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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Words of Advice On: Sister Missionary Clothes & Style

Dear Girls Going on Missions,
     Okay. It's time we have a heart to heart. It's time that we all sit down and talk about what everyone is thinking...... WHAT WILL YOU WEAR?! As a girl preparing to go on a mission (I have 8 weeks left from today), I have sat and thought about this for well... FOREVER. Like Edward and Bella together, FOREVER. I have cried about it. I have screamed about it. I have even wrote my guy friends on missions about it. How can buying clothes be this impossible?!! I've been doing it all my life! Well, I have some advice. Take it from a girl that has literally spent countless hours at 5 am thinking about how terrible she is going to look, CUTE sister missionary clothes are hard to find. But there is good news!! I have done all the research, crying, and freaking out for YOU! So that means now you can sit back, relax, and click on all my links and BUY! Or maybe you are into making your own clothes? I am not talented in that way. Actually, now that I think about it my talents spread very thin. I can make a cake though... that's useful in missionary work, RIGHT?! But if you are way talented in that area, maybe my advice/clothes will give you some ideas on the kinds of skirts and dresses to make. And if you want you can just send some of your talent my way. I would be eternally grateful.
     For me, I decided that I needed a entire new wardrobe. Now, this is not the cheap way to go, but for me, it was necessary. Once you go through the Temple you will start to look at your clothes and realize pretty fast that most have to go. It's not that I was ever immodest, it just wasn't always to the knee, or always cut high enough. But post-Temple clothes and girl missionary clothes are quite different. Sister missionaries clothes are supposed to be below the knee, covering the entire knee in the front and the back. They also recommend that you bring 6-8 outfits, and 2 pairs of shoes. When I read this I kinda just starred.... and then I starred a little more.... and then I took my hand, shut my mouth, and took a deep breath. I didn't cry at this point. Are you guys proud? You should be. Obviously, you can see that at first I did some freaking out, and then I started to think it through. Every girl is different. You know what you want and what you need, but you do have to be careful. I know everyone thinks that A LOT fits into 1 50 pound bag, 1 carry on, and 1 personal item, but I just got back from a semester abroad and let me tell you something.... it doesn't. Once you start adding all the essentials you need (make up, tampons-other countries don't really have them, tooth paste, hair supplies, scriptures, study materials, and all that food that you're afraid you can't live without), that bag starts to get PRETTY small. And you start to stress. And then you start throwing things out like it's Spring cleaning day. Honestly, just talking about it makes my palms start to sweat. Is it ridiculous to want to have test packing drills? Practice makes perfect, right?
     But back to what I was saying BEFORE this like 7 sentence tangent, your number of outfits. I would for sure take 6-8 outfits. If you can fit more, or you feel like you need more then go for it. I for one cannot go anywhere for 18 months with only 6-8 outfits, so I plan to take more. The important thing is to have multiple options so that you don't lose your mind. You are going to want unique skirts that go with multiple shirts. That way you can make 6-8 different outfits just with one skirt and 6 different shirts. Sometimes this is hard. I've found skirts that I LOVE, but they only go with particular outfits, or I have found  cute shirts, but they only go with one skirt. It's maddening sometimes, but it's doable. The important thing is to not focus TOO much on the clothes. Of course you can look cute and be fashionable, but what it's really about is the WORK and the SERVICE you will be doing for the Lord and the people you are serving. Getting all the clothes part out of the way now just allows you to focus on what really matters on the mission. You can get up put on your clothes and know you look cute. Nothing is more frustrating then feeling like you look frumpy and terrible and having to go out and talk to new people all day. You know what I like to do when I have days like that? Put my sweat pants on and sit on the chocolate with 12 bars of chocolate. This is real life.
     Alright, let's get to the niddy griddy. Here are a few of the things I have come across that might be helpful to you. First off, before I start talking about all that let me show you what my missionary wardrobe looks like:



