Why I’m Making an Investment in My Appearance: On Modesty and Minimalism
I’m ready to make an investment in my appearance.
Budget constraints, reduced time out of the house, the demands of little children, and outright laziness have all been convenient reasons to live the t-shirt and yoga pants life.
And while there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, I can do better. I want to do better. I’m ready to do better. Here’s why.
Why I’m Making an Investment in My Appearance
True, timeless modesty lends itself to an element of care.
This modesty is more than just making sure everything is “covered,” although that is an important part of it. No, modesty is a deep, rich, God-honoring concept.
1 Timothy 2:9-10 says,
“I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” (NLT)
Here Paul exhorts Christian women to be modest, in three ways that I see. For one, don’t draw attention to yourself with flashy clothing or accessories. For two, do good. For three, choose decent and appropriate clothing…(Note: …probably not raggedy or sloppy clothing.)
Remember the woman Proverbs 31 woman?
“She is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” Proverbs 31:22-23
She is dignified and beautiful, a source of purity and light in a dark world, as well as a source of honor to her husband.
So, that’s the ideal I’m thinking about. By presenting ourselves well (without seeking special attention), we are able to honor God (but oh how quickly this can go to our heads if we let it).
He is a God of order, beauty, self-discipline and dignity. We must deflect attention wholeheartedly to Him –not seeking in our appearance an erroneous source of worth, but instead to be our best selves for His glory.
And thus I find vision for investing a bit of time, money and effort into my appearance.
(Another note: This is not the only way of thinking about this topic. And please do not take this reasoning as justification for sin. If you place your worth in looks or possessions, there is a different direction you must run –straight to the cross where you lay down your false gods and take up your true identity as His daughter.)
When it comes to clothes shopping, I am a natural “bargain hunter.”
However, as much fun as it is to hit all those great sales, when it’s all said and done, I usually end up with items that are not ultimately what I would’ve chosen if I’d considered nicer options.
These things are good. They’re just not great. I have piles and piles of good-but-not-great. Much more than I need, in fact!
However, I’ve discovered a new way of thinking about clothes and shopping in general. I take it easier on the Clearance rack, and instead buy what I truly like–those items that suit me in every way and are versatile and made to last. I shop much less frequently, and know exactly what I’m looking for when I do rather than aimless browsing.
I also tend towards quality over price.
In this way, I theoretically craft a wardrobe with far few items that I enjoy more. The end result is a great look and clothes that will last (less in landfills). And I have fewer clothes to keep up with.
Because it’s better quality and less quantity.
I say this is “theoretical” because I’ve been pregnant of postpartum ever since embracing this way of thinking, so honing my wardrobe was mostly put on hold (although I’ve already been practicing this for shoes and accessories).
Well… I’m happy to say, I’m finally back to size! (Now if only I were back to “shape”…)
So it’s time to start putting feet to these ideals.
How I’m Making The Investment
1. “Looking Nice, Keeping it Classy” YouTube Series
Joy Forney, who is a beautiful, well-presented Christian blogger (Oh, and she lives in Uganda with her missionary husband and five youngsters), has recently launched a YouTube series called “Looking Nice, Keeping it Classy.”
I’m pumped. Here’s her intro video. Find her blog here.
I will be following along with this…
2. Stitch Fix
Many of you may have heard about Stitch Fix. It’s a site where you sign up, fill out a style profile, and then receive a box in the mail containing five clothing items, selected by a personal stylist. You try them on at home, think about them, and then return the ones you don’t want in a prepared package. They absorb the shipping costs.
You only pay for what you keep, although if you return everything, they will charge you a $20 styling fee.
Stitch Fix appeals to me for a number of reasons:
- I have three little kids. Shopping is hard, no matter which way you slice it.
- I’m not great at styling myself. I want to look good, but putting it all together is not my gift in life. It’s actually a point of undue stress.
- I’ve heard the quality of the items is high. While I sincerely want that, I don’t know if I could bring myself to shop $80 jeans when left to my own devices. I need a bit of a push to consider quality options. Are you having watch problems and issues? If so, it’s important to take it to a Timex watches repair center for professional services.
- I met someone who loves it. That ultimately sold me.
- Through a referral credit system, there is opportunity to defray the cost.
- It’s relatively low risk. If it’s a total bomb, I’m only out $20, and I can return-ship it directly from home.
The style profile is detailed, which makes me hopeful for successful matches. I selected my favorite style from photos.
