious commodity to everyone.

Mrs. Wilt has been talking a lot about modesty lately. And, while I am definitely looking for clothing that is modest, I'm having a harder time finding clothing that I think reflects my personality. Some of the colors and styles I saw at the mall this week just won't work for me!

I find that I often settle for something I don't love or doesn't look super on me because I have to have something or just don't think I have the time to keep looking.

I'm sure that we all could name at least one way we think we are hard to fit - who goes in and just finds the perfect thing quickly that fits great, is flattering and a good style right off?!

I am not an advocate of comparing ourselves to others. But, when I was out with my littles one day last week at lunch - a bunch of moms came in from a Bible Study. I quickly noticed how they were dressed and how I felt, um, under dressed or under styled. Now, I am not saying this because I think I need to go out and spend tons of money on a super fashionable wardrobe. But, what I noticed about how they were dressed is that their clothing was so suited to each one of them. A couple of them I already knew by face/name and I was just really impressed by all the different clothing choices and how they were really fitting for each of the ladies. Their clothing added to who they were by the colors that looked good on them or a style that was flattering (lest you think they were all in perfectly coordinated outfits, one mom was wearing jeans and a t-shirt - but it still looked great!) I certainly could not have said that about myself that day.

All of this got me to thinking - why am I not more intentional about my clothing? Why do I settle for something less than best? And, so I am purposing to be more careful about my purchases making sure that they fit my criteria.

What is my criteria?
* Modest
* Feminine
* Comfortable
* Flattering color and style (I like the vintage look, I know - big surprise! But, I find that I'm occasionally drawn to other things as well - a variety is fine!)
* Affordable

Now, while I am looking for clothing that is affordable, I will say that I do think there will come a time where paying a little more would be worth it. When clothing that fits all of the above is hard to find - sometimes it will be worth paying a bit more to achieve these goals.

I'd love to hear from you on this!

Where do you purchase your clothing? I'm really interested in learning about new sources because the traditional department store often isn't my style. I love this one that Mrs. Wilt shared!

Do you have your clothing altered to fit when you find something you like? For someone petite like me where even petites are too long waisted, I have had things altered in the past but it has been a long time. Maybe I should revisit this.

What are your standards or criteria when looking for clothing?

My Mom was just telling me about a lady in their city who does personal shopping. She takes into account your size, colors, style and goes shopping for you. All you have to do is go to the dressing room and try on what she has picked out to make decisions. Seriously, that sounds like it would be worth doing at least once, think of all you could learn from an experience like this! Have any of you ever tried this?

Any ideas on developing our own sense of fashion? What is right for our personality, body size, budget, colors, etc...

Ok, please share all the scoop on how you choose clothing. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In addition to everything mentioned above, I know that the way I dress reflects on my husband, sets an example (positive or negative) for my children, and ultimately may affect someone's opinion of Christ. This is certainly not an area to be taken lightly!

52 comments:

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I beleive we have all probably felt this way!

I agree that it is sometimes worth the extra money to buy something you love. I mean what is the point of buying $1 shirts at a thrift store if you really don't love them and they sit in your closet.

I like things that are comforable. I love capri pants! I will be sad once they are out of style. I am short, 5 foot, so I love that they don't have the be shortened. I do alter my clothes. Mainly the length.

I shop the clearance racks at Kohl's most often. I find things to fit my budget and style.

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

I agree with everything you have said. And I find that after I have children it is harder to keep my "style" because my body changes and I have less time to shop for my "new" one:)

But I am petite too. Not petite in weight but in height. I am just 5'3". I have found that Kohls department stores carries great jeans and pants for my size in their Sonama brand. They fit well and are stylish.So I get their jeans and pants. And sometimes Old Navy will have pants that work well for me in in their short which is their petites. But not always.

And I like to shop the juniors department for shirts, not the misses. I just have to be really careful about what cut the shirt is as to stay modest too. Sometimes just adding a tank top under a shirt that is lower cut works.

I sure don't have this figured out myself, but I too have put some thought into looking nice. My husband desires to be a pastor someday so I know I need to set a good example.

Here's praying that the Lord guides you in this.

angela said...

Monica,
Here is yet another place where you & I are very similar. I am far from in fashion. I don't take the time to shop and I just hate parting with the money. I am even shorter than you and struggle with finding things to fit properly. My tips to share are:
1)even though we've never had tons of money, my mother always told me if fits and looks good, get it, because it might not be there later. (This attitude was only because of my hard to fit size)
2) In my adults years, I have decided that I would far rather spend money on good quality well fitting clothes, and have less of them, then buy cheap unflattering clothes and have a ton of them.
3) Take a friend shopping who will be honest. My friend Carrie, is a shopper. This woman has more clothes than anyone I know. And she is a bargain hunter. When we go shopping together, she'll find me good deals, she'll make me try things that I normally wouldn't pick and she'll be honest about how they look. And it's fun shopping with a friend.
4) We live in a very rural area, so I don't have a lot of stores to chose from, but I find that LL Bean, Kohl's & Petite Sophisticate carry the small petite sizes.
5) Find a seamstress and make her your friend.
Good luck. You've made me want to make a date with Carrie and go shopping.
Angela

Katy said...

