Monday, May 14, 2012

"wear calf-length skirts, flat shoes and an indefatigable air of energized piety."

The title of this blog comes from a quote from a very misinformed article written by Maureen Callahan for the New York Times.  I tried to find the article, but was unable.  I can only assume that they have either pulled it, or I don't have access because I don't subscribe to the NY Post.  Even though I can make a value judgment on Maureen Callahan's writing based on what I did read by her,  I'll keep those feelings private for now.  Here is the link to a response by the Deseret News.  I will say this, she just didn't really check her facts.  However, her description of Sister Missionaries --well that was almost spot on!  I wish that she could see the beauty in the sisters serving--because cleary that was lost on her.  However, calling them women who "wear calf-length skirts, flat shoes and an indefatigable air of energized piety" was not necessarily an insult.

Let us dissect this, as it gives us a chance to talk openly about some of the things that we at Sister Missionary Mall see everyday.  Let's face it, we outfit more sister missionaries on the whole than any other single retailer worldwide.  We were the first, and are still the only store dedicated specifically to sister missionaries.  We were also the first ones to be online (but that is a discussion for another day!)  Anyhow, we have a thing or two to say about how Sister Missionaries are perceived based on their appearance.  So, here is our take on the "criticisms" given by Ms. Callahan--which may or may not be criticisms...depending on if you took it personally or not!

Some of the skirts that hit runways back in 2010
1.  Calf-length skirts--basically this means any skirt that is below the knee.  Your calf muscle extends from  behind the knee-cap down to the ankle, so mid-calf would basically be anywhere between there.  Usually, mid-calf is about the middle of the thickest part of your calf muscle, and is sometimes called "tea-length."

Truthfully, someone wearing a skirt longer than their knee is just concerned with being appropriate.  A skirt that covers your knee says that you are classy, put together, conscientious enough to seek out appropriate styles, and a woman of faith.  I do not know who came up with the silly idea of wearing leggings with a skirt that is too short.  Just because you are covered does not necessarily make you modest.  Did you just come from working out at Ballet?  No!  That is why Sister Missionaries don't do it!  (and really no one else should for that matter either...)  By the way, Sister Missionaries do not have the corner on calf-length skirts--they just wear them with more style and panache!

Shameless pitch for our store:  On another note, we wrote the book on calf-length skirts.  We have been carrying them for years, and will continue to carry them in cute solids, prints, styles, fabrics, and cuts.  So we can fit just about anyone.  We also have a full alterations shop--and most of the simple alterations are free--or very affordable.  (Basic hems are always free.)  If you haven't been in to see our selection, or if we did not impress you the last time you were in--come on over!  We have our own "energized piety" about skirts, and our selections vary by week as we sell out so quickly.  If anything, you can make friends with the girls at the shop. 

Cute, sassy, and comfortable.
2.  Flat shoes--well, you all know our take on that one.  Of course sensible shoes are your saving grace as a missionary.  Your feet work harder than any other part of you as a missionary--save maybe your knees from praying so much!

Who could wear these all day?

Furthermore, If  you are going to be on your feet all day, regardless of the height of the shoe, you need good support.  I can only assume that Miss Callahan mentioned this because she is a "clacker"--meaning someone who "clacks" around in silly stilettos all day.  

However, Sister Missionaries are wiser than your average fashionista.  They know that if they are in pain, and their feet have given out--they are useless.  After all, the stats say that a woman in a stiletto or even a kitten heel is more PSI (pound-force per square inch) than an elephant when walking along.  We don't care about the PSI,  just the money she will spend on a hip replacement at age 65.

3.  Indefatigable air of energized piety--Okay, this one actually made me smile.  Yes, Sister Missionaries are indefatigable--which is a very fancy way to say, "Anxiously engaged in a good cause" or "tireless effort"  both of which can also be used to describe the likes of President Monson and the brethren.  As for piety?  We don't often use that description of ourselves, as we have seen it in the church to have a more pejorative meaning, such as the word "over-zealous."  However, the word itself usually does refer to great devotion, and being consumed by our faith.  And, well, that describes Sister Missionaries like nothing else.  No other group of missionaries makes quite the same sacrifice to be in the field as Sister Missionaries.   So, insult?  I think not!  Maybe she meant it that way, but any sister who knows--in the way that Sister Beck describes women who know--will take that as a very good compliment.

A sister with both a calf-length skirt, flat shoes, and an indefatigable air of energized piety!
In April 2012, Elder Bednar said, "We have the obligation of becoming actively and anxiously engaged in promoting the cause of righteousness."  That is what sisters do.  How they dress reflects that.  The outer wrapping should be an indicator of the inner commitment.  We not only need sisters to match our message, we need them to look like they match our message.  

We at Sister MissionaryMall are pleased to be a part of the great transformation that is becoming a Sister Missionary, and we invite all women of faith to come and see what we have to offer.

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