There is a woman in my church who is always pulled together. She is sweet, kind, thoughtful funny AND…she is always perfectly dressed. I mean perfectly. She is just the picture of lovely. Her colors always complement her creamy complexion, they fit her beautifully, and they have just a bit of snazzy to them – enough to make me look at her with admiration. . .
which I then follow up with a look of resignation,
which is usually translated into a sigh when I pause to consider my own appearance at that moment. I have
two “church skirts” (count them: one, two) that I typically pull out; one is for cooler weather, the other for warmer weather. (I previously had an additional beloved swirly summer skirt but I was informed by the committee-for-unsightly-in-church-offenses that it made me look like a tired bohemian Gypsy. Skirt now retired. Made lovely throw pillows)
My remaining two skirts are both fairly plain so I attempt to appear to wear many different outfits throughout the church calendar year by topping them with various and diversely colored blouses and scarves. Most of the time I’m rather apathetic in my selections, and show up looking like a sack of potatoes in a snazzy wrap. But special days call for special efforts.
On Easter Sunday I try to look very risen, solidly awake. Bright colors and an extra cup of coffee are my carpe diem strategy.
Epiphany Sunday, I try to look astonished and filled with new understanding…lots of white and yellows, with extra bright eye shadow.
I’ve not yet figured out the best dress for honoring the martyrs on All Saints Day, although there is a Goth kid who visits twice a year who just might have it pegged.
But now, as I look upon this pulled together woman…let’s call her Grace, (what else) who wafts in each and every Sunday morning looking like a catalog cover, I decided it was time to actually choose my clothing with forethought and proactive intention. Gone will be my previous methodology which basically was “Does it cover my person and was it clean at some point in recent memory?”
Choose Your Shape—I began to research my topic with enthusiasm. My study quickly took me to the science of body shapes. First, I learned, one must “dress to their shape.” My many years of raising preschoolers taught me that round is indeed, also a shape, but apparently it has been callously cast aside by the fashion shape selection police. So while “round” might best suit me, apple, pear and rectangle are the standard industry choices.
Create Proportion—Next I was informed that puffy sleeves add extra dimension to one’s top half if one already has enough dimension to one’s bottom half. But further reading revealed that puffy sleeves are not recommended if one has either an abbreviated neck or extra flappery in the neck region. No suggestions if one has all of the above.
Height Assessment—Additionally I learned that certain accommodations can be made if one is too short. To give you perspective: I once stood behind a podium to give a speech and was later accused on an audience survey of having sat down the whole time. Apparently only my head could be seen, given a frighteningly real rendition of the oft used “talking head.” All my animated gestures and meaningful body language were completely lost.
For those with such linear deficiencies, fashion authorities state that one must take hem lines to just above the knee to give a better sense of proportion. But a tad later, in the exact same article, they mention that if one however has pudgy knees, the hem length is better just below abovesaid knee pudge.
How had they determined that you were only permitted one body flaw per person? Why hadn’t I gotten that memo long ago?
I continued to follow the lengthy flow chart of questions designed to lead me to the perfect fashion choice, which in the end…big sigh…was a burkha.
I’ve gone back to my two skirts for the time being. I’ve nobly decided God wants me to focus on other areas of self-improvement for the present, things like meekness, calmness of spirit and praying without ceasing. But I realized that it’s also possible He wishes me to address the abovesaid flappery, pudge and proportion. I am determined…one day…to do so. Indeed, when I am successful in taking my shape from round to apple or pear, I shall astound them all…even Grace…with my Sunday morning style. But till then, you’ll find me in my American Burkha (read that—winter pajamas) working on my latest book: Fashion Advice for the Short and Stumpy.