I've been wrestling with dissertation writing lately and it's been making me miserable. After tossing and turning in the wee hours this morning I felt the need to get up, shower, dress, braid up my hair, put on my cap and walk the dog. The big deal here is walking the dog in a dress and cap. I've been only a few public places in my cap, and I've never walked the dog dressed this way. I put my hair up in a ponytail, cover it with a bandanna, and wear a T-shirt and cargo shorts. Why? Mostly because I don't want to be conspicuous - dressing the way I've become used to. 

Why don't I want to be conspicuous? Because I've been apologizing to my friends, my neighbors, and people in general for being weird!  Do you know what I mean? Sorry for being weird, I'll just wear this bandanna instead of my cap to make you feel more comfortable. Sorry for being weird, I know my skirt is long but I've always worn long skirts so this isn't a big deal right? Sorry for being weird about the plain thing but it's probably just a phase - you still love me right? Sorry for being weird, but I've been reading alot of Quaker writings and even the bible in the privacy of my own home, but I am still the old girl who can cuss like a sailor and carry on, so you still love me right?

Here's my early morning revelation. You cannot serve two masters.

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Replies to This Discussion

I do understand, completely!

 

As for resources, Plain and Simple Headcoverings is a great website, Miss B makes wonderful items, I have purchased quite a few. She sells snoods too (which are available anytime for purchase), and although currently she is on hold with sewing, she is an excellent seamstress and offers great service, you should take a look at her website.  You can find her at www.prayercoverings.com.  Quaker Jane's blog offers a wonderful array of resources for plain dress. www.Quakerjane.com.  Rachel's Seamstress Service offers wonderful bonnets,  and other items at www.rachelsseamstressservices.com.  I also like www.covered4him.com and www.ringgerclothing.com.

 

I am also in the middle of beginning a cottage business I feel led to offer, of modest and plain clothing.  I am currently working on setting up my Etsy storefront, an ArtFire storefront, and getting my own website going.  For now, until my website is up and running, anyone interested can got to either www.etsy.com/people/WebbHomesteadCrafts or www.artfire.com and search for WebbHomesteadCrafts to find me.  You can send me requests in the conversations option for items you are looking for, since I am currently working on gathering ideas for items to offer.  I can be reached on here, as well as on Facebook (if you use it).  I will be creating a Facebook page soon for the new website at www.ModestMeadowsMerchant.com that will be up and running soon.

 

Blessings on your journey!

Oh how I know about that one, Elin!  I have worn my bonnet a few times only in public, and we live in the southwest.  We do not have in our area people who cover in the sense that I do.  I see Jewish men wearing Kippahs / Yarmulkas very rarely, and Islamic women in burkas occasionally, but bonnets are virtually nonexistent here, and thus, bring attention.  I am not pleased that it tends to draw attention, and my husband worries it will bring negative attention to me, so I (at the request of my husband as well) have decided to wear instead crocheted berets and woolen cabbie caps and such, things that are more modernly accepted as everyday, when I go out (although not ALWAYS).  I also understand being isolated.

 

I have gotten a mix of responses from neighbors who see me in bonnet and prairie dress with apron, some positive, some negative.  I have discovered a tendency to become defensive at times when I receive negative response, which I am working on (I don't want to be that way).  I am in the middle of trying to decide how to reply in such situations as they surface, and reminding myself that they might just be so surprised and unaccustomed to seeing such dress, that they are curious and don't understand, and to be more patient.

 

Part of my family (my in-laws) have trouble understanding it as well, and I have felt badly that my husband has felt the need to defend me andhas been pressured by them because of my choice to follow this path (although he supports it, he is not a plain dressing Quaker), putting him in a difficult position which I never intended.  He also worries that people will view HIM as controlling (the whole submit to thy husband thing).  Of course we respect one another, but see one another as equals, and those who know me understand that I am not doing this because of any request of my husband.  If anything he has asked me NOT to wear it out when with the family, and would prefer me not wear it in public at all, at least not yet and not until we move to Maine (different mentality up there compared to here, and there are larger communities of Friends and Amish up there, so people are used to seeing  caps and bonnets more than here).

 

It IS not an easy path, however I cannot help but feel led further down it.  Having support of f/Friends who accept and understand it makes all the difference I think! It is certainly a journey that I am grateful to have begun, which has offered many lessons continually for me about myself and others.  Despite the negatives, overall it has been a blessing to me.  I will continue on this path as long as I feel led to do so.

