Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shocking Seasonal Closet Inventory: more than a modest problem

I hope you've never been in the position that I'm in, and I hope you never will be. I share this story with you for two reasons:
  1. that you may feel thankful that your personal closet situation isn't as bad as this,
  2. or to give you hope that, if your situation is as bad, there will be a way out for you too.

Today while waiting for my hair to dry, I took inventory of my autumn wardrobe. We've had a remarkably warm end to summer downunder in New Zealand, but it looks like temperatures are cooling down at last. My summer dresses will not keep me comfortable as we transition from no heating toward heating one room in the evenings, and my winter dresses aren't suitable either.

Having observed the entropy of the clothing I was wearing, I knew I was sailing close to the seasonal wind, but the big picture shocked me.

My Autumn/Spring Closet Inventory:

1 good dress
1 old but presentable dress in a bad colour (on me) but which I can fix with layering
2 old dresses (patchy, stained, or stretched)

That's it until winter. Nobody sells accessible, ready-made clothing that I can wear. Compounding this, my night clothes and chemises (full length slips/dress liners) have stretched so much I'm tripping on them or sitting through them. Nobody sells these either.

Thankfully (unlike my hard-working garments), I'm not falling to pieces at this news. Why? Because it's been worse and I survived. Just two years ago, my closet was in an even more desperate situation and I was too sick to do anything about it myself. I juggled the value I had available (money vs. time/energy), and the solution I came up with was to import an Australian friend Suzannah who sewed as many garments for me as she could in eighteen days (seven new garments and three alterations). I've juggled again, and it looks like this year I'll have to do it myself. Somehow.

What do you have less of, MONEY, TIME, or ENERGY?

Which is the most precious to you? Which is the one you are most thrifty with? Which do you have more of, or is more readily available to you? That is the one you are more likely to feel comfortable with spending. Understanding this will help you choose what your priorities are.

Sometimes you have very little money, time, or energy. That's when you really feel the pinch, and you have to borrow from other parts of your life.

If you've been following this blog for the last two months, you'll know that I had embarked on a fundraiser project to launch the new Modesty Mall website, and a few weeks later I experienced the devastating loss of 6 years' worth of images from this site. The fallout of that has delayed development of the new site, and impacted other activity related to Boutique Narelle.

While I waded through the mess, I ignored my pending closet disaster. That, I can no longer do. I need a month to sew (I can't work as fast as Suzannah did).

Something's got to go. And that would be me from BN and the Modesty Mall. For a while. As the noble knight would say to his white charger (read 'sewing machine'):


Mission Objective: modest, beautiful maiden (read "made in") New Zealand

Auf Wiedersehen, my friend! I hope to see you soon in new clothes!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Longing to be Beautiful, and how one black woman has opened dialogue on it

Black, white, or in between, if you've ever wished you look different than you are, watch this video.

If you've ever wished God gave you some-one else's features, I urge you to listen to this compelling 5-minute speech. If you know a girl or woman who makes negative comments about her skin colour, hair type, body type, or intellectual capability, watch this and share it with her.

Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong'o's shares her journey from self hate to gracious representative of womanly confidence. Her honesty and insight into the core of beauty reportedly left her entire audience speechless.


This is so powerful! Watch and share! I've listened to Lupita Nyong'o twice already.

I hope this inspires more professional photographers to choose women of color as their models. Here at Boutique Narelle and the Modesty Mall we serve a readership from many nations and cultures, and our vision is to provide an "everyman" median representation. A very little calculation of world population will tell you that's not going to be pale. When not restricted by store promotions or having to model my own illustrations, I look for brown and black skin istock.

We also required neck-to-knees coverage and non-sensual styling, making the hunt thus far limited to images I can count on one round of my fingers. If you're reading this and you're producing this kind of resource, or want to, I'd love to hear from you.

Ladies, we have the ability to restore balance to the world of women's imagery. It starts in your heart and mine. Let's do it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Loss, Grief, and Vision: carrying on after tragedy

I'm wistfully reading Facebook group comments from ladies who's modest clothing needs are easily and cheaply solved by a quick trip to a thrift store.

I've never been privileged to experience that.

If you live in a small town that has a secondhand supply of quality modest clothing, you are BLESSED indeed. In New Zealand, if you don't have easy access to a city recycled clothing centre, it's make your own or buy new - usually online, so factor in shipping costs. Rural living usually also means that buying fabric is difficult or expensive.

Yes, modest dressing is a challenge to the budget.

And it's hard work.

But it shouldn't be. Modest femininity should be fun. It should be full of delight. It should be easier.

That seems like a far stretch.

But I know I can make it better.

I've spent six years seeking ways to make it better. Then a week ago, I lost all of my images from this website: garment recommendations, modest outfit styling tips, modest beauty solutions and personal care advice, sewing tutorials and do-it-yourself fixes for immodest apparel...in a blink, the visual element of my life's work GONE.

It's not just hiding, it's been permanently deleted, and the blogger backup turned out not to be a backup at all. I have most of the images on harddrive, but finding and reconnecting them to the appropriate text is a task so massive I can't even begin to contemplate it at this time.

How do you carry on after a tragedy? Here are seven survival techniques I've learned that are helping me get through my loss with grace.

1. Admit your loss, and let go.
2. Tell your soul to hope in God.
3. Thank Him continually and specifically for His goodness to you.
4. Allow yourself to grieve.
5. Re-establish routine. Take one day at a time.
6. Complete something, anything small, and celebrate it.
7. Remember your vision.

If you're dealing with loss and tragedy in your own life, I know these will work for you, too. How do I know? Because I'm like you. I'm an ordinary woman using extraordinary techniques. They work.

How do you carry on after a tragedy? First regain your equilibrium, then remember your vision. I can still make modest living better for you and for me. That purpose has not changed.

I'm pushing ahead with the new website and continuing to seek ways to fund it and staff it. I'm excited about the service we're creating, and look forward to sharing it with you.

In the meantime, if you don't have the benefit of good quality secondhand clothing stores nearby, make use of our Modest Mall international shopping tool. Shops are constantly being added. And countries. Last week I went on a shopping spree (window kind) to Brazil! Google's "Translate Page" is a wonderful thing. If you feel the cold like I do, you might want to check out the lined, wool-blend skirt-pants and maxi skirts featured in the "Best Stores in China" section.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe on the sidebar so we can stay connected. I would be honoured to be part of your journey toward living modestly, loving femininity, and leading your heart toward true beauty.

If you would like more personal interaction with me, please join me on Facebook at www.fb.com/NarelleWorboys.

Fiat lux!

I will not be afraid of evil tidings: my heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. [from Psalm 112:7]

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roadworks Ahead! Images mysteriously disappear, replaced by gray/white warning sign

I apologize for the almost complete absence of images on this site. Beautiful, modest photographs are foundational to what we do here at Boutique Narelle, and as far as I can tell at this time, Google has gobbled and left gray/white . Goggle Forums aren't hopeful at this point, so I hope you will pray with me for a speedy solution so you can have full access to our services here.

Testing whether a new image can be added from my hard drive...

Fiat lux!
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