Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At the Office

I'm not a career girl by any stretch of the imagination, but I do love the office look. I would have to say that it's my favorite fashion category.

I volunteer at a Crisis Pregnancy Center once a week, and love doing it. A side benefit is that the dress code is "casual business attire." Yay!

When I first started working in the office there, I had to add pieces to my very casual wardrobe in order to survive, but I feel confident in creating very suitable outfits from what I have now. I think that learning to dress for an atmosphere in which I previously had no experience really stretched me in the "outfit making" area, which was a good thing. Now I am able to adapt to many more situations. I have even started dressing more "businesslike" for stay-at-home days, because it affects my attitude toward my work.

Here's a recent outfit I wore to the Center:

Blouse - $3.50 at Goodwill. Altered just bit. (see this post on my other blog for details)
Blazer - hand-me-down from a friend. I have a hard time finding fitted jackets that actually fit. This one fits perfectly on the body, but the sleeves are too short. So I just rolled them up, and no one knew! It worked since the blouse is 3/4 sleeve as well.
Jean Skirt - Made by me. No pattern. First pencil skirt I've ever made. Usually not a fan of them, but this one works.
Black leggings - I.love.leggings. Think of them like a camisole for your lower half. I wouldn't wear a camisole by itself, but it really helps "fix" shirts I wouldn't otherwise wear. Ditto for leggings. They add so much flexibility - not to mention warmth!
Boots - These are my $5.00 Goodwill boots again. They are actually a little uncomfortable, but I'm hoping I'll "break them in" a bit.
I'm also wearing a black bead necklace, and my hair is braided back on either side. Usually I wear my hair up with business looks, but I was feeling uninspired that day.

Off I go!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Soft and Rough

This was a stay-at-home-most-of-the-day outfit. But I think, if I remember correctly, we also had guests in the evening. I was in the kitchen for a good part of the day, and I shed the jean jacket for part of that time. Aprons just weren't made to go over jean jackets.

Jean Jacket - hand-me-up from younger sister, who got it as a hand-me-down from someone else
T-Shirt with flowers under jacket - You can't see it well, but I made it myself
Maxi skirt - I bought a sundress at Goodwill for $4 because I liked the fabric. I cut off what little top there was, and turned it into a maxi skirt. It's knit fabric, and very comfy!
Second shirt, greyish purple - This isn't shown, but later in the day I added a second shirt underneath my T-shirt. I bought it at a yard-sale, and it's very skimpy in the neckline department, but it is nice and long, and added some length to my upper half.
Boots - Aaaaand, you can't see but a peep of toe, but I'm wearing my new-to-me boots from Goodwill ($5.00)

I like the combination of wearing "rougher" clothes (jacket and boots) with softer things, like a flowing skirt and pink T-shirt with flowers. It balances out everything.

Hand-me-downs, or Fill-me-ups?

This past week some friends gave my family a bag of clothes they were no longer using.

I don't know how you feel about hand-me-downs, but I've lived on them since I was too young to know what I was wearing. Of course, being second-oldest in a large-ish family, I've been on the giving end of that program, too.

I love hand-me-downs. I'm cheap, and the fun of getting new clothes without going shopping used to turn me giddy. I would paw through stacks of "to go" clothing, and pick out anything and everything that caught my fancy. When faced with abundance, my greed got the best of me. Of course, my closet was always bursting with items that didn't fit quite right, or that I hardly ever wore.

I still face that temptation. Whether hand-me-downs, or Goodwill, or sales at WalMart, when clothes (or accessories!) are cheap, I want to over-indulge. I have to remind myself that cost is not the only reason for limiting a wardrobe.

I first began to really get this idea when reading a book written by a pastor from India. He talked about his first visit in America, and the culture shock he experienced. He said that the food consumed in one typical after-church fellowship in America would feed his home village in India for a week. I was slapped awake, and wondered what a girl in India would think of my overflowing closet. Did I really need all those clothes? Did I wear half of them?

