Saturday, October 14, 2006

If You Love It, You Need It

I know Jesus doesn't like us to shop, but I nevertheless whooped with appreciation when SisterBang said, "I've come up with a new motto: 'If you love it, you need it.'"


On one hand, this is terribly materialistic stuff to put in our heads. It's what Madison Avenue absolutely wants us to embrace as our highest value.

On the other hand, given that we DO need to look good and we DO care about beauty, isn't it better to love our attire rather than schlump off to the mall with dour insecurities and recriminations, as in "I really need to get a suit for the fall and now I have to go to the bloody mall and find one, which I'm going to do as fast as I can no matter what I find so I can get right on with the business of being very holy."
And then we buy something that we just sort of tolerate and we go around actually WEARING it, sometimes even for years and years. And how does it make us feel, and what energy do we radiate when we feel schlumpy?

Is that any way to attire those who are building up the Kingdom of God?

PeaceBang doesn't think so. When PeaceBang sees mousy, messy, thrown together ministers she doesn't think "There is a person who is so darn spiritual and holy they don't need to think about their outward appearance," she thinks, rather, "There is a person who doesn't have enough respect for the office of ministry to put some effort into their appearance. There is a person who mistakenly believes that sloppiness is next to godliness." Darlings, the Amish are the most intentionally plain people in our country, and you won't ever see one of them with an unironed pinafore or trousers that are falling off their butts.

So as you buzz around the world and occasionally encounter that beautiful necklace or snazzy tie or gorgeously warm, nubby sweater that you can just see yourself wearing during a counseling session, try this: rather than saying to yourself, "I love this but I don't really need it," try giving yourself occasional permission to say, "I love this, I will wear it with joy and a sense of God's abundance and beauty, so ring it up, Mr. Cashier."

If you have a bad shopping habit and suffer from compulsive shoe acquisition, disregard everything I just said. I know you love it, and I love you, but you don't need it, sweet pea. Go shopping in your own closet and mix up some new looks.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Petite and Reverend People

A petite and young minister wrote to ask for some clothing tips.

PeaceBang wistfully recalls the days she was a petite. Granted, she was always a petite size 12 or 14 or 16, but she's short, and she wore petites. Now, PeaceBang finds that petites are often very cropped (blazers and shirts) and that isn't flattering for her meatballosity, so she generally avoids them. But this isn't about PEACEBANG, is it?? Please let me slap myself out of my reverie.

Petite Rev, have you checked out Anne Taylor Loft? Like these skirts, for instance?

They're a bit pricey, but with a challenging-to-fit body type, you're better off investing in some really nice classics and sticking to a few garments.

I dig this jacket from Boscov's, where I used to shop when I lived in upstate New York for about five minutes:

H&M is also a good place to look for petite sizes. They cut their clothing really slim, and while a lot of their garments could be described as "Hootchie Mama Officewear For Recent College Graduates Who Are Definitely Going Out Drinking After Work," they also have some nifty and fashionable more classic pieces. Their tweedish suits are inexpensive and made like crap but they look GREAT!

I think the trick for petites -- whether men or women -- is to stick with classics that are impeccably fitted, and that aren't too fusty lest you risk that "oh look! The little person is dressing like a GROWN UP" effect. Women should avoid cutesy details like Mary Jane shoes or flowery anything, or matchy-matchy ensembles or anything that even vaguely resembles what the kids are wearing in high school. No hoodies, no flippy short Old Navy skirts (shudder) -- and in order to avoid looking like someone's adorable little grandmama -- no holiday themed shirts or lacey collars. Avoid childish jewelry. Find classic accessories and carry a killer bag. Avoid wearing schoolgirl headbands and hair accessories or styles that evoke extreme youth. No need to go around in a super conservative pageboy or a Nancy Reagan helmet head 'do, but put some serious thought into your hairstyle. I often see very petite women in hairstyles that make me immediately think they're auditioning for Peter Pan. All they need is the green tights.

Many very tiny women are quite slim and not very curvy. I encourage these gals to have fun finding garments that give them some shape, and not to be afraid of it. Layers are also wonderful on you, so take advantage of all the fun vests and jackets and nubby, textured sweaters out there -- but FITTED, so you're not lost in the fabrics. Do NOT cover yourself head to toe in fabric -- you will get lost. That means if you wear a turtleneck, keep your skirt knee-length. Etc.

Hold out for good fit in everything. If you try on a skirt and can detect no derriere in the mirror, put it back on the rack (the skirt, not your derriere). Ask a salesperson to help you locate a well-cut, interestingly designed skirt that will give you some budunkadunk. There are all kinds of beautifully designed, affordable pieces out there for petites with curve factor. Don't fear the curve. Having a body does not mean being overtly sexual. When we walk around in swathed head to toe in fabric, I really feel that we are subtly projecting the message, "Hello, I am a walking head. Let's not be distracted by the rest of the story."

Male petites, you should also avoid high school boy clothing, even if the fit is good and the garments conveniently available. On the other hand, if you're really youthful looking, don't feel you have to don a pair of suspenders and a cardigan to look older. You're 40 and you look like you're 22? Don't worry about it! Do put some thought into your haircut, as that can be one way to help you look more mature (WHERE OH WHERE HAVE SUBTLE SIDEBURNS GONE?? PEACEBANG MOURNS THEIR ABSENCE).

