What to wear?!?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man.”

How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

To think of when I first developed a love for clothes I have to flashback to mid-1970’s and think about wine colored gauchos, a leather shoulder bag and a mood ring.  I was just a kid, but I remember feeling “put together” and a general sense of well being when I was dressed nicely, as opposed to my “play clothes”.

Unfortunately, I went through middle and high school and my younger adult years putting way too much emphasis on how I looked and what I had on.  I was influenced, like most of us, by my peers and the current trend in Glamour magazine.  Oh, how I wish I could make young girls and women understand that their heart and what’s inside is so much more important. And that most of what they try to live up to in a magazine isn’t even real.

I even failed my own girls sometimes when they were younger, by spending so much time in front of the mirror second guessing an outfit, or lamenting about a zit or perceived weight gain.  I didn’t fully realize the impact that my self-absorption and self-consciousness could have had on them.

It’s important to instill confidence in our daughters but it should come from who they are, who God created them to be, not how they look or what they wear.  I tried, but I don’t think I hammered this point in all the way.

My current style would have to be classic/feminine.  I’ve never been bullied by current trends.  If I don’t like it, I’m not wearing it.  I wasn’t pleased at all to see high waist-ed pants come back and I’ll never have wings again, wear crocs or spend a lot of money on fake nails.  I’m not interested in advertising for Coach or any of the other logo-ridden accessories, but if I truly love it, I’ll buy it.  Again, it’s motive.  In the past, I would buy something expensive just to flaunt it; now I see the error of my ways.

Modesty is important to me as I want to be remembered as a reflection of Christ and not someone who is overly consumed with themselves.  Do I always succeed in that quest?   No, but I’m learning.

I still love to buy clothes and I try to always look nice but my heart’s motives are different now.  Of course, I am courting 50, and with that comes a strength and wisdom I just didn’t have at 20 (or 30).  As long as I honor God and my husband is happy, no other opinion really matters to me.

When clothing makes the memory

I would be lying if I said I don’t love fashion and enjoy checking out the latest trends.  Thankfully, I do have the confidence to wear what I want and do not feel a slave to whatever the latest issue of Cosmo is sporting in its glossy pages.  Some styles are hideous and it pains me to see how many people will blindly follow for the sake of expected popularity or trendiness.

Clothing says a lot about who we are, about our personality, our favorite styles and colors.  It can express our desire to be comfortable at all costs, or our desire to look our best, be our tallest or for some, show the world more than what is considered decent.

For me, clothing is tied to memories.  Maybe that’s why in my sub-conscience, sometimes I want that perfect outfit for that special event; because I realize there will be memories tied to it.

Some of my earliest memories include black and white patent shoes and purses with delicate flowers and beading attached.  These accessories made me feel special and whimsical.  They were part of my “Sunday best”, so to speak.

I remember one particular outfit; it had been handed down to me by a cousin and I was overwhelmed with gratitude because it was the most wonderful two piece, matching, polyester pant set I had ever laid eyes on, much less worn.  The pants were red with bell bottoms and the top was red and covered with white hearts.  When I put this on, the world was mine and everyone noticed me.   I know, shocker, right?    The way people looked at me probably had as much to do with the confidence I exuded by twirling and prancing and flaunting myself around as it did the actual clothing.  I also remember a green dress with an apple on it, which made me feel especially smart at school.

Then there were the handmade, look alike dresses my mom would proudly adorn my sister and me in.  This bothered me because how in the world could I be the center of attention dressed in look-alike clothing?   (Note:  Prior blogs will reveal my failures in personality and character as a child)

Fondly, in some cases, I remember the clothing of others as well.  I say in some cases, because I remember cringing when we would be on vacation and my dad would don his swimming trunks and accompany us to the pool.  I know this was wrong, but I promised I would always be real and transparent here, so the truth wins!  My dad was and still is a very handsome man, but never ever wore shorts, so maybe it was just the oddness of it (although it could very well have had something to do with his pale little bird legs too).

I remember both of my grannies and even my great-grandmothers in their starched looking dresses, embroidered with small flowers and often with pleats.  My sis and I were both just remembering yesterday a yellow shift style dress my Granny Byrd wore often.  She looked pretty in it and when I think of her, I think of her in that dress.

Grandpa Byrd and Poppy Goff wore their work pants, either khaki or dark blue, both being fishing guides.  They both always sported a hat to keep the sun off.   Grandpa Byrd preferred a cap and Poppy always had a big straw hat, sometimes with the green sunshield across the top front.  I remember the smell of the straw and the salty sea water left on the green.

My mom had unruly hair, much like mine and I remember her scarves and kerchiefs she would wear, especially if we were on the boat, which was often.  In one of my favorite pictures of mother, she had on a floor length dress and her hair in the bouffant style, ready to go to a Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty concert in Miami.  I thought she far outshone any princess, movie star or fashion model I knew of.

I could go on and on about people and what they wear.  The things I remember about them somehow relates to the way they were attired.  So you see, clothes don’t make the person, but they do speak much about them presently as well as in our memories.

Mitch Teemley

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