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 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.
My hair currently is just below my shoulders. I find longer hair easier because I can pull it up out of my face and I don't have to have it cut all the time to maintain the look (I do realize, though, that mine looks conventionally better when it's shorter). I guess "easier" is subjective: Some things are bigger nuisances to some people than to others. Yes, I have to take more time washing it, but this bothers me less than do seemingly constant hair appointments and never quite being able to keep it out of my eyes.
I shave because it's hot here and I find it helps save my clothes from staining (so I can do less laundry and use less detergent, and ultimately buy fewer clothes since they then last longer), and makes it easier to stay clean overall.
I tend to stick with solid-color mix-and-matchables at work: Skirts, one black dress, turtlenecks, etc., because it's easier, and I'm not that into my work clothes. My office requires a certain level of "business casual" so I do have to replace things that become too faded or threadbare, but that's not bad. I'm fairly modest by nature but don't feel any particular spiritual directive toward it, nor towards any particular level of Plain. I sew most of my own clothes, especially those I don't wear to work, and they are definitely not Plain. On the other hand, they're not made in sweatshops, they're made well, and I'm much happier with them because they fit and are just what I want instead of makeshifts that I'll want to replace when I find something better.
Besides, I never quite outgrew my affinity for Seventies prairie dresses, so if I did think I felt a directive toward Plain or modest, I would definitely have to question my own motives!
I wear long skirts, black or brown shoes, and usually t-shirts (but sometimes "nicer" tops) with that. The t-shirts are usually decidedly non-Plain, but I've had them since high school and they haven't worn out yet, so I guess I might as well keep wearing them. The same could be said of my skirts I guess, since I just keep mending them.
Long before becoming Quaker, I tried to dress in ways least likely to get me "hit on" by guys in high school, so that was lots of baggy black clothing. Outside of my gothy-eye-shadow-phase, I've maintained that cosmetics are about exploiting women who haven't learned to love themselves.
I last had my hair cut professionally in October 2009, so it's been a year and a half. I have taken scissors to the tips a bit myself to snip off split ends before they get a chance to move further up though. I don't really have anything against cutting it, per sé, but hair just doesn't seem like something important enough to bother taking time out of my schedule or spending money to have someone else deal with. It's currently just over 30 inches (76cm) long. I have maroon, cream, and pink-white-variegated crocheted snoods, a few Israeli tichels, and a white veil. I don't cover every day, though.
I stopped shaving altogether about a year ago (stopped doing it regularly two years ago). My mother hates it, so I make sure to avoid cap-sleeved shirts around her. I see no need to shave legs that are always hidden by long skirts.
I started greying a couple years ago. I don't intend to dye it when the grey becomes more visible for the same reason I don't wear makeup: the only time I did either was during my goth phase and I wouldn't know how to do them like "normal" people! Also because I just don't see the need. As far as I'm concerned, my mistaken belief that women don't grey until well into middle age was caused by every other woman in my family and friend circle dyeing their hair from age 23-or-so onward. I'd like not to have my younger cousins be surprised when they get grey hairs in their 20s. Call it "appearance integrity" if you will.
Heh--I was in high school during the grunge era. If ever anything was the perfect cover for a girl who didn't want to deal with male attention, grunge was it. I borrowed all my dad's vintage wool overshirts and wore the biggest jeans I could find.
I've never been a makeup person, as much because of skin issues, though, as anything else, and my hair isn't graying so there's nothing to color. I don't know if I would color it or not: I'm in my early thirties and if it started graying now, I might tint it. If it stays brown for another ten years, I won't.
I can say that I this far into summer have resisted shaving my legs and I think this summer they will not be shaved. I will continue to shave my armpits however.
On when you go gray, some do in their early twenties and some die at 80 with few gray hairs at all, it is in true a lottery like many things relating to the body.
I'm not called to plain dress but I love a man who is so am interested in what other folks have to say about plainness. I really appreciate this discussion and your openness. So often in Quakedom, our conversations are intellectual and lofty. I like hearing what y'all are saying about the day-to-dayness of living as you are called. Each of you talking about shaving your legs especially amuses me.
