Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shiny. Purple. Boots.

Just to take care of some business from my last post-finna basically means "I'm fixing to. . . " Although it is used in many different ways and doesn't always seem to make sense to my ears. I have to keep up with the slang so I know what my students are saying!


Ok, new topic. This is funny because it is not what I planned to write about. But I saw something I considered funny/ridiculous when I was leaving Jewel yesterday and I think I just need to share.

I saw a frum (religious) Jewish woman walking to her car. Of course, I looked at what she was wearing (don't we always do that?) and was quite surprised at what I saw. (I don't know her so I am assuming she doesn't read this blog-I think she is from NY, so I feel safe writing this). If you know her, I'm sure she is a very nice person. Anyway, she was wearing all black with a shiny purple belt. That was fine. Until I looked at her shoes. Knee-high. Very Shiny. Bright Purple Boots. They matched the belt of course.

She looked like a streetwalker. Is that the nice way to say it these days? Hooker? Call girl?

Which then made me wonder: did she know that is what she looked like and didn't care? Or was she totally naive and not know and just think they were pretty?

I happen to like clothes. A lot. I have a walk-in closet full and always feel like I could buy more (much to my husband's dismay). I like trendy things and like to stay in style. Sometimes that leads me to make poor decisions about what I buy. Like the red pleather jacket (bad thrift store find). Or the hand-knitted sweater and skirt combo (again bad thrift store find). But I usually manage not wear them-someone stops me from making a fool of myself. But those clothes, as tacky as they are, are NOT slutty. I firmly believe there is a line between form fitting clothes and slutty clothes.

Clothes define who we are more often than not. Some people don't care what they look like and you can tell that just by looking. Some people have the latest trends as soon as they come out. Both of those styles send a specific message. Boots like that send a specific message. At least I think they do. Even though this girl was totally covered (modesty-wise) she still looked trashy to me. Is that possible? Those boots were just calling out for attention.

I think I am especially sensitive to this issue because I work with middle school boys. Who are, ahem, thinking about only one thing. Everyone knows what that is, right? And if you don't, you must have your head in the sand. But the girl students that I work with, more often than not, come dressed in clothes that are inappropriate for their bodies. We do have a uniform code, but even when they follow that they can still look hoochie (I am using a lot of words I wouldn't really use in real life-don't judge). Ultimately, as I am writing this I think it comes down to respect. Respect of your body. When you send a message to the world that you don't respect your body, why should anyone else?

As frum Jews, I really believe that even if clothing follows the modesty to the"letter of the law" there is also the spirit in which it is worn. And I do think you can be immodest even when you are all covered up.

Please don't think I am writing this because I think I dress perfectly. Because I don't. I have my own challenges with things I want to wear that are borderline. But those boots just struck a nerve. And while I am far, far from perfect I do try to be cognizant and aware of my clothes and how they might affect other people around me.

Ok, enough preachy talk for today. Go enjoy the beautiful weather we are having because it only lasts a minute in Chi-town!


mom said...

E, you sound a little judgmental re those purple boots & belt. She could have decided to just add a punch of color to a totally black outfit.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is I just bought a pair of winter boots (to motivate me to take Jonah to the park when it's cold and snowy) and they are tan, suede-like, with faux fur-like stuff on the inside. I think I look like an Eskimo, or perhaps better suited for Alaska instead of D.C. I asked Jared if they made me look like an idiot and without even glancing up, he said "no." So long story short, I will probably look foolish wearing them, but wearing them feels like they are hugging my feet and legs and I like it!! So maybe this woman was trying to bring her sexy back (is that something your students would say?) and trying to find a positive self-image amongst a brood full of kids. Doesn't mean she didn't need a "what not to wear" intervention (by the way, can you nominate me for that show?), but I'm just sayin'.....

Orah said...

I can't believe you wrote a whole blog about MY boots. ;D

Elisha said...

Mom-you know you raised a more conservative daughter.

Michelle-there is a difference between sexy (classy) and slutty. And I would like to borrow those warm boots.

Orah-if those belong to you I am scheduling an intervention!

shalva said...

i totally hear what you're saying - i kinda like the sound of the purple boots but i didn't see them so maybe i'm visualizing them differently - can you find a picture of them online for us :)
i do agree that there is a very fine line sometimes between slutty and trendy - and i struggle with it too because i like funky clothing and it can be really tempting to push the limits a little...