Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lenten Project: Day Thirty-two

Since I grew up Fundy and went to FundyU, I didn't really learn to dress myself properly till I left college.  I remember going into Goodwill with my family during short trips to the States, and just looking through all the clothes for something I liked which would also fit in the strict modesty guidelines of my parents.  I never looked for the correct size or for matching pieces.  I used a lot of safety pins, and many of my clothes were either homemade or altered in some way to make them fit and also be more modest.  I was wearing a lot of size mediums when I should have been wearing extra smalls.  Or I'd pair a regular tshirt with my lovely god-honouring culottes.

I had an awesome dark green denim jumper dress with a floral cotton skirt, but it was an inch too short, so my mom added a long ribbon of lace to the bottom of the hem.  Viola!  It was modest. It was also really odd looking.  I thought I was so cool wearing it, though, because the colours were unusual and, I imagined, rather grunge.  Incidentally, a missionary kid from a neighboring island wrote me a letter after a short visit when I'd worn the jumper and told me she could no longer be my friend because of my wearing that worldly outfit. She said it indicated a heart problem.  We tried to become friends again in college, but it never worked out.  I was just way too worldly for her.

When I came to the States for good, I was so confused by styles and what was in and what was out.  I still didn't understand that clothing was made in sizes and I probably had a size I ought to be looking for, instead of just a style.  I never got both right at the same time.  So when I bought my first pair of shorts (a huge milestone for me, who grew up believing girls who wore shorts were slutty), I was thrilled that the waistline fit me perfectly, and didn't notice that they were old man shorts.  I thought I was being so daring and cutting edge, fashion-wise, because my knobby knees were showing.

The first time I ever wore a real bathing suit, I was in my teens, and it was only allowed by my parents because I was helping at our home church's summer camp, and during the counselor/helper swim time I needed something other than a dress to swim in (for safety reasons, the rulebook said).  So they got me a hand-me-down one piece bathing suit that was way to big for me.  I would have been more modest if I'd just gone swimming naked, because that swim suit gaped in the crotch like you wouldn't believe, and the straps didn't stay up.  But I didn't know that bathing suits were supposed to be skintight, so I had no idea that anything was wrong--I was so excited just to be wearing "normal" swim clothes like all the other girls.  One camper asked me why on earth I was wearing a bathing suit that clearly didn't fit and was ugly besides, and it dawned on me that I wasn't like all the other girls after all.  I was incredibly mortified.

Once I got to college I realised that I could really have a little fun with this old fashioned dress requirement (even though I still had no clue how to match clothing--I thought brown shoes went with black dresses just fine, and a blue belt made the outfit perfect!).  I found this old fur coat at a goodwill and would wear it during every fire drill.  Bob Jones University at the time conducted the fire drills of the dorms at night after lights out, so all of us girls were in nightgowns and pjs.  The Public Safety officers (mostly male students) would leer at us as we filed out of the dorms, and it was pretty humiliating.  So covering up with a huge coat had a dual purpose of keeping me warm and fending off the boys' stares.

Have you ever worn something that you thought was cool, only later found out was about twenty years out of date, or horribly ill-fitting?