A Change Would Do You Good

Posted on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM in Blogging


This started off as a post about beauty and fashion, but I can feel it turning into something else as I’ve considered my perspective. At the end of the day, the Lord looks on the heart and it would be wrong for me to encourage anyone to pay more attention to the clothes they are wearing than the state of their souls. I also don’t want to pressure *anyone* by my perspective, as petty as it may be. So bear with me here. I am going to talk about fashion a teensy bit (I’ve got no credibility so if you stop reading I’ll totally understand), but it’ll be in the context of change and having a spirit that stays young and fresh.

Ladies, I think we have a problem when it comes to the way we dress and present ourselves to the world. I think we give up on ourselves way too easily. I’ve long wondered who it is that walks in to the mall department store and ends up with the purple muumuu from the back corner. Seriously, some stores still sell muumuus, which means that some women are still buying them. The thing is, no one looks cute in that. Granny, you don’t even look cute in it—we love you, but you don’t need to wear a tent. I promised myself years ago that as I aged I would continue to look around me. This means that I want to observe the women walking by on the streets in the Haymarket, the way my coworkers dress, how people on tv are fashioning themselves, what folks are wearing in magazines. I want to see what kind of shoes are a bit trendy and which ones are true classics. I want to try out a new hairstyle or a new color and not get stuck in a rut.

Now, I turned 35 a few months ago so these thoughts are feeling more important to me. Someone recently asked us to think of where we’d be in 10 years and I realized I’ll be 45 (uh, what?!) with an 18 year old child. All this aging is weirding me out a bit! I don’t want to get comfortable with all the 30-somethings out there; I don’t want to start to settle into a fashion routine and forget there’s a fun world that still exists outside my door. I went on a date with my husband the other night after a particularly grouchy kind of afternoon and I didn’t try hard to look nice. Jeans, top, boots, cute scarf, done. I looked around the restaurant and all the 30-something women nearby looked *exactly the same.* Grrroooooan. What? Is that the new uniform for 35 year olds? Is that all we can manage anymore? By contrast, I picked up my awesome and beautiful 17 year old babysitter and she looked more ready to go out on the town than I did. Bright tights, cute retro dress, real makeup. Hm.

There are yoga-pants days, friends. And that is fine. I’ve experienced a whole stretch of them after having surgery last month. There are t-shirt and sweatshirts days. Flip flop days. Ponytail, unwashed hair days. That is to be expected.

But what about the unexpected?

Have I come to a place in my life where I can’t put forth effort on myself anymore? Have I decided that this particular hairstyle is the one I’m going to rock for the next 20 years because it looked good when I was 25? Have I become content with all the non-trying, not-changing complacency? Do I think I’m not worth a new haircut or a new pair of shoes every so often?

I think the real issue is that we get tired. We age out of culture. We felt pressure in earlier days to look cute and we’re kind of over that.

But let’s not get tired and old and sad, girls. Let’s keep things fresh and new and interesting. I’m not talking about a shopping spree, I’m talking about trying something new. I’m talking about getting out of a rut. I’m thinking about buying a green scarf when all I tend to wear are neutrals. Or chopping off my hair when I’ve had the same haircut for the last 9 years. Or picking up a summer skirt when all you are used to wearing are shorts.

All I’m saying is let’s keep it interesting. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You are worth the effort.

**This post is offered as something of a counterpoint to Maralee’s latest blog post. Though, as you can see, we mostly agree with each other.


  1. Kaylee Mar 8, 2013 1:22 PM

    I commented on Maralee’s post about this. I don’t know why I feel so strongly about this, but I do! Let me know what you think :)

  2. Bethany Mar 8, 2013 3:15 PM

    I can’t find your comment, Kaylee.

  3. Kerri Mar 8, 2013 3:22 PM

    I agree with both you AND Maralee. (How’s that for straddling the fence? :)) It bothers me when I see women “stuck” in a particular look, year after year. My theory is that they looked good in it at a particular point in time, knew they looked good, and decided then to keep that look, forever and ever, amen. And if that look also was comfortable? It’s almost impossible to shoehorn them out of it, at that point. (See ladies of a certain age in polyester pantsuits.)
    I love it when I see women wearing stylish, appropriate-for-their-age-and-figure, clothing, and have a hairstyle that has changed since they graduated from high school. I think they are 1) loving God by being a good steward of what they have, and contributing to the beauty of His creation, and 2) are loving their neighbors, by not subjecting the rest of us to looking at their straggly or permed 80s hair and saggy, baggy, sad clothing. :)

  4. Rebecca Mar 8, 2013 4:16 PM

    Kaylee’s comment is awaiting approval. :)

    What’s funny is that Maralee and I actually agree on this stuff. We’re both making slightly different points, of course, but overall we both believe you should look good for your husband but that no one should feel pressure to look cute all the time. There is a joy to coming into your own and feeling confident with yourself. If you aren’t a makeup kind of girl, it’s feeling great in your own natural skin. If you enjoy makeup, it’s finding something new and interesting to try out.

    I want to encourage women to be bold, be real, be honest, be feminine, and do not be afraid to try something new.

  5. Rebecca Mar 8, 2013 4:22 PM

    **Sidenote: check out how long my hair was! I’m blessed to have a husband who loves me no matter what, but he actually didn’t dig the long hair. He might be in the one man in America who isn’t crazy for long hair.

  6. A Musing Maralee Mar 8, 2013 11:22 PM

    Kaylee, I liked your comment! I’ll be interested to see how your feelings about that morph when/if you enter motherhood. On the days I know I’ll be seeing other adults I take some joy in getting ready. On the days I know I’m just going to be in the house with my kids I take some joy in being more relaxed with my appearance. I appreciated your perspective of it being an expression of your creativity. I’m not a very creative person so I really hadn’t thought about it that way.
    And I think Rebecca and I do mostly agree, we just feel differently about if the pressure to keep up with the times is good or bad. Honestly Kerri, I see you as a style role-model as far as wearing things that are appropriate for your age and that flatter your body without seeming like a slave to fashion. But there is that one picture of you in those short shorts. . .

