Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
What do you people think about the things mentioned above? I ask in particular about what you think about this in relation to plain dress, simplicity and the subjects of this group?
What are your ideas on what is modest and plainness and how do they mix for you, if all? Do you follow your own standards or do you struggle?
Hair:Do you cut or color it? Do you consider your particular choice plain and/or modest and why? Do you have ideas of modesty/plainness and body hair?
I have very strong and wavey hair and have learned over the years that simplicity is best served by keeping it very short. I've stopped colouring 4 years ago - I am lucky though that I have my Mum's genes not my Dad's for hair - as he was very grey by 40, and I think it would be harder to not colour if I was as grey as he had been.
As for body hair - I shave but not for any other reason than it is fresher working in hot clinical environments. I do shape my eyebrows, which I think is one of my last remaining vanities...but equally they would be serious catepillars if I didn't!
I don't wear makeup other than the occasional time I wear lip gloss and an eye liner if I have to be particularly formally dressed, however I do moisturise over all my body after a shower - again it is for a practical reason of the water here being very, very hard and without adding back in the oils of a moisturiser, I get very blocked up pores which can become infected.
Interestingly enough, I get mistaken regularly for an age at least 10 years less than my actual age...not sure which feature makes this an assumption by others.
I should perhaps answer the question myself too... (hmm forgot that earlier)
I generally dress in clothes that cover everything but my head, arms and the legs below the knee. If the mood and/or the weather dictates more covering clothes I will wear them. I feel that I do not compromise with my own standard of modesty wearing that. I am not plain, neither in the amount of clothes I own, the choice of colors and patterns or in where they were made but I hope to move towards that in time. I cover my head which I do not think is required for everyone but that this is my leading. I generally make my own coverings though.
Hair: I haven't cut in 1,5 years and not colored for about 2 years. It is fine and soft and slightly curled but more like waves than proper curls. I like the color and I have very few grey hairs so I have not inherited my mother's and sister's early onset of grey hair. At 28 as I am now both my mother and sister where distictly but not comepletely gray. I feel at present no need to cut the hair nor do I exclude the possibility that I will cut it later. I usually keep it up in a bun or in a braid/s either under the covering or with the braids outside the covering. I do not cover to keep my hair from the eyes of people so I do sometimes remove the covering temporarily even in public and most of the time at home.
I shave parts of my body such as my armpits and I sometimes remove the hair from my legs. I put this in to the cathegory of vain things I do because of society because I really see no need to do it if I think about it. I will see if I will resist the legs when summer comes...
I wear modest dresses, not traditional but more modern plain -- one style, various solid colors. Now and then a skirt, but adding skirts to the mix requires adding shirts, so both may be on their way out. No makeup, but I do use a moisturizer that has sunblock. I have long, uncut hair which is up in a bun and covered every day. If it wasn't, I'd probably be fussing with it, which is not how I want to spend my day. ;-) It's getting pretty gray these days. I have no problem with that, and no one else seems to especially care. Frankly, they don't seem to especially care about any of my other plain and simple choices, either, which is good since it means I don't have to dwell on them either.
What else? Not everything in my life or practices would be considered plain, but I guess my thought process is that if I'm more comfortable with it or it's health-related, I use it or do it and don't worry much about it. If I'm later led to give it up, at that point I'll be more comfortable without it than with it, so it all works out.
I dress modern plain -- long skirts and matching tops, mainly in brown, darker blues, and darker greens. My hair is fine and straight, and just past my shoulders. I wear it in a low ponytail, braid, or bun with a plain navy bandana-type covering. I grew it out over the last few years (after going plain), and still get a trim a couple of times a year to help even out the layers that still don't fit neatly into tidiness. I never had colored my hair, and don't plan to do so. I do consider the length and lack of cuts, etc., plain... before I started covering, I wore it short and spiky. I don't cover in bed, but am covered nearly the rest of the time (occasionally not while in the house).
I don't have a strict idea of plainness and body hair, but it's an interesting question! I gradually have stopped shaving, as it seems a bit vain. However, I may shave in the summer, in order to save my son rude/odd comments about my curly legs in the summer. :) In the winter I wear wool knee-highs and long johns, but in the summer I often wear light shorts under my skirt and sandals.
