“Is #WhatIWoreSunday still a thing?” I asked myself as I dressed for Mass this morning.
I first discovered this hashtag — I think! — through the blogs of the inimitable Jennifer Fulwiler and the lovely Hallie Lord. Immediately, I was drawn to the concept: A compilation of images to inspire me to don my “Sunday best” for the King of Kings and, then, hopefully, to forget what I was wearing as soon as I entered the sanctuary to worship Him.
For a time, it seemed every humorous, savvy, stylish Catholic mama with a blog participated and I was tempted to launch a website simply to do the same. Lately, I’ve not happened upon as many posts, but I correctly assumed that meant nothing as to its continuation. Apparently, #WhatIWoreSunday originated with Fine Linen and Purple – a site I just visited for the first time, but already find appealing — and is still ongoing. I’m delighted!
To go to Mass with Sweet Potato is — as other parents warned me it would be — a far more conflicted experience than it ever was to go alone. Whereas I once found the Consecration to be a moving, exalting experience, I now often find it to be a fleeting moment in the midst of a very long, very exhausting series of calisthenics: Switch Sweet Potato from left hip to right hip; cuddle her closely to my chest; park her briefly on the kneeler; pass her to the Oilman; receive her from the Oilman; pass her to LoLo or Boppa (however would we make it through Mass without her grandparents?!); and receive her into my arms yet again.
Then, inevitably, in the midst of these distracting exercises, the sweet sound of the bells peals across the pews. Sweet Potato immediately stares at the altar and I remember the miracle that’s occurring in front of me.
“That’s Jesus,” I whisper into the little, perfectly-formed ear of my daughter, aware, for the first time that morning, of her soft skin and sweet smell.
“I love you, Jesus,” I breathe before pounding my chest and thinking, “My Lord and my God.”
What I’m wearing doesn’t matter so much, then, but oh how it matters in the hectic morning rush to ready ourselves for Mass! Planning my outfit the evening before is sometimes the difference between arriving early to Mass or merely on time. I’m a little ashamed to admit that, if I’m excited and energized to wear a particular outfit, I bound out of bed a little more energetically and excitedly.
Then, too, when I’m pregnant, the many sights, sounds and scents of the Mass occasionally make me feel faint (that otherwise heavenly incense!), so planning to be simultaneously comfortable and appropriate is important. (My mom recently sent me a fascinating article about the history of pews. It made a compelling case that we ought to jettison them, so, now, I mentally scoff at my pew a little, even as I sink relievedly into it and wonder how I’d avoid fainting without it! Does that make me sound like a corseted Victorian?) Bafflingly, heels ease my current back and pelvic pain more so than flats, so choosing an outfit that accommodates heels is actually a smart choice right now. The final piece of any maternity Mass outfit puzzle: It must actually fit and fit modestly.
Here’s what I wore today:
I scored this Ann Taylor Loft maternity dress at Clothes Mentor, a consignment store I recently discovered. (It makes particular sense to me to purchase maternity clothes on consignment. How many women really wear out their maternity clothes? Inevitably, pregnancies occur at different times of the year, as has happened to me, and, anyway, they’re only nine months in the first place!)
To punch it up a little, I accessorized with red.
These heels are one of my favorite pairs of shoes; you can bet my mother picked them out for me! (She has killer taste, inherited from her own always-fabulously-accessorized, classy, modest mother!) Of course, Sweet Potato looks effortlessly adorable and, like a lily of the field, she didn’t think once about what she was to wear!
No sooner had I decided to write a post about this get-up than I read Morning Prayer in the Magnificat. From the Opening Hymn:
Our God, supreme and good, / How richly you have loved! / But nations die for lack of food, / And are we still unmoved?
So keen to eat and drink, / So anxious what we wear! / Our God, reverse the way we think / And teach us how to share.
You made your purpose known / By one rejected man; / The earth his bed, a cross his throne, / New life for all, his plan.
How apt it seemed! It is good, surely, to try to dress attractively so as — maybe? hopefully? — to render our Gospel witness more accessible, but, at bottom, it’s the Gospel itself that is most attractive and it’s virtue that we want to be en vogue!