Sinner’s Corner

Sinner’s Corner: What to wear

Sinner: Charlotte Enns, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Confession: I am rather obsessed with what to wear. I spend far too much time (and money) thinking about my style and care far too much about looking good. My clothes go way beyond utilitarian – I know that hemp T-shirts and fleece jackets will last forever, but I just can’t do it! I must be more fashionable, trendy, stylish! I know it’s shallow and anti-feminist. I know it takes my time and attention away from more worthwhile thoughts and acts. But, damn, there is nothing like a pair of cool boots to make me feel like I can handle anything!

Moral gymnastics: I don’t wear make-up, don’t dye my hair, and I stopped shaving my legs and armpits 25 years ago. (I do spend $50 every eight weeks for a good cut – maybe that’s for another confession!)

Closing shot: Please forgive my indulgence. I don’t think I’ll be changing anytime soon. Unless, of course, it’s changing my outfit.

Penance: Charlotte, you are a delightful combo of penitent and recalcitrant – as, I suppose, we all are. Most of us are just way better at disguising it than you are. (If it wasn’t clear, that was a compliment.) It’s tough to offer a fitting penance for someone who has no intention of changing. Since, at this point, you are willing to change your clothes, we’ll need to start there.

Your penance is that once every eight weeks you must bring an extra set of your fabulous clothes to work with you. Half way through the day, change into a new outfit and see how that feels. For example, during a long meeting, excuse yourself to go to the washroom and come back with a total change of clothes. You could wear a pant suit and then come back in a fresh floral dress, that would be nice.

Why must you do this? Two things: I hope you discover that our obsession with fashion is silly. But secondly, I also hope you discover that it represents a powerful social force. Once you get comfortable changing into different outfits during the day, you will have mastered the force that controls most of us. Ironically, changing clothes and fancy outfits may not be your weakness but your secret power.

Margot Starbuck, Confessions Editor

Issue 22

This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 22, Summer 2011, Contemplation: Inner work for outer change.

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Issue 22, Summer 2011

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