  7. Kerri Mar 9, 2013 11:38 AM

    Ha! Hey, those shorts were rockin’ back in the day. (The hairstyle–questionable…) And you must remember, I was about 25 in that photo.
    ( My legs are still one of my best features; no short shorts, but I do enjoy the skirts. No minis after 30, though ;))

  8. Jack Sparrow Mar 9, 2013 2:46 PM

    Ahoy! Swell blog post, indeed. From this virile perspective, for what it be worth.

  9. Rebecca Mar 9, 2013 3:02 PM

    She’s got legs! And she knows how to use them. Oo la la, Kerri!

    Oh Jack. You can shiver me timbers anytime.

  10. Kaylee Mar 10, 2013 9:34 AM

    Maralee, I’ll be interested to see what life will be like as a mother, too. I can only assume I’ll be like MY mother, who takes relaxing and wearing lounge clothes very seriously when she gets the chance :)

    Also Kerri, I’ve always thought of you as a fashionable mom. Partly because you shopped at Banana Republic when I worked there, so… haha!

  11. Dianna Mar 10, 2013 11:54 AM

    Fascinating conversation. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I was at a very small wedding a couple weeks ago and I was in a picture with the bride and all the girls…all of whom happened to be in their 20s, and not married (except the freshly married bride) and me…36, married, with 8 kids. They ALL had on empire waist, flowery patterned dresses, that came to the knee, with cute short-sleeve sweaters, and cute shoes…except…Me! I had a basic skirt and shirt on and my chacos. And when I saw it, I thought wow… I’m not 20 anymore!

    Living in Uganda, I’m tempted to yell, “First World Problem!” about this issue…most of the women I’m surrounded with only have two outfits…the one they work in the fields in and the one they go into town in…and if they have enough money, they might have a gomesai, their traditional dress.

    But, because I have the means to have a closet full of clothes, I too am faced with this question…where is the balance between staying in fashion, being creative and yet not overly obsessing with myself and above all trying to glorify God by adorning myself with the fruit of the Spirit…not in costly clothing, etc… Living here, I am faced with the question of “how do I justify spending money on an unnecessary item for myself so I look more cute and fashionable when most of my neighbors aren’t eating breakfast today?” Where is the balance of how the Prov. 31 woman dressed and how much Christ calls us to give to others? These questions don’t have easy answers in my mind.

    Back in America, I used to be very careful about what I wore out of the house because I was usually with a bunch of kids. I didn’t want to be a bad testimony to motherhood. I would always put on a little bit of make up so that I wouldn’t look tired. Here I don’t have that pressure. We have a normal sized family African family and I sweat all my makeup off anyway. :)

    And then there is also this other question that comes to mind…After the picture was taken, I thought…I need something new to wear…so I went to the market (where they sell used, thrift store clothing from the US and other developed countries for super cheap! yay…good solution to the question above…don’t spend too much money and I make the sellers day :) and I found a skirt. I brought it home, put it on the next day, felt super cute, walked into the living room and my husband, lovingly declared that he didn’t like it! haha! We pursued the conversation and I realized that he and I have very different opinions on clothing and what’s cute…yes, we’ve been married for almost 13 years, and we’ve never really talked a lot about it…which means my husband loves me muchly, no matter what I wear (yay for awesome husband!) That led me to a whole thought process of how much should we as wives dress in what we think is cute vs. what our husbands like. Any thoughts on this? :)

  12. Rebecca Mar 10, 2013 12:24 PM

    Dianna, I’m so glad you commented! For the record, the issues I brought up here are so unusual for me that I feel pretty uncomfortable talking about them. I hate to think anyone would imagine I’m judging them and thinking mean things about their outward appearances. Then again, just because the topic makes me uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not worth wrestling through.

    I thought about missionary friends and women across the world when starting to type my thoughts. I wanted to write a disclaimer like, “This doesn’t apply to you,” but then again, it does actually! Women all over the world live in cultures that have some idea of beauty. Whether we have closets full of interesting pieces or simple flowers to put in our hair, we do strive to dress up in one way or another. As an artist, I chose to see this as a way of reflecting the ultimate Artist who created an incredible world for us to enjoy. As a wife, I see putting effort into my looks as a way to bless my husband and make him happy. As a mom I see it as a way to instill self-confidence in my daughter.

    Regarding husbands… I definitely like to do things to make Jeremy happy. He likes my hair short and pretty natural. Natural for me means having lots of body and wave. I think straightening my hair is awesome and I love how it changes my look. But it’s nice that Jeremy’s not into that—saves me lots of time actually. :) In my mind there’s a balance between trying something new and unusual to satisfy my creative desire and need for change, and actually asking my husband what he likes.

  13. Dianna Mar 10, 2013 7:22 PM

    Thanks for the reply! Your post does not come across to me as being judgmental at all. I’m thankful that you and Maralee both posted on this topic as this is an issue I was already thinking about. And you are right, it does apply to us as missionaries in Africa, even if we need to come at it from a slightly different angle because of the poverty around us. So thanks for writing! :) I’m reminded again, in all this, that there is no area that is Spiritually neutral…God cares about how we dress and present ourselves to the world no matter what culture we are living in…he wants us to be a reflection of him and how we look on the outside is often a reflection of our hearts. Our style is such a lovely opportunity to glorify God…as Artist and as King. So thanks again for writing and giving me more to think about! :)

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