Learning to Dress Myself: God's Design and Universal Beauty Fails

How to begin? 

We'll start with:  I'm a Dark Winter Flamboyant Gamine.

I know, it sounds like gibberish. It's ok to laugh at me or my hat too. :)

I haven't known how to write about this topic without sounding like I've taken a one way train to Bunyan's Vanity Fair, stopping at crazytown on the way, but some recent discussions with friends have prompted me to try.  I wanted to lay some groundwork first though, because however well Seasonal Color Analysis and Image Archetypes may help us understand our physical realities, they do not define our eternal spiritual realities, and may distract us from those things of greater importance. 

We have from Christ's lips these words, encouraging us not to be consumed with earthly cares but to trust our Heavenly Father for provision of all things:
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. (Luke 12:22-31 ESV)
And most Christian women can quote the end of Proverbs 31 for you:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Then there's 1 Peter:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
And the account from 1 Samuel, when the Lord passes over all older sons of Jesse to choose David as future king of Israel because he has a heart after His own:
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)
What is clear to me through all of Scripture is this: my value in God's sight has nothing to do with how stylish or pretty I am or how flattering my clothes are, and concern for and discontentment with those things can steal from me the joy of knowing where my hope truly lies.  God knew me when I was yet unborn, and just like all children resemble their parents, I bear the image of my Heavenly Father (and so do you).  God loves me because he loves his Son, and through faith and trust in the sufficiency of Christ's death on the cross, and his burial and resurrection, I have been given Christ's perfect record of obedience as my own and am righteous in the sight of God, despite my own record of unrighteousness. That's the Good News.  And now, with gratitude and gladness, knowing I'm adopted and loved, I'm free to live for His glory and not for my own.

So why write or think about clothes, or makeup, or body types at all? 

Because I still have to get dressed every morning, and I'm learning that I can do that in a way that embraces the way God designed me.  In these pictures I'm wearing clothing and makeup matched to the Dark Winter color palette (which I believe to be harmonious with my natural coloring), as well as accessories that echo the compact angles of my face.  The philosophies of Seasonal Color Analysis and Kibbe/Image Archetypes aren't Christian in origin, but they make sense to me through that lens because I believe that God has created all things, including people, with beauty and order. I recognize it more in other people, friends and strangers, now that I've started to discover how it exists in me. We're wired to see and crave beauty, though our definitions of it sometimes get twisted, and we might not always give praise to the proper source. 

Most women have bought into a universal beauty claim at some point.  Look through any magazine with a fashion feature and you'll see them: 
"The dress that looks good on every body!" 
"How YOU can wear bright coral lips this spring!" 
"The blush for perfect rosy cheeks on every skintone." 
Most women have also experienced the failure of these claims to hold water.  Inevitably, that dress makes you look like a wadded up lunch bag, that coral lipstick makes you look like a jaundiced clown, and those rosy cheeks make you look like you might be fighting off some sort of virus.  And so, if you're like me, you might be tempted to wonder--Am I broken?  Why do these things that are supposed to look good on everyone not work for me?  Perhaps you're less foolish than me and haven't tried out any of these empty promises for yourself, but have been frustrated by your wardrobe in a different way.  By the dress that technically fits (you can get it zipped and move around comfortably in it), but still seems somehow off.  Or a shirt in your favorite color that makes you look 20 pounds heavier in pictures.  Or maybe you've experienced the opposite--some article of clothing seems like it was made for you, but you can't put your finger on why or recreate the result. 

What I have discovered is that there's a lot less chance and luck surrounding what's flattering on me when it comes to clothing and makeup than I ever thought.  As I've made passing mention of Seasonal Color Analysis and Kibbe/Image Archetypes to friends over the past few weeks, enough have expressed interest in hearing more that I wanted to get the ball rolling on sharing the categories that are helping me to make peace with the physical body God's given me and sense of my closet.  Seasonal Color Analysis aims to determine which colors are harmonious with you.  These colors have a variety of complementary effects on your skin and eyes and look natural when worn.  Kibbe Image Identities/Image Archetypes focus on repeating the geometry of your body in the clothes that you wear.  The best and most sure way to determine either is to be professionally draped or analyzed, a process I have not gone though because I feel confident and happy in the conclusions I've reached on my own through trial and error. I am not for a second claiming to be an expert on these methods of image analysis and am mostly out to point to resources, but for me, simply finding out that these helpful tools existed was half the battle.

More on this coming...hopefully soon.  The kids and I are working on checking off items on our summer bucket list, so I can't promise the next posts will be immediate, but stay tuned. :)


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