Monday, October 19, 2009

On Red Hats and Other Wardrobe Eccentricities

I like to wear eccentric outfits.  It’s about beauty, really, and offering to the world a unique shade of beauty with a style that they won’t see anyplace else.

It wasn’t about beauty when I started.  Well, maybe it was in childhood, when I just liked bright colors and loud patterns; perhaps the fact that I liked them so much shows the attractive power of beauty (you can judge for yourself how my subjective standards of beauty measured up to more objective standards).

But when I got to college and could finally, after thirteen years of Catholic school uniforms, wear whatever I wanted every day, beauty was not a factor in my equation.  I wore what I wanted to wear because I could, and because it was fun to combine things together that formerly seemed taboo (a favorite: skirt and tshirt).  I clearly remember the shock I felt when a dear friend, reminiscing over our first year, remarked that my outfits didn’t always look spectacular, but were none the less distinctive.  This opened up a new world to me: You mean that these crazy ensembles I’ve been throwing together actually look good!?  The thought had never occurred to me!

Not an unusual combination for Claire world of early college
Over time, as I got older and more involved in campus leadership positions, I found myself wanting to class up my act a bit.  I kept the unusual flair of my style, but tamed down some obnoxious tendencies and looked more into classic or old-fashioned stylistic elements.

In the meantime, beauty had been becoming more and more a central theme in my interior life.  We are lead to truth through goodness and beauty, and it is in the very nature of woman to offer her beauty to the world (the trick is doing it in an appropriate manner…).  Simply by being beautiful, I can draw people to God.  How cool is that!?

Additionally, Our Lord sees my beauty, on the inside and the outside, and loves it thoroughly (particularly as it is a reflection of his perfection).  I am secure in His Love, and therefore am able to offer his love to others.

So I offer my beauty.  I wear elegant hats on everyday occasions, clothes with strange textures or exceptional colors.  And I do it with the confidence that, no matter what I wear, I am beautiful.

And let me tell you: The looks on people’s faces as they observe or compliment a particularly unusual outfit is one of joy.  As much as I enjoy the clothes I wear, it is quite clear to me that the people around me love it even more.  (Which makes packing for a long weekend very difficult, let me tell you.)

So, my friends, treat your beauty as a gift.  Wear it with confidence in Our Lord’s great love for you, and with the knowledge that sharing with others a bit of the beauty He’s given you is truly drawing them to Him.  Let your elegance be a bright spot in someone’s day, and never tire of receiving compliments graciously.

They say you never know the difference a smile can make in someone else’s day.  Let’s see how much of a difference we can make with a hat, shall we?

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