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Thursday, January 13, 2005 

I Used To Wear Penny Loafers...

Once again, I come in COMPLETELY middle of the road. I’ve come to accept this now. I’ll ask you to do the same. Expect middle of the road from JP. I’ll try not to disappoint you.

I think fashion and the clothes you wear really are all about you. It’s your interpretation and your opinion. It is very personal. Even within the Mormon Church. Unfortunately, I’ve seen much judgment passed from church members and I find that very sad. Much like what Sarah talked about a couple of days ago, I remember seeing one ward member completely YELL at a young woman one Sunday for wearing a dress that didn’t follow the guidelines. This young woman was not a member, was visiting with a friend and I don’t think she came back. Yes, I know that not all members are like that. I know they won’t yell and make a scene…but they will stare. The will look. They may even pass judgment.

That’s not fair and it’s really not for us to decide.

When I was active in the church, I dressed the part. Sometimes I look back at pictures and say, “bleh” and wonder what the hell was wrong with me. No, I didn’t have anything specific wrong with me, well…at least when it came to getting dressed. It was just this: I was Molly Mormon to the fifth power…and my wardrobe matched that to a T (shirt.) For some reason, fashion wasn’t a big issue for me. I think it had much to do with the fact that shopping was always traumatic for me. I’m just under 5’10” and finding modest clothing for me was next to impossible. I usually ended up shopping in the “mom” section…and I just had to deal with it. “They” told me to dress modest, I dressed modest. I never once deviated from that mold.

I’ve been “away” from the church for a little over seven years. While I am pleased to announce that I am much more fashionable, I have not moved so much away from some of the standards of the church. I work in a professional environment, so my clothing is fairly conservative, but even my “play-clothes” aren’t that much different. I do wear sleeveless shirts, but I don’t wear spaghetti straps. I never show my midriff, but I have to admit that is largely due to the fact that I’ve had two children. That TOTALLY messes with your midriff in ways that just shouldn’t be discussed. But DEAR GOD, I wore a STRAPLESS GOWN to my company’s Christmas party last year…and I thought I was going to pass out from excitement. I showed my shoulders…AND my collar bone…all in the same night. I cannot begin to tell you how much I felt like a princess that night. It was a very fancy and princessey dress AND I LOVED IT. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was breaking rank and showing some skin. It had everything to do with the fact that I FELT pretty and like a princess.

I don’t feel like I dressed immorally at all. I really don’t. But I didn’t dress according to how I was brought up in the church. That is the difference.

I don’t dress like a Hoochy-Mama…not even close. I don’t EVER intend on dressing that way. But I don’t need to. There are items of clothing that I wear that aren’t completely in sync (it is impossible to use that phrase anymore without thinking of Justin & co) with “Mormon” standards. But I think I really stay true to who I am and how I feel about myself. It’s what I am comfortable with.

Having said that, I will maintain very specific standards for my girls as they grow up. I will allow them to be who they are, but there are rules in our household. I think those rules resemble standards within the church because I really don’t think they will harm my children. Oh yeah…and they’ll probably benefit them, too.

So, if you had it in your head that you were going to buy matching, sparkly tube tops or belts masquerading as skirts for Paige and Abby…you were wrong, my friend. Quite wrong.

I love that you said hoochy (see my comment in the previous post). While I have my hoochy moments as I've already said I also believe that since I am an adult I can be responsible about it. I would NEVER dress that way in front of my daughter (no sparkly tube tops or belt sized skirts for her!). I know from my own experience in the teenage years that dressing like that can be very dangerous (not that I had ANYTHING to show off). I don't want my daughter to be a meat on a hook. I want someone to love her for her and in those years of out-of-control-hormones the only way to do that is to dress with some degree of modesty. Certainly current fashions will play a part but I will be thrilled to death if I can just keep her middle of the road. Later when she is older and wants to hooch it up occasionally (cuz it really is fun once in a while) that will be her choice and she will be old enough and wise enough to deal with the consequences (cuz sometimes is just isn't fun).

You are a GREAT example! Thanks. 

