For when grown women have tantrums over what to wear

What to WearWhen my daughter was young, getting her dressed was a chore. 

It shouldn’t have been so hard… she had both a closet and dresser burgeoning with darling Gymboree ensembles. Nevertheless, our morning routines were never pleasant. Many hours were lost to screaming fits over the necessity of wearing pants, shoes and shirts. (She may not have been the only one screaming.)

Tights were the worst offenders. She was certain those tights were going to end up around her ankles. No amount of rational explanation about the properties of elastic could convince her otherwise. (She was four, after all.) I began calling them Tricky Tights and “explained” that all the tights in her drawers were colluding to dupe her into thinking they’d fall down so they wouldn’t get worn. It was her job to outsmart them and wear them anyway.

Being a grown woman, you might think I wouldn’t be prone to similar tantrums.

You’d be wrong.

I’ve lost count of the number of Sunday mornings when I “couldn’t find anything to wear.”

I’ve cried.

I’ve gritted my teeth.

I’ve cursed.

Fool me once, shame on you. (I’m talking to you, closet.)

I throw these fits while standing in a 10′ x 10′ room I call a closet. It’s a room that some would be fortunate enough to call a home in other parts of the world… and it has a more reliable roof, too. Surrounded by massive yards of fabric, cut and sewn to fit my body, I have allowed myself to believe the lie that I have “nothing to wear.” I’ve been deceived, just like my daughter.

After limiting myself to just seven items of clothing for the last week (as spurred by Hatmaker’s book), my eyes have been opened. Because I deplore shopping and my wardrobe is but a fraction of what many American women in my income bracket own, I never predicted this was an area in which I needed schooling.

It turns out, I do.

Here’s my clothing repertoire from last week: lycra pants and sport t-shirt (for working out), jeans, sweatshirt, woven long-sleeve button down, knit 3/4 sleeve t-shirt and a cream cardigan. I permitted myself two pair of shoes: one to exercise in, one for everything else.

Dressing in the morning was surprisingly liberating. I ceased to have concern over how fashionable or flattering my outfit for the day was.  I simply donned that which was most suited to the weather and went on my merry way. (I also had considerably less concern over cleanliness. Hmph.)

A few days into the week, it dawned on me that the mere fact I have two categories of clothing is a luxury: one set of clothes for exercise, another for everyday wear. More decadent still, I own enough of both to go a week or more without repeating outfits in either subset.

All this from a girl who didn’t think she had a problem with clothes.

The next time I find myself in my 10′ x 10′ closet surrounded by clothes yet tantruming over supposedly having “nothing to wear,” I think I might simply put on that same pair of jeans and button down shirt that got me through last week. Better still, the consequences for throwing a clothing fit should probably be to give away all (or at least some) of the clothes that I refuse to wear. Odds are good that somebody else would find them perfectly suited for their purposes. Just as I had to convince my daughter that her tights were tricking her, I must refuse to be deceived by my cunning closet.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
— 1 Peter 3:3,4 NLT

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    • Julie Kraft via Facebook

      I just bought “7” today. Looking forward to reading it. Good post, thank you!

      • Kirsten

        Julie, I hope to hear what you think of it! Please ping me.

    • Jennifer Camp

      Kirsten, I appreciate this so much–as I want to take nothing for granted. I was making a pb & j sandwich for myself today–and as I was spreading the jam, I was noticing the bright jewel hue of the jam, and the thick texture of the bread. I began to think about how amazing it is that I got to choose, today, what I got to eat for lunch. Amazing all that I take for granted, all that I don’t deserve. I want to be more thoughtful, more intentional in how I see. Thank you.

      • Kirsten

        Jennifer, it’s astounding how many choices we have, isn’t it? I love that you can see the beauty in not just the choice, but the actual food itself. I like being able to look at PB&J through your eyes.

    • Debbie

      Again, well said, Kirsten. After participating with you last week, I became aware that despite my wardrobe, I only wear a select few favorites on a weekly basis. I actually proposed to my family the idea that we pare down and only keep 30 of each category – long sleeves, short sleeves, pants/shorts/capris, etc. Sickening that we would have to part with quite a bit to get to that large of a number and still not have to wear the same outfit in an entire month! I’m working on it (my daughter suggested starting at 50!). I also find it humorous that my kids will ask me, “Have you washed pinks/blues, darks, etc?”, as they come scouring for clean laundry when in fact they have an entire closet and dresser full of other choices. I’m loving this experimental mutiny. Thanks for leading, Kirsten.

      • Kirsten

        I’m so glad you’re along for the ride, Debbie! Hoping you and your crew can achieve that ambitious goal — and find yourselves glad you did. Keep me posted?

    • Mary

      I wore a uniform K-12 and I LOVED it. It was such a relief to not have to think in the morning and worry about what others would think. It was a blessing looking back.

      • Kirsten

        I think I would have been glad for a uniform, too, Mary. I occasionally wish my kids had one. :-) I think I’ve made something of a uniform for myself, too: like Debbie (above) I really don’t wear much of what I own. So why do I fret over it?