'God wants you to know that you are beautiful exactly as you are. You may be a size 6, a size 16, or a size 26.... Whatever your size, you are in the body God gave you... and it is good.' What an encouraging message! In this excellent book, Braendel, a Christian image consultant, shows women how to reflect their inner beauty through their outward appearance. In a friendly, girl-next-door tone, Braendel offers advice on everything from applying makeup to choosing the perfect pair of jeans. Dozens of color photographs of real, non-air-brushed women modeling attractive hairstyles, clothing styles, and even swimsuits will help women practically apply the book's suggestions to their body shape and personal preferences. This outstanding title deserves a place n every woman's bookshelf. Realistic, informative, and uplifting, it will boost readers' self-image and encourage them to look their best. Because this is a niche topic, this book could easily get lost on your shelves; consider spotlighting it with a special display. CBA Retailers and Resources
Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad: Every Womanby Shari Braendel
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In Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad, Shari Braendel teaches you how to appreciate the body God gave you and how to always look your best—from conquering the battle of finding the right swimsuit, to choosing how many bangles you should wear or how big your purse should be, to wearing the right style jeans that will best flatter your thighs or hips, to finding the best places to shop to suit your unique personal style.
Many of us are watching reality TV shows to get a clue on how to dress right and look good. We hungrily purchase fashion magazines any time the cover article has something to do with how we can hide our despised body parts. We make mad dashes to the local department store to pick up the new anti-wrinkle cream Oprah promised will take ten years away from our face.
We care about how we look. Why is that? Because we’re women, and women love to look and feel good. God made us that way. And this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a wonderful thing. God loves beauty. He doesn’t want us to reflect his image being sloppy, disheveled women of God who don’t pay any attention to what we look like.
Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad will show you how to look and feel your best, no matter what day it is or what the occasion. And it will also stop you from screaming at the top of your lungs, “I have nothing to wear.”
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Good Girls Don't Have to Dress BadA Style Guide for Every Woman
By Shari Braendel
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Shari Braendel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhat's So Christian about Looking Good?
Looks do matter.
There. I said it. Now hang with me here.
If you are a Christian, then your faith plays a part in every aspect of your life. Or at least it should. Faith affects your personal life, your career choices, and your family relationships (whether you are married, single, or divorced). Faith affects your music and movie selections and where you hang out or what you do for fun.
Your faith even colors your clothing choices. Now don't start groaning on me. You have a responsibility as a Christian female to make sure that how you dress is a reflection of who you really are. I'm not suggesting you walk around wearing "I Love Jesus" T-shirts and wristbands, but you have to live knowing that what you put on in the morning says something about your character.
Christian circles, especially churches, rarely discuss outer appearance. None of us wants anyone else to think we might be vain or conceited because we focus, on some level, on what we look like. We're holy and modest Christians, after all. Our lives are all about inner beauty, right? Not entirely. Stay with me for a little bit. I'm going to circle right back to inner beauty in a few.
Guess what, girlfriend? The truth is, most of us are watching What Not to Wear, Project Runway, How Do I Look?, and any reality TV show to get a clue on how to dress right and look good. We hungrily purchase fashion magazines any time the cover article has something to do with how we can hide our despised body parts. We make mad dashes to the local department store to pick up the new anti-wrinkle cream Oprah promised us will take ten years away from our face.
The bottom line? We do care about our looks. Why is that? Because we're women and women love to look and feel good. God made us that way. He made me that way. He made you that way. And this is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a wonderful thing.
Do you notice that the woman mentioned in Proverbs 31 is clothed in fine linen and purple, strength and dignity (vv. 22, 25)? It doesn't say she puts on her ratty sweatpants and old T-shirt to go about her business. She takes some time with herself. If God addresses a woman's outside appearance in the Bible (and He didn't have to do that), He must think it's important for us to talk about too. In the same vein, God also refers to this woman's insides when He mentions her strength and dignity. If you go back a few verses (v. 15) you'll notice she gets up at the crack of dawn, and I wouldn't be surprised if she starts her day by being with the Lord.
In the back of your mind, you're probably thinking about the apostle Peter's advice to Christian wives: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful" (1 Peter 3:3-5).
