The environment around us impacts us. Yep we’re all on board. We’re angrier when the house is messy and we’re more tame if we eat with the nice china. It just happens. Energy. Expectations. You already know all this.
Well, at church I get to hang out with and teach the 16-18 year old young women. They are incredible. I can’t believe how much they handle with so much grace. We talk a lot about modest clothing and why it matters to dress in a way that represents how you treat yourself and how others should treat you.
This is a thing.
We dress in certain ways and then those clothing choices elicit behaviors from ourselves and from those around us, including friends, family, bosses, boys… and often the world wide web. Let us example-ate.
- When I was in college on the touring ballroom dance team, we had rehearsal every morning at 7 AM or earlier. We’d dance until 9. On the days that we danced full run throughs of our show (read: I needed to work hard and get sweaty) I started dressing in clothes that I was comfortable really sweating in. At first I tried to get ready for the day before rehearsal and that was just stupid. I didn’t dance very well because I was concerned about my hair keeping shape and my shirt getting all soaking wet. Blah. It was way better when I dressed appropriately. I WAS BETTER both physically and emotionally when I dressed appropriately. Another change that I made was that I put on a little bit more makeup (to complement my sweat-ready clothes). This gave my director the message that I cared and was showing up, ready to be put together in my dancing and performance. I literally didn’t get picked on after that. Maybe once or twice, but when I didn’t wear makeup I got critiqued WAY more. Trick of the trade.
- I also think it’s important to wear comfy-cozy clothes (cough… pajamas…) for at LEAST two weeks after having a baby (unless you legitimately want to get ready, which is also real). This gives visitors and helpers the visual reminder that you are healing and need lots of baby cuddle time and lots of chocolate reinforcements. And someone else to do the dishes. It also keeps drop in visitors from staying too long. Perfect.
- There’s a good reason (well, many) why we wear ties and dresses to certain formal events. The behavior code is formal, and thus we dress the way we do. Think weddings, galas, etc. Often, the dress code sets the tone for the activity. (And this is another reason why we encourage the young women to wear cute but covering clothing.)
Dressing for success is kind of tricky!! Sometimes we want to behave in a more put-together way, but the necessary activities require intense work! I’m thinking of pure legit motherhood right now. I need stretchy pants that aren’t too tight, stay up and don’t need constant readjustment, don’t stain or snag easily, make me feel like a million bucks, and can be washed a 80 times a week. I need a shirt that is breathable, comfortable, opaque (so I don’t need lots of hot layers), and long, because I’m bending, reaching, nursing, running, cleaning, and playing all day long. I also want to look cute, because I’ll see girlfriends and the general public while out and about, and I want my husband to know that he and the kids (and myself!) are worth “getting ready” for. I still haven’t found MY perfect mama-dresscode, but I do notice that I’m a different mom when I wear high and hard-to-maneuver heels (versus easy-to-maneuver… there’s a difference) than when I wear “keds” (as grandma would say).
So just like with most things, there is not a right answer here. This is an INTENTIONALIZE moment. Ponder your needs from your clothing during the day, who you want to be, what you want to communicate about yourself, and WHO you want to communicate to. Dave Ramsey says that sometimes we stupidly spend money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. Know your audience. Know who you care about caring, be it husband, self, kids, or even friends. But my advice is to stop trying to impress the invisible Pinterest camera crew and concentrate on those people that really matter.
Use the stuff. Love the people.