Name: Ashley Wilcox
Meeting: Freedom Friends Church
Branch: Liberal Quaker, Evangelical Quaker
I am in a relationship with clothing and it is complicated.
I have never liked shopping for clothes. For me, it is a frustrating chore. I am short, so it is hard for me to find something in a store that fits (unless it has a petites section), and I never know what is in style.
I also have all of the usual guilt about how our clothing is made. That can be a handy excuse to not buy new clothes. Instead, I wear the clothes I have until they wear out, and mend any holes when they appear.
In addition to being short, I am curvy, which creates a whole other set of issues. Clothing that might seem perfectly modest on a woman with smaller breasts sometimes looks obscene on me. I stopped wearing shirts with writing on them long before I became a Quaker because I didn’t want to draw any more attention to my chest, and now I joke that the clothes I wear to work (usually a sweater and slacks) are my “Quaker plain.”
When I was 20 years old, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger who followed me home. At the time, I was wearing a big, baggy coat and a hat that I had pulled down to cover most of my face. Even so, my then-boyfriend was convinced that it happened because of how I looked.
Afterward, I dressed to be invisible―in dark, solid colors.
A few years ago, my sister gave me a bright red coat for Christmas. I love it and I frequently get compliments when I wear it. At the time, I was feeling led to stop trying to be invisible and to let my light shine. Wearing my red coat is one of the ways I remind myself to do that.
In the picture above, I am wearing that red coat along with my bridesmaid dress from my sister’s wedding (I was determined to wear it again!) on Easter morning at Freedom Friends Church.