This past weekend I was wandering around the Abbott Kinney neighborhood of Venice Beach with my dear friend Samantha, doing a little bargain shopping and generally just wandering around in the sun together. I didn’t really need anything, but I had a little bit of cash to burn.
As we wandered in and out of clothing stores, trying on this or that, I started thinking about the artistry of dressing. Particularly, the art of presenting myself well for myself, and for my husband.
I think it’s a truism that as we get well into our adulthood we start to get comfortable with the natural shapes of our bodies, and that we stop fighting so much with those shapes. But as I’ve been on the planet longer, I’m much more aware of what I have to offer in the realm of loveliness and beauty, and just presenting it as best I can. Not in an overdone way; not in an over-the-top, overspending, proving-myself way. I have no need for designer names in my clothes, and I have no need to spend $200 on a T-shirt, nor do I need to dress to “be seen.”
What I am more and more keyed in to, though, is the artistry of loveliness, the art of dressing that promotes beauty and grace and delight.
I often ask myself what the spiritual truth of some act of artistry is. What’s the purpose of style? What’s the gift of gracious and stylish clothing—the kind that enhances our loveliness?
It’s the gift of offering beauty to the world. It’s that simple. To feel good in our skin—and in our clothes, no matter what our sense of style—makes us feel at ease, brings us a bright sense of presenting ourselves well, and even in its most casual forms, makes us feel good about ourselves.
There’s something else in this that I love: when I’m paying attention to presenting myself well, I’m also keyed into my sexuality. I’m alive in it when I’m thinking of the shapes that might please me (and please my husband), and the gift of giving that to him enhances my desire.
So just this past Friday as I was shopping in Venice Beach, my eyes were full of the eyes of my lover, my husband—finding the little things which might draw his eye to a bit of style placed upon my form, which, I knew, would spark his interest. And it’s fun to play with that.
We both do this for each other in our marriage. We have artistic sensibilities, and we each look for new, fresh, inventive shapes, styles and colors to spark a little creative thrill in each other’s eyes. That doesn’t mean we’re always working the room with it. It does mean that we’re fueling some pleasure with our clothing, and when we’re apart, we’re looking for the thing that might thrill and delight.
It means we’re carrying each other with us in our eyes and hearts wherever we are. It’s the artistry of dressing for each other: what a beautiful and lovely thing to have.