Saturday, November 18, 2006


From "A Women's Guide to a Simpler Life" by Andrea Van Steenhouse

"Every time we walk into a store or hold up a garment for consideration, we brush up against a wish - to be younger/older, taller/shorter, thinner/heavier, or any multitude of alternatives to what we actually are. New clothes can't change the realities, but we live in perpetual hope that they'll create a pretty convincing illusion.

If we are going to fill our closets with clothes that match our spirits, we have to look at these hopes before we ever go shopping. We need to hold them up to what we know about ourselves and say, clearer or fuzzier?

We have to be honest, even brutal, about the hopes that are pathways to ourselves and the ones that are incompatible or out-of-date or, frankly, belong to someone else. And we need to leave the ones that don't fit at home."

This really struck me, because what clothing has always done for me is express who I am to the world. Whether it be the colorful, playful dresses of my young single days, or the turtleneck/jumper days of my early motherhood, or now my neo-hippie attire with lots of artisan made jewelry. They all are expressions of my state in life. I have always scorned the "current" fashions, and made up my own, or followed the example of others whom look I liked.

Anyone remember "Thirtysomething"? One character on that show was a funky photographer, who wore vests and hats and earrings that didn't match. I was just like that. Now, I have simpler dress. Linen, jean, khaki, and dark brown pants or long skirts, sandals or boots, and every sweater or top I own goes with all the bottoms. So easy. Most my clothes are plain, and I dress them up with jewelry I get at art fairs or thrift stores. Some are pretty classic, some are very unique. I also have scarves and a few jackets with big rhinestone pins on them to dress the outfits up. I can get dressed in a snap, establish "my" look, go anywhere without having to change, and like the way I look. It has taken me most my married life to figure this out, as I was always trying to dress like someone else. Now, it's simple, easy, cheap (mostly from thrift stores) and unique.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds great. It's such a freeing thing to dump the demands of fashion.

It would be nice to view a Mary Poppins Not fashion show!

November 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Thirtysomething! And when it was on, I WAS thirtysomething! I'm a jeans and turtleneck person...and usually a sweatshirt, I'm always cold.
I love looking at jewelry and even buy it and wear it -- but only once in awhile. I usually have in earrings and my watch and wedding rings on. That's about it!
No scarves...and shoes...well, I'm a size 10. I have bunions and my feet are always compromised in anything other than a wide sneaker with my orthotics sole in that's what you'll usually find me in.
Not very feminine, but that's hard for me to be comfortable with unfortunately. I dress up for Rob once in awhile -- for dinner or Mass or a date...

November 18, 2006  
Blogger Mary Poppins NOT said...

Hey Alexa, I'm a size 10 shoe also, and it certainly limits the shoe possibilities. I really stick to Birkenstocks or such "sensible" shoes. I do have one flat pair of black boots that go to my knee. These are my staple shoes in the winter with skirts, except when I wear a long, casual skirt with long underwear under it and thick socks with my birkenstock clogs. It's not "stylish", but it's my style, and COMPFY and sort of like wearing your jammies all and getting away with it. =)

November 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wear Birks, unfortunately. My bunions force my toes toward the outside...looks almost like I'm missing a toe to the left (or right) of my large the form inside a Birkenstock ends up in the wrong place on my sole. And I absolutely love the look you describe. I wish I could be comfy in a jean skirt or a long skirt, but I just feel like a flippin' tree trunk or something...a telephone pole or something 'cause I'm so dern *cough* "wide" around.
*sigh* I'm so blessed that Rob isn't as picky as me.

November 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can no longer feel my feet... Kind of takes the fun out of shoe shopping! *LOL*

It it's clean, and it fits without making me look like a green tent or yellow school bus... I'm wearing it! *Smile*

November 20, 2006  
Blogger The Kitchen Madonna said...

Now I have to get the book. Thank you for this lovely essay. It is more satisfying to have your own look and more creative too. It is just too much of a temptation for me to go to a mall. I'll have to remember the quote when I do!

November 26, 2006  

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