Thursday, October 7, 2010

on dressing up

last night as james and i were walking out the door to our weekly small group bible study, james asked if i was going to change out of my running shorts.  i replied that no, i actually changed into them for the study and he asked if i would at least put on jeans (he had on jeans and a polo). before you think my husband is some kind of controlling dress snob, let me give you a little background...

after james and i had been dating for about a month, we had a "state of the union" relationship talk.  we shared our biggest joys of dating and biggest fears.  i kid you not--james' biggest fear was "that i would make him wear too many polos and dress up all the time."  if you knew my husband growing up, you would understand his fear as he lives in t-shirts and basketball shorts.  and the reputation he heard about me was that i complained my boyfriends did not wear enough polos (ha!).  it was that day that i knew if that was his biggest fear, we could work through our issues and build something good.

james and i both love wearing workout clothes/sweats/running shorts.  a sweaty guy in gym clothes turns me on so much more than a guy in a polo.  not that i hate polos (because actually i do like james and other guys in them), but anyone can put on a polo, and polos send a message that "i'm trying to look good" (especially at a dave matthews concert, haha).  on the other hand, a guy in workout clothes says "i'm not trying to impress, i'm living and taking care of myself (and i'm probably decently athletic)."

growing up, i wore t-shirts all.the.time.  especially at sporting events, i absolutely HATED it when girls dressed up.  a blue, tight dress does not convey jayhawk spirit like a good ole' fashioned t-shirt.  then i went to john brown and i became that girl.  i'm not sure if it was because all of my friends dressed up, i liked the attention/was trying to find a husband, or we had nothing better to do (probably all of the above), but i dressed up for basketball games.  (i would like to share that post-college, i stopped.  when i go to arkansas games, i always wear t-shirts).

working out at camp war eagle really helped me go back to my roots.  one of my friends came to visit and wore a cute sundress, and i wanted to ask her why she wanted to draw the attention to herself as the only person out there not in shorts and a t-shirt.  even if her primary motivation wasn't attention but maybe "to feel beautiful," they are virtually the same thing in my eyes.

i think high heels are the biggest attention seeker.  and yet, i still own heels and wear them from time to time, so what does that mean?  actually, i have some pink shoes that average about 5 compliments a day when i wear them (hahaha yes i keep track because they are my only pair like that) and i constantly struggle with why i wear such things.  is fashion asking for attention or is it to display beauty (and is either good)?  is our goal to draw attention to our shoes or attire or to focus on the heart?  how does dressing up in heels or wearing makeup fit into professionalism vs. seeking attention vs. enjoying life?

last year i read the book, "captivating," with some of my girlfriends and we discussed many of these points.  however, i don't think my heart fully settled on the issue and i still question whether the pursuit of any type of beauty is positive/holy/profitable.  as much as i tell myself no, i'm still going spray tanning tomorrow and buying fake nails for a wedding saturday.  yet, i haven't worn mascara for the past 2 weeks (or much in the past 2 years for that sake) and i can't convince myself that getting regular manicures or pedicures is a good use of the money God's provided.  i am very comfortable without makeup, but often i question if i am too comfortable and should wear it more.  and that concludes random thoughts from silvy on this lovely october yall.


kristina said...

you have some interesting thoughts. and i think you pose some tough questions. i dont have an answer; i am not sure there is a pat answer to these questions. but good post all the same.

Katie said...

I agree with Kristina--this is a good post. I'm not sure what I think, either. I'm typing this with fake nails hitting the keyboard, but I had these put on as a result of my other nails getting beat up and scraggly, and these are much more resilient when I play trucks and dig in the dirt. So does that make them a justification? I don't know.

Maybe some of it is the attitude that goes along with what you wear. I love sundresses more than shirts and shorts, typically, but truly because they are more comfortable to me (and I live in jeans in the winter). And I'm not that athletic. But I still don't mind getting dirty and I way prefer getting out there and having fun over sitting there trying to look pretty. Maybe personal preference has something to do with it??

I guess that maybe as long as you are modest, it shouldn't matter. Maybe that's what I think. Because, to some, shorts are sexier than a dress. And maybe some girls wear shorts to attract guys, the same way some girls wear short sundresses to do the same?

And make-up is a toughie for me. I love mascara and eyeliner and I feel lost with out it. Lame and vain. :(

Erin said...

What about dressing up for your husband? I know that if my husband wants to look good for me, that makes me feel valued. I think that "dressing up" has some value in a marriage. I think that wanting to look nice does not necessarily translate into vanity.

I've thought about this topic alot in graduate school because my field is 80% men, and how a woman dresses makes a difference.

I've seen a handful of perfectly bright girls come into the program and subsequently leave without a Ph.D. because no one takes them seriously. They are usually attractive, and frankly they flaunt it - high heals everyday, low cut tops, short skirts, hair perfect, lots of makeup. They're generally really friendly and probably just as bright as the rest of us, but the sad, sexist fact is that no one thinks they can make it through the program. After a couple years of everyone thinking you're a pretty, ditzy girl, you get fed up and go get a job making tripple digits with your MA degree.

That being said, dressing like a slob seems perfectly acceptable. However, the outfit that garners the most respect is professional, presentable and modest (so people actually hear what you say).

I want people to see me and not my clothes. To pay attention to my thoughts and ideas, and not my outfit. Too skanky and too dressed down both detract from your ability to communicate with others.

Anyway, that was a long reply, but I think it's a really interesting topic! Thanks for posting!

PS Hope you have a blast at the wedding tomorrow. I'd love to see pics. :)

Anonymous said...

So, I'm just curious, did you change your shorts or not?

Stefanie said...

So, I'm just getting caught up on some blog reading & I just wanted to say that I think this is a very sweet, honest post. I think that your heart is very lovely to God in this matter and I was encouraged by reading it!