Mormon Fashion Bloggers Speak
Mormons have been in the zeitgeist of late, what with Mitt running, the Book of Mormon winning Tonys, and The New York Times writing about Mormon hipsters. They’re so widely seen as behind the times, though, that a recent skinny jean snafu at Brigham Young University in Idaho inspired nationwide reportage.
A few months ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a publicity campaign to improve their image—the “I’m a Mormon” thing you might have seen. But perhaps better countering the stereotype of the corny Mormon are the Mormon fashion bloggers.
Mormonism dictates that women stay home and dress modestly, perhaps making this type of blogger inevitable. Most of them are young, good-looking, married, and at least marginally hip, and they dress by the aphorism “Modest is Hottest.” None of the ones we’ve seen would stand out on the street in any American city. But by the very act of blogging about dress, they’re grabbing some power from within the Mormon hierarchy. It’s a significant act worthy of our attention, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some conservative inflammation in the church one day squashed it out.
We asked three of the Mormon fashion bloggers to weigh in on philosophical questions, via gchat, and found them to be quite liberal in their fashion attitudes.
Brandilyn Haynes, blogger at Cats and Cardigans and a clothing boutique proprietor in Rexburg, Idaho.
KtB: Was the fig leaf an improvement?
Brandilyn: I’d call it a necessary evolution.
KtB: On your blog you say that you like to write stories because “they’re good for my soul and my brain.” What’s the difference between the soul and the brain?
Brandilyn: I’d connect my soul with my spirit, which would be the essence of who I am. My brain helps develop my spirit, but I’d say it has it’s own, separate functions.
KtB: Do you feel that fashion choices are personal choices, or are there any absolute fashion dos and don’ts?
Brandilyn: Hmm. I’d say they’re very personal. Even rules that I may have previously considered “absolutes” I find myself breaking (like wearing black and brown together). So I’d say personal for sure.
KtB: It’s the Latter Day. You’re ascending to heaven. What are you wearing?
Brandilyn: If I’m ascending to heaven, I’m probably not too concerned about what I’m wearing! Hopefully that doesn’t happen on a weekend, though, when I’d be in sweats. Yikes.
Kayla (Last Name Withheld), blogger at Freckles in April.
KtB: Do you feel that there are ultimate fashion dos and don’ts, or is fashion all personal choice?
Kayla: The more I read fashion blogs the more I think fashion is all personal choice. It’s all a matter of taste and preference. What I wear probably seems staid and boring to some but it suits me.
KtB: Do you have a fashion mentor?
KtB: I thought you were going to say Jesus!
Kayla: I’m sure his robe things were super comfortable and all but He is not really my fashion mentor.
KtB: Ever received a divine fashion insight?
Kayla: A couple years ago Elder Uchtdorf gave a talk on finding our own happiness. He mentioned how we can find great joy in creating. I make or alter a lot of my clothes and that talk comes to mind a lot. I don’t know that I’ve necessarily received diving fashion insight but I definitely feel like the time I spend creating pretty things for myself is something that God approves of.
KtB: Okay, I have to ask the underwear question. What’s up with it?
Kayla: I’ve heard this explanation before and it’s the one that makes the most sense to me. So there are priests, nuns, etc. of other faiths who wear special robes, vestments, collars, whatever and those special clothing items are there as a reminder of the covenants they’ve made with God. Sometimes you need a real, tangible reminder. It’s the same thing. We just wear ours under our clothes.
KtB: Does it present any particular fashion challenges?
Kayla: Sometimes. It’s an extra layer of fabric and they can bunch and roll sometimes. But mostly they’re not too difficult. It’s just like wearing a t-shirt and thin bike shorts under everything.
Chloe Rushworth, blogger at Memoirs of a Little Thing Called Life, lives outside of Leeds, England.
KtB: Do you feel that people are naturally fashionable, or is fashion something for which we must constantly struggle?
Chloe: You are who you are, and I don’t think anyone should have to struggle with it, at the end of the day not everyone is into fashion.
KtB: A great outfit doesn’t just spring out of the ether randomly, right? Can you talk about your process of design?
Chloe: I guess I take a lot of inspiration from magazines. I tend to follow trends but try and make them my own, and I buy key items that I can rework through the season. I don’t spend hours picking my outfits out, that’s just something that comes naturally I guess.