Advent Day 11: Fashion Forward

LinkedIn offers you the option to endorse people’s skills. For instance, people can say “Sarah M. Wells knows about editing” or “Sarah M. Wells knows about proofreading.” When this happens, a little tally mark gets added to my junk drawer of sources of self-worth. Ooh, I think, someone thinks I’m good at this!

Not once has anyone said, “Sarah M. Wells knows about fashion.”

It’s okay. You don’t have to all rush to LinkedIn to register “fashion” as one of my many skills and talents. (But if you do, 1,000 bonus points.) I am not offended. I have a lifelong history of slowness to embrace all things trendy, beginning with bags of second-hand Hammer pants and tie-dye t-shirts and continuing through middle school (oh Lord, the things I thought might be cool in middle school). There was little hope for my future upon joining marching band. Marching band is fashion death row.

Is there a single thing okay about what I’m wearing in this picture? No? You are correct.

It continues to this day. I scorned capris and then bought capris, and now capris are out of style, a whole pile of the pants in my dresser drawer. I’ve noticed far fewer people wearing skinny jeans and tall boots this season, a style I finally embraced last fall and love, now that they are on their way out (pout). So many attempts to be fashion forward when all I really want is to be in fashion for a little bit. Or maybe I should just stick with Old Fashioneds and be done with it all…?


I live with really trendy children. They dress up. They accessorize. They like to style their hair. I don’t know how this happened. I wish I could say that things have improved for me since high school. I give it my best effort on any given workday… if I have to leave the house… but otherwise it’s comfort first, fashion later. Drive by around 7 a.m. when I’m out walking the dog in my green and blue plaid pjs and ballet slippers. This is normal. Here I am. Hello.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12

We watched the Peanuts movie the other day. Every morning, Charlie Brown consults his closet of 50 exactly the same shirts before selecting just the right one. Lucy calls him a blockhead, but even so he helps his sister in the talent show, he takes it upon himself to do a book report by himself while the Little Redheaded Girl is out of town, and he teaches a kid to fly a kite, even when it hasn’t always worked out for him. In the morning, Charlie chooses compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience alongside his yellow shirt with the black zig-zag.

I love that my kids wear button-down dress shirts, bowler hats and suit coats to school. I love that they take delight in being unique, in being themselves. I hope together we can also wear compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, no matter how trendy or terrible the outfit, ugly Christmas sweater or mixed patterned pairings.

I can’t package these things with the Christmas pajamas I buy all of us each year. I wish I could. I’d gift them to myself, too, wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons. Oh, patience?? What a surprise! How did you know I needed more? You shouldn’t have! It’s too much! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wish these things came pre-programmed. Instead, my packaging tags say things like “Humility not included” and “Care Instructions: Scrub vigorously until you get all the hate out, then wring til the ego is flat. Whip back and forth on a laundry line in a windstorm until all the pointy edges are worn down. Repeat as needed.”


With God, these things are less impossible on a daily basis. It’s a constant laundry cycle in the Wells house.

Fashion forward or Old Fashioned, clothe yourself as if you are holy and dearly loved, this season and always.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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