Send In The Clowns

Hello darlings,
I know it has been a long time but I am still here for you, always! Until the moon is no more.
What a time we are having, have had, will have, have haven, half caff, half-mast, paff maff.
I’m okay, I really am.

Like you, I am doing the Reopening Cha-Cha. What a dans macabre. Flinging ourselves all about while a pandemic rages on, even though so many are vaccinated and I hope you all are at this point.
At my own church we are navigating between the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Health guidelines, our own congregation’s needs, watching all the websites every day, and doing some hybrid things. Everyone is exhausted. My brain is on two speeds: slow and stop.

I am taking off the entire month of July and trying to prepare for that, while realizing that my own sense of expectations may be unrealistic. So much to consider. How are you faring?

ANYHOO, what better to do when ministry mind needs a break than to take a look-see around the internet fash scene! What hideous new styles are the retailers unleashing from the depths of Clothing Hell that they hope we will purchase and wear upon our bodies?

It is going to be very interesting to see how everyone dresses in the post-COVID environment. We may be seeing all kinds of interesting choices: from party dresses at the coffee shop to Extreme Shlub from folks who won’t be ready to give up stay-at-home wear.

Pigeons, we need to hoist ourselves out of our leggings and shearling-lined mocassins to prepare for being seen head-to-foot again. I am having my hair colored tomorrow, and have been doing an inventory of my closet. What fits? What no longer feels like “me?” Do I have funeral and christening and wedding clothing that is clean, pressed and ready to go for the summer months? Am I taking care of my nails (including toenails)? I have been in isolation for a year – what do I need to do for myself to feel confident and comfortable in incarnate community again?

One thing I know I won’t do is allow my attraction to bright, happy colors lead me to Clown Stripe fabrics. I keep seeing primary color material that instantly evokes this
[Click to enlarge images!]

Lots and lots of color is your thing, by all means! Enjoy, dazzle us, celebrate the rainbow! There are so many more sophisticated ways to be a walking burst of color.

I am a fan of Gudrun Sjoden, a Swedish designer who uses sustainable and ethical methods in sourcing and producing her textiles:

I do hope that you’ll have a sense of creativity in this season. We are in mourning, but we cannot look like death warmed over. We are a resurrection people, and whether or not we feel up to it, our people are looking to us to bring hope and new life. Right now, we must all seek the support we need in order to be up to that charge.

Perhaps soon we can talk about how many clergy do not feel up to that charge, and are subsequently leaving the ministry. But that is a tale for another time. For now, let’s just not send in the clowns.

Kiss of peace!

Experimenting With Highlighter

After my cranky post about BOOMSticks, I do want to say that if you have not discovered the absolute wonders of highlighters, which are a dear friend to PeaceBang, you can experiment for a $6 commitment with these by very affordable brand Colourpop:

My fast ministry face includes a tinted moisturizer to even everything out, concealer under my eyes (which have been prepped with an SPF eyecream by Origins; I use a Retinol eyecream by Murad overnight), a lip color, eyebrows filled in, and a swipe of highlighter over the highest part of my cheekbones and at the tip of my nose. If I wear my glasses, I look fine with no mascara or eye make-up (which I love wearing, but I’m talking an under-five minutes look here).

Highlighter is that touch that says “I’m awake and alive and even though I haven’t left the house in so long that I’m starting to hallucinate, I am READY TO DO THIS THING!”

If you want to put forth your best face, skin care is a MUST. You have to be devoted to it. Cleansing, exfoliating with gentle products, moisturizing. For the best tips about makeup and skincare products, visit

Make-up won’t do much for any of us if we don’t faithfully take care of our skin. Highlighter is a wonderful way to put back the touch of glow on your fresh and cared for skin that time hath taken away (but you’ve gotten so much wisdom, experience and fun along the way, who cares? We can fake that glow!).

MWAH! Go be glowing and beautiful.

Ready To Be Seen

I always get so much spiritual energy when I spend some time in New York City. A big part of the rush of inspiration comes from the break I get from relentless American slovenliness. Whereas these days many people are either too invested in their own comfort or mistakenly believe that to be gazed upon is always a form of oppression, New Yorkers understand that life is an art form, and put thought and effort accordingly into their attire.

Clergy far too often appear as though they got caught in public as opposed to having prepared themselves to be there in a leadership role. Here are some people I saw this past Saturday around Union Square who were READY to be seen!

[As always, click on the image to enlarge]

This was the first woman who claimed my attention. I snapped her photo to show that it is perfectly possible to be comfortable on a hot day while looking like an elegant adult and not a summer camper:

That’s a designer frock, but it doesn’t have to be (and also, clergy shouldn’t wear sheer clothing with visible bras — it’s a fashion that’s not for us). The point is that Flowy Frock Lady and her companion have thoughtfully curated entire outfits with accessories, pedicures, careful hair styling and comfortable, flat, pretty shoes. FFL is wearing an easy but elegant chignon — also not hard to accomplish. These women belong in 2019. Too many clergypeople do not.

