I met Trina Holden at a blogging conference in 2011. We struck up a conversation and discovered our mutual love of dress-up and period costumes. The next year, Trina brought a couple of her costumes to the conference and we had a blast running around in them and taking funny pictures in the Smile Booth (see above!). I just adore Trina's zest for life and her generous, earnest soul. Trina's new book is called Embracing Beauty: Practical Style for Every Shape and Season of Motherhood and I've asked her to write a little something for you, my readers. Enjoy! xo. EE.
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Some of my most informative years were spent in a Christian sub-culture that bound woman to a standard of dress that was just plain ugly. I had verses like 1 Peter 3:3-4 drilled into me:
"Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear--but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
Sounds pretty convincing. But years of denim jumpers and drab colors caused a part of me to shrivel up and nearly die--that part that God put in us that sees and appreciates beauty. Eventually I came to feel that a little beauty couldn't be that bad, and began to exercise a tad bit of freedom in the area of fashion.
But I was still uncertain of the validity of the whole quest for personal style, becoming clothes, and just the right accessory Was this really OK, or was I choosing to selectively ignore a passage of scripture that rubbed me wrong?
Only diving back into the scriptures would give me an answer. One day I sat down with the Bible app on my phone and began a simple word study with the words "adorn" and "beauty." I was shocked by what I found.
Throughout scripture and creation, I saw a beautiful God, celebrating beauty in every place, in every moment, in every creature He created. I saw God making and providing clothes for His children. Throughout the Old Testament, those who had been redeemed were repeatedly called to sing, dance, and adorn themselves as an outward expression of their deliverance. (Ezekiel 16:13-14, Jeremiah 31:4) Multiple times in Revelation God clothes those He's redeemed to show the world who belongs to Him.
Behold, clothes were not simply a barrier between me and the wayward eye of a lustful man! Clothes were a way to express on the outside what God had done in my heart! Clothes were yet another area in which to embrace beauty and taste the joy God intended for His people.
At that same time, my pastor gently explained to me that the passage in Peter (and a similar one in 1Timothy 2:9-10) that had bound me for so many years was actually a warning against imbalance. It was meant to be a check-point on the journey toward beauty, reminding us that we should not neglect the inner woman in our quest for outward adornment. Because, dontcha know, beauty is more than skin deep.
I used to wear a lot of neutrals and "quiet" colors. My outfits rarely made a statement, but rather did a good job of helping me fade into the background. Looking back I realize that this was because I was living in fear. Since the Lord has delivered me from the bondage of people-pleasing, and a warped understanding of the role of fashion, I've trended toward brighter colors and not-so-quiet style statements. This boldness stems from the joy I feel in the freedom Christ has given me. I've even been known to wear period costumes to events that are most certainly not costume parties (just ask Elizabeth!)
These thoughts are an excerpt from my new book titled "Embracing Beauty: Practical Style for Every Shape and Season of Motherhood" in which I share my journey to learning what God truly thinks about the way I dress, as well as inspiration for any woman seeking to rock her personal style in the season she is in.
What do your clothes say about you? Do they declare that you're redeemed? If you need help tweaking your personal style statement, I hope you'll grab a copy of the book! What we wear is a song we sing to those around us--what song are you singing?