Plainness & Simplicity

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Plainness & Simplicity

Some Friends have recently been dubbed the "New Plain" for their experimentation with Quaker plainness and simplicity. Tag: plain

Members: 227
Latest Activity: on 4th day (Wed)

Plain Links

The New Plain, a 2004 essay by Rich the "Brooklyn Quaker" that used the term to describe a new wave of plain dressing Quaker bloggers. Quaker Jane has become the best source of information on the why's and how's of this new wave of plain dressing Friends.

QuakerQuaker's Plain Resources page has a longer list of quotes and links about plainness.

Plain Friends Page, a wonderful collection of essays on plainness from Crossroads Friends Meeting in Michigan.

Discussion Forum

Christmas celebrations the Quaker way?

Started by Patrice Wassmann. Last reply by carolyn taylor 4th month 8. 17 Replies

Learning to be Led

Started by Barbara Smith. Last reply by Anne Lee 4th month 7. 2 Replies

I think I might have found my go-to dress...

Started by Paula Roberts. Last reply by Anne Lee 4th month 3. 9 Replies

Course Correction -cape dresses

Started by Paula Roberts. Last reply by Anne Lee 4th month 1. 14 Replies

Featured Blog Posts on Plainness

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Meetups, Events, and Resources

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Comment by Liz W on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 8:36am
Yes, that makes sense! Glad you found the ideas useful.
Comment by Javaughn Fernanders on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 8:25am
thanks you Liz, that is so helpful. Especially the idea about the color palette. If I keep to a simple palette then I can actually match more things with less (if that makes sense).
Comment by Liz W on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 7:49am
Javaughn, I think how many pieces of clothing you need depends very much on (a) what range of activities you do that may require specialist clothes (or have a dress code that you are prepared to confirm to) and (b) how often you're able to do laundry. For instance, I need a professional wardrobe (I'm a lawyer) and one that is suitable for messier activities like gardening, cooking and hiking; I also swim, dance and do yoga. On top of that, I need somewhat different items in summer and winter because the range of seasonal temperatures in the UK is quite wide. I'm out most weekday evenings, and once or twice a year I'm travelling without access to laundry facilities for a week. In addition, I am disabled.

All of that means I end up needing quite a lot of items. I do try to keep it to a minimum by focusing on a limited colour palette (blacks, other neutrals and blues); that does help a bit, but laundry time is the real constraint. From experience, I find that in order to reliably not run out of stuff without running myself ragged trying to keep up, I need 8-9 of things like underwear and base layers that I typically want to change every day, and 2-3 of things that I wear less often or can wear several days in a row. There are a very few specialist things that I only need one of.

Most people will have their own special factors along these lines, so it's difficult to lay down general guidelines. But I think a sensible aim is to always have something to hand that you can wear without too much fuss, including something you can change into if you spill something on your outfit or tear it on something or whatever. So for a hypothetical person who can wear the same wardrobe for work and leisure, doesn't need specialist stuff and is never more than a day or two from being able to do laundry, I'd say the sensible starting-point would be three of everything - one on, one in the laundry and one spare in case something happens to the one they're wearing. Since most people aren't that hypothetical person, add one for each extra day between laundry loads (or each extra 2-3 days for things that can be worn several days in a row), multiply by the number of different wardrobes that you regularly need for work/leisure/climate reasons etc, then add in specialist or more rarely-worn items.
Comment by Javaughn Fernanders on 7th mo. 19, 2010 at 10:13pm
Hello,
not going completely plain, but trying not to purchase anymore clothing for a long while. So spiritually simple or something...

I have a question. Those of you who are plain, how many of each thing do you have. I'm gleening and trying to figure out if I need 2 or 5 pairs of pants and so on. Let me know, give me some tips.
Comment by Helen Bayes on 6th mo. 29, 2010 at 6:30pm
Just joined simply because this is where I am now. Have given up fancying my outward appearance (double meaning intended). I'm seeing it as a move to plain rather than adopting a form of simple.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 6th mo. 8, 2010 at 3:07pm
I've been a Friend attender for years and am now making the change to Friend member. I've been reading alot about plainness and simplicity. Just some weeks ago I'd dismissed simplicity as the least applicable testimony to modern times only to be laid low by stress and overwork. Some strong testimonies in meeting made me realize that the opposite is true, at least for me. Simplicity is my struggle. I have been dressing relatively modestly for a long time. It's been years since I've even contemplated a bathing suit or a short skirt. I bought skorts for exercise/running and wore them only a few times. For me it was a matter of comfort. I do wear long skirts - I have found them appealing for a very long time. I have never seen them as some conscious movement towards plainness, but a choice from aesthetics and comfort. I do wear pants, but even here the pants are loose cargo-style, again for comfort. I am from the West Indies and therefore given to color!

