Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.
I was listening to my mom and some of her friends chit chat the other day – yes, kind of eavesdropping because I feel like her friends give me funny looks sometimes and it makes me wonder what my mom is telling them about me - but that’s a WHOLE other story. Anyway, their conversation was about whether or not it was proper to wear a skirt or dress without stockings – you know – nylons, especially to church. The general consensus of these ladies was that indeed it was not appropriate to have bare legs at church. I realize that this is probably a generational thing. That generation – like the ladies in Steel Magnolias – just didn’t go out without lycra on their thighs and nylon on their knees. And actually I can remember going through a lot of plastic-egg stockings about 20-25 years ago myself. But times change, and while tights are ok, most women don’t wear the flesh colored nylon tubes so much anymore - and personally I’m ok with this. I don’t think bare legs are akin to discarding the corset and tossing away all ties to virtue.
However, I’ve noticed a trend lately that has pushed me closer to the cranky Victorian Prude Club. This isn’t a club I necessarily want to join, so I could use some feedback…just to see if my crank-o-meter is overreacting.
I live in a ward (a church boundary area) that has quite a few upwardly mobile relatively affluent young couples. These couples all seem to be very fashion forward and the women have some really fabulous shoes –the men too actually, but my beef is really more with the women. If fashion is your thing, I think it’s great to have fun with shoes – colors patterns, prints, heals, buckles, bows and all of that. But I do find myself wondering if every type of shoe is appropriate for a church setting. I know how this makes me sound, but I can’t help but wonder if church is really the place for an elevated peep-toe, 6 inch heel leopard print pump. Can you really teach primary in black thigh-high leather stiletto boots? And it seems to be hard to chase a toddler across the foyer in scarlett patent leather stacked-heel strappy sandals – especially when there’s 6 inches of snow outside.
Leggings are another thing I’m wondering about. Leggings are like tights without the feet – usually black, and often popular with teenage girls. They wear an extra long top or really short skirt with leggings underneath – kind of like pants – and it can be a really cute look on some people. But, like my mom’s blue-hair crowd and the stockings, I find myself wondering if wearing the mini dress with leggings is really ok for church. For a date - Yes. For the movies - go for it. For dancing - you betcha’. But for studying the word of the Lord? I’m not so sure.
I’ve probably crossed way over into crank-a-potomas-land and I do realize that at the end of the day attending church is more important that what you wear to church (for those who are believers). But I guess that’s kind of my point too. Maybe Church shouldn’t be about the fashion as much as it is about the message. And maybe skewing towards the more conservative end of the closet and passing up the stripper heals just once a week wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
What do you think?