Dressing the Part

A few months ago, I wrote about the process of getting rid of all of my shorts and pants as I began to only wear skirts. I recognized that the movement I am joining, Conservative Judaism, does not require me to only wear skirts, but I found it to be an important step in my preparation for conversion. I still only wear skirts or dresses that go past my knee and shirts/sweaters with sleeves and a higher neck line. My clothing decisions have come back into my mind with  my graduation approaching.

Graduation brings a rupture between old and new. I am selling/donating the majority of my possessions that I have come to know and love and keep only the essentials. While this process brings about an amazing cathartic experience, it is hard to let go. Some of the hardest things I have to let go of is my clothing. Before, I was choosing not to wear the pants stuffed in my drawer and the short dress in my closet.  Now, I will no longer have that clothing at all. I am choosing to only keep the clothing that will be suitable for me to wear in a traditional Jewish setting, since I will more than likely be part of a traditional community in Israel. The problem comes when I stuff bags for donation with clothing that I have worn in the past and I realize I am giving it away not because I do not like it but because I don’t feel like I can wear it.

I do think that clothing defines you, but I look at the clothing left in my closet and am forced to ask, “Is this really who I am or am I just dressing the part?” Am I a girl of long black skirts and a few bright colors? Yes, I have not worn pants for the past few months, but does that mean I won’t want to in a year from now?


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