I think I am one of the few people where I live not wearing the "maxi" skirt. What does that say about me? Maybe that I need to move to Italy? Or at least to New York? At least I'll take that as a license to exercise use of my passport. What happened to a nice tweed or wool skirt? With stockings and heels? It is February.
Let's talk a little bit about individuality and style and even fashion for that matter. Have you heard the saying, "Fashion is what you buy, but style is what you do with it?" It's true. Anyone can copy anyone else's Pinterest board or go to the mall and buy what is on the mannequin, but what do you do with it when you get home? Can you only wear that item that one way that you saw illustrated for you? I hope you don't think that. It's about knowing who you are, first. You have to know YOU.
My little sister called a week ago, saying, "I want to 'become cream', but how do I know what my style is?" I told her to go on Pinterest and start pinning what she liked, without thinking about it, just to pin what she instinctively was drawn to. I promised her that she would see a pattern. I told her that I had been quite entertained after recently setting up my own Pinterest account and going back to see that there was definitely a pattern to what I was pinning. I am obviously a Seventies child, drawn to the long, flowing fabrics and layers of that era, along with the chunky boots, clogs, hats, bow-tie blouses, and collars. Interestingly, it has transferred over into everything I buy today. Even though the things I buy are new and fresh, there are definitely themes from the Seventies that I am attracted to, and I think they work well with my thin, 5-foot-11-inch frame. Time after time, I buy flare-legged jeans, or at least boot-cut pants, with long and flowing blouses and sweaters. I love layers--lots and lots of them. Fall and winter are my favorite seasons where I can wear coats and sweaters and lots of clothes. I loathe summer where other people strip down to tank tops and shorts. I like to be covered up. I love clothes and so I want to wear them.
The point is, to be your own little self. We are individuals for a reason. God didn't make us all look the same. He is the Creator, the Chief Artist, and He was not using a mold when He made you and me. And, thankfully, the clothing designers do not make just one kind of clothing. We are blessed to have an abundance of choices. So, with all of the creative talent effervescing in design and fashion, why is everyone wearing the same things? Just because someone starts wearing one trend, why does everyone else have to follow? It's so un-creative.
Are we afraid to be different? I think that's what it really boils down to. Do you want to get real about this? Are you afraid that you might be the "weird one" at church or school? You envy--yes envy--the woman who knows how to do it, and secretly wish to be her, but you talk about her as if she is odd to others, and complain to your friends that she must be loaded with money to afford her closet full of nice clothes. It's not fair. You could learn something from that girl. You could ask her where she shops, or ask her to come over and help you. She might love to help you. She might even end up being your friend. You might even find out she's a lot of fun, and not the selfish spender you think she is. She just happens to have an artistic flair others don't and she might be able to help you find it in yourself. The whole key is to get excited about being YOU, and stop looking to copy other people.
My sister started pinning outfits and said, "I guess I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. How can you be stylish in jeans and a t-shirt?" Guess what? You can! It's in the details. In the shoes, in the jacket, in the bag and the cardigan and the accessories that go with the jeans. I wear jeans every single day. I just wear mine differently than my sister and she wears hers differently than me, because she's Jane and I'm Gina. It's supposed to be that way. Be yourself and wear what looks good on you, not what everybody else is wearing.
Do you have a special necklace your grandmother gave you that you are "saving" for something special? Wear it now! Do you have a collection of beautiful scarves? Wear them! What do you already own that shows the world that you are special? You can tie those things into your daily wardrobe. Maybe you have a few key pieces that you wear every single day. Maybe a special necklace or watch and maybe you are known for wearing those pieces. If so, make them your signature pieces. Maybe you are known for carrying a unique green handbag. If that's your unique signature, keep it--it's special. Resist the urge to be like everyone else. And, when you see everyone else kicking up their heels to follow a new trend, resist and hold out, and instead, start your own. And if you can't get others to follow you, that's even better.
Remember the story of the Ugly Duckling? The poor little duckling was harrassed and belittled because he didn't look like all the other ducks. He felt badly about himself, wishing that he could look like all his friends so he could fit in with them and better receive their affections. Even the adult ducks scorned him and shamed him. When it was discovered that he was not a duck after all and was in fact really a swan, a much more magnificent bird, the reasons for him looking differently were manifest. Why would he ever have wanted to be an ordinary duck? He was a glorious swan, the envy of all the lake, but he did not know it because he was too busy trying to fit in with all the ordinary ducks.
So it is with us also. We will not ever know we are swans if we are too busy trying to follow all the ducks. Please have the courage to look in the mirror and in your closet. Get to know yourself and what you like and what looks good on your body. Try on all your clothing first and then throw out everything that doesn't flatter you and make you feel beautiful. Have the strength to resist what the ducks are wearing and be the swan that God intended you to be. Have grace and withdraw from the fashions that are unattractive and immodest. Don't participate in any trend that you would not want your daughter or granddaughter to wear in your presence.
There is beauty and strength that come from within when we have the courage to be the women God designed us to be. The world would like us to all be the same. When we are all the same, we keep each other down. When we keep each other down, no one can succeed. Where no one can succeed, we all fail. This is not God's way. God is the Master Creator. It is His intention that we be like Him. We are created in His image and so we are destined to also be creative. One way we can do this is to be creative in the ways we present ourselves to the world. Let us show God that we appreciate that He made us all differently when we were in Heaven and thus not try to all look the same now that we are here on the Earth.