The NIV Study Bible explains that "outward adornment" has to do with "extreme coiffures and gaudy exhibits of jewelry and expensive garments." If our idea of beauty is based on what we put on, rather than our relationship with the Creator of beauty, we've got a problem. In other words, if you're messed up on the inside, three gold bracelets probably aren't going to make it all better. You might just want to go spend fifteen minutes alone with God to start working on your inside stuff. When we feel precious, redeemed, and loved by our Savior, we won't have a need to impress with ostentatious clothing, jewelry, or handbags. Instead, we'll find an appropriate way to dress to reflect what's going on inside of us.
A few summers ago I walked into a department store and saw the purse of all purses. Oh, let me tell you, this bag was the mack daddy of bags! It was the biggest, grandest, most beautiful Coach bag I had ever seen. I asked the sales associate to unlock it from its case. This bag was so expensive and grandiose it needed to be put behind glass walls! The sales associate mentioned that she was told in a Coach training school that if you were ever lost in the desert, this bag would certainly be all one would need. I was very impressed (tickled pink, really) and asked her the question I was avoiding.
"How much is it?" I squeaked.
She told me the price just as my husband, who has a gift for great timing, approached the counter. He kindly told the woman no thank you and started to pull me away. Yes, pull, as in drag my body away from the store with my heels digging into the floor.
"Can you hold the bag for me?" I yelled back. Of course she could.
For weeks all I could think about was that purse. I would go to sleep and wake up thinking about how amazing this purse would look with my outfits. I even dreamed about it one night.
One morning I was having my quiet time, and as I was praying I heard God whisper to my heart. He said, "I don't care if they GIVE you that purse, you can't have it." Excuse me, God, but did you just tell me I can't have that purse? That beautiful, amazing, mack daddy purse I might need if I'm ever stuck in the desert? Yup, He sure did.
The truth was, I didn't see how a purse could be such a big deal for God, but the more I prayed, the more I understood. My thoughts had become consumed by that purse. I had been spending more time obsessing about a simple accessory than I had obsessing about God.
I tell you this story because I want you to know that it's NOT all about what we wear or don't wear. If your heart's not right, if your relationship with God is suffering, then no matter what we put on, we aren't that beautiful.
Friend, our inside and our outside matters. God says so. It's time to learn how to care for our outside appearance, not in an ostentatious kind of way, but in a sensible, easy, do-it-yourself manner.
Minding My Own Business
I believe in the depths of my heart that it's my calling to get women of faith everywhere feeling and looking their best and not feeling guilty about it. I remember sitting in my favorite chair one day, having quiet time and journaling. I was minding my own business, praying my usual prayers, when it happened. I heard God whisper. It was as clear as any other time He's spoken to me. No, you wouldn't have heard it; it wasn't audible. But in my spirit I felt something tug at my heart as clear as day.
I looked over at my husband who was engaged in his favorite nighttime activity (you know, channel surfing), and I asked him to stop what he was doing and listen to me. He did. Then I told him what God said and waited anxiously for my hubby's response. He didn't blink, he didn't laugh, he didn't even pause. He just said, "Then you need to do it."
That night I knew God wanted me to take my knowledge of the fashion and beauty industry and go tell women inside church walls that it was okay to care about the way they looked. For a while, I argued with God and told Him I couldn't do it. But I protested for only seven years. I prayed, I hesitated. I prayed, I questioned. Then I prayed some more, and one day I finally took the first step. Here I am today, telling you what you've always wanted to know about fashion, personal style, and beauty, but didn't know where to turn for the answers.
God wants you to know that you are beautiful exactly as you are. You may be a size 6, a size 16, or a size 26. You may be a size 0, a size 10, or a size 20. Whatever your size, you are in the body God gave you ... and it is good. That is the message God wants you to hear and, more importantly, live out.
What's the Christian Fuss?
Clothes are clothes, makeup is makeup, and haircuts are haircuts, right? So why this separate Christian thing?
