“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
So last week I introduced this month’s topic of living the full life that Jesus promised us in John 10v10. I also gave my top three tips on living a fuller faithful life. I had loads of fun sharing those tips and really challenging myself to “walk the talk”. It’s given me a bigger drive to explore my passions and gifts; to stop doubting them but to get back to God by praying over and doing what He has placed on my heart.
This week, I’m going to be sharing my top 3 fashionable tips for a fuller life. Now, I am no fashionista who believes she should be writing for Vogue but I have spent 17 years worrying over, stressing over and learning about dressing for myself and God. (Yes, only 17 years and not the whole 24. I didn’t really care about clothes before then so long as I could climb trees.) And I know I am not the only person who has spent a whole muffty day (non school-uniform) hiding because they wore the wrong outfit. Wrong according to whom, I have no idea, but apparently lime green and red is not an acceptable combination. Who knew?! So in this post, I will be taking those 17 years of
mistakes experimentation and shrinking them into three tips.
1. Dress for Your Shape
So this is the one that has almost become a cliche. I think it was 8 years ago at least that Gok Wan burst on to our screens encouraging us to understand our bodies, love the shape they are and dress to suit that shape. Since then there have been countless campaigns to get girls embracing their bodies, whether curvy or slender. My favourite one so far is from my new style crush, Jessica Clemmons, her band, Jess and the Bandits, and Evans. As a girl who definitely falls in the curvy camp with a slender sister, I have learnt the value of dressing for your shape thanks to campaigns like this and Gok’s tutoring.
There are two steps to dressing for your shape. Firstly, know and love your shape. How does it change throughout the year? Can you get away with a slimmer fit or maybe a pencil skirt during salad season, aka summer, but need a full circle skirt at Christmas? If you know how your shape changes, you know what to wear and how to wear it without having to try on half your wardrobe first. Secondly, know where to shop and love those shops. I still shop on the high street but I pick very carefully. For example, H&M really doesn’t do me any good as their jeans are very slim fitting. But also do your research online for e-tailers slightly off the beaten track. If you’re curvy, try 50s style rockabilly for a silhouette that will make full use of your curves. If you’re slender, try the 1920s for a slim and athletic look, which will make the most of your silhouette. Find those shops that love to dress your shape. They will teach you to love your shape too.
2. Dress for Your Confidence
This tip is a little more difficult. What exactly does dressing for your confidence mean? Today, style and fashion can be viewed as a woman’s armour. My favourite fantasy show, Once Upon A Time, gives a great example in Season 5 Episode 20.
“See this jacket? This jacket is my armor. You need armour.”
We’ve all done it. Use certain items of clothing to boost our confidence. My personal choice is black. To dress for your confidence means find a balance between embracing that armour but not letting it overwhelm you. Your armour might be a pair of heels but if you become dependent on those heels, your confidence won’t be boosted by them. It will be because of them. Instead, learn to dress in such a way that who you are is evident through your wardrobe, not because of it.
The woman of Proverbs 31 is “clothed with strength and dignity.” Whatever you wear, let it be something that gives you strength and dignity deeply rooted in your relationship with God. For myself, the choice to dress modestly allows me to draw on God for my dignity. For you, it is a choice you have to make through prayer. Go back to scripture, like the Bereans I mentioned here, and decide for yourself. Our confidence comes from God and His Word. Therefore, dressing for your confidence should stem from Scripture.
3. Dress for Your Occasion
This is probably the most underrated tip. Nowadays very few people seem to consider the occasion they are dressing for. Whether it is laxer dress codes in the office or trainers on the catwalk or evening gowns being dressed down, fashion is all about mixing it up. Yet I have found that when I dress for the occasion, I am more comfortable in my body. After all, if you wore jeans to your Sixth Form Ball or a cocktail dress to coffee with the girls you probably wouldn’t feel quite right. Dressing for the event or occasion you’re going to- yes, even work or studying is an occasion- will give you a sense of purpose about what you will be doing. Don’t believe me? Think about the difference you feel between wearing jeans with heels and jeans with trainers. One suitable for drinks after work, the other standard for shopping and coffee. Both will create a different response in people so matching the outfit to the occasion really does have an impact.
However, don’t let that stop you from being you. The only way that dressing for your occasion will enable you to have an impact is if you are comfortable in it. For me, that often means choosing shoes and/or accessories that express something about myself. For example, pearl necklace with black rose earrings or Doc Martens with smart trousers. You will be dressed for your occasion and still be you. It is a fine line to balance between your true style and the occasion but one that everyone learns to walk. Even when I go beyond my comfort zone, I still incorporate comforting black to keep a little of ‘me’.
It All Comes Down to One Thing
Don’t dress for the latest trends in your favourite magazine. Don’t dress for the guy who sits two pews in front on a Sunday morning. Don’t dress for your peers’ respect.
Dress to respect the body God gave you. Dress to show the world you are “clothed in strength and dignity”. Dress to be yourself on any occasion.
Dress for Yourself!
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow… If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you…”*
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