PeaceBang (Sort Of) Changes Her Mind!!

Puddings, don’t miss this, ’cause it doesn’t happen too often!

I am SORT OF changing my mind about open-toed shoes and sandals in the pulpit, with reservations and with caveats.

The reason is this: dressy sandals are definitely considered professional wear now, and have been for several years. It looks like a trend that’s here to stay. Given the covered-upness of our vestments, I just think an open-toed shoe can be okay. I’ve been testing it out in church and it’s been working fine.

I have a pair of Aerosoles that sort of resemble these, but in brown, with thicker straps. They looked fine with a robe in church and then later with a skirt and sweater set.

I have a pair of t-strap wedge 9 Wests that I bought on Good Friday. They kind of resemble this sort of thing:black-tstraps.jpg ( but not with the tan base– all black).

This is a similar idea as well: blacktstraps2.jpg

So far, I don’t feel like the Whore of Babylon preaching in this kind of shoe, and no one is looking at me like I’m a brazen heathenish kind of gal for doing so. My toenails on one occasion were even painted OPI Dutch Tulip, a bright pinky-red color. Gasp!

Some suggestions, pussycats.

  • If we’re going to do sandals in the pulpit, the feets have GOT to be pedicured.
  • Sandals should be neutral colors: black, brown, tan. You don’t want a shock of color to draw everyone’s eye down past your ankles.
  • No thong styles! PeaceBang draws the line there! Eternal NON to the flippy-floppies, which have definitely become everyday wear in this country, but I’ll never wear them to church on Sunday. NEVAH.
  • Straps should be wide enough that you don’t look like the Mother of the Bride or the Prom Queen.
  • No wobbly heels, except for that one fabulous pastor in DC who preaches in stilletos.

    On Sunday morning, M. wrote in to say,

    Hello to my fashion savior. Your blog is the first one I check each day. Thank you for helping me in the process of “defrumpification.” My question pertains to the
    open toe sandals in the pulpit. Nylons: yes or no?

    Thank you!

    Good question, hon! Thanks for writing in!

    There are two schools of thought on this. One, and this is my own, is that nylons almost never work with sandals.
    The second school is of the thought that nylons are better than bare legs that may be (1) inappropriate in a more conservative setting and/or (2) just look kind of awful without nylons.

    PeaceBang prefers to use fake-tan on her legs and to go without nylons, and in very dressy situations she avoids the conundrum by wearing pumps or some other shoe (not sandal) and nylons.

    I don’t think that nylons would look right with the sandals I have pictured above (actually, they’d be fine with the top t-strap pair, which are more of a real shoe). They might not look heinous, but I do think they’d look weird.
    Nylons look okay with a very dressy strappy sandal for weddings (I’ve seen it done well with a very silky sheer hose), but not with the sporty-dressy sandals I’ve showed. If your skirt is well below your knee, heavens, why bother with nylons? If your skirt is more like knee length, I can see how you’d consider it.

    Of course there’s the school of clergygals who wear flat sandals and pantyhose with a reinforced toe, and… well… um, that’s why I have the mission to de-frumpify us!! I understand the need for support hose, and I understand the desire to wear comfy flat sandals. That particular combo, however, communicates one thing and one thing only: dear old granny. If that’s your pastoral calling, I say rock it. If it’s not, adjustments must be made.

    So darling, it’s up to you. But if you wear nylons, make sure to get an absolutely sheer brand and keep the seam tucked under as best you can so it doesn’t show.

Zulugrass Beads

zulugrass.jpgSisterBang and I love these grass beads. I’m wearing some today with a black tee-shirt. I like to wear about eight strands around my neck and add a necklace with a pendant (like the one I’m wearing right now, a silver circle that says “FAITH-HOPE-LOVE” on it) that hangs slightly below the cascading beads.

I get my beads from a local woman who has a tiny indigenous art boutique and who trades directly with the African women who make them. She charges $8 per strand and my sister and I are collecting various colors slowly. The woman at my local boutique taught me how to twist them, wrap them, and have a lot of fun with them. I’m a big fan.

They’re a great way to add color to any outfit. SisBang often wears a bunch around her wrist. I think that might look cool on the more bohemian-type dudes, too.

The Marquis De Sandal

A few years ago I was walking in New York City with SisterBang, who was wearing a pair of fabulous platform sandals I had given her because they killed my toes and cut off circulation.

As we traipsed along, she began to feel the pinch herself and said, “My God, these are like the Marquis de Sandal!”

We laughed and laughed, and you’re free to use the expression to describe your own ouchy shoes.
It goes like this: “I’ve got two blisters from these Marquis de Sandals!”

Abundant-Bodied Petite Pastor Cries For Help

Dear PeaceBang,
I found your blog not too long ago while I was looking for some vestments tailored for women…a difficult search as we both know.

