Growing up in a family of all girls, I didn’t care much about men’s styles or fashion. Even as a boy-crazy teenager, I only noticed their clothes a little. A cute face and great hair drew me. Now that you know how shallow I can be, let’s explore something more serious. Wade Gardner, the love interest in Shadowed Doubt, has a distinct fashion sense… I’m kidding about the seriousness. But I do have more of an interest in men’s fashion today. I love seeing my five man children dressed up and enjoy choosing clothes for my husband.
Homeless Street Wear to Business Casual
Wade Gardner spent his teen years as a homeless runaway. I don’t think that’s a spoiler…I hope not! But if you want to know his backstory, at the end of the paperback in, Shadowed Doubt is a short story.
It tells how Wade landed in the Gardner family, forcing him from street grunge to business casual style. I love that phrase, business casual, but sometimes my husband gets a little too comfortable with it. Like when he wore a Hawaiian shirt to a funeral, he was presiding over. At the request of the deceased, my husband insisted. Thankfully, we arrived early, and no one else complied. The man had been a prominent businessman, and everyone wore sports coats and suits. We drove to the nearest discount clothing store and bought my husband a new outfit. I wished I’d had that excuse to go shopping! Now here’s business casual…sans the Hawaiian shirts.
And that is Wade Gardner…except for the no-socks look. I can’t wrap my head around that one! For a young businessman in his twenties, Wade’s style was not what my boys wore, but they didn’t have his opportunities at that age. Still, like their father, my boys didn’t go for sloppy or fancy. They were pretty generic.
But Wade? His grandfather, Reginald Gardner, is the hotel owner icon in New Orleans, and Wade will be … never mind spoiler! But men and boys usually just want casual and comfortable right? T-shirts, jeans, flannels. Oh, and don’t forget the baseball hats with everything.
But I had a best friend growing up who loved to go clothes shopping. His style was understated but pleasant. My boys could have learned from him. Our mothers were best friends, so we’d all go to the mall once a week. Fun memories. Interestingly, he married a very stylish woman, and they look great jet-setting worldwide, and business casual is his go-to.
The Importance of Men and Style
The importance of men and style goes beyond just looking good. In fact, that’s not it at all. Time and time again in scripture, we’re taught that our hearts and our spirits need to be right. It’s what God holds most important.
But as Christians, we are representatives of Christ, and it’s not that we seek to draw attention to ourselves. But how we look is important because people form an opinion on our appearance before they get a chance to know our hearts. Whether we like it or not, we draw negative attention, no attention, or too much attention. We should seek a balance that is pleasing-to-the-eye and says, I’m friendly and approachable.
I know the introvertedness in us wants no part of that, right? But it’s not about “me.” It’s about being Christ’s vessel to whomever, whenever, and wherever he provides that opportunity.
Reasons for Style
I have some tips to pass on to any young men or boys in your life. So far, my eleven grandsons haven’t gone wacko with crazy styles. But my oldest is only thirteen. Still, wacko and crazy can be fun as long as the heart is right…not self-centered. These tips also apply to the girls.
- It’s the first impression people get of us. Someone may never speak to you in a room full of people, but good or bad, they’ll form an opinion about you by your clothing first. If you look decent, you may be sought out, hopefully for the good. If you’re poorly dressed for the occasion, you’ll be avoided, missing an opportunity to share Christ.
- Clothing can increase your perceived status among your peers. That sounds so shallow, right? But again, remember the purpose. Your dress may not draw the in-crowd, but it may pull that only-lonely that needs a friend. Maybe.
- Dressing sharply teaches responsibility. When all my boys played sports, I washed their uniforms, and that red clay in the knees was a killer to clean. But they were responsible for hats, belts, and cleats. Often we’d scramble on game day to find everything! But my husband taught them to keep all those items in the same place. Clean pants weren’t enough to earn them a spot on the team. Attention to detail is another facet of that responsibility. A wrinkled shirt and a mismatched tie, belt, socks, and shoes destroy that first impression.
There are plenty more essential tips, and recalling all those dressing hours spent before a wedding, funeral, or important school event makes my head ache! Ten people getting ready in a small household and checking everyone’s outfits still dizzies my head. Thankfully, all my boys clean up nicely, and most of our events call for t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops optional.
What Really Counts
It’s been fun and sometimes frivolous talking about men’s style. A bit like the young people, Wade and Lacey, in Shadowed Doubt. And on that note, here’s an interesting photo my daughter sent just as I wrote this blog post! Too funny!
All this fashion talk leads to what really counts. I believe it’s important to look our best when we can. And I put that on me. But having said that, God’s given me the grace not to judge anyone by their clothing, and let’s be wary not to do that, yet it’s what others might do to us. I always tell my kids, when we see someone that catches our eye, we don’t know their heart, or where they are in life.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit nudges us in the right direction. Fashion, or lack of it, can be an obsession. Both ways. Caring too much and not enough. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide, seek to be available for the Lord’s work, and dress accordingly. I think the key is remembering that we are his vessels…at all times. It’s easy to forget when I run to the grocery store, looking like I’ve just rolled out of bed. I’m a little too vain for that, but not above doing it! But when I do look like that, I avoid eye contact. Not a very good witness, am I? So whether we’re dressed to the nines or clean and comfortable, it’s our heart that counts.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway…only four more days for chances to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a signed paperback of Shadowed Doubt. Have a blessed day!