Wardrobe as an Expression – Why I own Less

#ThrowbackThursday: It’s high school for me, early 2000’s, and my style is just……

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I had been home schooled until my freshman year and we lived in a mountain community called “The Rathole”……trust me, I wish I was joking.
Overall, I loved being home schooled, living in the mountains, and felt pretty independent and self-sure. Maybe not 100% self-confident, but I generally thought I was likeable.

Looking back at the pictures of myself, I sometimes shake my head and think,
“No wonder I had so few friends!”: I dressed like a weirdo!
Ballet skirts, high heels, vests and a striped pair of leggings, all worn together. I was eclectic, to put it nicely.
I also grew up in the 90’s, which really didn’t do me any favors

Have you ever experienced that moment? When you look back and you think “who let me out of the house looking like that? And why did I want to!?”

I think it’s a fairly typical thought, especially in this current society, where clothes are a sort of representation of who you are.
Are you wearing expensive brands? Then we think you have money.
Are the clothes ironed or well cared for? You must be clean.
Is it the latest fashion trends? You must be cool.
It all really boils down to money and position. What so many people are clambering up the ladder for, sacrificing their families and their lives for. Power. A place in this world. To be known.

But in God, aren’t we already known? Don’t we already have a place? The things we all strive so hard after are things we have already been given in Christ when He called us His own and gave us a place with Him. We no longer have to climb that ladder. When we can recognize our own brokenness, our judgementalism and cynicism etc, only then will we be able to recognize the wonder of what is being offered!
To the self-righteous judger, the Righteous Judge offers no condemnation.
To the prideful scorner, the Perfect One gives acceptance.
To the self-centered cynic, the Self-Less One gives encouragement.
To the greedy enslaver, the Generous Master gives freedom.

I see clothes now as a way to reflect who I am, not who I want to be:
I wear thrift finds or free clothes because I am free and want others to be free also*.
I wear feminine colors and shapes because I am confident in my gender and the image of God I bear as a woman .
I wear many of the same things every year because I am loved in Christ and don’t need to impress the people around me with the latest fashions or trends.
And so much more! If you know who you are, you can live in light of that, even in what you wear.

We all yearn to be wanted and accepted, and I believe that yearning comes from a deeper longing of community with God, only fulfilled in God. But often times we try to be accepted through our attire. I don’t believe it’s wrong to desire to look beautiful or attractive – God is beautiful and desirable and as creatures made in His image we, by nature, are beautiful and desirable! It’s learning to look past appearances to the person underneath that reveals the true wonder. Clothes are awesome, they are an amazing way to express your unique personality and character. And sometimes it seems like it’s constantly changing.
That’s ok!
Knowing who you are is a key element to knowing how to let go and live with less.
If you know who you are, you can be more confident in how you want to express yourself to those who can only know you by a glance. And that will give you the confidence to let go of everything you own that does not reflect or enhance who you are.

STEP ONE TO MINIMALIZING YOUR WARDROBE:
Begin to explore who you are on the inside.

Ideas for how to be more confident in who you are in order to express it through your wardrobe:

  • With a pen and paper, set a timer for 5 minutes and write down all the things you love most about yourself. Use the full 5 minutes.

  • Think about the styles(interior design, colors, clothes, eras) you are most drawn towards. Write down the top 5.

  • Go to your closet and pull out the top 10 things you wear/like and put a paper clip on the collar, then put them back. Next, have a close friend or family member do the same thing, asking them to “pick out the top ten things that they feel express who you are”. See if they match up to your picks. Talk with your friend about why they chose those pieces and what it is about the clothes that makes them “you”.

After doing all three things, look over everything you found out.
Do you like who you are? Does your wardrobe as a whole express you as a whole person?
Be confident in the things you like most about yourself, and capitalize on those. Pick a few things you want to strive after, but remember that you are already loved, known, cherished and complete. Walk in light of that towards your goals and LET GO of what you can’t control.

A Part of My Story

In honor of #ThrowbackThursday I thought I would make my first post a GIANT throwback to how it all started.
In my mothers womb.

Just kidding! That would be weird. Also, I have no idea what went on in there, thank God.

But I would like to give you a glimpse into how I came to be who I am and the people who helped me get here.

My parents were young when they started having kiddos. Around 17 and 19, if memory serves me right. I came along second, which would put my mom right around…..20?

I grew up eating a lot of “make-it-yourself” nights and being told that “the crust is the healthiest part of your bread.”
We ate white bread, ya’ll. There IS no healthy part!
Not that I minded, for the most part my dad worked really hard to provide what he could for a family of six. We were grateful for what we had(and by that I mean we complained all the time and wanted to eat cereal all the time). We never really questioned the integrity of what we were eating or the impact our lives were having on our environment.

So NO, I did not grow up with a healthy-food-non-GMO-use-paper-bags-not-plastic family. OR a minimalistic family. My mom ALWAYS tried to get us to get rid of our excess but we never would, because hey, you never know when you might need that pile of random strings! And for my dad, a lot of his good memories were connected to different items he had, so he felt like he should keep it all.

I was a hoarder. Hardcore. Like, I was the person who kept that half gone jawbreaker from church camp 6 years ago because……dude. I don’t even know why. Looking back its kind of grossing me out. But hey, it was my life!
“You just never know when you might need that” was my motto. And that one time I DID throw away a pile of strings, the next day my dad asked if anyone had some string he could use!!!!! From then on, I knew I needed to keep every scrap of ‘usable’ material. For the sake of the people I loved.

As I grew older and moved out on my own, I came to a full awareness of how much I owned. My parents are not the type of parents that want to be their kids’ storage unit forever, which at the time seemed super inconvenient and selfish of them. I mean, they housed me for 18 years, how could they not want to house my stuff for the next 18?!
I see now what a gift it really was to me and I feel pity for all the people who DO get away with storing their stuff at their parents.

You never realize the immensity of your useless possessions until you are responsible to take them with you wherever you go.

Over the past 6 years I have moved 12 times.

And that is what birthed my inner desires for healhty, minimalistic life. I know those desires were always there, I truly believe they are there in each person, but as with so many things in life you don’t realize what is hiding inside until some crucible draws it out of you.
If you have not already had that milestone moment, make this the start of that new chapter for you. My minimalist journey started off very slowly. At the time I didn’t even realize I was chasing it. But I was. And I believe you are as well. Look  back at where you came from and visualize where you want to be. Enjoy the change. Be proud of it!

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Top Left to Top Right: Uncle Ro, Dad, Mom. Bottom Left to Bottom Right: Older Sis, Pops, Cousin Lauren, Gramma Lupe, Younger Sis, Me!