Monday, June 23, 2014

Dressing Modestly Cute on a Thrift Store Budget

When I first thought thrift store I thought vintage, unique, old, dusty, fixer-upper projects. I thought old camp t-shirts with holes and ripped up jeans. I thought flowery couches and dresses with shoulder pads and too many sequins. I didn't think adorable name brand outfits. While many thrift stores have plenty of dust and unique items most are chock full of amazing barely worn items of clothing waiting for you to dig them out.

I have noticed that the more organized, easier to shop stores are more pricey with their clothing priced at $2-$5 per item while the thrift stores with clothes in stacks, piles or bins have prices from $0.10-0.50 you just have to work for it. Most thrift stores have weekly specials like 1/2 off clothing days or my favorite "fill-a-bag" sales. In our town we have several stores with weekly fill-a-bag sales, one store runs a 50 items for $5 sale, that means each item of clothing is only $0.10.

We visit our local stores bi-weekly browsing for replacement clothing items. I always pick up any unstained solid, bright colored or white tees I find for under spaghetti-strapped dresses or to go with a patterned skirt. We almost never find an entire matching outfit at one store in one day but when you stick with solid colors and cute pieces outfits always come together! Each person in our family has 14 outfits and 4 church outfits, because our clothes are so cheap and our kids are growing so fast it seems like we are always replacing and re-donating outfits.
Just to note, although Goodwill has stolen much of the secondhand marketplace we do not donate or shop there. You can do your own research on how they choose to pay and treat their staff as well as how much money their CEO is pocketing off donated goods each year. There are plenty of small ministry-minded thrift stores locally that are helping the community, they are much cheaper than Goodwill anyway!
Although most anything other than a speedo looks modest on a boy we do have some dress requirements for our boys. All our boy's outfits have collars, either polos or button down shirts and shorts that come to the knee (which is pretty standard for boy shorts). They don't wear just t-shirts or play shorts, they also have matching outfits. We did the days where they had overflowing drawers but no matching outfits and it felt and they looked like chaos. I write a letter on each tag to help them sort outfits while folding laundry so they can easily put "A" shirt with "A" shorts and so on. 
With my daughter's coaxing I even got some outfit pictures taken to show what some of my thrift store, modest outfits look like. Now I know what your thinking "THE GIRLS DON'T WEAR PANTS!?!" Okay, first breath. We are not crazy, well maybe a little, but this has been a slow transition to live out our modesty to God's standards, not our own.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28

"Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works." 1 Timothy 2:9-10

 "A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 22:5

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20     
I used to believe I was very modest with my jeans, t-shirt and flip-flops. I wasn't bearing any skin but in my size 4 skinny jeans I wasn't carrying the message I intended to first impressions either. I know I am a young mom, but after I was asked if I was a nanny every outing and many people even had the guts to ask how many baby daddys I had it made me question myself. Was this my goal? Was the way I was dressing God-glorifying? What message was I sending about our family or Jesus?

Our oldest daughter came to me one day and told me she wanted to donate all her shorts, pants and jeans and wear only skirts and dresses. I was a little perturbed as I thought this was just a trick to gain a new wardrobe at mommy and daddy's expense. She shared with me a verse she had read in 1 Timothy during her quiet bible reading time. She said, "I think God wants me to dress modestly and like a girl." She began this switch of hers on her own, slowly as we acquired her new (to her) clothing from local thrift stores. Then little sister, Risa, followed her sister's lead and also dawned on skirts. I wasn't ready to leave my comfort zone just yet, come on, I only had two skirts and one dress for church in my entire wardrobe plus I just LOVED my jeans.

Months passed and then my Mirabel challenged me to 30 days of skirt wearing, I took her challenge. To be honest I felt weird at first, like people were going to point, stare and ask me if I was in a cult. Those 30 days gave me a whole new perspective on modesty. During this month of the skirts I wasn't asked once if I was a nanny but instead asked if all these beautiful children were mine. Many strangers seemed to smile kindly toward our family instead of the blank stares we were used to getting in public. We were stopped so often for compliments instead of questions pertaining to my kids genetic origin. It was refreshing.

I realized quickly that I was SO much more comfortable living in FL wearing airy and breathable clothing. I also noticed that wearing skirts and dresses solved my being-a-mom-of-little-ones-wearing-nice-non-mommy-jeans-problem. You know that problem, the problem when you bend over to kiss a boo-boo, talk to or pick up a little one and those low-rising jeans creep down and your fitted shirt begins to rise leaving you exposing the color and style of your underwear or even *gasp* some crack! My big kids, customer's at Walmart, and patients at the doctors office got their fair share of viewing my plumber's butt during my fitted pants wearing days. Skirts never creep down or expose, and if the skirt's length is just past your knees it won't expose you in other ways when you squat down or sit criss-cross-applesauce either.