I like to shop mostly at Ross or TJMaxx or even sometimes at Walmart and Goodwill. I am very much about modesty. I usually don't buy the things I like the most...cuz they are usually too expensive or just don't fit me right (I have some weight to lose since having children). I am at home the majority of the time...so jeans and a shirt are what I typically wear. I would like to get some nicer clothes as well.

Mrs. Hurzeler said...

YES!! You absolutely hit the nail on the head with how I often feel. Although for me it is hard for me to find clothes because I am quite an ample lady, ok, I am big. :-) And of course modesty and money is very important. I have never had style though, because growing up money was just stretched far enough for the basics. I am excited though to someday see you and all the other ladies discover their sense of style.

Marianna said...

I know what it's like to feel like you don't love your clothes. I often settle because I have a horrible time finding modest clothes and clothes that aren't too trendy. I'm tall, so I have the opposite problem; everything I find is too short...

Old Navy sometimes has modest clothes at a decent price, but I have to weed through the immodest ones. I love the Old Navy Outlet in Myrtle Beach, but I've only been once. I bought two skirts that I loved and hit me below the knee, which is a requirement when I shop for skirts now. I shop online at Old Navy because they have better sales online than they do in the stores. Just last week the store had nothing on sale, but I found a ton online...

I like the Christa Taylor website too. I guess you saw the clearance section, but the bummer is that you can't return anything from that section. If I weren't pregnant right now, I would buy one of their dresses from the top row because I really like them!

Lastly, someone who has always picked out cute clothes for me is my mom, and I know she would take you shopping if you asked. Now that I'm gone she would love it! Seriously...

Rebecca said...

Hi Monica,
I have had so many of the same thoughts - but have found it hard to adjust between "normal" and "maternity" in the past few years. I find that I resist spending a lot on clothes because I know that my body size is going to change yet once again.

I have also had exactly the same thoughts about myself as I observe other moms. And the whole bringing glory and honor to your husband thing - you hit the nail on the head.

However, Hubs has taught me some valuable things in this area. He only buys clothes once a year - and what he buys is quality (and more pricey)!!! At first, it was really a struggle for me as he could "allow" himself to spend so much for himself. But, as time has progressed, I see how valuable this is. First of all, his clothes last and he always looks professional and well taken care of. Second, he is motivated to take care of them because he has invested in them. Even when it comes to laundry I take special care and note when doing his clothes - because I know his clothes require special care in order to keep their quality. I just think that the mindset concerning his wardrobe and mind is so different!

Now don't think that he gets clothes and fun things and I don't - he has encouraged me over and over to go and do the same - however, I really have such a hard time paying full price, finding the time, and finding what works for me. I have found that when I shop I need to have a second opinion - and a second pair of hands to bring me stuff while in the dressing room. (Let's go shopping friend!!! I wish we were closer!!!) I often just give up because I don't want to undress and get back out there only to go through it all again.

One resource that I have liked is big mama's (thebigmamablog.com) Fashion Friday posts. She is a SAHM who offers tips and what-not. Her opinions and suggestions have helped me get out of my rag-a-muffin mindset and see what's out there these days.

Okay - I think that's it!
Rebecca:)

Michele@Philoxenos said...

I like Lands End. I'm not a fashion conscious person at all and I find their clothes are classic. They are expensive (In my opinion) but they have great stuff on clearance. I bought a casual shirt from them about twelve years ago, when I was in college, and I still have it! Hasn't faded a bit, even with hanging it out to dry. Just before Easter I bought four shirts, different colours, and those are going to be my summer wardrobe. Paired with four pairs of capris I bought last year at Target, and some new flipflops from Old Navy and I'm done :)

D'Rae said...

I wear only skirts & dresses. I find my stuff at Target, Old Navy, sometimes Walmart, Gap etc. I buy a lot of stuff off of ebay as well as online stores. Downeast basics (www.downeastbasics.com) have a lot of afforadble modest clothes as well.

I have a few skirts that I loved the color, but they may be an inch too short for me. I still wear them, but I don't really feel comfy in them.

I also post my daily outfits on my blog if you would like to check them out.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

I've been thinking about this kind of thing lately too. It's been tricky to make the transition from working some to not working at all. I'm just not happy if I go around dressed like I don't care.

The best book for colors I have found is Color Me Beautiful. It's a little old, but very good. It has definitely been simplifying my clothes purchasing - I can now zip right by the things that clearly aren't right. I reviewed it here: http://joyoffrugalliving.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-review-color-me-beautifuls-looking.html

Anonymous said...

I will love to read the comments on this Monica!! I feel so frumpy sometimes and certainly stuck in a rut with my clothing. Being pregnant doesn't help much either!! I love places like Goodwill but as anyone knows its rather hit or miss there. I don't love all the eighties style clothes out there much, tight leg pants, anyone??
I am loving prairie style skirts lately.
Elise

Erica said...

