Friday, October 2, 2009

Your Sunday Best

I love autumn. The three-digit heat disappeared this week and had been replaced with frost on the ground the last few mornings. It’s quite a dramatic change, but we’re ready for it. We’re spending a lot more time outdoors, now that we don’t have to hide inside to keep the baby out of the heat. Now I’m bundling her up on our morning walks to keep her out of the cold!

One thing I love about winter and fall is that modest dress suddenly becomes the norm. I rearranged my closet yesterday and moved my warmer skirts to the front. There isn’t much room in there, the three of us share a closet and Sadie’s dresses take up the same amount of space as the combined grown-up clothes, so placement is key if I’m going to find anything. I did find a few skirts that I had nearly forgotten about, which was a pleasant surprise.

I am still scrambling to make everything (or more realistically most things) fit. I now realize that my pre-pregnancy outfits may never fit in the same way, while the outfits I got right after Sadie was born are way too big (I’ve now lost 45 lbs and am 15 lbs lighter than on my wedding day). It’s funny because as a teenager I would have killed for curves, while these days I realize that it’s much harder to find flattering fits with curves (particularly if you don’t want to show way too much).

I didn’t think much about modest attire before we took our trip to the Holy Land a couple of years ago. That trip was a turning point in many ways, but today I’ll focus on just one: I started to think about the importance of dress and perception. I have to admit that when I packed I decided to cover more because I knew that life would be much easier. However that trip got me thinking about the subject and as with headcovering I began to read more about the subject.

Many of the people in our group acted like I was very strange to cover from neck to ankle. Some asked my fellow parishioners if my husband made me dress that way or if we were part of some strange fundamentalist Catholic sect (seriously?). And these days I still get weekly questions about why I am “all dressed up” when we go to Mass. “I’m dressed for Mass.” is my response. It’s really not very different from how I’m dressed during the week, unless I’m out with the horses.

I wonder when people stopped dressing up for Mass. When I was small my mom still wrangled me, resisting all the way, into a dress to go to our small southern Baptist church. And now I wrangle Sadie, kicking and squirming (she’s decided lately that she does NOT want to get dressed and prefers PJs) into a dress for Mass.

Sunday is a special day. We don’t have to buy expensive clothes to go to church, but we should get cleaned up and wear our “Sunday Best.” I’m not sure why this is a challenge for some people to understand. It’s not about snobbery (which always seems to come up). It’s about respect. You’re going to worship your Creator, the King of the Universe. Dress accordingly.


  1. I totally agree with you on this. I'm disturbed with how casual it's all become. I understand that not all people have money, but that isn't an issue. You can easily find nice outfits at thrift stores. I shop at thrift stores!

    It really is about respect. We dress nice if we're going to a nice restaurant, or going to see someone important, why not dress up for God?

    I just think it's so important. It's just respectful. And I think it also helps get us in the mind of going somewhere special. Not like just another day.

    The other Sunday at Mass I saw a family wearing Packer football jerseys, along with the youngest girl, a toddler, wearing a Packer cheerleading outfit. I wondered why they thought those outfits were appropriate. I'm not trying to judge honestly, it's just that I think dressing nice is just one more way to show devotion to the Lord and that you're taking Sunday worship seriously..

  2. Hi Allison-

    You chinchilla's are so cute!

    I'm always surprised on the forum by how heated the conversations on this subject get too, because it just seems so common sense. People usually go straight for the argument that "some people can't afford it." However, as someone who hasn't had running water in their cabin for the past two years (which is how long it's existed) I can say that you can be poor and still put yourself together in your best. I find most of my stuff at garage sales because there aren't many thrift stores around here (I wish there were!) and some of the outfits still have tags on them! And our local soup kitchen, which I worked at until Sadie came along, was always giving away huge amounts of clothing of all shapes and sizes. While there are certainly exceptions, it just seems like most people don't want to try! And that's what concerns me so much!

  3. I can't stand the attitude of so many people that Mass is 'nothing special' and that we should just show up as we are in our every day life. Why does that have to mean scruffy? I'm convinced that the attitude towards casual attire reflects on the attitude towards Mass, which is often irreverance and lack of understanding of what is actually being celebrated.


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