God used those 30 days to open my eyes to how we dress and how approachable we seem to strangers can open us up to amazing conversations, gospel opportunity and even new friendships! God changed my modesty view from the inside out. He showed me through His Word and Spirit that my skin-tight jeans weren't a modest, God-glorifying option by Jesus' standards yet neither was wearing baggy man pants. Well if I can't wear pants, what then Lord? My only option was to trust God and my Spirit's promptings and dress in modestly feminine skirts and dresses. Our goal with our dress is to not adorn ourselves with anything costly, tight or skin-bearing but to be approachable so that we can glorify our Father and open up opportunities to tell others about Jesus.

Start your 30 day skirt-wearing challenge today!
Well, first go to a local thrift store and pick up some easy, breezy, beautiful skirts, pray, seek the Lord and then start your 30 day challenge! Let us know how it goes! Remember, however you choose to dress, the Lord does not judge outward appearance but judges the heart, although it is tempting at times, we must never look with judgement on any person due to their dress or appearance alone.
"Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7     

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone


  1. I recently started thinking about changing how I dress too. I started wearing more skirts, but I don't have enough to wear for everyday. You have inspired me to head to the consignment shops to look and your oldest daughter touched me on how your family moved to dressing modestly. It was very touching! I am taking your 30 day challenge! Esther :)

    1. May God lead you! Thank you for your kind words!

  2. I think your whole family looks beautiful in all those outfits! How amazing that those precious girls decided to wear skirts! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    1. Thank you! I am learning that the Spirit can lead even in the heart of a child! :)

    2. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =). We could have a hyperlink change contract between us!
      Kidsen Childrens Clothes Shops

  3. I've been enjoying your blog for the last two days now. My husband and I are almost done with MAPP class and I was feeling kind of scared and unsure of God's will. I didn't even notice you wearing skirts until just now and it's been on my mind for over a year that I should do the same, but hated the idea of giving up jeans. I think I'll do the challenge! My question is how do you deal with the farm animals?

    We have milking goats and I wear overalls to avoid having to change out of muddy clothes all day. Do you wear an apron or anything?

    You've really inspired me with your blog A LOT!!!! Thank you.

    All the best~

    1. Thank you! Usually knee length skirts with tall rain boots work best for farm chores in the mud. I have work skirts for dirty outside wear. In FL, it is unbearably HOT in jeans so light and breezy skirts work better for me any day! Shhh...but I still have two pairs of jeans in my drawer for putting up fencing or clearing an area of woods where I don't want to me snagged or crawling with ticks. :) I don't think pants are evil in any way, just that wearing skirts is how I want to dress to present myself.

      I totally stalked your blog and LOVE it! We should come visit and learn the syrup making process sometime! :)

  4. You are totally welcome to come up any time :) I don't hate jeans either--just feeling that pull toward a more feminine look.

    Totally off the subject and if you don't mind weighing in on this--do you feel kids with RAD can be cured? When I first read the list of symptoms I got really scared. We just had a lady from the foster care agency here yesterday and she was thrilled at the possible bed space we have. My husband and I are open to siblings, but it is a little scary. We're hoping God will make things clear for us.

    Speaking of God--I'm always so inspired by bloggers who share their faith openly.

  5. Hi. Just ran into your blog yesterday and have been reading since. My husband and I are wanting to adopt as well (we actually saw a 16 year old online that we have been praying about since and feel led to try and adopt) and so I have just been reading as we try to go forward. And its been really cool to see somr of your journey as Ive read over the past day or so.

    I also started wearing skirts exclusively maybe this past september. And I love it. Had always tried to be modest and was more than most, but making the switch has been great. I wouldnt mind a few more under layers for mi winter (and weve been keeping the house at 60 to save money) but did get some nice sweater tights for underneath my skirts that are great.

    As I was reading your blog I did wonder if you wore pants, and especially with adopting how that worked for you in changing the kids culture, but apparently your kids convinced you. :)

    We are also similar in that we do not use birth control relying on God. Though its only been around September (i found a blog that had addressed both and convinced me), earlier than that we had been wanting kids though. We have been married 2 and half years so far and no biological or adopted kids yet though.

    Anyway it has been great reading your blog so far and thank you for sharing. Its great to see a Christian family leaving out adoption and its so different when Jesus is part of the equation.

    I was curious a couple things if you dont mind answering. One thing I wondered is that you are only open for kids 0-12 years of age? And wondered what your reasoning is since you are trying to be open to Gods direction for adoption but then you have this limit. Sorry if you already answered this previously.

    The other question I had is you give the kids a new name when you adopt them. And I just wondered about that as I would think most kids want to keep there name unless they are young and it seems like it would already be a big part of there identity. Have all your kids wanted a new name?

    Sorry for any typos or rambling. On my phone so its harder to proof read. :) God bless you and your family.