I do think modest and plain go together to an extent. I am plain and fairly modest. I do not wear cape dresses or aprons though, and while my clothes are not form-fitted or clingy, they also are not particularly baggy or boxy.
I do follow my standards, though I still struggle. I'm still not entirely certain why I was led this way. My plainness and head-covering alienates me from another community of people with whom I feel a very strong bond. This pains me, but as I have not felt released from plainness, I move forward. I guess I feel torn... I feel calm and grounded and right in plainness, but also alienated and a bit sad. It also pains me that my dress often leads people to believe I hold political views that are far from my truth.
Let me encourage you friend. You are being obedient and loving to God in answering his call. If He has led you in a certain direction, no matter what it would be, He has his reasons. He is sovereign and knows the end from the beginning. We may not understand at times, we may feel the twinges of doubt and definitely the barbs of the enemy at other times, (and usually aimed where the enemy feels they would cause the most pain).
But I can say, I have never seen Him fail in blessing us in ways we could not have foreseen before the obedience (whatever that may be) was taken up. What I mean is, we slowly begin to see positive changes within ourselves and sometimes I have seen particular blessings or answers to prayers that I had been waiting on.
I have learned to leave the 'how's and why's' to Him as the master architect of my life. Father really does know best!
So, continue to walk with Him, concentrate on the joy of being in the center of His will concerning your choices and the fact that He has chosen you to be His beloved child!
Peace to you
I have not been Quaker all that long, but I have been moving towards plainness and modesty for quite some time. I am in my thirties and have never really colored my hair although I am going gray. I have not cut my hair in several years, and it is currently waist length. I will get my hair trimmed if I find the ends are looking unhealthy, but I have not had to do so in a long time.
These days I rarely go out in public without my hair in a bun. I will occasionally wear my hair out in public in a braid instead if I'm not feeling well. (I find if I already have a headache, having my hair pulled in a bun makes me feel worse.) People sometimes ask whether having such long hair is a lot of work, but I really find that it is not.
I have only worn makeup once in the last five years and that was to my grandmother's funeral last summer. If my grandmother had still been alive, she would have commented on my lack of makeup, so I made a point of wearing some to her funeral in her honor. I used to wear makeup years ago, but I found that my skin is much healthier if don't.
I do shave my underarms and legs, although it is much less frequently than I used to. I find that I feel "cleaner" somehow when I shave my underarms. I do shave my legs particularly in the summer since I feel cooler in the heat when I do. In the dead of winter I sometimes shave so that it is easier to put lotion on the patches of eczema I get on my legs.
I do pluck my eyebrows sometimes when they start to get completely unruly. I don't really shape them so much as try to corral them a bit. :)
No Brian, it is lovely to see that a man answered the questions.
Yes, it is easier for a man to dress plain and if he doesn't go for the most extreme forms of male plain most people will not have a clue that he is plain. I guess it is double edged, people clearly notice that plain women regardless of 'level' look different than the typical fashionable woman. Being noticed means that you get people to start thinking which I think is good, sometimes at least. For a woman it is a clearer witness.
I used to be a woman who while not conforming to every last trend used to spend a lot of time chosing the perfect outfit with vintage dresses, rare accessories and bold color choices. I loved it, it was like art but it also took my focus away from more important things. I feel that a more modest and more plain dressing has helped dicipline my more selfish and selfcentered sides. I can still if I like make one of these outfits with the clothes I have now and my favorite assessories which I have not gotten rid of but I no longer feel I have to more than a couple times a year.
I question my choice of plain dress every day for different reasons. As I used to be so colorful before, people ask me if I am depressed, if my partner has forbidden me to wear certain things and some suggest that I should go to a make up artist for some tips (I haven't worn make up other than to parties for more than 10 years which people forget)... I also question my motives, do I do this for the right reasons? Yet I have always concluded that I do but I do understand the questioning part. I do not either question other people's choice to be plain, I tend to believe the best of people, plain or not.
