Quakers have historically practiced plaindress, a testimony that we are famous for. While the practice has mostly become extinct, the theology behind the practice is often still held amongst Friends. What is your relationship with clothing? Does your clothing set you apart from the mainstream in some way? Here is Friend Patrick Lozada’s response. Click here to give your own.
Name: Patrick Lozada
Meeting: Davidson Friends Meeting
Branch: Liberal Quaker
My relationship with clothing has gotten more complicated since I’ve graduated from college and started a job in Washington. In college, I dressed very simply–mostly jeans and plain t-shirts. But in Washington. I’m swimming in suits, ties, and immaculately polished shoes.
This is relationship is more complicated by the fact that I’m both a Quaker professional and a professional Quaker. Working at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker lobby for peace in Washington, I’m seemingly confronted with a conflict between living my faith and advocating for it. After all, did George Fox dress up in finery and doff his hat to Oliver Cromwell when he went to petition the English leader? No. But I wouldn’t dream of meeting with Senator Cantwell or Representative Garamendi in anything other than the suit I had tailored in China.
I’ve tried to absorb the contradiction by recognizing what I wear most days as a costume. I’m changing from my plain clothed self to play a game–to dress up to play a part. Maybe I am just playing the part of an insincere Quaker, making compromises and walking away from the naked experience of the spirit. But I suspect many of us make these small concessions in our lives to do what we feel we must.