Today, my very stylish sister takes me shopping. I used to be stylish--maybe 20 years ago--when I had the means, the time, and the desire to look my best. While my internal flair has grown exponentially this year, my external style needs help.
I'm too tired, too old, to be cute.
I'm too spiritual to be stylish. I'm too academic, too poetic.
But there's a part of me that I've left behind somewhere. My external flair has turned to. . . frump.
So my sister has me in a dressing room at a very stylish store. As I pull on layers of beautiful clothing, I'm surprised at what my heart feels.
It feels wonderful to be in these clothes.
And then it feels awful that it feels so wonderful. I know that life is not found in clothing; I know that true joy will never come from a shopping trip. Living with flair means I find my true self in relation to God, not this soft pink sweater or these jeans that somehow make me look like I'm 18 years old again. Besides, I'm on a tight budget. Who can afford these things?
I'm looking at price tags and frowning. My sister sings out as she shoves more clothing into the dressing room: "It's all 40% off! We can buy a whole new outfit!"
I have a whimsical shopping bag tied with a bright bow with new jeans and a pink sweater. As we leave the store, I mention to my sister that I feel guilty feeling so happy about an outfit. I don't shop. I never buy new clothes. I'm above that pull of materialism and addictive consumerism. I don't need these things.
My sister reminds me that I've swung the pendulum too far. She tells me I can celebrate being a woman in ways that showcase my unique style and elegance. It's not ungodly to dress well.
I'm still figuring this all out. I know there are wise and balanced ways to be stylish, and I want to learn them.
Do you have any advice for me on this journey? How do you balance spending money on clothes while keeping perspective on what matters most in life? Do you fear shopping addiction and materialism too?
(It didn't help when I asked the saleswoman for her advice about my guilty feelings. She said, "Oh, those? Don't worry. They go away in a couple hours.")