Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stacy? Clinton? Anyone?

As I prepare to serve my mission, the thought of buying "missionary clothes" slightly perturbs me (and by slightly I mean really). #firstworldprobs Now don't get me wrong, I love to shop, but I feel like I have NO idea what is mission appropriate and what is not. 

Since the recent revamping of the Sister missionary dress and grooming standards, everything I thought I knew about the Sister missionary dress code has been dissolved...thank goodness.

The church website is great and has tons of outfit examples! I've also had a lot of success shamelessly stalking Sister Diederich's outfits from Bella In Berlin. There are also resources like Pinterest that can help lost souls like me. Unfortunately, however, I'm really good at complicating things. I always have questions like, "What is too tight? How do I know if I'm in 'style' or if I'm 'faddish'? Is this pattern too distracting? How did I convince myself that I could do this?!" I've recently discovered that what I'm really looking for is "What Not To Wear" - Missionary Edition. 

"As an ambassador of the Lord, you are to wear professional, conservative clothing that is consistent with your sacred calling and that will clearly identify you as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Appropriate dress and grooming will help you earn respect and trust. Your appearance is often the first message others receive, and it should support what you say. Never allow your appearance or your behavior to draw attention away from your message or your calling."

After some research, I have come up with a few rules of tumb:

Too short: After sitting in classrooms with Elders, or investigators, or mission presidents, etc. for such long periods of the day, Sisters become very self conscious. If you ever have to tug your skirt [we all do it], it's too short.

Too long: Skirts that are ankle or floor length have been indicated as not being appropriate. This sort of length has been associated with weirdness [see picture above]. Frankly, I'm always tangling my maxi skirts in something, or worse tripping over them anyway. Bottom line, we've been asked to avoid near ankle-length, or longer, hemlines and so we shall (:

Too tight: I love myself a good tube skirt, but while a tight skirt may be long enough when you first put it on, it is guaranteed to shimmy it's way on up. Another issue with tight skirts are the zippers. I pray you bring a sewing kit and know how to use it because zippers on tight skirts can be a pain. You are a representative of Christ and want to present yourself in the classiest way possible. [It also helps the Elders to stay focused if we are extra modest]

Too distracting: Going on a mission is a joyous act of service and it is okay to express that in your clothes! Neutral palettes will allow you mix and match more options, but don't be afraid to choose clothing in a variety of colors and patterns (:

I think it's safe to say that this type of pattern should be avoided at all costs... [is that a dead body on there?!]

Faddish: While researching this hazy definition, I came across the EFY dress and grooming standards. It says, "Faddish clothing (i.e. Gothic, Emo, etc.) is not appropriate." So I'm pretty sure I'm solid as far as avoiding faddish styles haha. I also think "hipster," "grunge," or only choosing to wear one particular brand of clothing could be considered "faddish," to an extent. I spoke to an mission president's wife in SLC and she said that those cute forehead headbands are a no-no for Sister missionaries. They just aren't professional.

The dress code will vary, sometimes dramatically, depending on where you are serving. When shopping or packing for your mission always keep in mind your location, including the area's social norms, weather, and your personal comfort. Your mission president [maybe more so his wife] will play a huge role in what you can and can't wear in your specific mission. While the church has set dress and grooming standards, like many things, the mission president and his wife have the power to interpret them as they wish. It is important to be obedient to them and obedient to the Lord (:

Does anyone have any insights or suggestions? Comment below!

“There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fullness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide — even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of the Lord.” -President Thomas S. Monson