Out of the Closet

I’m finally coming out of the closet. I am and have always been a clothes-horse. Incorrigible. I inherited it from my mother (photo above right) who inherited it from her own. My daughter (photo above left with me), too, is quite the fashionista.

My unceasing passion for fashion led me from an early career as a social worker into my own retail accessories and leather goods business. Even now so many years later, as an interfaith reverend I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I touch a masterly crafted wallet.

I found this hunger for beautiful garments and accompaniments both a guilty pleasure and a curiosity for most of my life. What made it so large for me?

When I entered the spiritual world of ministry, a world in which materialism becomes less significant, I had to wonder at my continued yearning. I’ve thought long and hard about reconciling this seemingly disparate dyad: the wardrobe woman and the reverend.

Yet, I trust myself and my core values. Each day I awake to seek my center, my inner spiritual voice, looking to create another day of meaning. In that process, I recognize that I and each and every one of you possess the gift of artistic talent in some form. My daily art is seeing my body, my human form as a canvas upon which I paint everyday. What do I choose to dress in—the colors, shapes and textures I clothe myself in—which skirt, top, pants, dress, suit? The accessories, jewelry and lipstick that I select are the final brush strokes.

Coco Chanel once advised that when you think you are ready to walk out the door, have a last look in the mirror and take off one piece. I heed the message, “Less is more.”

I enjoy and amuse myself with this daily ritual. I call my style “classic with a playful twist.” Touches of the slightly unexpected, surprise, levity–hoping that some people I meet will get the message and smile. I love to make people smile. A look in the mirror tells me I am ready to face the day feeling fine.

I have stopped apologizing and feeling self-conscious for this seeming indulgence and have figured out how to accept that I can wed my worldly and spiritual selves and organically really enjoy doing so. Throughout my years, I have managed to observe and really discern colors in a fabric, admire the subtlety of shape in a garment and cherish the feel of a material’s texture. All of it excites me. I have learned much of this from nature’s beauty where there is not a moment’s hesitation to pair red with orange or chartreuse. It has been a long while since I stopped reading fashion magazines to find out the latest styles. Because I intuitively know my own, and how I want to express that individual style.

I am a master at bargain shopping and get as much thrill from the purchase as I do from finding a deep discount. I adore designer thrift shops, digging for someone’s discarded gem sold at a fraction of its original cost. I love reviving and recycling the brilliant creations of designers today and yesteryear. I get a kick out of helping other people shop and find their inner style.

My advice is: if you are zealous about shopping for clothes, if buying a new pair of shoes makes your day, if you get tickled pink by looking in your closets because you love your clothes so much and look forward to getting more—embrace your inner clothes-horse, dress to thrill, smile at yourself in the mirror and march out your door proudly, empowered, feeling like you can save the world! Try to do that too.

And remember the most important accessory you don is your smile!

–Rev. Lynn

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