This was the style I prioritized most:
and this was second:
So, yes I’m making an investment in my appearance in this season. A few YouTube videos and a few articles of clothing may not seem like much to you, but this is a significant step forward for me.
I want to be my best self for God’s glory. It’s hard to know what that means for me, but I will keep pursuing and allowing Him to mold me, whatever that may mean.
I want to live and move in God’s grace and light in every way. I want to live diligently and with discipline and care. For me at this point in life, I think my self-presentation is a part of that equation, although small. **thinking of all the well-presented, godly, beautiful women in my life**
New to this community? Start here, friend.
I am surprised no one mentions another solution, making your own clothes. Here in the UK we have a decent selection of fabric shops and online retailers as well ( Pound Fabrics is very good and sensibly priced )Ready to wear doesn’t fit me due to my shape and I don’t do separates.A good dress , ready made is £70 plus , I can make two or three for that money by choosing carefully where I buy fabric as well as recycling existing clothes for linings , trims etc
Even if you don’t sew , it’s worth finding someone who can or learn a few basics as many clothes can be salvaged if they could be repaired or altered
Plus , having clothes that fit properly can make a huge difference to how you feel
Yay! Valuing your body enough to dress it up nice is a great decision. I’m also taking some small steps lately towards stewarding myself well. One is adding more vegetable-based dishes into my meal routine and one is making the decision to only buy clothes I LOVE, not clothes that “work”. I’m excited someone else is taking some of the same small steps! Thanks for the stitchfix recommendation! I will be checking that out.
Great points! I totally agree with you about the clearance rack! I just purged my closet, and a significant portion of the stuff I got rid of (with tags still on!) was clearance rack stuff! Or Stitchfix items I bought just to keep from losing my $20 fee! (I used to do that a lot, but since I bought the style pass, I’m much better about only keeping things I love!)
I think you make a very valid point about quality. I would even say that being a good steward of what God has given us may sometimes mean spending a little more for better quality. For one thing it lasts better, but it also looks better.
I do think that modesty and making yourself presentable in a way that people will find you approachable is important. Personally I also try to make sure I don’t have an excess of clothing, I strive to make conscious decisions and purchase things as I need them and not because I want to be fashionable. I think the bulk of Americans these days purchase way more than they really need and consequently their closets are full of items they hardly use. I also like dressing practically. I feel as Christian women we’re called to be hard working and some women’s fashions are very restricting, unpractical for work, and just likely to slow you down. For example, I have personally chosen not to own high heals. Heals are bad for your posture, hard on your feet and if God suddenly calls you to help someone with yard work or something similar they’re just not practical at all. These fashion statements to me seem very influenced by worldly standards of beauty (I also feel this way about make-up which sells it’s products by first creating feelings of insecurity).
I am also not familiar with stitch fix but when I’m looking for clothes/clothing companies these days I try to choose items with a lower environmental impact and ones which make sure that all the workers who contributed to making that garment were well compensated. So when possible I try and find companies that are fair-trade certified, use natural fibers and organic materials. Less pesticides mean less pollution and less harm to the health of farmers. Fair pay ensures fewer workers are being mistreated, left in poverty, and hopefully more families will be able to stay together. And choosing natural materials over synthetic means that when that garment has reached the end of its life-span that it will biodegrade in a few years vs sitting in a landfill for hundreds. Also buying used clothes or recycled materials when natural materials are not available is another option seeing as these are already in existence and you’d be keeping them from that landfill I mentioned. To me this is part of being a good steward of what God has given us.
Also when reading Proverbs 31 I feel they are referring more to her character than what she is actually wearing. It states that “she is clothed in fine linen and purple”. Until synthetic dyes came about purple clothing was very hard to produce therefore very costly and typically only worn buy those who were rich or royal. I think this is referring more to her richness of character and respectability. In an earlier verse it also states that she “selects wool and flax and works eager with her hands” so we know she is hardworking. Also wool and flax would have been wise choices as they both are sturdy (long-lasting) materials and they’re also resistant to dirt, mildew, odor and dust mites so these materials held up well and required minimal maintenance and washing. They’re also what we now consider natural temperature regulating fabrics meaning that they were practical for multiple seasons and for keeping fully covered (modesty) while still maintaining a comfortable body temperature.
