Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Frugal Wardrobe

I've read several articles, books, and blogs about how to be frugal and modest with your wardrobe and it's a subject I've been thinking on for months. I will admit that I've read these articles with disbelief as the authors have shared about their miniscule wardrobe with only a few colors, a few pieces etc. And while I don't think what they are doing is wrong or bad, I tend to disagree. I think we can be fashionable and modest without being frumpy and uncreative (just to clarify - I don't think everyone who holds the above view is)! Before you jump on me though, hear me out. :) I'm not espousing massive wardrobes that spill into two closets with more clothes than you could ever wear nor am I recommending spending above your means. :)

I love being a woman. I'm glad God made me a woman and I enjoy wearing a variety of clothing. And while I build much of my wardrobe on more classic pieces, I also enjoy having a few of the more recent trends. It keeps me young (wait, I am young!), current, and somewhat fashionable. Recognizing that we are women created by God and often given the creative desire to dress in a pleasing manner is important. I don't want, say, 5 mix-and-match outfits, 2 sets of jewelry, and 2 pairs of shoes. Part of who I am and part of celebrating my womanhood is dressing in beautiful (hopefully), stylish, and diverse clothing.

Perhaps the biggest thing is that my husband prefers me to dress this way. He notices and appreciates when I wear clothes that complement my body type, are in season, and are fashionable. There are some things he absolutely does not like me to wear and so I don't. What I choose to wear honors him and pleases him.

I do not usually buy designer clothes, I have shopped at Thrift Stores, I have made some of my own clothes (okay, not for years - I was never very good at it), I do shop at outlet malls, and I definitely always shop on sale. There are very, very few things I have ever bought at full price (scrubs and work shoes being the exceptions). Oh and I don't shop often and we donate or pass on to friends or family anything we are no longer wearing.

If God calls us to minister in another country, changes our economic circumstances, or has another plan for us then I will truly be okay with changing my wardrobe habits accordingly. But right now, this is where He has us.

So I'm making a case for more variety without guilt. I'm suggesting a little more creativity balanced with frugality. If your individual circumstances don't allow or your personal style is different that's okay but please don't make the rest of us feel guilty for buying a cute shirt, the perfect pair of earrings, or an adorable new pair of shoes. We are just enjoying being women.

It's not about the brand or the store or the style or about how much money you spend. It's about celebrating womanhood, honoring the man in your life, and staying within your budget. Okay, you can throw the tomatoes now... :)


Loraena said...

GREAT post! I am totally with you. You are so right about the importance of listening to our husbands!

I have spent more money than usual on clothing lately because I have found that my summer wardrobe is looking a bit too teeny-bopper on me these days and aren't fitting very well anymore. =(

Actually, the area I need to maintain self-control in my spending is when it comes to buying clothes for Eliana! Baby girl clothes are WAY TOO CUTE!!!

CityStreams said...

Too true! I think there are plenty of other things to worry about. Anyone who feels that I'm not Christlike enough because I own too many clothes, has too much free time on her hands.

The modesty factor, on the other hand is one that I do struggle with. I used to be extremely modest about what I wore. In fact I never wore shorts in the summer because I didn't want to show too much leg.

I've started dressing sexier these days, because I want my husband to see that side of me. It's not fair to give the other girls an advantage and then feel insecure about myself all the time. So, that's an issue I've been thinking about a lot lately. How much skin should I show in public?

Muriel and Jerry said...

trust me right now only like 5 things fit me and it is no fun wearing them over and over again!

Paula said...

I totally agree. We don't have any malls up where I live, so it helps me save $$ on clothes. I like to buy at Ross stores or outlets like you said.

Ambrose Family said...

I couldn't agree more. Dan is always saying how sad it is that most conservative Christian women equate modesty with frumpy and lack of variety.

He much prefers (and I completely agree with him!) for me to look attractive and somewhat current (yes, I worked at Conner Prairie, but I don't need to wear my costume for every day life!).

I love being a woman. I celebrate that God made me with curves *shock* and I have no problem preferring to dress the body God gave me.

Jewelry, cute shoes, pretty clothing--no it is not of the highest priority, nor should it be, but I also shouldn't feel guilty for enjoying it. Like you said, if our circumstances were different, if we were missionaries abroad or the like it would be different.

Like you I almost always buy on sale (the only full price stuff I've bought in the past year has been maternity clothing), and I certainly don't overspend my clothing budget, but sometimes I still feel guilty for enjoying my cute kitten heels compared to some peoples oh-so-practical wardrobe. Perhaps I'm frivolous, but Dan likes me this way, and so do I!

Smith Family Blog said...

I LOVE this post! I truly believe that we feel most confident when we feel we look good. And this confidence spills over into all sorts of areas-- relationships, work, etc. When you feel good in what you are in, that confidence just gives you a boost.

When K asks me if something looks good, I always ask, "Do you feel good in it? Do you feel confident in it?" That's the real test.

Jenny said...

I honestly don't care that much about what I wear (which is obvious to everyone who knows me), and I haven't read the people you refer to, but sometimes I think people get wrapped up in the PRIDE of their frugality.
I, like the rest of you, only buy stuff on sale, and I've found you can get some *CUTE STUFF* if you just wait for sales.
As far as modesty, I have come to the conclusion that people of my size and age should *NOT* wear "cute" shorts because they do NOT look cute on me. And I think that crop pants are just as cool, while covering more of that glorious thigh.
I think there ARE people who spend too much time and money on their wardrobes, making sure to only have the current year/season's fashions, but I think we each have to make the choice for ourselves on what we spend on what.
Personally, I'd rather wear decent but not name-brand clothes and give more money to the places we have decided... But that's the choice my family makes. Others, well, they have to set their own priorities.
OH! Did I start to rant? I'll get down now and go do something else.

Jen said...


Alicia said...

No tomatoes here! Good post! I really want some waist-nipping jackets. :) I miss What Not To Wear since we let go of digital cable. Maybe from our savings from cable, I'll buy some clothes! lol.

Ryan has said many times that he appreciates that I dress to fit my figure but am not frumpy. Lately, though, the clothes are tight since I have gained weight in the last year. :/

I think women should take care of their appearance and wear things their husband likes.

Kevin & Amy said...

Well, I haven't read any of the blogs you're talking about but just reading your post about other women being critical in this area is enough to make my blood boil. How ridiculous to look-down on women who want to spend money on clothes and accessories and be fashionable. I'm with you girlfriend! Clothes are FUN!!!

There is no biblical case to be made against having only a few plain pieces of clothing. Some women must have too much time on their hands. Or maybe they are ignoring larger issues of love and good works in order to get on this particular soap box. I can only imagine how discontent a woman must be with her own life to take time to criticize other people about this issue.

I also get a kick out of buying a few new, trendy things every season. If styles never changed, that would be SO boring and uninteresting. Clothes are a form of ART. There is nothing wrong with enjoying that.

Kevin & Amy said...

Grr. I meant "no biblical case to be made FOR having ..." But I guess that was implied. :)

Barbie said...

Amen :-) Great post!!