Social Media vs Your Wardrobe

Have you seen the picture floating around that shows pre-teen girls at school “then” and “now”? If you haven’t, it shows the stark contrast between what middle school-aged girls looked like 15 years ago or so, and what they look like today. 

15 years ago, young girls wore overalls, probably had glasses and/or braces, might be a little on the heavy side as they’re going through their “awkward stage,” and took very few pictures of themselves. Today, I’ve seen girls who wear more makeup than I do (and they’re better at doing it too!), are very body-conscious, and can take killer selfies.

Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization, but I know that I’ve seen the shift in my own experience as well.

A “Cute Football” Dress

It’s not just the younger girls who have changed, it’s us “older” young gals too.

Not too long ago, I went shopping with a friend and we came across this cute, but not so casual, dress. Her first reaction was “Oh how cute! This would be great for a football game!” Now listen, maybe I’m weird, but when I think of going to a football game, I think of being on my feet and sweaty. All. Day. Sweaty. A dress with cute shoes (aka flat sandals with no support) is the last thing I’m interested in wearing. Give me all the shorts and tank tops! I don’t remember exactly how I responded, but she said something along the lines of “well you have to look cute so you can take pictures.”

I am not against “looking cute.” You should! You should feel good about yourself and confident in the clothes you wear. But should dressing so that you can look cute in your social media pics really be the primary objective? I don’t think so…but I have been guilty of thinking the same in the past.

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A Modest Conversation

The topic for Ladies Day at our local church this year was modesty. Sometimes, modesty can seem like a topic that we beat to death and say “don’t wear that!” or “that’s too short!” or “you’re showing too much skin!” And while those are all very real concerns with a lot of the fashion trends, they don’t really address the heart of the matter – that’s right, your heart. 

What I really appreciated about this year’s Ladies Day was that our speaker addressed what it meant to dress your “inner woman” and how that was just as active as a part of getting dressed as putting on our clothes. 

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14

Here, “put on” is a choice – it is something we must intentionally do (and continue to do) each day. 

Just like how we go shopping and add to our wardrobe, we can gradually add these qualities to our lives as well. The suggestion was made to take one of these at a time, and make it the priority for that day. All of us with kids giggled a bit when she mentioned patience, but if I am only focusing on being more patient, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming as trying to be all these at once.

With practice and over time, these things will feel more natural and become a part of who we are.

Dressing Your Inner Woman

Ok, so we’ve seen how social media has affected how we dress, we’ve talked a little bit about how we can do a better job of “putting on” righteous qualities…but what else?

Your value is not determined by how you look or how cute your social media pics are.

Here are just a few things that I am trying to do in my own life, and maybe they will help you too:

  1. Remember that it is ok to not “dress cute” for everything! There is nothing wrong with a “no makeup” day or a relaxed t-shirt.
  2. Focus on one quality each day to improve on (as we discussed above)
  3. Look around and see who I’m influencing. My first thought of course is my daughter (soon to be daughterS). If they see me prioritizing how I look each day, what do you think they will do? All of the good qualities I want to see and nurture in them, I have to model first. If you don’t have kids, I can almost guarantee you that you have someone looking up to you and watching what you do. Pay attention – they’re not super difficult to spot.
  4. Instead of asking myself if something is too short/low/tight/see-through, ask myself if it is a good representation of who I am trying to be on the inside. To read more about my struggle with this as a tall woman, click here
  5. Take less pictures!! I’ve heard people say that if you don’t take a picture/post to social media, then it’s like it didn’t happen. It can totally feel that way sometimes, but guys, we all know that’s not true! It’s ok to have private moments with your family and friends that the world doesn’t have the privilege of seeing.

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

So hear me out…buy clothes that you feel good in, do your makeup, try different things with your hair, and have fun expressing yourself through your wardrobe. Just remember, it’s not the most important part of who you are.

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