Friday, January 6, 2012

A Shift in Focus

Can I confess something to you guys?  There was a time in my life, a couple years back, where I wanted to be done with anything fashion-related.  I've wanted to be a part of the fashion industry, either as a designer or shopowner, since I was 15, but I was fed up with the unreachable standard of beauty that's peddled by the media, and tired of trying to keep my clothing choices "up-to-date," "current," and "on-trend."  I was caught up in a game of comparisons, which wasn't any fun since in that game, you always lose.  Even more importantly, I couldn't see how faith and fashion could be intermixed.  Until I realized that I was defining fashion the wrong way.  I looked at it as reaching a standard instead of getting dressed.  My definition excluded me from a world I coveted, instead of freeing me to express myself in my clothing and shopping choices.  But, since starting this little blog, reading other women's thoughts in their blogs (two of my favorites being Dress With Courage and Already Pretty.  Those women are amazing!), and researching and discovering Fair Trade companies like the ones I feature every Friday, my focus has shifted.  Getting dressed is a part of life, and since I have no intentions of joining a nudist colony, it's inevitable that I will be wearing clothes on a daily basis.  With the amount of choices available, not only can clothing be expressive, it can be beneficial.  When I first discovered Fair Trade clothing, I wanted to buy it all.  It wasn't necessarily the products, as beautiful as they are, but the story behind the items that was inspiring.  I had a friend tell me after I had ranted and raved to her against corporate America (not my best stage, let me tell you!) that she could see me in the future being "that person," the one who had a story for every piece of clothing she was wearing.  She had meant that humorously, but I love that picture!  I want to be able to say, "Yeah, this shirt paid for a child's meal, my jeans are from a thrift store that supports the battered women's shelter, and my shoes help to fund a university education for a woman in Uganda."  I want to use fashion as a type of social activism.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the direction I'd like this blog to go.  It honestly started out as a creative outlet for a bored housewife.  I'd really like it to be more than that.  It will always be a forum for me to share my life, pictures of my daughter, and my thoughts on how God is working in my life.  But more than that, I want to become "that person."  I would love my wardrobe to revolve around something other than my appearance.  I want my clothes, and the tiny amount of my budget that goes towards buying them, to help support people in need. I want to be a part of what's talked about in Psalm 72:12-14:

"[God] will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.  He feels pity for the weak and the needy,  and he will rescue them.  He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. (NLT)"

What this means for you as a reader is this: if I find a particularly awesome thrift store or socially conscious company, I want to share it with you.  I'm also making the commitment to you now, just so I have a sense of accountability, that for the next three months (until my birthday), I won't purchase any clothing or accessories that aren't either thrifted, from a resale/consignment/local shop, or from a socially conscious company.  I'd like to extend that promise out for a longer length of time, but since I am the queen of unfinished projects and promises, it's probably best if I set my goals low for now.

I don't want you to think that I'm preaching, despite the rant I'm going off on.  I'm not a better person because of the places I shop.  In all reality, I'm a very insecure, self-absorbed woman who wants all that to be different. My tendency has been to choose what I buy based on which figure flaws I can hide or what piece of clothing will look the coolest, and for that to change, my buying habits have to change.  I want my focus to be off of myself and on the person I am helping. I want to live like I believe God's command to take care of the poor and impoverished is true.  I want every part of my life to have that focus; this is just the start.

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