Saturday, May 19, 2012

7: Clothing

JH focuses on clothing for her second month.  In her chapter she wages war on how many clothes she has, and is determined to sacrifice her choices for the benefit of this fast.  Her reasoning is focused on how much she has, has bought before, and how much she didn't wear. By limiting her clothing to just 7 pieces (not including undies/bras) she is challenging herself to live more sacrificially for the month of her clothing fast.

This one I think I am going to change up a bit, because I would like to make it more about the excessive focus on appearance in our culture. I want to do that largely because this excess can often affect my own mind and heart, and I think it will be a more meaningful fast for me.  I am not a huge clothes person. I dont love buying clothes, and my fashion rule of thumb is to wear what fits and what I don't have to iron.

Limiting my clothing to 7 items will be a bit difficult but not terribly so, since I dont have much more than that I really love and wear anyways.  However, I will start this week off by getting rid of the excess I do have in that area. This excess is mostly related to clothes that don't fit, or ones that I keep for various reasons but still don't wear.

I will limit my clothing  to 2 summer dresses, a pair of jeans, 2 t-shirts (a black one and a purple one), a pair of yoga pants and a pair of flip flops (its summer in Charleston, SC people).

Variations that I would like to add to this fast is related to all the other stuff that I add to my "appearance" excessiveness. I would also like to add a 7 limit on my beauty supplies. I would like to focus on not spending as much time, energy, thought and concern on my appearance this week. So, I am going to limit my beauty supplies to:  face wash, moisturizer, powder, mascara, sham/conditioner combo, blow dryer and round brush.  Not included in the count, but certainly a part of things is my toothbrush/toothpaste and deodorant since this is more for my husband's and my relationship more than a beauty thing.

I will be doing this fast the same week as my food fast- as the two seem to go well together. I will post at the first of the week, then add to the same post throughout the week!

Day One -

My five year old helped me prep for this week by shattering my 4 foot dresser mirror this weekend. Mercifully, I dont have to actually look at myself from the waist up during this whole thing :) How nice of him. 

Today was a crazy busy one, as it is the first day of business after finding out we are moving out of state in three short weeks. This morning was carpool to preschool, home for a bit, get some moving stuff started (housing, jobs, etc), back to preschool for a 4-year old graduation (wow, the things we celebrate nowadays! :),  to the grocery store to stock up on my 7-food list, home for more moving details, cook dinner for husband before his night shift at the hospital, then off to karate.  All the while I wore a summery dress with flip flops (and toenails that need painting but ..alas, its not on the list). 

I was tempted to change a few times but decided to just hang in there. No biggie. 

I did love getting ready this morning - my usual morning routine was cut in half with my using 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner and my makeup being a cinch. It was nice. Hair went to a clippy blow dryer even needed. I need extra points please.

Day Two - 

I am going to celebrate my fast from beauty excessiveness by going to get a hair cut. I had this one planned a couple of weeks back, and so as not to offend my spending freeze I should note that it will be a "free" cut since I and a friend did a product swap with ThirtyOne products. 

In my defense, I feel like it makes good sense have both clothing and a hairdo that allows for little resources to go towards it, but still look kempt and attractive. I have been noticing alot lately that if a gal goes the simple route it seems she has to look like something transported from the 1800's. Since going too old school may not be attractive to my husband I really want to be able to find a wardrobe and a beauty routine that allows for modesty and simplicity while still taking care to look nice. 

I am hoping to get a cut that requires little to no products or excessive time. I want simple, but cute :)

Day Three -

Mission accomplished. I got a cute cut that I can still do an not break my 'fast' from beauty products! I think once I am not being so limiting I will probably add back in some mousse for ease of working with it, but it works well even without it. yay!

Last night, right after I got home from my new cute do I got a surprise at my front door ...four of 'my girls' where there with balloons in hand to kidnap me for a birthday dinner :) While my hair was super cute, I was wearing yoga pants and a dirty tshirt I had been wearing all day while packing. My limited makeup had long worn off and I looked pretty nasty in comparison to their "night on the town" cuteness :)

They, of course, gave me a chance to freshen up (had actually allowed extra time before our meetup with other friends to let me change :)...gotta love these girls.  I had a momentary crisis when i realized that of my two sundresses that I had allowed myself for the week, one was past recovery in the laundry (as I had worn it the day before) and one I had just worn on Sunday.  The dilemma! I wear something else that I havent worn in the last two days? Do I wear yoga pants and a tshirt? 

