Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apostle to the Unfashionable

Every now and then, I will come across somebody in a comment box making offhand reference to the fact that we Christian woman need to be dressed up (wear makeup, be fashionable, etc) in order to evangelize the world.

I don't like these comments for a lot of reasons (and I'm not meaning to single out any one commenter here; I can't remember any one commenter).

1. The Apostles were hardly the type to make the cover of GQ, and look what they did.

God is God. He can use ugly, stupid people to spread the Gospel in extraordinary ways. He can also use pretty, intelligent people, of course, being omnipotent and all, but he's not limited to them.

2. It's yet another one of those tiny little not-thought-out remarks that gives the impression there is no place for unhappy people in the Church, no place for people who can't be filled with the joy of Jesus and look it every second of their lives. That's just not true. Or if it is true I have to leave the Catholic Church. Which leads me to my third point.

3. Attempting to wear fashionable clothes (assuming I could even figure out how to do so) would be putting on a false front for me. I really DO. NOT. CARE. For somebody like Hallie Lord, wearing 50s dresses and pearls and heels apparently makes her happy. I'm happy she's happy; it's nice to have something like that making you happy. That particular hobby just doesn't do it for me.

Also, eventually you're going to have to, you know, talk to me, and then you're going to get disillusioned real quick as far as my put-togetherness.

[end of Point 3]

Speaking of Hallie Lord, I actually brought her up to say something nice about her, which is that I think she gets it right in this post. Catholic women who are "into" fashion can have a powerful evangelization effect on those in the secular world who are likewise into fashion.

Is everybody in the secular world into fashion, though? Is that the only possible common ground we could have with somebody who doesn't believe what we believe?

Maybe somewhere out there is a non-Catholic girl who is just as intimidated as I am by all these ladies who somehow instinctively know what's fashionable and what isn't. Maybe someday this person will see me (or more likely read my blog; I don't leave the house that often) and think, "Hey, there's a place in the Church for chronically depressed recovering cynics whose idea of dressing up is putting on faux-leather flats instead of ratty sandals." Maybe.

Or maybe I'm just too cheap to buy makeup. You decide.


Melanie B said...

Thank you. This articulates something I've felt but haven't quite been able to think through. (Maybe it's the 4 little people screaming in my ears?)

I love Hallie, she's a dear friend, almost a sister; and I so very admire her fashion sense. And I'm so grateful she seems to like me just as well despite my lack of being put together.

I'm much closer to you than her on the spectrum of being fashionable and put together. I definitely think there is a place in the church for people who don't care about clothes as much as there is for those who love to look put-together. Like so many things in this big beautiful Church of ours, it's not an either/or but a both/and sort of thing. God is so good he can use Hallie's fashion sense to draw people to him just as much as he can use your lack of it. Praise and bless His holy name!

zenith15 said...


I enjoyed your post. Though I think Hallie is a dear sweet lady with beautiful fashion sense and modesty, being a plus-size (gosh I hate those words) lady myself, I often feel 100% left out of the whole shopping for cute, young, fun clothes thing. I have to buy what fits and most of the time that does not involve the delectable fashions in the FRONT part of the dept. store. ANd sometimes blogs, articles, etc give the general impression that if one is not thin, there's not a lot of point in trying to be well groomed anyhow--everything else must rest on a presumption of being a "normal" size, lest size alone cause one to appear slovenly and turn your hubby's affections away.

Not everyone is thin, and many Catholic ladies with large families cannot bounce back that rapidly between kiddos--but hey, we still want to look nice too. I wish we would be more included.

The Sojourner said...

Thank you both for your kind comments.

Zenith--I'm not exactly thin myself and it is hard to try to buy pretty things when they often end up not fitting me a few months later due to my weight bobbing up again.

I might have to write another post on the "Turning your husband away" concept; it's another that nags at me when people push it too far.