I took the step to wear caps to work in August and I have continued to do so on most days since then. I have not come to work since then without any headcovering but sometimes I go without on weekends if I am just going to the shops or I wear a hat which I sometimes take off inside shops if it gets too warm. Now wearing something on my head feels normal and I have stopped noticing if people stare. I have learned that if I look them in the eye and smile they either smile back or look away.

 

I am glad I have taken the step to cover full time now and I have also bought some more fancy coverings for parties as I have felt I do not feel pretty in my everyday coverings then. I do not believe in striving to feel pretty all the time but at a party it is too hard to feel like the only ugly woman when everyone is dressed up and you stand there with your plain clothes and covered hair. Everyday that is not a problem but when everyone is dressed up I cannot take it. One day I will, I am sure of that but not now.

 

The man in my life (not yet my husband) does not have any problems with my coverings, he understands that I want this but I also think that he sometimes worries about if other people will believe that he is a tyrant when the fact is the exact opposite but he lets me decide what to do myself as he feels it is totally my choice how I dress. I think we look quite plain even though he has not made that choice himself but he prefers t-shirts and jeans and he has a full beard (with mustasch though). He has not chosen his clothes for religious reasons and he has a beard because I like beards and he does not like shaving if he does not have to so it is the perfect choice for both of us...

 

I feel that what seems to trouble most people is the fact that they are not able to pigeon hole me. I wear modest clothes and a headcovering which most people see as very conservative here but still I am quite liberal when it comes to views and how I interpret the bible. I think people would have found it easier if I had changed totally and not just put on a cap. It was fun at work when a woman asked me how long my hair was as she had never seen it down and I just took off the scarf I wore and opened up my braid and showed her. I think they thought I would not do that and that I had some idea that I had to cover my hair to exactly all the time which I do not. I cover to be able to feel free to pray and talk about god whenever I want to and because I believe this is something god wants me to but I do not believe that my hair must be covered at all times and that people cannot ever see my hair.

 

My next challenge will be to get a modest swimsuit so that I have something I can wear to the beach next summer and not feel uncomfortable. I believe I will get a bathing suit that covers to below the knee but with the shoulders uncovered. I have seen such suit at an internet shop and I hope to soon take the step to buy it as I love swimming and now I do not feel comfortable in a normal bathing suit anymore.

Elin, your words are like song to me!  How wonderful that you are able to wear your caps at work!  I have not chosen to ask or try to do this, although I do wear my modest dress (long skirts and plain blouses) without being questioned.  I work in a library, so that helps.  However, we will move soon to Maine, and since I am leaving soon, I have chosen not to wear my bonnet or ask to, since I have such little time left there anyway.  When we move and I try to find a new position, I wonder if I will attend the interview in my full plain dress or not... putting myself out there from the get-go as I want to dress, to avoid the change in appearance later on with supervisors.  I wonder if I might miss decent job opportunities if I did this, however, I also wonder if those positions would not be better lost anyway, if they are not accepting of my chosen dress.   Working in a library (depending on what kind of library) means that staff strive to dress in a manner that makes them most approachable, most friendly, least visually  intimidating, since we want students, kids, and other adults to feel at ease when asking for assistance.  That works in my favor in this situation, although the bonnet might be too much for most hiring librarians (once again, depending on the kind of library).  An academic library might not be as flexible as a special library like the one at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village (for obvious reasons).  We shall see! :-)

I also understand about feeling like the under-dressed, or "ugly" woman in the room, in comparison when in a situation like a party. I do not think there is anything wrong with having something a bit more fancy for such a situation, I would probably do that same as you have.  Yes, I have seen some of the modest swimsuit pages advertised online.  I think the option is wonderful. 

 

I think the outward conservative appearance makes many think we are conservative in everything.  I, too, am very liberal in some things, which I think often surprises many.  However, I think that there are also a lot of people who just assume and never find out these things about me, which is okay, too.  I am in the middle of buying some bonnet patterns to make some for myself (up till now I have purchased all of mine).  I am looking to make an outing bonnet for over my white one that will keep me warm in the snow.  Although I have never made one of these before, I am hopeful that the journey will be entertaining, and the end product will be wearable!

 

Many blessings of love and light to you, my Friend!  I have been blessed by your comments, and friendship. It is nice to have a person to relate with who is also on this journey! Thank you for your kindness, may you have a blessed new year!

Just as a side note, modest swimsuits are getting easier to find in mainstream retailers, often they are sold for their utility as sunscreen. I got mine online at Lands' End, with shorts that are above the knee but not form fitting and a long sleeve rashguard on top. It is comfortable to swim in and doesn't call attention to itself either as peculiar or as too bare.