Because first and foremost, you need to know that "the king is enthralled by your beauty" (Ps. 45:11). Think about that for a minute! The King of the universe thinks you are amazing! He thinks you have the perfect size feet for your body. He thinks your nose fits your face exactly the way it should. He even gives you cellulite on your thighs to remind you of His fingerprints! Pretty cool, huh? (Well, I'm not sure that's the reason we have cellulite, but that's the way I like to think of it! After all, it's all about perspective.) Those hips you are always complaining about? Well, He made them for you. Whether you are blonde or brunette, Caucasian or African American, Indian or Asian, tall or petite, heavy or thin-I believe that when you get to heaven, you are going to find out that God's idea of perfect beauty is exactly what you look like.
Perfect beauty in God's eyes is not what I look like or what your sister, your child's teacher, or your college roommate looks like. It's about what you look like. Soak your spirit in that thought. Until you understand that concept, I mean, really get it, you will never fully understand why God expects you to care about your appearance.
Second, as a Christian you have a great responsibility. You are a representative of Jesus. To some, you may be the only representative they'll ever see. Hmmm. How does that make you feel? Are you confident that your outer appearance reflects who you are on the inside? In other words, is your inside beauty displayed on the outside?
Think of yourself as a package, a beautiful package for Christ! If given a choice, would you pick a present wrapped in old newspaper or one lovingly and carefully adorned with shiny gold paper and a spectacular bow? The answer, of course, is obvious. The point is, we should all want to present ourselves looking sharp and put-together.
Third, as a Christian you have a responsibility to be modest. Now don't go thinking that modesty is old-fashioned, boring, and fuddy-duddy. Modesty is taking care not to cause our brothers in Christ to sin in their minds, and oftentimes, in their actions. It's caring that you don't show your thong underwear to the cashier when you bend over in the convenience store. It's wearing the correct bra for certain clothing. It's not dressing so sexy that you attract the wrong kind of attention and therefore present the wrong message. Modesty shows others the type of person you are. The way you dress shows what's going on ... on the inside of you.
So Now What?
Remember how I told you about the day God told me to take this message to women within the church? I wasn't wrestling with the decision because I didn't want to do it. I wrestled with it because I didn't know if the church would want me. I knew women everywhere were hungering for this sort of information. But I was so afraid of what I would be up against with the powers-that-be within the church walls. Why in the world would they invite me to speak to the women in their congregation when my topic was "outer" beauty? I knew God told me to do it, but could I convince anyone else of that?
And then something happened. A friend who had been praying with me about my situation invited me to speak at her church for a women's event. At that event there was a coordinator from an out-of-state church ... so what do you think happened next? You got it! I was invited to her church. And on and on it went. God was walking before me, lining everything up because He knew His daughters were hurting in the beauty department. Now don't get me wrong; He thought they were fabulous the way they were, but they didn't know that. And He wanted me to tell them. He wanted me to do it in a way where they would leave my conferences and workshops equipped with the tools and knowledge to look and feel better about how to portray their God-given natural beauty.
Dear Shari, my name is Amy. It has been some time since I gave a second thought to what I put on my body, and I really thought that it was in some women's nature to dress up while others of us are wired toward jeans and our husband's T-shirts. To be honest, I was skeptical at best, to see exactly what fashion had to do with my walk with God. Thank you for showing me that what I put on is a reflection of how I feel about myself, and how I feel about myself is a reflection of how I think I am viewed by God. He created me beautiful, and I realize now that He wants me to feel that way. I am the example my ten-year-old daughter sees every day of a godly woman, and I didn't realize that how I present myself is part of that. I realized that my example will affect how my daughter sees herself as a young woman, and your words will help me relay the message of beauty and fashion to her. My eyes have been opened to this wonderful message from God in such a loving, humorous, non-threatening way. I'm going to start putting things in my closet that allow the outside of me to shine as brightly as the light inside. After all, I am God's masterpiece and He expects me to be the best I can be.
I share Amy's message with you to make you think. You may be a jeans and T-shirt sort of girl who couldn't care less about clothes (even though you've convinced yourself of that, here you are reading this book!), or you may be a trend addict who buys every new style that comes out regardless of whether or not it's age appropriate or figure flattering.