I've been in this same boat for quite some time. I'm thin, but tall. If I want something long sleeved I have to buy way larger than my size just to get them long enough. I can't wear anything v-necked or it's too low. I tend to be between the juniors and women's sizes, and am often too tall for petites. I've pretty much settled on making my own blouses and skirts, though I do find things I like from time to time. Something I can't make are jeans.
We have a Factory Connections store in town. They always have a lot of stylish, name brand clothing, for WalMart prices. Sometimes they have really cute stuff.
I too have been making an effort not to buy anything just because I need it. Waiting till I find something I really like. I find at the end of the year I often have clothes that are almost new because I didn't like them enough to wear them much. I'm also trying to be very conscious not to wear t-shirts unless I'm doing yard work or washing the car. Time to be a little more feminine. :-)
Another good place for cute, modest clothing: http://www.sierrabrooke.com/

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I'm having a lot of the same problems as you. I don't really know what I want, so when I go out shopping, I end up with stuff I don't love because I have to buy something because everything is falling apart.

Katie said...

Great topic! It's one I've really been working on myself! If you're interested, I posted this last year about my shopping criteria:

http://blessedfemininity.blogspot.com/2007/08/dressing-for-right-reasons.html .

I still haven't found many places to shop that fit my criteria though. I sometimes like to look at Chadwicks clearance online. I also like Lands End, Coldwater Creek, MikaRose...but often find I can't afford the price tags. I usually end up looking at discount stores or at department stores clearance racks ~ but with two little ones and a hubby on active duty, it's hard to *shop* much.

I've really been looking for prairie type skirts (really feminine!) or shirt dresses. I've found a few seamstresses selling online but again, the price can be more than I have right now.

I found this link also which has many resources:

http://www.achristianhome.org/ModestFeminine/ModestyFeminineAttireIndex.htm

Looking forward to the comments here!

Katie said...

Oops...the last link I tried to give was cut off...I'll try here again:

http://www.achristianhome.org/ModestFeminine/ModestyFeminineAttireIndex.htm

Katie said...

Ok...for whatever reason, the whole link won't post...

If you go to the main site at www.achristianhome.org - then scroll way down and click on "Modest Feminine Attire".

Ok...that should work! :-)

Melody said...

Now that I have had children I find it much more difficult to find clothes that I like and fit my body the way I like. I actually don't buy clothes that often anymore but when I find something that I like and fits me well I just continue to buy that same thing but in different styles and colors.

I really like the tshirst at Target so I get the long sleeve ones and the short sleeve ones.

I also really like New York and Company because I am tall. Their clothes are usually more expensive but they have really good sales.

I also like Penney's since I am tall. I don't buy a lot of stuff from them, mainly jeans or skirts.

It also took me awhile to figure out what my "style" was. I spent many years buying trendy clothes and then giving them away after the trend went away. I like classic clothes. One reason is because they are just timeless but I think it also reflects my personality.

I did have my clothes altered on time when I bought all new clothes and then immediately lost ten pounds. They were the best fitting clothes I ever had. So if you can afford I would recommend doing this.

Good luck with your search.

Mary Ann said...

I bought some things from Christa Taylor this spring and was pleased. Unfortunately, 2 items were too small and I couldn't return them because they were clearance items. (As a previous commenter already stated.) Down East Basics is another site with a nice selection of modest clothing and nice prices.I've also heard that Christopher Banks has nice things.

I have been revamping my wardrobe this spring. I had gotten Frumpy down to a fine art, so decided it was time to try something else.:-)

I'm all about buying used and getting great deals, but I've found that sometimes it's worth the extra money for modesty, quality and styles that I like!

The current trends don't appeal to me at all. The colors are wrong for my skin tone and the styles are not my thing. I tend to be a very basic dresser. I'm not good at putting interesting outfits together.But I've also come to realize that something simple and conservative goes right along with my personality type. I don't like to draw a lot of extra attention to myself and my outfits reflect that.

I try to limit the amount of message and printed t-shirts as the plain nice fitting ones will automatically make me look a little more put together and can be dressed up a little.

I wear jeans and t-shirts a lot of the time as well as khakis(I have some that roll up to become capris that I love!). In warm weather, I pretty much live in some basic skirts and a couple of casual dresses.

I'm loving the ballet flats that are in the stores now. You can find a style to go with just about everything and I find that's a simple way to add a little color and style to an otherwise simple outfit.

This is pretty rambling but hopefully makes some sense! Have a great day, Monica!

Jenny said...

I am pretty frugal when it comes to clothing. I stay at home and work online, so my clothing luckily doesn't have to be very fancy. I am in to fitness activities and comfort and I think my wardrobe shows this. I love Yoga pants and live in these most of the time.

I do splurge from time to time on a great pair of jeans, purse and athletic shoes. These are the 3 things that I seem to get most use out of and I think my money is well spent on these 3 purchases.

Mrs. Pharris said...

I have come to the conclusion that women who seem so very put together are one of two things: 1)Faking it or 2)Very comfortable in their own skin, which is reflected in the way they wear their clothing.

I've known women who are large (like me) who absolutely turn heads when they enter a room. These women were confident in who they were and it showed.

