She brought princess pajamas, a polka-dot swim suit, a cheerleading uniform, sparkly shoes, play clothes, a white flowy dress, a plastic pretend cell phone, and her pink blanket for her week long stay with us.
My niece Coco Mae, who also turns 4 this Thursday.
She rotated outfits sometimes 3-5 different ones within 10 minutes.
Apparently at her age I was the same way; says my mom.
Honestly, I think Coco Mae loves the options- the creative aspect of putting together outfits, just like her mom/my sister-in-law, Ashley.
For me though, it was more an unsureness or discontentedness that caused the mound of clothes to pile up on my floor.
Now older, I don’t experience the frantic flailing of clothes from hanger, to trying it on, to tossing it on the floor as often. I understand more about myself and what I like to wear;
- I know the colors I love.
- I know I really really like having fewer options- less stress for this INFP, who has trouble making decisions.
- I know what I find comfortable and cute.
This week I was reading an advance copy of the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner, whose style I love! And she shared some great insight about her philosophy on style and clothes;
“A uniform, much like life, is born not of discovering what you love but of noticing what you don’t love, discarding the things you find yourself ignoring daily, relegated to the depths of the closet this month, next month, seven months down the road.
A uniform, much like life, is born of the understanding that having more options does not guarantee making better choices.
A uniform, much like life, is born of accepting that we should throw the rules out the window. Perhaps there is no right way to skin a cat, to slice an apple, to stock a closet.
Wear the yoga pants, wear the leather pants, wear the skinny jeans or the distressed jeans or the boyfriend jeans or the cuffed jeans or the wide-leg jeans you found in the throwaway bin at your mothe-in-law’s garage sale.”
Because a uniform is a youniform.” – Erin Loechner, Chasing Slow
And though I am just talking about clothes here, this lesson can totally apply to the concept of “clothing ourselves with gentleness “and offering gentleness to others too.
I used to see someone with style and try to copy them, whether they dressed in whimsical charm or with classic timeless taste. Just like I would see someone who was thriving and wonder what they were doing right, then try to do the exact same thing.
I was trying to copy instead of understand. It was like deciding to just hot glue fake flowers onto branches, instead of starting at the root of things to prompt authentic growth and change, instead of asking the “why”; why did they choose what they were wearing? why do I like how the outfit looks?
So in clothing ourselves and others with gentleness it’s important to ask the why’s and to seek some understanding.
It’s important to understand that what’s right for one person may not be right for another, or what is right for one season in our life may be different in the next season.
a prayer for gentleness
Lord help us understand the unique ways in which you made us, and lead us to ideas and strategies in which we can honor our own individual design and the season of life we are in right now. Help us remove any weight we were not meant to carry. Let us be hidden in your love so that a gentle strength grows from within our hearts.