I was really kind of unsure when I bought this book, mere moments after it was released. After all, a book about fashion? Me, really?
Plus, the author–Trina Holden–is a tall, willowy, classy woman who is always rocking scarves and cute hairdos, whereas I am short and round and my wardrobe consists solely of navy blue duty pants, white button down uniform shirts, and jeans. Even the tagline, Practical Style for Every Shape and Season of Motherhood, had me a wee bit concerned–I mean, the only shape my body should be doing now is decreasing. Was this only a book for women in the maternity stage of life where bodies are increasing and decreasing on a regular basis? As someone who can’t have more babies, I was concerned that it would make an already raw heart even worse.
I shouldn’t have worried.
While Trina is clearly writing from the perspective of a mother with multiple pregnancies, whose body is continually changing, the ideas are basic and simple. They are things we’ve heard before–wear colors that look good on you. Design your wardrobe around those colors. Accessorize. However, Trina takes this one step further with ideas on how to incorporate that into a busy mom’s life. Each chapter lists ways you can put her fashion tips into practice when you don’t have a lot of time and money. My favorite idea was to create a fashion board on Pinterest, pinning outfits that strike your fancy, then analyze them to really determine what you like. Are skinny belts prominent? Loud colors? Lace? Use that as a starting point to decide what your particular clothing goals are, then start shopping. And Trina dedicates a whole chapter to shopping–at thrift stores.
Beyond this, Trina gently reminds us, over and over again, that God is a God of beauty. That he designed women to be beautiful; that the God who made peacocks and sunsets could not possibly want us to dress dowdy, even when we’re at our busiest. That modesty is important, but so is feeling lovely.
The day after reading Embracing Beauty, I put on a purple shirt for the first time in forever. I ordered a cheap lot of chunky necklaces and bracelets that I admired off of Ebay. I even splurged on a pair of knee high boots I’ve been watching for a while. I even went to the thrift store and bought a turquoise blouse, simply because I like turquoise.
And I lit candles and cleaned my house, because if I was looking good, I wanted my house to reflect that beauty, too.
I do wish that there was some more discussion about bigger sizes, as far as using color, shape and patterns to deflect the weight we carry. Some of Trina’s suggestions, like the purchase and use of tunics, just won’t work on my short, size 8/10 body. Tunics, which I have tried, seem to make my thighs look even bigger. And while I love the idea of thrift stores, I do think that what you’ll find there is very dependent on the local economy. I have access to three thrift stores, all in economically depressed areas, and they either charge way more than I am willing to pay or have such poor quality clothing that I’m better off going to Walmart. However, I do like secondhand clothing and can usually find exactly what I’m looking for on Ebay.
Like any author, Trina is writing from her vantage point, and that is as the mom of three–soon to be four–young children. Because of that, there is emphasis on buying clothes that would work through multiple pregnancies and size changes, when, truthfully, that is probably not applicable to the vast majority of women who will never birth more than two children. However, I don’t think this detracted from Trina’s message of bringing beauty into our closets. The principles are universal, and all women are busy, not just mothers.
Honestly, I’m about to head back into a third reading of this book. This time, I’m going to seriously work through her suggestions, start thinking about what I want to look like and work towards it. More than that, Trina has inspired me to bring beauty into our everyday life here at home, making it a reflection of the world God has created.
I was wrong.
This happens occasionally.
I found some t-shirt style tunics off of Ebay, and the price was minimal, so I bought them. I have not taken the brown one off, because it falls gracefully on the heaviest parts of my body–my thighs and hips. My new theory is that it’s not the tunics themselves making me look short and fat, it’s been a combination of the material they were made of and never going to the gym.
So I highly support tunics, you just might have to check out different materials to see what works best on your body.