Another head-to-toe look. A simple, tailored shirt dress, fantastic sandals. She’s dressed like an adult, with a jaunty head scarf (a classic style) for a hot summer day.

Again: “I just want to be comfortable!” Well, be comfortable in clothing that isn’t a wrinkled, stained mess.! A large houndstooth patterned dress is just as comfortable as shorts and a polo shirt, and will identify to the community that you understand the difference between professional identity and vacation or working-in-the-garden mode:

Jumpsuits are HUGE right now. This woman walked into the cafe like a burst of sunshine. Cool, chic, fun, and beautiful.

I took this young woman’s pic to show how much just one accessory can communicate that a person is put together and ready to mix and mingle in society with a sense of herself. Just one barrette. That’s all it took to polish her look! So if that one barrette is $30 and you wear it 30 times over several years, you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s worth it to invest in gorgeous pieces.

Dress as though you are ready, willing and happy to be seen in community!! Throwing on random garments that simply cover your body is not enough.

Feminine V Girlish: Floral Edition

Why hullo, kids,
I am still here! You are still there!
We are still doing ministry! And it’s SPRING!

So of course you want to get some fun colors out and maybe some floral prints, but let’s talk about how to balance out your look so that you get the happy springy look you want without veering into cutesy territory. These images might be kind of small so do be sure to click them to enlarge!

So, say you own this cute skirt from Modcloth:

Very nice! Great anchor piece. These girls school gingham dresses makes you want to skip. Now, make wise choices. Don’t carry a basket of daffodils around and don’t pair this dress with a floral bag. No matter what else you’re wearing,that would be demasiado florals (also, this bag costs FIVE THOUSAND GREEN DOLLARS so none of us are carrying it!).

Let’s discuss that femmy floral skirt for another moment.

The cut is a full A-line, which immediately conjures associations with the 1950’s and ladies in aprons and heels holding pans of brownies. So if you do have a floral print bag you love, pair it with a solid skirt in professional settings and save the Flower Bomb look for lunch on your day off.

Or, you could tone down the floral femmy impact a bit by wearing a floral print in the more tailored pencil skirt style and in black-and-white, pairing all of that with structured garments and then kicking it all up a notch with a very pink but very structured bag. See how the architecture of the bag renders the color elegant rather than merely loud? That’s what good design does.


Very professional, but fun and springy.

Say you’re determined to wear that first floral A-line skirt. You don’t want to evoke “Leave It To Beaver” so you’re not going to wear heels, but ballerina flats also have long association with gamines and pretty much zero associations with women leaders. Always be thoughtful about what associations you’re evoking.

Baby pink flats are fine with tailored ankle trousers, but they’re too girlish for a professional woman in a position of authority to wear with a flouncy floral skirt.

Try for something in a more sophisticated tone and a bit of a pointed toe. Remember what I’m always telling you about the very round toe!

Of course not all florals are super girly. Some of them are quite sophisticated:

And if you *can* look bold and fabulous in lots of florals if you have the stature to carry it off. I submit this as evidence, Your Honor. And please, don’t forget to head to, where you’ll find more fashion advice.

But you shall not go forth in a suit like that unless your hair and make-up (or bare face) are DONE! GROOMAGE! And your shoes and bag are equally fantastic.

Reminder to self: I have owned two floral pencil skirts for years that are just too long and I need to bring them to my tailor. It will feel so good to finally have them fall at the right length and not have to yank them up at the waist all the time. They’re ancient but I still get a lot of use out of them.

Happy spring, happy Easter, resurrection spirit be with you!

Power Lady Jackets

Oh wow, I just re-discovered this article sent to me by most astute pigeon, Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, from June of 2016. Fashion writer Robin Givhan analyzes the new classic by designer Nina McLemore which is being seen all over Washington, DC.

What interests me is not only the design details of the jacket (classic but tailored in a way to intentionally communicate power: standing collar, long, bold line) but how clergy can look to women in the political realm to consider our own ideas of public image. As spiritual and creative leaders we have a lot more leeway than someone in elected office does to individualize our attire, but we should ask ourselves before we leave the house, “would I dress this way to make a statement to America about an important moral issue?”

If not, then you’re not ready to make a statement to your congregation about an important moral issue.

If someone running for office or in public office wouldn’t wear what you’re wearing in order to address her constituents, why are we any different? Are you a friend stopping by for lunch? Are you family – perhaps comfy grandma? Are you a camp counselor? Do you not seek to represent a divine grace, beauty and power that is beyond yet within us all, and within us collectively? Do you not seek to influence? If not, why not?

We need to know who we are trying to be, called to me, and needed to be. Sometimes, yes, we’re a warm sister or grandmother comforter. Sometimes we are a gardener. Sometimes we are a kindergarten teacher. But often we are an important leader but show up dressed to be a camp counselor. There is such terrible and unnecessary dissonance when that happens. It will not be spoken but it will be there and it will have consequences.

Know who you are. Dress to lead.

Janet Yellen in a McLemore jacket