I nearly dislocated my shoulder in the fitting room at Vinnie’s.
There was this top, you see. Cropped. Long-sleeved. Deep blue. BNWT (that’s Brand New With Tags for the novice used clothing shoppers among you).
I plucked it off the rack and flounced into the change room, pulling that curtain fair off its plastic runners.
Halfway through I realised things were going badly. Arms were in, but head was not.
To push on, or to retreat?
Well, I pushed on, didn’t I? Yes, I did. Until, with much grunting and jiggling, I saw light from out of that toddler-sized top, even if my arms were cantilevered from my earholes. I didn’t need to so much as glance in the mirror to know that this was not a keeper.
My shoulders were screaming by now… and did I mention I had an audience? Miss Three was looking at me with a mix of bewilderment and fear. Is mummy ok? her wonky eyebrows queried.
I was about to holler for scissors when the blasted top let go of me and I put it back on the hanger with a defeated sigh.
“If only you were three sizes bigger, and I’d found you two weeks ago.”
My no-new-clothes-for-a-year vow hit an almighty hurdle this past month when I had to frock up for, not one major event, but three. Two of them on consecutive nights. One playing MC.
These are events us girls love to prepare for (read: shop for).
I’m ashamed to think how much time and energy I put into looking for that elusive perfect outfit. The one that made me feel slimmer, younger, taller, fitter, more confident. Honestly? I spent hours on Facebook pre-loved clothing pages. Hours and hours. Then, plenty more trying this top with that skirt with those shoes. Start again. This dress with those heels with that necklace. Gah! Ridiculous.
I knew it was abominable… but I carried on.
Why am I telling you this? Perhaps it’s my confession.
I have succumbed to the idol of fashion despite my best intentions…
In the end, I borrowed a wonderful, black, drapey pantsuit from a friend, which I wore to the first and third events, and to the second, I wore a white, structured dress of mid-calf length. It was from my own wardrobe. Only worn once before. With some tan heels from another friend.
They were fun dinners, celebrating life. Ironically, one of the venues was so cold that I wore my jacket the whole evening – I could’ve been wearing a Wonder Woman suit under there, for all anyone knew.
But when I think about my poor form, the amount of energy I bled into clothing, I feel turned inside-out, dislocated from my mission. I failed. This year of abstaining from buying new clothes is all about being free from that. I’ve had successes, but this wasn’t one of them.
Yet, all is well. I serve a gracious God who is constantly picking me up, gently teaching new things. I’m grateful for these stumbles. They cement the lesson and germinate new growth.
Later, I read this passage from Jude (verses 20-23):
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
You’re wondering about the dress in the photo? I found this a few weeks back – a genuine vintage frock by The Dress Company Melbourne. It fits like a glove. Love it. These are the finds that make op-shopping worthwhile!