With regard to modesty, you aren't the only one these days cringing when you see the new fashions. The way some of the teenage girls dress today is downright embarrassing. I think back to my days of dressing like Cyndi Lauper (I know, I know) and am embarrassed - but it's mostly because of the 'fashion'. I remember cutting a perfectly good sweatshirt and wearing leg warmers too, LOL. The girls of today will be ten times as embarrassed when their child points out not only the outdated styles but that mama's ****s are showing!

My dearest friend and mentor as a teen was P. She was married with 2 kiddos. Many times I've spent the night at their house, and when I did I'd bring sweats or a nice long robe to cover up. One day P thanked me for my modesty in front of her hubby. It seems the other girls in the youth group weren't so considerate and had come to breakfast wearing only a tshirt and panties or skimpy little gowns. I was horrified. Not only did they flaunt themselves, they showed disrespect toward their hosts.

I wish I could say that my entire life had been so chaste - I fell away from the Lord. But He is always faithful to forgive. And forget. We know that modesty is important to Him because of Titus 2 and other scriptures.

I started to say that I think even Christian girls forget how important modesty is. But it occurred to me that it really isn't taught (by the majority) these days. A renewed focus on modesty such as your article and that of Mrs. Wilt's is just what the doctor, er, the Great Physician that is, ordered! Thank you.

PS: I'm having a little giveaway over at ADailyRate...join the fun!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I no longer will buy clothes at the stores. I am going to make my own. I only need 6 dresses and of course 3 or 4 aprons to keep my clothes clean while baking. I am such a shortie (5 foot 3) that buying clothes is a hassle even if I could find something I like. Besides I like really plain, simple stuff anymore with a pretty fabric.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I enjoy visiting your site. The last paragraph of this post is most important, I feel. I almost always wear skirts and dresses when I leave the house, not because of religion but because they make me feel pretty and feminine, and when I wear them I tend to act more femininely. At home, I wear comfy shorts and yoga pants if I am working hard, and a house dress if my husband is home or I expect company. When I shop, I find wonderful bargains at Macy's (Karen Scott brand, very classic) and Good Will and our local hospital thrift shop. You would laugh if you knew how many wonderful outfits I have for such a tiny budget. Blessings and a happy day to you. Peggy in Virginia

rohanknitter said...

My priorities for clothing are pretty much like yours. The styles today are often so immodest, it can be hard to find nice things. I don't wear a skirt every day (I wear them more in the summer) but I always wear one to church and it can be hard to find something that's not too short - especially as I am fairly tall. I've taken to making many of my skirts - especially for summer. I have a few simple cute patterns I've used several times. We don't have very much variety around here for shopping which makes it even harder. I like to buy clothes that are classic but not boring and frumpy. I really like both Eddie Bauer and Land's End. Full price, they are kind of expensive but you can get really good bargains at times from either one. We have an Eddie Bauer outlet an hour from us and I love to go there!! I'd rather have a few good pieces that will last than lost of cheap stuff that doesn't hold up. Over the years I've learned what colors look the best on me and I tend to stick to those. Also, sticking to a few main colors makes my wardrobe more interchangeable and stretches it farther.

Julie said...

Monica--I believe I feel the exact same way as you when it comes to clothes and style. I would love to have someone help me find what works for me and feel good about my clothing. I need to go to a family wedding this summer and I'm already worried about finding a fashionable, modest dress. I haven't owned a dress in several years!!

It's a Mom Thing said...

Very timely and very interesting post. At my last Mom to Mom Bible Study yesterday we had a fashion show b/c one of our leaders works at a nearby boutique. It was fun but not something that I would normally be interested in.

I'm very much the jeans(or capris) and t-shirt kind of girl. I don't do tons of accessories and don't wear make-up every day. I'm also a "bigger" girl so it is often hard to find things that fit and flatter. I have decided that I need to stick with more traditional styles rather than what is trendy. I just end up looking like a poser. I need to stay with a more classy look, such as Land's End or Eddie Bauer.

At this point in my life, budget is a huge consideration. I just don't have the funds to spend a lot on my clothes. However, if I find that GREAT pair of pants, I would rather pay a little more for one great pair that I wear all the time than pay less for three pairs that I hate.

I've never been to a seamstress, but I think it's a great idea for anyone who has trouble finding things off the rack.

I could use tips, too, because the last thing I would call myself is fashionable. And truthfully, I'm ok with that. I would much rather decorate my house than myself, but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I think it is helpful to develop a 'uniform' of sorts. Two stand-by outfits you know look good on, you feel good in, and are tailored and polished looking. This takes away the pressure when it is time to get dressed. Ironed, crisp pants with a tailored tee and a pretty necklace and sandals is great for spring or summer. Mid-thigh colorful trench coats are good for cooler climates this time of year. Things like that. And dresses are versatile too. Maybe try looking online or in catalogues of your favorite stores to get outfit ideas.

Anonymous said...