Just some thoughts! 🙂
Great thoughts on this! I value modesty and tend to do the same thing (Clearance hunt for stuff I’m never happy with in the end.) I personally didn’t have a bad experience with SF, but it wasn’t amazing either. But it’s a fun thing to try! I found a brand I loved that they then didn’t carry and I couldn’t find it anywhere! Now, I’m all LuLaRoe since there’s a style for everyone and the sizes/cuts are always available!
No matter what, appearance matters. It’s what forms people’s impression and opinions about you. If you dress shabbily, people will think you are shabby and probably not well. But if you dress appropriately, people will regard you as such.
This is something that has been on my heart A LOT lately. You presented it in such a wonderful way, bringing it all back to the glory of God! I used to think about how much more energy it gave me etc. but when you truly think about it in light of God, its so much more motivating! Thank you Katie! I discovered your blog via pinterest and I’m so glad I did! I’m all about Jesus and embracing simplicity – can’t wait to look around more! God Bless you on your journey to glorifying Him – (I find it so hard to purchase quality for a higher price, but you’ve motivated me to try! Thank you!)
Sam, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! That is fun to hear!
Came across your post on Pinterest and it’s one that came at such a relevant time for me! I’m such a sweatpants and t-shirt girl, but recently I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to dress up a bit nicer on an everyday basis for running errands and whatnot. Outside of the reasons you mentioned, I’ve been thinking that you never know who you may meet and what opportunities may present themselves – in which case, better to be over than under dressed. Anyway, enjoyed your post and just wanted to let you know it came at the perfect time for me! 🙂
Chrissy, thank you so much for your encouragement! I have really been conscious of this, but I still have plenty of tennis shoe days. It’s been good to get the “overall average” up though! 🙂 Best of luck!
I’ve had a Stitch Fix account for a while but never took the plunge. Your post has inspired me to do so, and I just scheduled my first Fix! That bow top is so cute and just the kind of casual but fun piece I’m looking for.
That’s exciting! You know, you can specifically request something of theirs if you know you love it in the Notes area. You can even give them this link!
Thank you so much for the tip!
Aw I love this post! You are adorable and I love your view on modesty and simplicity. LOVE! Now can you come and help me organise my wardrobe! 🙂 Your choices are so cute. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning me. I appreciate that so much. 🙂
Joy, thanks so much for stopping by! I love what you’re doing in the online world. I saw it was recently your 39th birthday –happy birthday and God bless you! 🙂
About dying hair, definitely do it until you are 60+. That is when looking older starts being the norm. Going lighter is easier when one is trying to keep a lot of gray covered.
I have always felt that dressing as well as I can is important as a Christian and I agree.with your commemts about modesty and.put-togetherness and the attraction to Stitch Fix. But,.some of the articles you picture are not modest. Even if you are youmg and have a great body, that skirt.is very short and these tanks are not modest nor do they represent what.I believe Christians need to represent.just something to
Good thoughts! The nice thing about stitch fix is they ask you in great detail what level of modest you want, and then cater to your convictions specifically. These photos are examples, but there are a small sample of what’s available. Thanks for weighing in!
Nice article, Katie. As an image consultant, style that honors modesty is something I’m always after. Thanks for sharing!
I agree also. I am a size 22 women’s petite hard to find but i shop talbot s sales which are amazing. I have sweaters from them that are 10 years old and people still compliment me when i wear them and they wash well. I dont buy clothes that need special care like hand wash or ironing. I also love their slacks. Jeans not so much. I used to love Elizabeth but they went out of business. They even carried petite shorts which no one does……classic navy and khaki slacks….always good.
I’ve had this same transition in my thinking as well! I go back and forth from overly caring about my appearance in an unhealthy way, to not caring much about it at all and not investing in my appearance, and then I come back around to eventually finding balance… That’s where I am now too! It’s sooooo hard for me to justify spending money on my appearance… I still buy inexpensive makeup, get my hair cut at a big chain salon, and shop thrift stores, but I know what you mean about buying a whole bunch of stuff I only kind of like and then not really wearing it!! I’ve had to recently transition my thinking in this as well! My solution so far to that is this: if I am thrift shopping and I don’t absolutely LOVE it, I won’t buy it… Even if it’s only $1 and I think I might wear it once. Nope, no matter how cheap it is, I have to be in LOVE with it. I’ve left thrift stores without anything, but yeah it does cut down on closet clutter! But when I do find that awesome thrift store deal (DKNY skinny jeans that fit Perfectly for $8 and a nice pair of boots!) I can still rejoice in getting good quality for less money. There’s so many name brands that still have tags on them for just a few bucks. 🙂 It does take time and digging though, so if time is not an option, then it’s not for everyone! Just what is working for me on a very tight and limited budget. 🙂 I want to look more into the “capsule” closet idea as well! And I would love to be a part of your challenge for mommies to get fully dressed everyday… It sounds so simple, but with little ones running around all morning, it’s 1pm before I realize I still am in my pjs! 🙂
Alicia, that is SO smart! I think you have hit the nail on the head with thrift store shopping. I have come to much the same conclusion, although I have given it up in this season of life because of the time and that whole “leaving the house” thing. 🙂 Finding gems in thrift stores is just the best feeling!!