More importantly, what did God think of all those clothes? Did He give me His money to splurge on making my appearance more versatile, or did He make me a steward so I could use His money for His purposes? I knew the answer. I became convicted by the verses in the Bible that talk about a woman attiring herself simply. Not ugly. Not frumpy. Not roughly. But simply. As in; you-don't-need-ten-thousand-shirts-and-100-bottoms-and-50-cardigans-and-whatever-else-is-on-that-crammed-rack-in-your-closet.

In my town, a shirt at GoodWill costs $3.50. Two makes $7.00. Six is $21.00. I sponsor a little boy in another country. His total cost of living for a month is $26.00. How many children could I have helped to hear the gospel and be fed, if I hadn't bought that stuff that I really didn't need?

Now, please understand; I'm not advocating that we all empty our closets, select three items to put back, and live on them (or in them, rather) until they are threadbare and unwearable. I like clothes. And I believe they can be a form of artistic expression, and I know God made us able to express ourselves and imitate His creative beauty for a reason.

We shouldn't feel guilty that He has blessed us with the ability to be adequately clothed. A starved, half-naked child in Africa doesn't represent God's will for the world. That's not a picture of what we're supposed to be; suffering, misery, and nakedness. God loves to give His children good gifts. But my point is, we are supposed to be sharing, not hording. And sometimes we forget that. Sometimes I forget it.

Just for the record, I still love hand-me-downs. And I love the people who give them so generously - whether it's a sister or a friend outside the family.

I was going to talk about pride in this post. I was going to say how sometimes when you wear hand-me-downs you are careful where you wear them, or you try to avoid wearing them in front of the person who gave them to you. Sometimes it feels awkward to be seen wearing something that someone else was throwing out. And I was going to say we ought to understand the spirit of the person who gave them to us, and allow them to get a blessing by being a giver. And just accept good gifts from God, and enjoy them!

But you know what? Blogging always seems to be a way that God speaks to my heart. As my fingers dance on the keyboard, they are moving to a rhythm all their own, and I am often surprised to see what comes out of my heart as they type. I think I needed to hear this today. I needed to be reminded that I am not my own. I am bought with a price. And I ought to glorify God in my body.

Hope you got something out of it, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Well, welcome to In My Mirror! This is my first post, and I'll just jump right into things. If you want to know more about this blog, please read "Why Be Different?" and "How I Do Things," at the top of this page.

Today I was just doing things around the house, mainly computer work and music practice, and this is what I was wearing. In fact, it's what I'm still wearing, though I really should be wearing my pajamas. :) (Don't believe what time the computer says I'm publishing this!) Sorry for the poor lighting in the picture.

Meet five staple pieces of my closet:
brown skirt - made by me
red cardigan - ancient hand-me-down
white sweater - goodwill or K-mart (can't remember which)
Grey tights - K-mart
Brown ballet flats - Payless, on sale

I'm also wearing a new-to-me scarf, from Goodwill ($2.00)
and a statement necklace from Goodwill

The fun thing about this brown skirt is that, out of all the things I've made, it's the one for which I get asked the most often, "Where'd you buy that?" Nice achievement for a seamstress. :) I didn't use a pattern on this one.

The scarf, which you can't see very well, has red, white, black, and forest green in it, in a western print. It's folded diagonally and tied in a basic knot. Today is the first time I've ever worn a necklace and scarf at the same time, and it worked!

The thing I like about scarves is that they tie an outfit together. The separate pieces really had nothing in common until the print of the scarf gave them permission to reside next to each other, so to speak.

Here's a closer picture. If you look closely, you can see the black-and-silver necklace under the scarf. I have my hair straightened today. It takes an hour to straighten all my hair, so I don't do it very often, but it was fun for today, since I wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. :)

This outfit was comfortable, warm enough for the weather, and made me feel like I had a job to accomplish today. I love the deep colors, and the cardigan is cozy and makes me happy. :) :) :)

Now I shall go find those pajamas...