I smiled at your comment about the depression and colours, because I have finally started climbing out of a chronic long-lasting depression in the last 12 months or so, and I feel so much less need to wear the bright colours for energy.
I used bright colours as a foil against people looking too closely at my mood for over 25 years (after all, who could imagine a depressed person wearing bright pink and purple).
Here is an interesting challenge on the plain front of things. When we are in clinical areas now we need to be "bare below the elbows" and that includes no watches. I have a watch I have worn since I was 13 years old, which now can't be worn at work, so I need to go into wearing a nurses fob watch...and I have the choice of fluro coloured silicon at cheap and cheerful prices or more expensive metal.
When it comes to watches I love bright colors so for me the choice would be easy (my wrist watch is hot pink) but that's me...
I would try to look at the cost of the metal one if I wanted one and try to make out if the added cost would create added durability and added comfort to me and if it would in the end make it the better purchase. If the silicon ones break more easily the more economical choice might be the metal one, but if they last about the same I would go for the cheaper one. Yes, it would not be as plain in color but plainer in purchase.
About colors and depression, I have not been depressed although like everyone I have and have had down periods and often it is then I feel more motivated to wear bright colors as they make me feel a bit happier. I have not given up colors totally but things like long dresses/skirts tend to be in darker colors and with patterns that are either so busy I do not bare to watch them or in very toned down patterns like small stripes. I would actually want something in between sometimes but I guess I would then have to make a dress/skirt myself.
I am improving on the getting rid of unnecessary clothing now, I am proud and embaressed to say I have now remove a whole big trashbag of clothes and there is still more to come. I think there will be at least two of them before I am done... I cannot believe that me who compared to my friends do not buy that much clothes can have two trashbags too much of clothes and I have gotten rid of clothes on a regular basis the whole time before this too. I can really see my extravagance in this area.
The cultural aspect should not be ignored, I agree. I would say that modesty is to fulfill the cultural requirements to not be too naked to at least a slightly higher standard than the average population. A Christian in a country where headcoverings are common should definetely cover while here in Europe or in the US that would not be an absolute requirement as I see it. I cover but I do not demand that others should if not lead to it. My skirts are usually below the knee and for the most part full length but I do not see a woman in a shirt which is just above the knee as immodest. I don't cover my arms in summer which some here might see as immodest but I feel that I fulfill both my own and my culture's standard for not being too undressed. It should however be said that I cover my shoulders in worship if I am wearing a sleeveless dress as I feel that worship requires the highest level of modesty which some like me cannot fulfill all the time.
i have struggled with G and myself about simplicity and dress, plainness and witness. i don't want to stick out. realizing that no matter what i do, i'm going to stick out has been helpful.
i wear long skirts of simple pattern. i'm learning to sew them for myself and this makes me very happy.
usually i wear longer shirts that cover most of my arms. my sewing skills have not evolved this far. hopefully someday!
i've started wearing my hair in a bun that i cover. a nice compromise for me.
my hair is so gray and i've fought round and round with vanity about this.
i don't shave .
it seems so much of plainness is about listening to G and either being willing or struggling. it's such a process.
G grant us a meaningful process!
I own less clothing than the average American woman, but more than probably most quakers. Over the past few years I have streamlined my clothing to just those things I know are flattering and easy. It is WAY more complicated than plain attire, but I am moving more and more towards simplicity in wardrobe. I do not want to be a slave to trends or shopping.
Here is what I wear:
- 1940s/1950s style
-Bottoms: Black, navy or jean fabric as pencil skirt, sailor pants, or shorts (I would say a total of 10 pieces)
-Top: Red, Pink, or Teal as button up top, tank top, or sweater
-Retro style dresses in above colors
-Hair: ponytail, half back, victory rolls
-Make up: black mascara, foundation under my eyes, and red lipstick
-I try to buy things used and now I'm starting to sew to keep my clothing slave free.
This streamlining of knowing exactly what I'm going to wear has cut my daily prep down to 15 minutes per day. And I will admit that I have too many boardshorts/bathing suits because I surf and too much costume jewelry because I inherited it from my great grandma.