by Molly Audiss

Proverbs 31:22-23, She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

This week I am writing an article to myself.  I am reminding myself of something that is very practical, yet very important. I hope this article can be a help to you, but truthfully, this one is for me. I need a reset here. So, just read the “talking to” I am giving myself!

Warning: This article is about appearance. Proceed with caution. (Ha!) Note: this article is NOT about which articles of clothing you choose to wear OR how much you weigh. This is an article about respect and confidence.

We are busy, Ladies!  I don’t have to tell you that.  There often seems to be more to do in a day than we have the time or energy to get done.  If you’re like me, once the first child wakes up, it is pretty much non-stop action until bedtime.  Maybe you do not have young children, but you can relate because your job coupled with your home duties keep you hopping all day long.  In all this busyness, it is easy to feel that we do not have time to properly take care of ourselves; but this is a mistake.  Our wardrobe and grooming is important, and should not be neglected, even on the busiest of days.

Why is our appearance so important?  I’ll tell you why- how we feel about ourselves will determine how we perform our duties, and how we relate with others.  We need to feel confident in the work we have to do.  Cleaning a house may not seem like important work, but it is.  Raising children is vital.  Marriage is vital. If you work a job outside the home, that, too is very important.  Community/Volunteer work is important. Ministry is important. All of the things we do in a week should demand our best, and we cannot give our best when we do not feel good about ourselves and our appearance.

When I was a child, there was a family down the street from my house consisting of a husband, wife, and four young boys.  These boys were active, to say the least!  The mother of the family, Sandy Goult, was a friend of my mother.  Even as a young girl, I can remember my impression of this lady.  She was always smiling, always kind, she was fit, and she always looked nice.  She once gave my mom a piece of advice that I heard my mother repeat hundreds of times through the years.  She said, “When I feel down, I dress up.”  Simple, yet life-changing!

We get up in the morning, and we don’t feel well.  Or maybe we are just in a bad mood.  Perhaps we didn’t get much sleep.  Possibly we feel fine, and our mood is fine, but we are bored with the duties that lie ahead.  In each of these situations, our natural reaction is to throw on something that reflects how we feel.  Maybe we just stay in our pajamas.  Maybe we put on that go-to item that we’ve worn for the past three days.  “Whatever, I’m just gonna be around the house today.”  But that is a mistake.  On the times we least feel like getting dressed and doing our hair, those are the times we should make the extra effort.  Why?  Because our appearance determines our performance.

The military knows this principle.  A soldier in uniform is going to do a better job than a group of guys in sweat pants and tee shirts.  Most companies have dress codes at work for this very reason.  Every boss knows that production goes down whenever there is a “casual dress day” at the office.  How you dress is a direct reflection of the importance you place on your job.  Wife and mom, is there any job in the world more important than your job?  I say no.

For me, if I don’t pull myself together (in other words, get myself to a state in which I could be seen in public) before I leave my bedroom in the morning, than it could be quite awhile before I can carve out that time again.  If we take a few minutes to put on a clean, non-wrinkled outfit, brush our hair, maybe put on some makeup (and I am talking about 15 minutes here), we will be shocked at how our mood changes, and how much more we get done throughout the day.  Another important task is to make sure that we have on a pair of shoes. (Not socks. Not slippers.) This sounds really silly, but try it.  If you get shoes on right away, and keep them on all day, you will see a difference.  You will get more done.  You won’t put the trash by the door until later; you will decide more easily to do outside tasks right away if you are already in shoes. Shoes make you feel more ambitious. This really works!

First I say, you reveal how much you love yourself and your life by how you choose to “show up” for it. You tell others a lot about your confidence without saying a word. You are a daughter of a King! Loved by the Creator of the Universe! Also, you teach people by your appearance how much importance you place on your position, either at home or work. I once heard a classy assistant pastor’s wife say, “I dress up because of whom I represent.  If I was the wife of just anyone, and he did just any old job, maybe I could wear just any old thing. I want my dress to show that I feel the importance of my position and of what we are called to do for the Lord.”  That advice really stayed with me.

Most of all, you tell the world the value Christ by your appearance.  On two different occasions I have had women approach me in stores and ask me spiritual questions, simply because of my appearance. They assumed I was a Christian. I had the opportunity to be a witness for Christ because I dressed like I belonged to Him.

Proverbs 31 teaches us an example of a pattern lady.  She takes excellent care of her family, her health, her business, and herself.  She is a very hard worker.  Verse 22 shows us that she wears beautiful clothing, and cares about her appearance.  Verse 23 tells us that her husband is an important man with an important job.  I feel that these two verses fit together.  Quite possibly she is so careful about her appearance because she has great respect for her husband, and her dress is one way that she shows that respect.

We need confidence to face the situations we will face each day.  Let me ask you?  If I have to discipline my child, and I take him into his bedroom for a serious talk about his behavior, do you think he is going to take me very seriously if I am in my p.j.’s and my stained robe,  and my hair looks like the birds are building a nest there?  I don’t think I am demanding much respect.  Even little children are aware of our appearance.  I need the confidence to train and discipline with authority.  Often women feel disrespected by their husbands. I wish every woman was valued by her husband! But we can only work on US. Not anyone else. Is our dress demanding any respect?  If your husband leaves for work and you are in your night shirt and robe, and bedhead hair, and he comes home from work, and you have upgraded to the bleach-stained hoodie, messy bun and slippers- he will love you the same, but he will more naturally respect you if you got dressed and brushed your hair. I wish I could be honest and say that we are NOT treated any differently due to our appearance, but I would be lying. Our appearance plays a large role in the amount of respect we receive.

Now that fact may make you bristle, but it is simply true.  You feel the same way towards others.  Employees feel a greater respect toward a boss who dresses nicely at work.  We all unconsciously gravitate toward the clerk in the store who is nicely dressed.  It seems to say that she knows what she is doing.  Let’s help ourselves gain respect from others by caring about our appearance.  I don’t mean that we have to be fancy, but we should look nice, and put together.  Personal hygiene goes without saying.  Cleanliness is essential every day of our lives. Please do not read this and imagine June Cleaver in nylons, heels, and pearls! That was T.V., not reality. There is a long way between that and pajama pants at Walmart. Find the balance of where YOU feel confident and in-control of your day.

Silly as it sounds, we may feel vain if we spend any time on ourselves.  Of course there is common sense.  Your family should not have to wait on you as you spend hours on your hair, nails, and makeup.  But your family will appreciate the fact that you care about yourself.  Husbands, children, employees, friends, everyone wants to feel proud of you when they are with you.  Your teenagers will appreciate it if you show up at school looking respectable. Take those few important minutes each morning to make yourself presentable, even if it means getting up 15 minutes earlier.  Your appearance will help you with your confidence level, which will improve everything you do all day long.  We, as Christians are to show the world the proper way to live.  Let’s set the standard in the area of dress as well.  Christ deserves to be well-represented.