I really like your post. I go to a MOPS group and recently one of our topics was respecting your husband. One of the things the mentor mom mentioned was that your husband often feels better if you are able to dress nicely, not only because you look better, but because he is able to take care of you in that way. Sometimes I am so caught up in getting everything at a very low cost, that I forget he would love for me to treat myself and really provide for my needs - the last thing he would need me to hear is that I can't afford to buy any clothing or buy cheap clothing because there isn't enough money. That would dishonor him. The mentor mom doesn't enjoy shopping herself, but always makes a point to get a new or updated top or dress or pair of shoes each season (at the least), some nice that makes her feel good about herself. I never thought that my dressing affects my husband in that way, but I found it to be really good advice. I try to think about that now, when I shop, but I'm still working on it!

RT said...

I feel like a lot of popular styles these days are more modest. I love the t-shirts and blouses that are longer or even baby doll style. I've purchased several white camisoles or tank tops to wear under v-neck shirts or with lower cut jeans--immodesty problems solved!

As another tall gal, I agree with Melody... I buy long jeans at NY&Co and I love a few lines JCPenneys carries. I think women, especially moms, look better in new fashions that are a bit more fitted. Boxy looking t-shirts, ones that guys wear, are not at all flattering on us ladies! Sometimes I think women try to hide their bodies, as though breasts and hips are items to be ashamed of. While we shouldn't be exposing ourselves to strangers, I believe there are appropriate, beautiful, feminine ways to dress that help boost our confidence.

Nanny said...

Great topic and great blog!

God Bless!!

Lauren said...

It's funny you are on this topic because just today I went shopping for a shirt. I feel like I keep wearing the same ones. I can't afford to spend much but I tend to go to Goodwill, Walmart, or Cato which is close by. I feel like I look good in brights like: red, hot pink, aqua, royal blue but not lime, yellow or orange. Sometimes it is hard finding what you are looking for because other colors are in style in the stores. I like the elastic waist jeans that fit good but you can't see the elastic so no one knows.I refuse to wear the low rise-lol
I love knit tops but not tshirts. I have found if you can find inexpensive jewelry(I like Goody's) then you can pair it with something you have at home and feel like you look refreshed but didn't spend much! I also love printed capri's and have found many at Goodwill for $4!

Susan P. said...

Oh Monica, I can so relate to everything you said. I just love how you share your heart with us:o) I'm excited to tell you something I have found that has really, really helped me! Remember probably last month when I did a post on how I don't know how to "dress myself?" lol I would literally break out into a cold sweat whenever I entered a clothing store because I felt so lost. It's so funny, when it comes to fixing up my house I don't have any problems, but when it comes to "fixing up myself," I feel like I am a fish out of water! So anyway, in the post I told y'all I decided to try missussmartypants.com that Mrs. Wilt had recommended. Basically,MSP becomes your personal shopper (not literally, just figuratively;o) I joined for the cost of$9.00 which will give me three months. (Basically the cost of several beauty magazines or happy meals) After you determine your body type MSP gives you all kinds of wonderful info about the style of clothing that would look best on you. Every Thursday she "goes shopping" at a different store and shows you many, many examples of these clothes. I never buy the clothes from these stores (and she isn't promoting that, she is just trying to give good visual examples) but I tuck those pics in my purse as examples for when I go shopping later on. One suggestion I have off the top of my head is this: she is big on accessories, she says that's where your personality really shines through. Since you love vintagy things you could go to Goodwill, yard sales, or even a good sale at Kohls and get some vintage style jewelry to give you the look you like! Anyway, I could go on and on about how much it's helped me but I'd take up too much room ~ but as matter of fact, I had already planned on doing a post or two about this very subject next week so you can hear more then!! Much love, Susan P.

Christy said...

Hi Monica! I have to echo Susan P. that Missus Smarty Pants was a great help to me. I just did the 3-month subscription for $10. People say how skinny I look now ... and it's not that I've changed sizes in the last year; it's that I've started wearing clothes that are flattering to my body style and coloring. AND I did some research and got a really nice haircut that is flattering. I think that makes a big difference, too.

I shop online at Fashion Bug for modest, flattering tops, at Kohl's dept store, Goody's dept store, and save my nice purchases for my favorite local shop, B. Moss.

I don't have nearly as many clothes as I used to, but they are mostly mix and match classic basics with some fun accessories that put a zing in the outfit.

My mission right now is to find some pretty, feminine tops and one or two pretty *everyday* dresses for spring and summer.

Anonymous said...

It was so interesting (and helpful!) to read these comments. Apparently this is something a lot of us struggle with! I am looking forward to checking out some of the websites mentioned.

I think one reason some women look more "put together" is an intangible something -- a personal style that some people are born with and some of us have to work at finding.

Thanks for sharing! Love you, Mom

Linda said...

Hey, you know what.. I'm so sure that 'those other moms' were probably thinking the same thing.. They liked how YOU looked and thought they looked frumpy.. it's a common thing I guess ;)

My 'problem' with clothing is this.. I would like to wear modest clothing, dresses and skirts.. you know, let's just say it.. CHRISTIAN clothing.. I mean, honestly.. people can tell you're a christian when you wear those clothes.. and they're great, BUT....

We're in a ghetto church. Heck, we're in a ghetto ministry. We go out and evangelise 'in tha hood'.. for one reason or the other people don't tend to take your words when you're all dressed nicely and looking like a rolemodel christian..

