E. wrote earlier to ask about this spring’s cute dresses, using eShakti’s designs as an example. There are all kinds of fun prints in vogue next season, and PeaceBang finds that refreshing. However, she appreciates E’s question about the limits of fun; specifically, when does a frock cross the line from fresh and appealing to “give it a rest, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, you’re giving me six cavities with that twee little number?”
Let’s examine and investigate the Clerical Image and some Adorable Dresses. Click to enlarge the images.
Candy Crush dress!! Now, PeaceBang would totally wear this to a summer party with 1940’s rolled hair and wedge espadrilles and have a blast, perhaps sipping a mojito and singing 1940’s standards with a band. You can see that PeaceBang has a rich summer fantasy life right now, with bitter temperatures and grey skies and dirty snow sapping her joy. But this is not a dress any minister should wear anyplace she wants and needs to be taken seriously, which is any place she is working. Too cutesy by half.
Here’s a feminine floral that one could wear to work. What we want to note here is the cut, which is sophisticated (the draping at the neck), the loveliness of the print, and the elegance of the palette. Yes, this is a pretty floral dress but it’s not twee and girlish. I would style this with a neutral cardigan, a chunky wristwatch and a pair of brown or plum shoes to keep it grounded and professional. The minute you put on your bright poppy orange flats with this you’ve veered into Cutesville. Save the orange matchy-matchy flats for the party. And don’t you dare think of topping this with a lime green jacket. Yes, I KNOW it “goes.” But you are not the Mayor of Munchkinville, so back off the Technicolor accents. One too many bright accents of color takes you right out of running for a Halo of Approval.
Here’s another perfectly appropriate pretty floral dress. The neckline is classic, the cut is classic, the print is very femmy (pink!) but if you top this with a black shrug and black flats, you’re good to go. Keep your make-up polished and pretty but neutral. A bright pink lip, white lace=trimmed cardigan or jacket and sandals with a flower on the toe would take this dress over the top. That’s why details really matter, pigeons.
Here’s a fabulous little vintage number that I happen to love, but that I can’t see styling for ministry appearances. It’s a bit costumey, and that’s always tricky. I’m picturing various colleagues of mine wearing it and I can’t make it work for anyone, even though I initially thought that one of my pixie-cut pals would be able to carry it off. I think it so instantly evokes 1950’s Housewife in style and silhouette you’re just undermining yourself by wearing it for any work occasion. Damned cute, though. If the skirt wasn’t full I think it could be redeemed for a cocktail party-type event. You’d have to be willing to wear fabulous heels with it, as nothing else would do. OH. I just figured out who could TOTALLY own this dress, and her initials are W.G.(except I think this color would die on her. What do you think, W.G.?):
Now this is fun! Giraffes! The print is subtle, it’s eternally classic b+w so sure. Knock yourself out. Make some folks happy in the nursing home. I mean that: fresh, cute outfit can breathe such life into the lives of people who don’t get out much. My sense about folks in nursing homes and assisted living is that they don’t need their pastor to look like a minister so much as they like having you there, period. Maybe that’s just my experience but the few times I popped in to see parishioners when I really wasn’t appropriately dressed (on my way out to a piano bar, or on my way to the theatre to do a show and looking like a college kid), they got a real kicking seeing me all dolled-up or in my Boho get-ups. They never failed to tell me that when I apologized for my appearance. I would never have gone to see them grubbed out in shorts and a t-shirt and flip flops, though. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about revealing the more personal side of your closet from time to time as an expression of trust and intimacy.
You could tough it up with a denim jacket and some grunge sandals. Pop in and out of the office, run errands, great little casual outfit. Definitely one of those “Hey! You don’t look like a minister” outfits that you don’t want to do too often, but now and again is fine.
So, Miss E., rock that giraffe dress. I can totally see you in it. Thanks for a great question. MWAH!