To be a slave or to be free; that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler to run out and buy whatever is on the rack at the mall, or to break out and dress the way one wishes.
As for me, I tired of the tyranny long ago. To date I have never bought one pair of low-rider jeans, not even from the thrift store.
I don’t care who in Hollywood is wearing what; I wear what fits me, and what looks “cute” to me, and I have tried to dress my eleven girls the same.
Selling clothing is a lot like selling cars; both will last a number of years if taken care of decently, and true innovations are only brought out every few years, so there wouldn’t be a great motivation for folks to purchase new if their current car or coat were in good shape, would there?
So…manufacturers change things like lines and color in order to convince us that their goods are indeed “new and improved!” and by-and-large people fall for the hype and dump their old coats and cars in favor of new ones.
Which is terrific for our family, since we don’t have money for the latest and greatest, anyway. This means my husband was able to find the car of his dreams–a Park Avenue in great shape and with low miles–for a song. It’s lines are sleek and lovely, and its gas mileage is wonderful, but there is no sticker shock, which means our family of now only 11 has some pocket change left over to go to the thrift store outlet (yes, our thrift stores have “outlets” where you can purchase clothes by the pound–amazing provision!) and spend pennies for the things that we like, whether they are “in” or not.
We don’t buy items that we find in magazines, and we don’t look for famous makers–we look for things that we think princesses and heroines might wear, whatever it is that brings out our natural attractiveness without making us look like vamps.
Instead of the flashy or trendy, we go for classic, understated beauty.
Here are some ways you can break free, too:
Stand in the mirror.
Look at your shape, your color, your size. With modesty in mind, what sorts of things do you need to enhance or downplay? Do you look better in tailored outfits, or less form-fitting ones?
Think about your idea of “pretty.”
When you were a little girl, before you started being careful to “fit in,” what did you consider beautiful? What did you consider over-the-top or ugly? What sorts of things make you smile when others wear them, even in old movies or portrayals of times past?
Look into your closet.
Be absolutely and totally honest with yourself, and no fair thinking of the price tags of your clothing. What really inspires you or makes you feel special? What do you own that you wear because you feel you are going to fit in with others, even though you don’t feel completely comfortable in it? Put the clothing you feel pretty in to one side and take a good, long look at it. What does this say about you? Can you gain a better direction as to what to spend your money on by being honest as to what inspires you and feeds your noble, womanly self?
Plan a thrift shopping trip.
What we find while we are shopping is that people are constantly donating the pretty things that they are afraid are too special or nice to wear around home, and so we buy them at prices so cheap we can wear them every day!
We look for separates that are nice, then pair them with accessories that bring the outfit together, such as sweaters and jackets, scarves, shoes, belts and purses. The little girls, especially, like to dress up with all of the scarves we have collected (many for just a few pennies each!).
And we’re not even afraid of “special care” items–if they only cost us 25 cents, what do we lose if we launder them and they don’t come out quite right?
Our daughter attended some college classes this last year, and did she ever make a fashion statement! Instead of wearing jeans and t-shirts, she wore classy, long skirts with sweater tops. Amazingly, her other classmates did not make fun of her for her off-beat choices, but continually complimented her. By the end of the semester the other girls were wearing skirts, too!
When you think about it, there is something special about a woman who knows who she is, and who is not afraid of being herself.
Why not donate or sell your trendy clothes and start something new to you, something that may get others talking, and thinking, so that they can get free, too?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.