Don't wear bow ties, or you'll look like it's 1954 and you're running for student council president. I don't want you to get beaten up in the parking lot by the football team.


Immunity And Anonymous

Someone asked about my immunity regimen. I wanted to say that on the advice of my acupuncturist, it includes an herbal supplement called Astra 8 by Health Concerns. It's mostly astragalus and some other Chinese herbs. This is serious stuff so please don't think I'm recommending that you just buy it off the internet and start popping it without consulting a medical person. I don't want anything happening to my dear powder pigeons! What if it interacted with your blood pressure medication and you tipped over? I would be bereft. So please be careful with any herbal preparations.

I also take Astra Isatis by Health Concerns when my immune system is exhibiting signs of real wear and tear, which it does by breaking out into huge, hideous facial blisters near my nose. Just the other day I started to get all rashy on the left side of my face and could feel an enormous blister coming out. I iced it, used all my anti-inflammatory Origins products (the Dr. Weil line), and started on 6 Astra Isatis a day with plenty of water. It cleared up in 36 hours with no outbreak. Good stuff.

Sleep is great for the immune system, as you know. When I'm really raggedy, I need 9 hours. When not raggedy, 7 is great. Eight tends to leave me groggy. Having an anxiety disorder that occasionally causes me to wake me in the middle of the night with panic attacks, I have to be very protective of good sleep time. No caffeine after 11 a.m. No alcohol or sugary stuff near sleepytime. Prayers before bed. Breathing. Cat petting. If you have a lover around, you can pet each other and I hope you do.

I'm still in extreme October Fat-n-Uglies (my God! What an inspired name for a line of ... I don't know, but something!). My hair is a nightmare right now; not sure what to do with it. Right now, just getting through everything the day requires is all-consuming. Fashion isn't fun -- I'm not enjoying clothing or make-up or accessorizing but putting together whatever I need to to get through the day. That's okay, but it's more fun when there's a creative zing to it.

Someone anonymously commented on a very old post today that she thought all my emphasis on clothing and beauty tips was "incredibly sad," because she herself (Anonymous) doesn't wear make-up and since she didn't wear heels to her own wedding, she isn't likely to wear them anywhere else. AND, she reminds me, brilliant religious leaders like Dorothy Day didn't wear make-up, etc.

Once again, I must say that I don't know why someone would even VISIT a blog called Beauty Tips For Ministers if they're avowedly uninterested in such frivolous chatter. Furthermore, and I can attest to this from firsthand experience, shunning lipstick and nice clothes doesn't make anyone into Dorothy Day any more than wearing mascara makes anyone into Tammy Faye Bakker.
LikePeaceBang always says, you can wear Birkenstocks all over the desert, but that don't make you Jesus.

Yes, that was a snap you just heard.
I'm sort of hoping someone will start a blog called "Ministers Who Don't Give a Fig What They Look Like" so I can refer folks over there from time to time.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Skirt Lengths

Someone asked just ages ago about skirt lengths for clergy gals.

Not above the knee, dear inquirer.

No matter how young you are or how shapely your gams, not above the knee.
Never above the knee.


As Mammy says, "It ain't fittin'. It jes' ain't fittin'."


October Blahs

As is typical during transitional times, PeaceBang has been hit with the ugly stick.
And she's just as fat, fat, fat as can be.

At times like this, it's not so much about cute outfits as it is about keeping it simple, being kind to oneself, getting to the gym for energy, getting enough sleep (October always exhausts me) and gradually changing make-up from light and glossy to moisturizing and brightening. Remember that the light changes in the autumn. It gets dark earlier and those soft peaches that look so beautiful in June won't look like much of anything in the harsher November light.

Ladies, it's high time to retire bright pink from your wardrobe until springtime.
Gentlemen, short-sleeved beachy shirts are done for the year.

Stock some moisturizer for your hands in the office, and in your car if you like. Lip balm isn't a bad idea, either. It's going to get colder and dryer for many of us.

October is a good month to schedule a facial, but not if you're fighting goldenrod or leaf mold allergies, or you could badly irritate your skin.

If you have an immunity-enhancing regimen, start it now and keep it up through Christmas. Put some Purell in your office and use it religiously after greeting everyone on Sunday morning.

Stock up on moisturizing soaps, and check your sock drawer to make sure you're set for the winter.

PeaceBang is taking her sagging self to BED now! Good night, lovely people.

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Red Lipstick Recommendation

For those of you who dare to wear red lipstick, Allure magazine says that Lancome Color Design Pout-A-Porter Collection has a beautiful new red called "Behnaz."

"Lancome artistic director Gucci Westman spent hours trying to concoct a red that lived up to fashion designer Behnaz Sarafpour's high standards: 'Not too blue, not too orange, and very wearable, day and night.'"

It apparently looks great on all skin tones, but you'll have to let me know.

Whatever you do, though, it is HIGH TIME to retire the frosted lipsticks for the season. Look for a lip color that brightens your face, looks professional and polished, and doesn't drag down your jowls (if you got 'em, and I'm starting to).

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