Land's end has modest swimsuits. They have finally hit the market. I haven't worn a swimsuit in years, but find this style modest enough http://www.landsend.com/pp/StylePage-398090_AF.html?amp;CM_MERCH=RE...

 

Paula

I think on a job interview I'd wear a long skirt and modest top and cover it with a professional black blazer.  I am not sure what I would wear for a head covering.  If I wore one it might be a snood, but I'm thinking on an interview that I would not wear one at all. I have some very nice professional style modest skirts from Shukr.com - a store that caters to western Muslims who are challenged to follow hijab and still fit in.   Something like http://www.shukronline.com/wt0581.html would be business/interview appropriate. 

 

 

I have thought about job interviews as well. Right now I have no plans of quitting my job unless I would truely find my dream job but I feel that one needs to have some kind of plan if necessary. As I have taken the step to cover I couldn't go completely without covering as I would feel like I was lying to the employer then. I wouldn't start my employment with a lie, that would go against everything I believe in. Therefore I would wear a covering but I would feel a bit scared about wearing a cap, maybe all s/he could see would be the cap, kind of like if I would wear a bright orange sweater with a squirrel on it or something equally crazy. Also, if I wore my cap I would open up the book of questions about it and possibly having to explain my whole belief system in order to assure the head master that I will not try to make my students join some weird cult as is what some people believe I am in. I do wear scarves on a regular basis however so for me a scarf would be both honest to who I am and still not scare the employer to death so that is my plan for now if I would apply for a new job.

 

I do not really like mine and my partner's situation at the moment, we do not know anything about our future. Yes, I have a job and we have somewhere to live but he has not finished his studies and he has maxed out his opportunities to get more student loans so he either needs to find a full time job, a part time job and continue studying or continue studying with no part time job but finish up really quickly. Our financial situation could handle all senarios but he has trouble deciding what is best but I think he is leaning towards the two latter as he really wants to get his degree. However, either choice he makes does put our life at a bit of a stand still as we cannot get a bigger apartment, a house or make too much change until he has a steady job.

 

Even though my paycheck is more than enough for our quite modest life most banks and landlords would doubt that and increasing our costs would of course always put our economy at greater risk.  Thankfully our only dept is his student loans as mine are paid off and student loans have special benefits which both allows you to pay them off faster and you may also get a lower sum to pay if your economy is really bad which make them one of the best loans to have. Anyway I have a positive outlook towards the future but right now it is a bit irritating to feel a bit locked as I do now.

I do not say I haven't experienced both looks, avoidance and strange remarks (I am also modest and half plain) but meeting people with a smile and not being defensive seems to help. I have gotten the impression that some in my church think that my head covering means that I think that I am 'holier that thou' but no one who has ever spoken to me keeps that impression, that I am sure of.

 

Before I went for modest dress I got the offers of make overs but I haven't yet gotten them this time around. I have not worn make up during the day for 7-8 years so I think the people who think I should have already given up. I do think about chosing colors that match my skin, I do not see that as prideful just like I do not think it is prideful to wear clean clothes, that perhaps make people less inklined to put the 'frumpy' stamp on me. I do wear modern materials and most of my clothes can be bought in regular shops which I think make some people relate to me and my choices more easily. I do not look trendy, I look different, but perhaps it helps that they can sometimes spot that my sweater was bought at H&M. I will move towards a more plain wardrobe now but I do not plan to become austere plain wearing only dark solid colors because that would not make me feel good. I want to make my own clothes to a point but still buy some of them as well. I will never give up wearing, green, pink, red, and printed fabrics, that would kill my soul.

Look for a stinger suit from australia if you want something that is ankle length and covers the arms.

It is originally for preventing jelly-fish stings which can be fatal if you get done by the wrong one (!), but it would be excellent for modest swimming.  It is on my wish list.

Regarding  job interviews: I am hoping my next will be telephone like my previous ones have been.

 

Makes for an interesting process...because you are reliant on persuasion without visual cues and they have to "see" you from your words.

 

It is one advantage of working in many different countries!

I cannot imagine some law barring me from wearing my snood or cap, especially based on this foolish notion that what you wear will liberate or imprison you. How does that work anyway: short skirt I'm liberated, cap and I'm suddenly oppressed.  I live in Pennsylvania. I like to call it the nunya state because what I do is nunya business. We have alot of plain folk living here in addition to a few other states. Can you imagine telling the Mennonites, the Amish, the Brethren, etc that they need to be OF the world. That would not go over well.

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