You have to be 'like them', they have to be able to relate to you and clothing says a big deal.. Now, I'm not saying I'll wear their clothes.. miniskirts.. leggings.. but I can't go there with my long skirt and buttoned up shirt either..

So I'm finding it difficult to draw a line or find a style that pleases both worlds..

Greetings from the netherlands :)

Mrs. Bonnie said...

I always get excited when I see fashion posts! It is tough when you don't feel put together, and it was starting to become an idol to me to have soemthing that made me look sleek and with it when I went to church. I was turning it into my personal fashion show, as if everybody really cared, and was waiting with baited breath to see what I was wearing. I've repented but it is still a struggle.
I make nearly all of my own clothes. I buy t-shirts (though I am trying to get away from them some, and go more with button down blouses. I personally feel more put together in one, than a shirt thats been stretched out over the day from nursing), and if I can find one I'm pleased with, dresses, but everything else I usually make.
I'm expecting my third baby right now so maternity will be posing a problem. 99% of my wardrobe has been through 5 pregnancies (3 of my aunts and 2 of my own)and is dated and worn out.
A wardrobe must I would reccomend(sp?), is a denim blazer. YOu can dress up almost any outfit with it. I like to pare it with a black t-shirt, khaki skirt (I don't wear pants), my black maryjanes, and silver hoop earrings. I look and feel very put together.
Watch out for wearing a denim jacket with jeans- you end up looking to denimy. I wear a cute vintage looking black jacket I made with my jean skirts.
I also love the vintage look ( Have you seen MaryJanes Stitching Room , or MaryJanes Life Book? Great clothes!)
I can't really wear vintage styles well due to my body shape, so I fill my need by wearing vintage jewlry, or scaves, or a purse.
Go through clothing catalogs and pull out the pages of what catches your eye. After a while, you'll be able to get an idea of what your taste is, then take them along shopping with you, and look for similair items. Try them on, see how you like the cut of a top, or a skirt. If you have something to work from, I think it will make the shopping trip less overwelming.
Above all, remember that we as Christians are examples of the Lord. No matter what we are wearing, we are a testimony to Him, and we need every area of our life to reflect that, including how we dress. That tends to be the first thing I notice about people, and what we wear can speak volumns of how we act and what we believe.

Anonymous said...

Cotton dresses all day, most every day. Love em!!! Pretty, soft, comfy, feminine!!!!! This is not a conviction for me, just a preference. I do believe the Lord wants modesty for us, it is just understanding what that means really. I had a pastor in another city we lived in for a while and he would ask *do ya get it?*. The correct response was not nearly enough!!!! ;^) I understand that we need to be careful and not draw anyone into temptation. But the details of all that i am still tryin to figure out!!!!Thanks for an interesting topic-tammyp

Brie said...

This might be a long comment, but I'll try to share everything I've learned about clothing over the past few years since my migration to the NYC area.

I'm in a little different boat because I haven't had kids so I'm not dealing with the "baby body" yet, but a few years ago I decided it was time to pay a little more attention to how I dress instead of just jeans and a t-shirt. Afterall, I wasn't in college, nor did I live in CO anymore.

My favorite places to shop are Ross, Marshalls and the clearance rack at Macy's and Lord & Taylor. Even Sears has some good stuff now and then. So does NY & Company. I like these stores because you get name brand for at least half the price. I have learned that name brands does normally translate to better quality (i.e. the fabric is better so it hangs on the body nicer and holds up longer). Also, you have to be willing to take the time necessary to try on many different things to find the one that works. I'm not the fastest clothing shopper, but I'm prepared to spend at least one hour in every store and it's worth trying on 20 pairs of pants if I find one that I know I'll wear a lot.

I've also become a fan of alterations. I'm tall with a small waist, but athletic thighs (and a "J.Lo" booty as my mom says!) and have always had a problem when buying pants. I've learned you can't be stuck in a certain "size" that you wear. All clothing manufacturers use different fit models for their clothes; what's a size 4 for one could be an 8 for another. Thus, it's sometimes better to go a size bigger than you may normally wear and have the waist taken in or the sleeves shortned or whatever it may be.

I watch a lot of "What Not to Wear" and shows like that to get ideas. I'm not a fan of everything they put together, but I have learned that having some classic pieces that you can mix and match and adding a few pieces that are in the fashion of the day make you look younger and more put together.

The most important thing your clothing can do for you is make you feel attractive and confident. I've noticed that on days I put the extra 10 minute effort in to getting ready (i.e accesories, shoes that aren't tennis shoes), I feel more outgoing and have a brigther outlook on my day. Also, my husband finds me more attractive!

My biggest secret I've learned is that a good fitting pair of trousers (and I'm not talking khakis) is MORE comfortable than my favorite pair of jeans. It doesn't take any more time to throw slacks on instead, but you instantly look like you put effort in to getting ready.

Amy said...

I think we all struggle with this, Monica. It is so hard to find what makes you feel beautiful, but when you find it...heaven!

Lately, I have been drawn more to bright and cheery colors. I love red, kelly green, and blues.