Maybe you're still in college and even though you wear your favorite jeans to class, you want to know how to dress for the weekends and yet not look like a sex object. Or, like many women, you're a busy wife and mom who needs basic fashion guidance. Maybe you are a twenty- or thirty-something single woman who spends a lot of money on unnecessary clothes and it's finally time to build a smart wardrobe. Or possibly, you're an empty nester, close to retirement, and need casual outfits that can take you to lunch, Bible study, volunteer commitments, and on weekend getaways.
Regardless of who you are or what stage of life you are in, we all have a need to feel beautiful. We all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, and sometimes we just need a little guidance on how to do it. Hey, even Esther in the Bible prepared for a year to see the king by having beauty treatments! Some of you have trouble finding time for a bubble bath without feeling guilty.
Do Not Worry
I remember the day Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, called me and told me she wanted to share something with me. She said she couldn't wait to tell me what the Lord had revealed to her that morning during her prayer time. She knew it was a message specifically for me.
Lysa was one of the very first people to believe that my ministry was important for women. The first time we ever spoke on the phone, she passionately agreed that Christian women were afraid to talk about outer appearance, and so it was a much needed and desired topic for discussion. She invited me to come and train the other speakers who were on her team on how to create a professional personal style. Soon afterward, I joined the roster of speakers. On the day she phoned to tell me about her revelation from the Lord, Lysa told me to go look up Matthew 6:25-32:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink? Or What shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."
The point she wanted me to take away was for me to see that this passage is not giving us instruction on "what to wear" (or what not to wear), but giving us instruction on "not to worry." Many people take these verses to mean that we shouldn't be bothered by the seemingly small stuff, like finding the right outfit or getting the perfect hairstyle. Those things in and of themselves aren't bad. I believe that we can run into a problem when we start obsessing over our looks, when we solely focus our attention on the outside - like looking perfect - instead of working on our inner beauty. God wants you to look good, as beautiful as the lilies of the field, and as splendid as King Solomon in all his glory. But He doesn't want you to get bogged down by the obsession, and He doesn't want you to worry.
Excerpted from Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad by Shari Braendel Copyright © 2010 by Shari Braendel. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are saying about this
“Shari frees women to take care of themselves and equips them with the tools to be the best they can be. This book is a fun and practical guide that any woman could use to make the most of the beauty that God has given her.” -- Amy Parham
“We are often so afraid to put too much emphasis on our outside appearance as Christian women that we neglect to prepare the upcoming generation on how to dress with modesty, class, and style. Though God does look at the heart, he also says that we speak from what’s in our hearts and Shari’s insight has shown me that how we dress and present ourselves speaks louder than words at times.” -- Leslie Nease
“Ever wished for a fashion fairy godmother who would not only grant you a magical makeover but actually equip you to make your own fashion choices that fit, flatter, and make you feel fabulous? With a wink of her keen eye and wave of her coordinating wand, image expert Shari Braendel has crafted the perfect ‘good girl’ go-to manual. Whether clothing or makeup, hairstyles or accessories, you'll be able to choose in confidence and finally become the captivatingly beautiful woman God created you to be---both inside and out!” wife, homeschooling mom, national speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Hearts at Home Conferences, and author of A Life That Says Welcome and The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. www.karenehman.com -- Karen Ehman
“Every woman longs for a makeover of some kind and Shari Braendel offers just that…in book form! Her fashion wisdom blended with God’s truth and perspective helps women to be good stewards of the body God has given them. Shari teaches women how to dress the body shape they have in an affordable, everyone-can-do-this kind of way!” -- Jill Savage
“While beauty within is achieved through grace and prayer and is an altogether private journey, physical attractiveness and style are critically important for self-confidence and workplace success. Shari’s book will be the ‘other’ Bible for women for years to come.” -- Kathy Helou
Meet the Author
Shari Braendel is founder of Fashion meets Faith and America's #1 Christian Personal Style Coach. She graduated from Bauder Fashion College with a degree in Fashion Merchandising and created her own image consulting firm, Images by Shari. She joined the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and became one of the most sought-after speakers for Christian women's retreats, conferences, and youth events all over the nation. Now with her own Fashion Meets Faith brand, she regularly hosts workshops for women to help them appreciate their beauty, discover their natural assets, and learn what to wear so they can look and feel their best. Shari lives with her husband, Dave, in Charlotte, NC.
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