Thursday, January 28, 2010

Oh Please Let Me Not Be Frumpy

I have always been insecure about my fashion sense. In my early teens, I went retro; and since I sewed most of my clothing, I used my mother’s dress patterns from the 1950’s. (Man, that seems like a long time ago.) As part of the hippie generation in my later teens, I wore what everyone else did: work shirts and jeans, or corduroy bell-bottoms with thick leather belts. (Except for one little regrettable period of double-knit pantsuits.)

In my early forties, I worried that I didn’t look up-to-date, and took my youngest son shopping with me. I’d select an item off the rack and hold it up against me. “No, Mom, no.” he’d say, shaking his head. I know, I know; it’s pathetic that I trusted the fashion sense of an eleven-year-old boy over my own. After he left home, I actually learned a lot from Stacy London and Clinton Kelly on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”

I have a long habit of shopping sales, thrift stores, and resale. I do not spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what I wear or the image I present. But I do pay attention, for my outer image may give others an impression of my inner person.

So at this stage in my life, I’ve decided to have one main style guideline: Not Frumpy.

What is frumpy? The word came from Middle English “frumple” and Dutch “to wrinkle,” and evolved to mean plain, dull, ill fitting, out of date, and colorless.

I may categorize some articles of my clothing as “casual,” “neutral,” or even “modest,” but these words should not be a disguise for clothing that is “frumpled” or that makes me feel frumpy. It does not seem very nice to God to wear an exterior that is plain, dull, ill fitting, out of date, and colorless.

I want my style to reflect the vibrancy, timelessness, and thoughtfulness of the God I know. And while each and every item of clothing I own may not have a “wow” factor of itself, I want it to at least be complementary to the dynamic image of the God that lives in me.

So please, if you see me pulling something frumplish off the rack, do me a favor. Touch me lightly on the shoulder, shake your head gently and say, “No, Doris, no.” I’ll get the message.

Photo by Marco-Antonio-Fdez

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