I first saw Stitch Fix over on youngwifesguide.com and thought it looked really cool…unfortunately they don’t send to Australia =( and I have been unable to find a similar service here. But, I am currently looking into overhauling my wardrobe, as at the moment I seem to either have robust ‘work’ clothes (I work outdoors as a gardener), sloppy ‘home’ clothes, and then some really nice ‘good’ clothes. What I am trying to find are some nice comfortable, but still stylish ‘home’ clothes, as hubby has mentioned to me that I am a ‘hot’ gardener, but a ‘frumpy’ housewife! Haha, I think I need a makeover! If you find any good online clothing stores (apart from Stich fix!) that sell quality, comfortable, modest clothing, I would love some links!
I will keep an eye out!!
Hello, Eliza. I read Katie’s article and then your comment. I am a professional image consultant and provide a similar service to Stitch Fix, I share the values Katie highlighted, and locale is not a problem. My website is http://www.sharonbattsstyle.wordpress.com . Let me know if I can help.
I can relate to this so much. Especially the tendency to over-buy because something is inexpensive and then end up with a closet full of clothes I only kind of want to wear. I laugh now because this is just another way I feel like I’m a “real” adult now. I am willing to spend more on clothes if I know they will last and if I really like how the look on me. I haven’t tried Stitch Fix but I know a lot of people who love it. I’m with you on not being able to piece together outfits really well. I’ll be interested in how you like your fixes!
Yes! I will definitely do a follow up post on the blog. I hope I love it, but I’ll no doubt be pretty selective. We’ll see… 🙂
Hello! I have been dressing ‘thoughtfully’ for the last ten years ( I’m 33 with a 10 and 12 yr old) and it truely makes a big difference. I can’t explain it, but it just does. Blessings to you as look to honor the Lord, your husband and others by your appearance. Ps, I’ve read that bring well dressed is a form of politeness.
Thank you so much for that affirmation! I doubt this thinking a little at times because I know some people who feel that focusing on appearance is worldly, and I don’t think they are wrong considering how God is growing them individually. I also know so many godly, put-together women that I admire, who are truly graceful and deeply “God-reflecting.” It gives me something to look up to and confidence that this can be honoring to Him. Thanks for commenting!
Thank you for sharing your faith and your gift of writing. I truly pray that God will continue to bless you and your family as you serve him through your acts of sharing.
Thank you so much Anquenette! I truly appreciate and feel that blessing. I’m encouraged. 🙂
Oh my goodness! I NEEDED this! I am a new mom to a wonderful 7 month old boy and I am also a new mamapreneur! I am a makeup free Mary Kay makeup lady and NEED to get out of the yoga (and pajama!) pants! Thank you so much for sharing! Could you post your referral link for Stitch Fix? I think I’m ready to take the plunge!
Oh that is so sweet Courtney!! Thanks for thinking of me. 🙂 It is https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5914179. I am really working towards discipline in this area, but it’s still hard to want to do. I’m thinking after I get my fix and have a bit more to wear, I may post a 7 day challenge for moms like us to get dressed, hair fixed and makeup, just to start forming those daily routines. So stay tuned for that! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog! It’s nice to meet you!
love the article. I like to think of “cost per wear” when making clothing purchases. I also use a tailor. This way, I have a few key wardrobe pieces that I absolutely love, and that fit like a dream.
That is such a smart way to do it! I agree!!
I am right there with you on this one – both on not making an effort in the past, and feeling like I need to start! I’ve been enjoying Joy Forney’s videos, too! I tried Stitch Fix once before – you are inspiring me to consider ordering another box! I found their stuff pretty pricey, but kept a pair of shorts that I’ve worn all summer long.
Thanks for articulating these thoughts!
You’re welcome! That’s fun to hear! I hope I find a gem or two as well… I can’t afford the whole box anyway. Ha!