I don't dress plain but this is how I live with Integrity and Simplicity when it comes to clothing: I buy pretty much all my clothes at thrift stores. Doing so ensures that what I wear was not made for me in sweat shops and often keeps the items from going to a landfill as pollution. I've never really worn make-up nor permed nor colored my hair and my hair has a fair amount of grey. I don't wear trendy eye-glasses. My wardrobe is very colorful, long summery skirts with girl-cut t-shirts and summery dresses (in winter I wear wool skirts and turtlenecks in blacks, greys and browns because that's what I like). I don't follow any fashion or trends at all and have my own style. When I get complimented on my style (which happens a lot I think because I have a lot of fun with clothing), I get to share with people that I buy all my clothes at Goodwill and why that is. Not the same as dressing plain but still my call to Simplicity.
I began shaving my legs at 10(!) and stopped shaving my legs as an idealistic feminist at 20. At 24 or so I started shaving my legs again sometimes. Nine years ago during my last pregnancy, I'd not shaved for some while (because of the discomfort of bending over) and realized that air gets "caught" in leg hair and actually cooled me more than when my legs were shaved. Usually now I don't shave in the winter and do in the summer, not because of any external/societal expectations but because I like the feeling and I like sharing the smoothness with my partner.
As for modesty, hmmm...I'm not very modest at all. I'm 46 and have had 3 babies. My body looks like what it is but I'm really happy with it and wear some clothes that show lots of skin. Oddly, about the time I became involved with my plain dressing Quaker man, I also became comfortable wearing dresses and summer tops which showed my cleavage, something I'd never done before. He's fine with it although I'm sure we occasionally discombobulate people.
Here's a blogpost I wrote about clothing back in 2007: http://friendlymama.blogspot.com/2007/03/dressy-bessy-tis-gift-to-b...
I find eyeglasses hard. I don't look good in the extremely simple methal ones. I hate saying this I even look slightly like I have mental handicap in them. I refuse trendy glasses or glasses that give any kind of statement. The only type of glasses I can accept to wear are square-shaped and in a dark color like brown. The problem is that I have a small nose so only about 10% of these glasses fit... Gaaaah, now my old ones are both so worn out (they may break any minute) and too weak so I have had to go into that djungle again. My fiance cannot understand why I dismiss glasses that fit me (too stylish, too trendy, too much like an old lady who likes the opera, visible brandname, too colorful, too big) and tries to force me to go and try on glasses with the result that I lose my temper and end up storming out of the store because nothing fits me and nothing feels OK.
I just want square-shaped glasses in a mute color perferably brown with no visible brand and that does not take over my face and make me look like an owl. I don't think it should be hard but it is! My rant about glasses will stop here.
I have to confess that this wouldn't be my approach to simplicity. Simplicity of aesthetics, perhaps, but not simplicity of . . . well, much else.
My parallel would be jeans: I have a very hard time finding jeans that fit. The neutral-looking ones I bought eight years ago are no longer made. I'm not built for skinny or low-rise styles, I have a limited budget, and I hate "fashion jeans" made of thin fabric. The only style I can get that allow me to even sit down are the Wranglers that are meant for women who actually ride horses, because they have high waists, relaxed hips and thighs, and are made of heavy denim. However, they (obviously) only come in a, not garish, but pointedly cowgirl style, complete with longer legs, back waist yoke, and signature "W" embroidery on the back pockets.
Maybe I could find simpler-looking jeans if I wanted to spend that much time combing every store, online store, and Goodwill within a hundred-mile radius . . . but that strikes me as a tedious, time-wasting, energy-wasting, approach, and one that is possibly overly concerned about the appearance of my jeans, though maybe not in the way most people might expect.
It's a lot easier on my wallet, spare time, and state of mind to just accept that I cannot control the availability in styles of things that I don't make myself, and to choose that which a) physically fits me best, b) is within my budget, c) is as well-made as I can afford, d) doesn't require me to go to horrendous lengths to acquire, and e) isn't hopelessly unflattering and/or revealing. The Wranglers are more "stylish" than I would ordinarily choose--I haven't been on a horse in ten years--but I don't have to worry about the fit, where to get them, or whether they'll fall apart in the wash. What kind of "style" they project simply has to be that much less important to me.