But that is really beside the point. Plainness for me is a struggle not to obsess about the future, not to be caught up in social expectations for work and ambition. What do I mean? I worked in a job that made me crazy for a long time until I was laid off. This forced me to make a change I had been afraid to. All along I taught university part time, but was afraid to give up the certainty of a steady paycheck for the uncertainty of adjunct work. Having been forced to the change I came to recognize what made me happy and content - having time at home to myself, having time to walk the dog, work in the garden, etc. I felt the path. And then this spring I took on far too many classes to the point that I was living on caffeine and little sleep in order to keep up, and have not written anything in my dissertation for about a month. It took heart palpitations to realize I was back to the mess, right back off the path, right back to working myself sick.

I think I need a reminder of what I know is important and what I know is not important for me. Perhaps that is why the Simplicity testimony so resonates with me right now. I need tools to be more aware of my own state of mind, an early warning when I am straying from the path. What is important to me; what has improved my emotional health includes making bread, cooking from scratch, raising my garden, reading, exercise, attending Meeting. Paying attention to plainness and simplicity speaks to my condition of late.

I am trying to understand what is going on with me at this time. I feel called to pay more attention to what resonates in me as a Friend.

Thanks.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 5th mo. 8, 2010 at 9:33pm
I've been a Friend attender for years and am now making the change to Friend member. I've been reading alot about plainness and simplicity. Just some weeks ago I'd dismissed simplicity as the least applicable testimony to modern times only to be laid low by stress and overwork. Some strong testimonies in meeting made me realize that the opposite is true, at least for me. Simplicity is my struggle. I have been dressing relatively modestly for a long time. It's been years since I've even contemplated a bathing suit or a short skirt. I bought skorts for exercise/running and wore them only a few times. For me it was a matter of comfort. I do wear long skirts - I have found them appealing for a very long time. I have never seen them as some conscious movement towards plainness, but a choice from aesthetics and comfort. I do wear pants, but even here the pants are loose cargo-style, again for comfort. I am from the West Indies and therefore given to color!

But that is really beside the point. Plainness for me is a struggle not to obsess about the future, not to be caught up in social expectations for work and ambition. What do I mean? I worked in a job that made me crazy for a long time until I was laid off. This forced me to make a change I had been afraid to. All along I taught university part time, but was afraid to give up the certainty of a steady paycheck for the uncertainty of adjunct work. Having been forced to the change I came to recognize what made me happy and content - having time at home to myself, having time to walk the dog, work in the garden, etc. I felt the path. And then this spring I took on far too many classes to the point that I was living on caffeine and little sleep in order to keep up, and have not written anything in my dissertation for about a month. It took heart palpitations to realize I was back to the mess, right back off the path, right back to working myself sick.

I think I need a reminder of what I know is important and what I know is not important for me. Perhaps that is why the Simplicity testimony so resonates with me right now. I need tools to be more aware of my own state of mind, an early warning when I am straying from the path. What is important to me; what has improved my emotional health includes making bread, cooking from scratch, raising my garden, reading, exercise, attending Meeting. Paying attention to plainness and simplicity speaks to my condition of late.

I am trying to understand what is going on with me at this time. I feel called to pay more attention to what resonates in me as a Friend.

Thanks.
Comment by Cassie Gornowicz on 3rd mo. 16, 2010 at 11:11pm
You're welcome Larry.
Comment by Cassie Gornowicz on 3rd mo. 16, 2010 at 9:37pm
I would think you could just sew a button on to the waistband where your suspenders would button on. But I would pin the suspenders on to get an idea of where you want the button or if you have a pair of pants with the suspender buttons already, just copy the placement.
 

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