As for shopping, I do find most of my clothes at the thrift store and I also get the majority of my stuff from the clearance rack at Target. I got some really great shirts for summer for $3 each- the smalls and x-smalls tend to have the most so if you are petite, you are in luck.

If you have a Steve & Barry's, they have the Bitten line from Sarah Jessica Parker, that is affordable and they have short jeans for $20!

Payless is wonderful for shoes :)

Christy said...

Did you see the list of clothing websites on this post?

http://thesparrowsnest.typepad.com/the_sparrows_nest/2008/04/today-i-have-th.html

I am in love with April Cornell now! A little pricey, but a few nice items from there would be a wonderful addition to a basic wardrobe. I plan on keeping an eye on the "April's Attic" for sale items, too.

Tilly said...

First... "Cold Water Creek"...some of it's a bit pricey, but they have an excellent clearance section on their website, and beautiful, well made clothes.

Another thing to learn are your "colors"...there are books and such on this that are normally available at the library...this really helps to make even casual outfits look good!

I've learned lots from (blush) watching TLC's What Not To Wear...you do have to sort of ignore the hosts, because they can come across as harsh and pushy (thank you TV and editing!) but you can learn lots about fitting your body type from this!

You might want to also look up "Missus Smarty Pants"...I'm sure if you google her you'll come up with her webpage. She sort of does long distance personal shopping. She helps you to plan your wardrobe, and learn how to get a basic wardrobe where everything mixes and matches, then how to supplement it with "fun" pieces. Might be worth it!

I personally have found that it's often just easier to sew my own clothing...it takes a bit of trial and error to learn how to get things to fit right and alter a pattern, etc. but I've been really happy with the results!

Maybe if you post more about the types of clothing you're particularly interested in, people could share their favorite patterns or shops for those things? Like if you're more interested in multi occasion (every day to church etc.) skirts over modest shorts...it might be interesting to see what everyone has found!

Best of luck to you!
~Mackenzie
(who has been lurking here for ages!)

RT said...

Monica, as I read through all your comments I realized how each of us may choose different clothing based on geography and occupation. People on the coasts tend to get more dressed up than those of us in the midwest, for example. And lovely trousers for the downtown office may not work well for a stay-at-home mama doing inner city ministry.

Happy shopping to you!

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy reading your ideas and seeing your photos...even though I am no longer a young woman!! One can learn from younger women too.

I did go to see the styles on the Christa Taylor site (as I have a young daughter of 24 at home with us yet) and though most looked ok, I was taken aback when I went on the "blog" link to her blog and saw the list on the right sidebar under "blogging chicks"...go and see if you see anything awry there. I am as careful as I can be about who we buy from...and getting more all the time, regardless of how nice the article may be. At my age there are WONDERFUL choices in one brand, but I never buy it unless from a thrift shop or like ROSS, because I know that half the profits go to that person's church (the church of satan) and I have no desire to further the goals of that!! Just a thought...

mama k said...

well, i'm late to the party, but felt like adding my 2 cents...

I typed out a HUGE comment but I'm just going to post it on my blog instead. LOL You can read it here:
http://mamaknj.blogspot.com/2008/04/avoiding-mom-jeans.html

Great topic! I personally try to buy well-made, higher end clothes on clearance. A few simple, well fitting peices can go a long way.

Anonymous said...

Hi ladies! I've never posted a comment to this blogg, but Monica asked me to add my two cents on fashion. I hope I am not redundant on the great comments that are already posted!
1. Dress up an ordinary outfit with hoop earrings or "chandeliers". You'll be amazed at how an outfit is transformed from simple to pizazzy! I was freaked out by them when they first come out and now it's all I'll wear.
2. For a sporty, casual look, layer a short-sleeved t-shirt over a long-sleeved top, e.g., I love to put a pink t-shirt over a white long-sleeved top for a feminine but sporty look.
3. DO NOT buy something just b/c it is a bargain - it will end up in the Goodwill pile before you know it and you'll regret wasting money on an impulse buy.
4. Always wear a belt, or, to dress up an outfit, tie a pretty scarf around your waist. This gives your shape definition and completes your outfit by tying it all together.
5. Tie a short scarf around your neck! Like the scarf worn as a belt, this fashion tip can spruce up any outfit and you'll have so much fun shopping for pretty scarves- they are just so much fun!
6. Clean out your closet - get rid of anything that makes you feel drab or frumpy, even if it means wearing something you like more often. It is not worth it to feel frumpy!
7. Once you've cleaned out your closet, try to put together more blends of outfits with what you have. I have been shocked by the number of mixing and matching I can do with a modest wardrobe! YOu'll feel like you have a new outfit w/o having to spend the money!
8. Start a budget - even if it is $15 a month, start saving for a mini shopping spree for yourself.
9. As someone already said, get your colors done. If you don't have the money, shop with someone who will be honest and who will make you STRETCH. Try on colors and styles that you normally wouldn't - you'll be surprised!
10. Last but not least... a tip from my sweet late mother. I always remember her putting on her makeup and a nice blouse before my dad came home. Even if you only have time to put on some lip gloss or lipstick, do it. You will feel prettier and your husband will know you care enough to make yourself attractive to him.

Make it fun!
Susan White

Daughter of the King said...