Posted by EJ

Hey Miss Middle of the Road... I like the post. And I appreciate that you have raised the issue of children. When I, or if I, become a mother I am sure there will be plenty of outfits that I will not let my daughters wear to their junior high school dance, over to their friends house, to a party, to school, or just outside of the house.

In fact I am considering locking them in their rooms until they are full grown adults (kidding of course).
 

Posted by Rebecca

I would have to agree with EJ's comment on the last post..."the human body is beautiful"....and must be respected as such.
To be accepted for my mind, personality, and WHO I am is much more important to me than being accepted for "fitting in".

my $.02.

Sandy 

Posted by Sandy

I'm confident that mom would have loved to see you in that dress (oh, maybe she did and I didn't, can't remember).
JP, you remember this story: I took a non-member friend to a youth dance when I was a Sr. in high school. Just as we got there another girl (member) walked by in spikey heels with a short, spandex skirt on. The non-member friend said "Jess, I thought mormom girls didn't dress like that." There's always going to be an 'example', good or bad. Because we have free agency we're not all going to be middle of the road. 

Posted by Jess

It's funny, if someone, especially at church, stares at what I'm wearig (like the fishnets), I jsut assume that they are jealous. Because I'm an egomaniac..J/K

You are a smart lady, JP, and I totally repect rules in the home. It hurts my heart to think of my darling neices growing up & wearing clothes that aren't "nice." (They won't of course...)

But can I send your girls sparkly tube tops for dress up? None of these rules apply to dress ups right? 

Posted by Carrie Ann

It's all good for dress up. My daughter has skanky dress up clothes. Even a too-small nightie of mine. What kind of message am I sending her?
In Relief Society one day a woman was describing how shocked she was to discover that a (grown-up) had a feather boa. I let her know that my (then) four-year-old had two feather boas. 

Posted by Jess

I want a feather boa. Why you holdin' out on me???

KIDDING! Good lord, what will I stir up with that??!!??!! 

Posted by JP

Hmm... so it is okay to play skanky (dress-up), just not outside the house?

Sorry, just not enough controversy today.
 

Posted by Rebecca

Oh, yeah.. and I TOTALLY wore penny loafers, with T tokens (Boston subway tokens) in them. I was the only one in my high school wearing them, but I was TOTALLY cool. I can tell you that because you didn't know me then.

And seriously, the dress ups get all of the play acting out of the way so that there is nothing repressed and kids can grow up normal. For instance, my nephews insist on wearing the purple sparkly "princess" cape as a super hero cape.

Can you imagine the FHE fashion show highlighting the good the bad and the ugly..."So-and-so is wearing a sparkly blue tube top typically worn by street walkers, or ladies-of-the-night.. she has paired it with a g-string...this is an example of what not to wear..thank you so-and-so...next we have..."

I can't wait to have kids... 

Posted by Carrie Ann

Rebecca, you may have stumped me. Maddie's dress-up dresses are hand-me-downs from one of her auntie's (not JP) wilder days. This particular auntie is very petite and was quite thin at the time. On a tall, slender seven-year-old, they're semi-modest (not to back track too much). On a young, 20-something, not so modest.

It has given me the opportunity to teach her about dress standards. She knows she's not allowed to wear spaghetti straps, but sleeveless shirts are okay with mom or dad's final approval (hopefully that doesn't come across as a double standard). One piece swimsuites only, blah, blah, blah. But let me tell you: it takes a lot of work to keep a young girl modest, even at the young age of 7. I can't walk into a dept. store and count on finding appropriate clothes. JP has been on the receiving end of my frustration after my unsuccessful shopping trips. Modest clothes are more expensive and harder to find. 

Posted by Jess

LOL. Can I just tell you that Abby is the QUEEN of dress-up. This is why I joke that she is obviously Sarah's child.

Can I be cheesy? I'm going to be cheesy. I LOVE the feedback. I love other people's point of view. I love that CA called me smart and then wants to send sparkly tube tops for dress up. (Abby would actually love it, the floozy.) I love that EJ loves that I said Hoochy (its a good word, my friend) and all the profound words of everyone.

I love that Rebecca wants to start controversy...this is always a good thing. 

