Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday's Musings: Fancy Pants

I arrived at my summer fellowship wearing my new fancy pants. And even though I soon discovered that a more casual wardrobe would suffice for most of my new activities, I still felt grown-up, professional, and awesome.

I am not normally one to spend much money on clothes. Most of my wardrobe comes from thrift stores, Old Navy, friends, or other assorted affordable stores or stores that have those awesome sales ever so often (H&M, Forever 21, etc), in that order. Generally I don't spend more than $15 on a shirt and $25 on a pair of pants. (And now that I'm in college, these shopping trips only happen about twice annually. Yay for being a broke college student!) So, all that to say, I usually would not be buying fancy pants. 

But, as I prepared to leave for this summer's adventure, my sweet, wonderful grandmother offered to take me shopping for some professional wear, which I thought would be good idea, considering that I didn't really own any well-fitting slacks or nice blouses. At first I stuck to my usual strategy- finding something that looked nice, checking the price tag, and backing away slowly because it cost as much as a month's worth of groceries. Finally my grandmother pulled me aside and told me in no uncertain terms to stop checking the price tags and try something on already because "she was old and going to die sometime in the not-to-distant future and needed to spend her money somehow." (Seriously- her words not mine.)

So we shopped a few different stores and found four nice blouses, a cardigan, a black blazer (finally!), and two perfectly-fitting pairs of slacks that I deemed fancy pants. Were they cheap? Definitely not. (They weren't incredibly expensive either, but I spent more on this trip than I've ever spent in one shopping trip) But were they worth it? I would say yes.

In this stage  of my life, it's really easy for me sometimes to get so caught up in spending as little as possible that any sort of purchase can induce guilt- even if I'm not the one spending it. And that was my temptation after getting home with my new professional wardrobe that cost so much more than I ever would have spent. But in the aftermath, I realized two thing. One, part of humility and grace and love is being able to let others bless you in the ways that they choose. If they have the means and the desire, and they are truly meeting a need, the last thing I should be doing is stressing myself. And two, it's often worth it to spend a litte more on very practical things that will last a long time and serve a much needed purpose. It's a little like an investment. A well-made pair of slacks is going to last me a long time, through many professional outings and opportunities. And there's something to be said for feeling comfortable and confident in your clothes. This isn't an excuse to run out and break the bank on clothing. But I am saying that in my book, you are perfectly welcome to go out and buy yourself a good quality pair of well-fitting pants and wear them to work or wear to that presentation or even just around your house and feel awesome because you're wearing fancy pants. 

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