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What Not to Wear
A wardrobe can make a woman beautiful, but for many women “wardrobe language” has become a means of achieving the acceptance they need.

It was supposed to be a mother-daughter evening. I thought we would watch a good movie but my daughter wanted to watch three consecutive programs of “What Not to Wear’. I complied somewhat reluctantly. With a bowl of popcorn and a book in my hand, I settled on the sofa beside Tricia to enjoy our evening together!  If it got too boring, I could at least read snippets from my book.

Women want to look right, because to look right is to feel right.

As the program got rolling, we didn’t really need Clinton and Stacey to comment. We became fully engaged in some fun discussion and comments before and after transformations. At one point as ‘old clothes’ were being disregarded in huge receptacles, I protested, “What’s wrong with that jacket? It looks just like one I have in my closet!” 

“Well, Mom,” Tricia replied with a laugh, “maybe it’s time for a make-over.”

The buzz word among women today is “wardrobe language.”  Women want to look right because to look right is to feel right! The message is that what we wear determines who we are. Wardrobe language is becoming the end-all in achieving a level of acceptance women believe they need.

One of my mentors, who is now with Jesus, was a woman who didn’t have the outer beauty nor the wardrobe taste that would win the Mrs. America contest, but she had presence!  When she walked into a room, she radiated strength, dignity, warmth, confidence and an embrace of people regardless of age, gender, or physical appearance.

She was loved by everyone in spite of her own unique hair style and not-in-fashion clothing.  Her presence was one of building faith and spreading joy. It all came from the deepest part of her being.

Theologians have likened humans to the tabernacle in the Old Testament. The structure of the tabernacle included: an outer court, an inner court and the Holy of Holies. Each part was significant in Old Testament worship and packed with great meaning for us today.

We all have an outer court that is the most visible part of us. Where we work, live and market displays this most visible part. We also have an inner court. Our friends, family and people who deeply love and know us best share in this deeper level in our lives. But just as the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament tabernacle, so we have a deep and private space that is shared with God and God alone. It’s God place to work in us. No other human being can ever enter into this deep and sacred place.

A great pair of jeans and a smart jacket complete with a new hair cut and colour cannot change the heart. We live life from the deepest part of us. God’s Word contains this truth, “Take on an entirely new life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God reproduces His character in you” (Ephesians 4:24).

What makes a woman beautiful? Wardrobe language can only go so far. It’s her ‘presence’ that makes the lasting statement. Her inner life, that deep place of knowing God will ultimately be projected in her smile, eyes, body language, grace, warmth, speech and a positive life attitude. Created in His image and continually being empowered and transformed into His likeness, a beautiful woman is a reflection of Christ. 

Margaret Gibb is the president of Women Alive and a regular columnist in the Christian Herald.  Visit Women Alive to discover inspiring events for women and teen girls in your area. 

Originally published in Christian Herald, September 5, 2007.




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