I just did a post on my blog on modesty and you are right there is so little out there.
I like Christopher Banks...
ALSO I am totally a thrift shop girl.
Basic sewing is all that is needed t omake easy tops and skirts or exchange talents with someone that sews better than you.
I do not like anything fitted as I do not believe the Lord would have us call attention to our body in a way that could possibly stumble a brother. I don't believe in thinking tooo much on this and it can lead to coveteousness and make you unhappy with what you have.
Yet, I do know when I go out I am a representative for our Lord.
Keep searching..
if interested, my post was two days ago, called Heart 2 Heart.
Deby

Deeapaulitan said...

I'm petite too. Having been a SAHM for more than 18 years, and a very modest income, I have relied more on the blessings of others rather than going out to buy my own clothes. It is frustrating to never feel like I fit what is passed on to me, but wear it because it is what God has provided. I do some alterations, but not to jeans. If they don't fit, they simply get worn as is. To be perfectly honest, I don't really have time to alter things. Homeschooling teenagers needs more focus and time than my wardrobe - so it goes by the wayside.
In the last couple years I have begun to purchase some things at thrift stores and at online sales/outlets. What I have determined to do is only buy what does fit well, and to buy classic styles that will endure through the fads. Simple lines, unpatterned, good fabric, and modest. Some brands that I feel do this well (though even their stuff makes me think of Grandma at times) are: Nomadic Trader, Soft Surroundings, Christopher Banks, Eddie Bauer, Garnet Hill & Lands End. Remember - I said outlets and sales!!
I'm very hard to fit too. My proportions aren't typical petite. I'm proportioned more like an average person (legs and torso about even in length) but am 5' 2.5"
I buy once a year only, and save, save, save until that time comes.
Let me say that I have 2 girls and a son whom I want to set a good example for. I have instilled in them that being clean, being modest, and presenting yourself friendly & respectable will be a crown of honor in the end.
I so enjoy coming here, Monica. You (and Carrie) post about things that we do and walk through, but I never think to post on them. It's a joy to know other sisters-in-Christ who wrestle through and rejoice in integrity, honor and stewardship. blessings ~D

Jeremy and Christa Nichols said...

Monica, I'm Carrie's old roommate from college and I suffered from this same problem going from pregnant woman to me again. I had to re-decide what really suited me and my personality. One thing that has been really helpful to me is that I took a day and just went around and tried on jeans. Different sizes, different brands, etc. When I found one that I really liked, I'd make a note of it. Then I started looking for that specific pair on Ebay. If you choose a popular store like GAP or Old Navy, etc, you can find lots of jeans on Ebay from there. I rarely spend more than $8 on a good pair, never even have to leave the house and I know when I sit down what I'm looking for. It saves me a TON of time and headache!

mrsgrovine said...

enjoyed the blog. i have been thinking a lot about what i wear because i have just started attending a fundamental baptist church where the women only wear dresses. i found a lot of good websites on the subject and have tried to wear only dresses. it is fun, but i still feel the most relaxed and comfortable in jeans. i try to be modest and feminine while wearing them. i wear dresses a LOT, though.

mrsgrovine said...

enjoyed your blog. i wear dresses a lot of the time, but wear jeans a lot too. more relaxed and comfortable. i try to look feminine.

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

Although you have many comments on this topic, I couldn't resist leaving one too.

I really dislike shopping. Therefore, when I do go shopping I like to shop for clothing that has a modest clasic style that will be "in" for several years.

The most important thing I do when I shop is take a friend AND a digital camera. My friend will take photos of me in various outfits. The photo gives me an "objective" view of what the outfit looks like on me. Does it fit my personality, is the color complimentary, etc.

Every since I began taking the digital camrea along, I haven't bought anything I didn't feel comfortable in or enjoy wearing.

tb

milissa said...

Hi Monica! I couldn't help but comment on this post. I have a tough time with clothes too. I have finally said...I will no longer buy anything unless I LOVE it. I don't need that many clothes...most people with a ton of clothes only wear about 20% of their wardrobe anyways. So buying less allows me to spend a little more of better quality pieces. But I still think most clothes are ridiculously overpriced and I just cannot spend $200 on a shirt. (I am a professional...so I need suits for work.) Is there a B Moss store by you? They have nice, feminine, quality clothes. They have a few trendy things...but they carry classic, modest, comfortable, and reasonably priced clothes as well. I have also have great luck at Stein Mart and Dress Barn. Hope that helps.

milissa said...

Hi Monica! I couldn't help but comment on this post. I have a tough time with clothes too. I have finally said...I will no longer buy anything unless I LOVE it. I don't need that many clothes...most people with a ton of clothes only wear about 20% of their wardrobe anyways. So buying less allows me to spend a little more on better quality pieces. But I still think most clothes are ridiculously overpriced and I just cannot spend $200 on a shirt. (I am a professional...so I need suits for work.) Is there a B Moss store by you? They have nice, feminine, quality clothes. They have a few trendy things...but they carry classic, modest, comfortable, and reasonably priced clothes as well. I have also have great luck at Stein Mart and Dress Barn. Hope that helps.