      As you can see, my wardrobe is pretty colorful. I've been called to Norway so having long sleeves is important too. I've made sure all my clothes are easy to layer with and adapt to the winter months. Buying accessories like belts, scarves, hair accessories, and jewelry help to change up your outfits too. Look for clothes that are cute, but will also stay in style. You don't want anything that is too out there and will be weird after 6 months of being out there. My best advice would be to stay you. I love vintage things. I love lace. And I love floral. I've tried to incorporate all of that into my clothing and accessories. I will be taking both a backpack and a purse. I figure there are some days it will be easier for my back to take the heat and other days my shoulder will take it. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm an options girl. I like as many options as possible because nothing scares me more than being somewhere for 18 months and not having something I need. They don't even sell my shoe size abroad! Yeah it's a hard-knock-life for me! I went ahead and bought good winter boots here and my mom will be sending them over to me when the cold starts setting in.
     Finding clothes long enough can be pretty hard, so I suggest getting skirt extenders or skirt slips with a lace bottom. They turn up looking like this:
    You can find them online or you can make them yourself. Like I said I am not genius in that area, but I happen to have a talented SIL that is helping me out. Here is a blog post showing a how-to on the skirt extenders: http://stayathomedaughter.com/2011/10/06/no-sew-skirt-extender/    These things are the best! I have been dressing missionary aprop. since I got my call and they add both length and style to your outfit. My favorite thing to do is to add one under my pencil skirt. That way the lace fringes out at the bottom and adds a vintage look. Super cute!
     Speaking of skirt extenders, you're going to need something to cover up those pretty little new things you have after visiting the Temple. You will find SO MANY shirts that are either see-through (so in right now) or too low cut. Guess what? There is an answer! Shade shirts! Pure genius! They have many different kinds and even some shirts, skirts, and dresses. Have at it my dears!
     I would suggest getting them in black, white, and cream or any color that you would need for a particular shirt. The cream/nude one once you put it on really looks like you aren't wearing anything at all and goes with all those fun cream shirts. Especially those cream lace shirts that I am obsessed with. Shade shirts... love it.
    Shoes.... I love shoes. I love REALLY REALLY TALL high heels. But... I have decided to give them up for 18 months. I think my calves and feet are saying a silent thank you. I worried about what shoes to wear because the ones I have seen many SM wearing are kinda... idk? Yucky? I taught English in Russia for a bit and we had to walk EVERYWHERE. It was kinda sucky at first, but you know what? Me and my shoes got used to it. That's when I decided that I wouldn't dare wear ugly shoes just because they were supposed to be the "comfortable" ones. When you're walking that much, all shoes hurt. I chose flats and oxfords as my main shoe. I also love the look of a short boot with skirts and dresses. The main thing is to have shoes that are wearable and go with all your outfits. Flat shoes can be cute... even if you have to lose the 6 inch heel! Just don't forget to bring plenty of band aids and neosporin!!!  Another cute idea is to buy these:
   These are clip on bows for shoes! How cute are they? If you get some that match your shirt or skirt then you can pull all the colors together. Etsy is the best for this kind of thing! And they have the cheapest scarves and other fun accessories! My floral scarf only cost 5$ which included shipping and handling! People are so crafty and nice. I love it! See girls, being a cute SM is possible! AND I'm pretty sure you could use those adorable bows in your hair!
   You are probably wondering where to find all this stuff. No worries. I'm nice, I have them all right here for you. These are the ones I used to get all the clothes you see in my pictures.
                     
       Down East Basics- downeastbasics.com
       Target- target.com
       Anthropology- anthropology.com
       Dillard's (shoe department)- dillards.com
       Sincerely Sweet Boutique- https://sincerelysweetboutique.com
       The Nest On Main- http://www.shop.thenestonmainstreet.com
       Junie Blake- http://junieblake.com/
       Shabby Apple- shabbyapple.com
       ASOS- asos.com
       Shade Clothing- http://www.shadeclothing.com
       Victoria's Secret (shoe department)- victoriassecret.com
                             
    I am going to be honest, your best shot at clothes that are long enough is going to be at ASOS. They have a HUGE selection and the prices are pretty great! The shipping is even free! OH! Just a reminder! Your MTC gear weighs a total of 12 pounds, so when packing and planning what to take, don't forget to factor that into it. In my mission we fly often for exchanges so I will have to make flight weight quite often. Honestly it's just a good thing they weigh my bag and not me!
              Here are a few other cute ideas that I have come across:
     An earring holder book. Wow! That's a mouth full! This cute little thing would hold all your earrings in a nice condensed way! You can pay about 50$ for this one, or you could make it yourself like I am doing! Here is a link to a how-to-make-an-earring-book: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/felt-earring-book
      Also! Who here likes cute hair? Who here likes quick, easy hair? Who here like cute, quick, AND easy hair? Okay if you didn't raise your hand for any of that then you should probably just get off my blog. Just saying. Well if you ever wanted to know how to make your hair look like this: 
                                     .... and other cute hair do's then go to this link: http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/p_17_styles/p481/page3  It list 18 different hair styles that can be done in less than 10 minutes. Trust me. It's easy. I was able to do it. 
     Well Future SMs I think that it's time that I call this blog post done. I hope that it was helpful and that you are able to find all the ideas you need for you mission! I am sure that I will have plenty of other post about preparing to be an SM in the near future. I wish you all of luck and looking stylish and serving the Lord.
Until Next Time,
Muah!