I’m in my first call as a Lutheran pastor in the Washington, D.C. area – brand new to the area – and I’ve found reading your blog is like having a friend who knows my pain! 🙂

Anyway, to my dilemma…
I’m under 30, single, short (5’2) and plus sized (18). I have found that one of the most flattering looks for me really is a suit jacket…tailored, emphasizes that I do indeed have a waist, covers up really ugly clergy shirts, helps people older than me take me seriously, etc.
BUT…it is now approaching the humid summer months of swampy D.C. and I can’t go on wearing things over my clergy shirts just to “create smooth and clean lines”. Any thoughts on summer looks for clergy in more formal offices who already have challenges finding clothes that fit their petite and wide frame?

Oh honey, I so feel your pain!!
MAN, do you I feel your pain. We’re the same approximate size! We can swap clothes! But first, your dilemma.

I think the Belt is going to have to be your good friend. A belt, you see, will give you that waist that you want, and will neaten up the icky blouse. Also, finding excellent skirts and trousers will really keep you sane — and I’m taking skirts that don’t drown your bottom half in tons of fabrics (try the Style, Inc. line or “inc.” — they make nice professional skirts for chunky short chicks like us), but are have clean lines and to which you can add a smart belt and great shoes.

Definitely show some leg. I wear Spanx-like tummy-thigh trimmer shorts under skirts so I am free of pantyhose. I fake-tan my legs and it all looks fine.

As far as trousers go, make sure they FIT AT THE WAIST AND BUTT and THIGHS and have a nice gentle flare at the bottom. You’ll (we) need that balance. I don’t know if you have the dreaded tummy bulge that I have (my torso is basically a set of tires balanced on top of each other), but get a good slimmer, tuck that bloody shirt in, and add a nice belt. Don’t wear a big pendant and a belt — you’ll cut yourself all up. Either pendant or belt, not both. Wear nice earrings, do up your face, keep your hair looking shiny and great, carry fresh white hankies to dab at your face in that humid heat, and you’ll be great.

I give myself dispensation to wear an open-toed shoe when I have to wear a collar in the summer. I wear 3″ platform sandals, tuck my shirt into black flared trousers, wear biggish earrings and decide just to funk it up. Also, a nice thick wristwatch provides some balance, too.

Sorry to be so rambly!
Let me know how it goes!

Love, PeaceBang


Readers of all shapes and sizes,
Belts are very fashionable right now, and they really can add a nice, polished dimension to a simple outfit. Gals, got a clean, unwrinkled nice tee-shirt and a terrific pair of trousers? Add a lovely belt, some nice earrings, a chunky bracelet and voila, you got yourself an outfit.

Guys, got some pressed khakis and an Oxford? Add a belt and you’ll look even more ready for your day!

Tip for full-figured gals: a belted, fitted shell looks very nice under a blazer or cardigan. It adds a waist, but only if the belt isn’t too wide (super wide belts are in right now, but don’t be fooled — you’ll just look dissected).

P.S. Dears, I’m having a hard time finding elegant, well-fitting shells lately — everything’s either the tacky, ribbed “wife-beater” style (I’m sorry, I know it’s an offensive name) or a camisole with spaghetti straps and a too-low neckline. Any tips?


Hi gorgeous people!

It was an absolutely lovely day today and after I spent four hours in the library working on a paper, I went for a walk and watched for a few minutes as 5 year old boys played a game of T-ball. The cuteness quotient was definitely 100%. One squirt would smack the ball, about five little dudes would fall all over themselves trying to catch it — and miss — and when one finally ran after it and retrieved it, he’d toss it to first base, where the baseman would fail to catch it. Meanwhile, the batter would still be standing there at the T while one of the coaches yelled, “Go! Go! Go run to the base! Atta boy!”

Every single batter got to first base. There were no “outs.” Everyone had a chance at bat. In some cases, and I’m not sure why, some little guys had the ball actually pitched to them by one of the dads, who stood about 3 feet away and lobbed the ball over the plate over and over and over again, saying the same encouraging words each time. Patience of a saint, I tell ya. It was really sweet.

I forgot to tell you that all the little guys were wearing UNIFORMS! Tiny t-shirts paid for by Cathay Hanover restaurant and a local tire store. Also, of course, shrimp-sized baseball caps and pants. Too adorable.

So anyway, it’s that time of year that I just want to pull on a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt in the morning and get out in the day, which is how I spend my summers. I don’t really want to wash my hair and style it, or to wear any make-up or to think about what matches or fits. I stopped getting my nails done about 6 weeks ago, and my paws look all chewed and awful. I haven’t had lots of special events lately so I’ve just accepted it for now. I’ve been getting my nails done about every two weeks for four years and I’m on a break, mama!

I’m only doing full make-up for Sundays and special-ish occasions now — the rest of the time it’s lipstick and mascara and maybe some blush. Every single one of my weight loss efforts have been short-lived and unsuccessful, so I’m in a phase of “just try to be healthy, just be comfortable without going to Slobsville.”

And I’ve done something very helpful that I recommend to you, too: I went into my closet and took out about 75% of my stuff so that the only garments that remain are things that fit, that I like well enough to actually wear, and that are season-appropriate.

Sometimes it helps to remove visual clutter.

Summer_vacation_is_coming! Lord, hear our prayer!