Hebrews 13:18 Plus Size Tops

When it comes to plus sizes, God BLESS the manufacturers for their consistency. They are still religiously devoted to swathing larger bodies in yards of ugly, garish fabrics in bizarrrely designed garments.
It’s Hebrews 13:18 in fashion form: “Jesus Christ. The same yesterday, today and forever.”

Meanwhile, how are you all? What a two years it has been.
I’d like to post more than a few times a year but I do have to figure out this new updated WordPress interface. Like you, I am absolutely fried from learning new tech skills, from decision fatigue, worry, anxiety, pivoting from format to format, general angst about reopening, masks, air circulation, room capacity, social distancing at coffee hour, whether we are having coffee hour, signage, sanitizers, carefully discussing how many verses of a hymn we should sing, should we sing at all, how to handle the offering, whether to handle the offering plates, and — what did I forget?

I have not forgotten you, clergy colleagues. I am coming up on the 25th anniversary of my ordination and 25th year of full time parish ministry and never in a million years could I have imagined what we are currently coping with.

Lenten love to you.

Wedge Sandals



Let us now return to our regular programming.

You’re thinking that you’d like to add some presentable sandals to your summer wardrobe. PeaceBang approves. I still think that close-toed shoes are best for church services because toes are distracting in general and feet are weird and there was that one time an acolyte walked by bearing the Big Processional Cross (I’m sorry, I don’t know what the official name is, I’m a Unitarian Universalist and we think such things are papist)and she had screaming orange toenails and I was immediately all up in her toes instead of reflecting on the glory of the resurrected Christ. Run-on sentence, I’m tired, it’s June.

So you have determined that a nice wedge sling-back sandal is a good choice for your shoe wardrobe. Well-done, you. However, which style and color do you choose?

Not denim. Too sporty and cazh:

Not espadrille style. Too casual and sporty for preaching — and of course orange is “fun” and all, but you’re not trying to be fun. You’re trying to be powerful and professional. Save “fun” for your vacation margarita parties (which I hope you do have and invite me to attend).

Best bet for your professional life? Blue, black, neutral shoe with non-contrasting wedge.

This particular style is by Bandolino and I just saw it on sale at Zulily for $29.99. I would probably grab a pair if they were real leather. Non-leather gives me blisters.

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 fillyflair.com, 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

Be Pure Of Sole

Hello honey heads, how have you been?

There you are at the thing: the meeting, the service, the protest, the potluck. You have washed up and shined up and showed up. You are engaged. You are grateful and gracious.

You have put together an outfit that you feel respects the occasion. You have ironed your shirt. You have chosen outerwear that reflects your leadership role and is a a few steps above a squall parka. You have brushed the dandruff and animal fur off of your shoulders.

When you did your head-to-toe prayerful preparation for where you needed to be, did you get all the way down to your feet?

I have almost forgotten to review my feet a few times recently and came close to attending an important occasions with mud on my boot heels. I really would have been mortified if someone had noticed the dirt, and I know someone would have. That is not okay. Even in this cursed generation of leggings worn as pants, dirty shoes at solemn occasions is not acceptable unto the Lord.

Microfiber cloths are a fantastic way to clean up your shoes and boots. I have a stack of white ones in my bathroom for make-up removal (they’re miraculous at getting rid of everything, even mascara, with just warm water!) and they work great with a little water or micellar water on dirty or dusty shoes. The micellar water is also a gentle make-up remover but works as a nice face freshener (I like to wipe it under my eyes after a nap or long day) or on any leather products.

Now, if you’re wearing lug soles, please do not come into any building tracking dirt. If muddy hiking boots are your usual workaday wear because you’re doing ministry in a rural environment (and if you’re not, you have no excuse for wearing muddy hiking boots!), take them off in church and have shoes to change into. That also goes for social events in people’s homes, restaurants, community centers, houses of worship and Knights of Columbus halls. Unless you’re doing a part-time ministry with a side gig as a lumberjack, don’t wear muddy hiking boots while pastoring. You ain’t that rugged.

Annie Spratt from Unsplash