boot quest

October and April. Dave calls these the predictable months where I become obsessive about either snazzy winter boots or cute summer sandals.  For Christmas this year, Dave ordered me this cute pair:

They didn’t quite fit right, so instead of exchanging them I foolishly decided to embark on “boot quest ’12”. Bootquest looks like endless zappos and amazon searches to find the perfect boot. It involved excitedly ordering a pair online only to receive them and not even be able to get my foot inside 😦 boo. Or to eagerly receive this pair and slip into the soft suede- only to have my loving husband comment “they look a little colonial williamsburg-ish”

Nine West's Barstool boot

To be fair to Dave, the boots did look weird and I had to agree- it looked like I was going to listen to some minstrels, watch a joust of some sort and eat a giant turkey leg on a stick at a ren-fair. Back in the box, shipped back only to continue boot quest ’12. I am kicking myself for not going to Fontana’s Footwear while I was in Ithaca, NY this past New Years. Fontana’s- a tiny store right off of Cornell’s campus has the best selection of cute, practical and comfy boots I have ever found. On this boot quest I have decided to only try on boots in a store, and to go shopping with a girlfriend who won’t make comments about resembling people from colonial willaimsburg. By the time I find the perfect pair, it will be time for sandals!

Writing this post about bootquest has me curious blog friends; what’s your reaction when someone writes about fashion that typically writes about spirituality?  Is it something you enjoy reading or thinking about, see as frivolous, a waste of time, or a fun way God has given us to express our uniqueness? The reason I ask is that I recently read an article by Duane Litfin, former president of Wheaton College, entitled Clothing Matters: What we wear to church. While some of you may not go to church or see any reason to put on something special to go to church, it brought up something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Why does it seem that Christian women are either gnostic when it comes to fashion- i.e. “God doesn’t care about our external bodies so it really doesn’t matter what I wear…” or licentiousness “God doesn’t care about our external bodies so getting dolled up in designer jeans really has nothing to do with my spirituality.”  Where do you tend to fall in this spectrum of a theology of fashion so to speak?

"OMG, do you see what she's wearing?" muggin' with my sister a few summers ago

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11 thoughts on “boot quest

  1. good question. i think fashion can be a hobby just like anything else…gardening, home decorating. it particularly fits well with those hobbies that have to do with creating pleasant aesthetics. however, i also view fashion as a material possession in the same way i view homes or cars. i admire some homes and some cars and some clothes, but then think that i myself would not want to have them. for me, it is because i see them as a barrier to the gospel. if my house is in an exclusive neighborhood, i think that limits my reach as a minister. if my car is too fancy to drive into the inner city and park it during an urban plunge, then i’ll probably avoid going there. likewise, i hope not to have clothing that keeps me from being accessible or from getting messy enough to interact with people. i find being around the simplest of people is the best way to keep me in check with this. it does not mean i have to wear jeans and a t-shirt everyday, nor does it prohibit a boot quest. i just hope for something in moderation–enough effort to have a pleasing aesthetic, but nothing so expensive or uncomfortable that it prevents me from interacting with people.
    not sure if that answers the question you were asking, but i’ve thought a lot about what i wrote above since moving to the LA area where image is everything.

    • Lisa- I was really hoping you’d reply to this post (yes, I have secret desires for certain blog readers to comment!). You are always really thoughtful in this area. I think the name of the game is an awareness of contextulization- like Grace said- to dress up in the black community shows respect but wearing dressier clothes to minster in the inner city could become a barrier to relating to people. Being accessible as you say- whether it’s to the urban poor, the wealthy, stressed moms or college students really could be seen in the context of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9: “http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+9%3A19-23&version=NIV” “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some- I do this for the sake of the gospel.” I think there is always a balance between being content, enjoying putting together an aesthetically pleasing outfit, and not doing so to impress others.

  2. In terms of your question, Jess, you know that OF COURSE I am going to say that it is a SUPER FUN way to express the uniqueness of how God has made us, and a way to practice art for those of us who love art but can’t really draw or paint (which I would love to do). Fashion, for me, is really accessible way for me to express that artistic side of myself, since I have to get dressed any old ways…. I may as well, allow it satisfy that part of me that really needs to “create.”

  3. …and such were all ready such great peeps, I love reading about your thoughts on boots or whatever… although I have noticed that when i post about fashion much less of my Christian peeps comments, even you.

    I try not to feel too bad about that b/c it is something that Iove and really enjoy and blogging about it allows me to “play” without having to pay. =) I will probably never own a pair of Christian Louiboutons but I love being able to just look at them, or post about them b/c they are sooooo beautiful!!!! Like a great painting or a deep poem.

    About what Lisa said, I find that in the black community, I often get the opposite response… putting myself together a little more is actually a way of showing my audience respect. I don’t do a lot of ministry with the poor (financially at least) so I haven’t needed to dress down in that sense, but I can see how that would be a good idea if I was doing a plunge or something like that. But my primary work on a college campus, means I need to look like a professor in order to gain respect amongst my peers, colleagues and students.

    …..and that is just for me, like having toys, it’s just so much fun to think about.

    • I really like the way you put that- admiring Louboutins or Manolos for their beauty and craft is similar to admiring a great painting or deep poem! It is amazing to see how designers put color, texture and fabrics together in such creative ways! Touché on not commenting on your fashion posts- I always read (and enjoy them!) but for some reason don’t feel compelled to comment- maybe I will now! I think on some level I’ve been nervous that if I post about fashion people will see me as frivolous, but enjoying it as a hobby- the way some enjoy football, running, or cooking and occasionally blog about it, is just a part of me I enjoy expressing and sharing with others.

  4. I have one more comment. I completely understand about dressing professional and sometimes it’s not enough just to have a practical outfit…there are occasions where what you wear expresses the importance of the event. I know black church is a place where you wear your best to show that. At the same time, I feel like one question that has to be asked is how does a particular culture need to be transformed on this issue (and any issue)? Driving a nicer car might earn me more credibility in certain circles, but I’m still not sure I would get one just for that reason. An example for exaggeration, if having 50 pairs of adorable open-toed shoes would make me more credible to the So Cal white, evangelical moms group, I’m not sure that would be a convincing enough reason for me to participate in the trend. Sure if we look like we rolled out of bed then that actually may be a hindrance to having someone take us seriously in many circles, but dress for those who value a nice brand and an up-to-date look, I think we need to be cautious to live transformationally as well.

    In other words, thank God for TJMaxx, where you get the max for the minimum, minimum price. Honestly.

    One nice thing about both of your fashion posts is that you usually talk about the way to have a budget or bargain shop for something. In culture at large, having a budget and stewarding money is transformational. Maybe admitting you shop at TJMaxx could be transformational in certain circles as well.

  5. Pingback: circle of protection « Sidewalk Theologian

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