I opted for the rewear of the Sunday dress, one they all seen not two days before. I have to say that while the feeling only lasted a moment, it was not a comfortable thing to show up wearing the same thing dumb is that?!  These girls are some of my best friends in the world. They love me the most, and care not one bit about what I have on. They had worked to surprise me, pay for my dinner, collect each other, buy balloons, coordinate with my husbands schedule and all sorts of wonderfulness so that I could be blessed this way ...they dont care what clothes I have on!

It is nuts. I mean really. A significant portion of the world would just look at us and say "Are you kidding?"   were I to verbalize such insecurities. 

When my family and I lived in Russia (when I was 15 and 16), we had a translator who wore the same outfit every single day for the entire season. He literally had one outfit for the summer, and one for the winter.  Strange thing was, he was always clean and his clothes always looked brand new. I am not sure how he did that.  

I remember him a lot, when I struggle with the same thing my bff mentions in her blog this week. That is, the struggle with what to wear on Sunday's and when I feel bound by society's rules about when and how to wear something.   I wonder what blessings will come with shaking those rules off. 

I bet I am more aware of what God gave me, and what less about what others think. Hmm. Its worth a try.

Day Four -

I am a huge supporter of Christian women (read, any women ..but especially Christian women)  being modest. I love modesty. I love the effort that an attractive lady goes to make sure that what she is wearing is not distracting to my husband. I love when a teenager with perky 'girls' uses discretion in what she wears on them, for the sake of my boys who are starting to notice these things.  

Its funny though, I am trying to work through my own culturally-affected viewpoint about what that means and where we cross the line between being modest to being so modest that we draw attention to ourselves. 

I think that its possible that one is so 'modest' that it leads to attention that takes it off balance. You know what I mean? I think that sometimes more attention is drawn by trying to cover up every inch of skin.

We grew up with a definition of modesty that has stuck with me ..."Immodest dress or accessories are anything that draws your attention away from a person's eyes" seems a bit strict at first but as I get older I get it. 

Its not just about wearing clothes that are too low cut or too tight. Its about wearing things that make a person look at what your wearing before looking at your face. I like it.   It has lead away from choosing clothes that are too distracting, even if not to areas of my body that are typically inappropriate. For instance, if I wear jewelry or something that constantly draws a person's eyes to my neck or chest (not cleavage necessarily) ...then I feel like I am wearing something immodest. 

Also, when someone is wearing something that covers so much skin that I am constantly paying attention to what they are wearing I feel like it could be immodest. When it is 100 degrees outside and for the sake of modesty a gal is wearing a long sleeve shirt, pants or a skirt to her ankles and has her head covered with a hat I feel suffocated for her. I am so distracted by how seasonally inappropriate it is that it fits into that definition of immodesty for me.

I get why so many chose to do that. I just wonder if sometimes the whole purpose gets lost at times. 

Like I said, I am still looking for where that balance is. Is modest dressed neck to toes? Is it simple, but not distractingly so? Is it socially appropriate, but (clearly) on the more conservative side of things?  Does modesty require nothing be attractive or that I cannot wear anything colorful? 

What does it mean to be modest, but still attractive and not distracting? 

I think it affects my anxiety about wearing the same thing over and over again. Because based on this definition, if I show up wearing the same thing over and over again to church every single Sunday, to the degree that people are thinking "what is her deal? Is she too poor to get something else to wear?" then that would feel immodest to me.  So, then how do I couple being simple and not being distracting?

How do you define modesty?  

Day Six -

Dilemma. We have a social thing today. Its with friends that I have spend some time with this week. I have been able to pretty much juggle things so that I don't see the same people every time I wearing the same thing (am I the only one who does that? ..please say no.) - but today my options are out. 

Anything that I wear today has already been worn in public at least once this week.  Everyone there has already seen all my limited wardrobe (some of them twice already at the birthday dinner), even with no ill judgement intended surely it will be noted that Courtney seems to be wearing the same thing over and over again?

What craziness has happened to my brain? How has this culture affected me so much that I am actually anxious about this decision? Or that I have given any thought to it whatsoever? 

I am kinda appalled. 


  1. So glad I found your write beautifully.. I cannot wait to become an official follower! ;)

    Misty Griffin

    1. Thanks so much Misty! I so appreciate your encouragement! I can't wait to check out your blog!


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