Posted by JP

Carrie Ann, as long as we're talking fashion shows... YOU know what I'm talking about. Do you have the video or do I? If we can't get a clip of that gem up online, the least we should do is discuss it in this forum.

For those who don't know, Carrie was asked to take part in a modesty fashion show put on by her stake...I smell a full-blown, out-of-control blog on that subject, Carrie Ann (a good idea if you don't already have one for your post this week!) Let's just say I have never laughed so hard at a more inappropriate time (except for that high council speaker in sacrament meeting one time...) - I almost peed my pants.

Concerning dress-ups. I have a six-year-old daughter who still dresses up, but not nearly as much as she used to. She has some snazzy outfits, thanks to generous aunts and her generous mom. I am probably not so much middle-of-the-road when it comes to modesty, and I think it is mostly because I am raising this beautiful little girl. We bought her a whole set of sparkly dress-ups for Christmas last year (feather boa included, I kid you not!) It was a one-size-fits-all type of set, but we soon realized the clothes were a little too small. One of the outfits had a sparkly top and fru-fru matching skirt, and because she was getting too big for it, her midriff really showed. I was so proud of her when she went in her room, put on a pink leotard under the outfit and then came to show me and say, "See, now I can wear it! My stomach doesn't show!"

Let me be clear about this: it is not that I think playing dress-up in midriff-baring clothes is inherently wrong. She's just a little girl and she's only hanging around the house. But, because I have taught her the principle behind dressing modestly, according to certain standards, those standards are a part of her and who whe will be as she grows up (hopefully! She's not a teenager yet!). Young children can't make judgment calls about when certain rules should apply and when it is ok to ignore them. That is a pretty complex concept, if you think about it.

Just thought I'd throw that in and see if we can stir things up a bit.

Loved the post and the honesty, JP!  

Posted by Suzie Petunia

"...to a T (shirt)"

You are so clever. Loved this post. 

Posted by Kaycee

Jess... was the skanky girl me? 'Cause I did that once... wore this too-short, too-tight, too-everything crashed velvet dress to a youth dance once when I was 14.

I was usually a good girl, but I had an older sister with some interesting clothes that I took advantage of in my apparent attempts to be taken advantage of. 

Posted by Kaycee

Kaycee: No, not you. I'm not sure if you know her. She was from C.H. stake. Her first name is rare and unusual, not sure if I should post it. Give me some etiquette on that. 

Posted by Jess

Jess... that's the kind of thing you just email a person about... no one likes to come up on a search engine that way. If you hover over my name, you'll see my email address. 

Posted by Kaycee

Post it post it post it...  

Posted by Rebecca

JP - I wish Abby was mine. She's a hell raiser, and that is how I like my kids. With my luck I'm gonna get science and math geek kids and have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER how to relate to them. There will be many tear filled phonecalls... prepare yourself. 

Posted by Sarah Marinara

Let me just tell you that there are moments when I would totally send her home with you. And then you would feel the full wrath of Abby. Whoa.

The force. It would need to be with you. In a very big way. 

Posted by JP

But let us remember some items of clothing are a privilage, not a right. 

Posted by Cameron

Cameron: Huh? 

Posted by Kaycee

See...I'm mostly a jeans and t-shirt kind of a girl. I wear makeup occasionally (when I wake up on time, going out with the girls, to be cute for my boyfriend, etc.). My idea with not wearing make up all the time really was a decision I made because of my daughter. I see so many way too young girls (I started at 12 lord help me) running around looking much more mature then they are. I have also seen how this affects their self esteems and I don't like it. I want her to know that make up is fun and makes you feel pretty...but that we are both still gorgeous without it. The same principle applies with how I dress and how I would like for her to dress. That said...my girl is a clothes horse...she LOVES clothes, shoes, jewelry, makeup and anything that smells good..lets also not forget sparkly stuff.

I have NO idea what to do with this child I was NEVER like this and I still am not. I'm fashion backwards!!

Kaycee...I believe Cameron is referring to possibly spandex...at least in my "hood" the saying was Spandex is a priviledge...NOT a right...LOL 

Posted by EJ

Ahhh...I was confused too. EJ is so smart... 

Posted by JP

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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