Dear Friends,
 
I continue to wait for guidance about simple/plain clothing. I was tested last week at the FGC Gathering, and I don’t yet understand how I am to respond. I would like to share my experiences, and perhaps one of you has had similar experiences and can answer to my condition.
 
As I have mentioned in discussions within this interest group, I wear clothes that I consider to be simple, or even modern plain. My skirts are long, even down to my feet; they tend to be graceful as well as simple. I do buy them off the rack. That said, my clothes also seem to invite comment from others, and people will comment on my "style.” As I have gone “grayer,” the comments have not changed.
 
I thought I might be free of such comments at the Gathering. Indeed, I wore the same clothes this year as last year, except for a long linen shirt that I brought for chilly mornings (it was cooler in Grinnell, Iowa, than in Bowling Green, Ohio, in 2010). Nobody commented on my clothing last year.
 
And yet: This year, nearly every day, someone would stop me to gush over my clothes! The comments were most numerous the day I wore my one floral dress (in linen, and my favorite for travel, because it stays cool all day). But the worst was on the final evening, when I was wearing my light gray dress: I was “cornered” by three women who insisted on gushing over my clothes, even going so far as talking about my posture, and comparing me to “the goddess.” Nothing I could say would refocus them on the Light and my witness.
 
In these days since God has turned my focus towards curbing my vanity, these comments distress me greatly. They grayer I go, the more I have felt my clothing serves as witness to my walking in the Light of God. But obviously, others are not sensing that. Or at least, they are not responding in ways I would prefer.
 
I have been sitting with this for several days now, examining every possible reason for the comments at this year's Gathering. The difference between this year and last year is that this year I am walking closer to God, standing in the Light virtually all the time. Perhaps people misread this and attribute it to personal style? And if that is the case, perhaps I need to remove all doubt and Go Gray? Yet at the same time, I am aware that since my deep spiritual awakening last fall, people are more likely to gravitate towards me, just to chat or say hello. Would going entirely gray encourage more of that, and perhaps deepen the contact? 
 
The clothes help? The clothes hinder? There is no easy answer to standing witness in simple dress.
 
~Standing in the Light

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you, Maggie. This is what I am trying to sort out. I would hope that folks "lack the ability to articulate" their reasons for comment, but given the women's reaction to my response, I think that it not the case. As they were gushing, I asked one, "If you were not already a Quaker, would my clothes cause you to go to meeting?" (Or some such words.) And they did not know what to do with my language of "walking in the Light." If they had responded with understanding, instead of translating what I said into "goddess language," I would not be struggling with this.

You may be right that I am "overthinking" this. Last night at midweek meeting, I brought this to God. I became aware of the great tenderness of the Living God, a love and compassion for my struggles to stand in the cross. And I learned that I must be more patient. My mode of dressing is not a problem yet, and I am greatly eased in my mind. Praise All That Is Wise and Good.

Dear Paula,

I too have gone through this process in the last year and I hope you don't mind If I share a little of my experience with you.

 

First a little story;

My husband and I where out of tea so we decided to stop at the nearest supermarket which just happened to be the new 'Market District' in our area.  We found the aisle marked tea.  It was about 50 feet or more long and it was ALL tea.  I was immediately overwhelmed with the chaos and confusion of way to much unnecessary choice. (Needless to say, we left.)

 

I find it was the same in my life. That God was calling me to live a simple life.  (for now I will just refer to the clothing issue.)  I realized that existing in this consumer driven society that even how I dressed was being carefully managed each season by the fashion gods that be. Therefore I had an overstuffed closet (or two) like many other women, and entered into that same place of chaos, confusion and frustrationi as that of the grocery store. Firstly, I would always sigh, I couldn't choose, then I would redress at least three times until everything was right. And the room would be a mess to come back to from the process.

I dressed for work 'put together appropriately' for success.

I dressed for church 'to look my best for God' etc. etc.

But when it was all distilled down to the final truth I  realized it all had to do with self consciousness and man pleasing.

 

With much prayer and leaning on the guidance of the Lord I entered a process of trial and error.

I began to make decisions based on pure practicality and function.  So here is what my wardrobe contains.

 

7 -plain colored dresses- one for each day of the week because I am messy lol.

1 -denim skirt and 2 tops for gardening or outdoor/messy work.

1 -denim split skirt for horse and bike riding

1 -Multifunctional bonnet (is made in such a way as brim can be pulled forward for outdoor sun, is worn back further for daily wear and has a snood type back which can be drawn up tight to bonnet style or loosened out all the way to open veil which is good if hair is still damp.)

1- black/white apron depending on chore.

1 - pair of crocs black mary jane shoes (I have feet trouble, have had surgery twice)

1 - pair winter boots

1- black leggins for cool weather , and black socks

1 - bloomers for warm weather

2- night gowns

2 - shawls one light/one heavier

and I will be getting a long winter wool cloak with hood for this coming winter as my former coat was a bit flashy and I need the length and hood for warmth as I feel the cold terribly.

(and of course the necessary under things)

 

And that's what I personally have found practical, functional and necessary.  The fruit of this change in my life is the peace that came once it was all taken care of. It became a non-issue. It's not a concern to me how I look to others or even to myself anymore. Last night was a perfect example, we had gone out to eat and I noticed this one family kept looking at me.  For the life of me I couldn't figure out why!  It must have taken me a good 15 minutes to realize.."Oh yeah, my dress." I just don't think about it anymore.  I get up in the morning, go to the closet pick a dress, put on my cap and apron, socks and shoes and there ya go! I can't tell you what a change it has made in me. Perhaps it is just due to the obedience (even if it did take me a long time lol) But I feel immence peace, joy and love since the change and that cannot be accomplished by a little fabric and thread.

 

So, after this long winded reply, my recommendation... follow where the spirit leads you personally and try to be obedient to Him. In that lies the blessing.

 

Praise His name

and bless the friends,

 

Deborah

Hello, Karen,

You wrote:

 Do you get equally bothered by other types of compliments?

Yes. Although I would not have used the word "bothered," I am careful that compliments not snare me.

God showed me that I must be vigilant against vanity, one of my greatest flaws. I guard myself when complimented in order to check that vanity. But I don't dress simply or "plain" in order to fend off comments, from either sex. And I am kind when complimented, rather than reacting unpleasantly, otherwise I would be going against that motion of Love that is God.

I have sent you a private note. Thanks for writing, Friend. :)

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