I`ve had to pay attention to clothing again. We had a small infusion of cash, and some of it has to be spent on covering our bodies decently. I sometimes get kind of frustrated with myself this way – I`m really good at fashion, but not for myself. I chose to be Plain, but maybe I carry this too far, and start throwing on random clothes from the closet in the morning. Two days in the same deep purple shift and loose black dress, with a loose cap over the barely brushed hair. No shoes. Apron. The hair pokes out from the cap edges, the hem of the dress is muddy, there are flour smears on the sitting down part. The purple shift is darned in several places visible over the neckline of the dress.
I am a mess.
Saturday night, Mother Kay and I left Patience asleep in bed under the supervision of Nicholas, who doesn`t do evening things, and we went to the Great Vigil at the Cathedral. It is not Easter-Pascha for me until I have heard the Exsultet, even if I have to sing myself in a darkened room over a tiny taper. I had pulled it together for the Vigil, at least. I wore the black dress, cape and apron, the new bonnet over the white stiff cap, and a black shawl. (The boots do not bear inspection, but feet were mostly tucked under the pew.)
As we were leaving, a clergy spouse stopped Mother Kay (and she in collar) and said to her, “Oh, your friend is so adorable! She looks so sweet!` Kay said, `Tell her yourself, she won`t bite.`(That`s true.) So Mrs. Clergy came up to me and told me that I was the first Mennonite person she had ever seen! (Oh, I`m wondering, don`t you live in Ontario. But it may have been a mild exaggeration, maybe she meant up close.) I then explained that I am not Mennonite, but Anglican, which sort of surprised her mightily, and she wanted to know if I dress this way all the time.
Well. yes. Sort of. Because sometimes I`m not nearly that tidy and presentable.
I have decided that it might be time to lose the wild-child persona that hangs out in the house. I have ordered patterns from Friends, the Quaker pattern people, who have patterns for Amish and Plain-modest dresses. I am getting the three-piece Ohio dress, cape and apron, and a pattern for a surplice apron, big enough to cover everything. I am on the look-out for some additional caps, since I really like the stiff cap with the set pleating down the back. I assume that the set pleats are done on a wooden form, and are steamed and starched in. I don`t think I can make them myself. (If you have been avoiding stiff caps because they look difficult to clean, but like them, I wash them with a damp cloth and a stain removal stick that is made locally; any oil removal product would do. The caps don`t lose their shapes with spot washing.)
I look forward to sewing some things myself, knowing that the fit and length will be right. (I am blessed that Mother Kay also knows how to sew, and I will have my Pfaff machine back soon.) I found that I am very fussy about the fabric, as well, and things I ordered, while well-made, have been in fabrics I don`t really like long-term.
I am still looking for a parish; I have a meeting in a bishop`s office next week. While I don`t intend to wear the collar again, I think I might make a better impression if I don`t look like a survivor of a trek through the Ozarks in a hard winter.