As she stretched her arms wide out to her sides, she peered over at me with the reminder, “Now watch me, Mommy. Just watch me.”

With her head tilted towards the sky and her tutu arranged just perfectly, she began to twirl. Tentatively, her circle started slowly, but as she embraced the movement, her confidence built. She gazed down, knowing her sequined skirt swished with her, and giggled, “Do I look pretty, Mommy? Do I?”

As I gathered her in my arms, and twirled her around, I melted into the eyes of my precious four year old, fashionista daughter.

She craved beauty. She wanted to know she was beautiful. Deep down, she voiced what so many of us think.

“Sweet girl, you are beautiful on the outside, but you know the beauty that matters most to God is on the inside.”

For years, I’ve prayed that my daughters and I would cultivate inner beauty; that we would radiate the love, joy and kindness that only the Lord can grant. We know that charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, yet I ponder the ways to reconcile our desire to don cute new boots and ruby red lipstick with our love for Jesus?

My heart is set on being a woman who whole heartedly pursues the Lord, but as God’s girls, are we instructed not to worry about what we wear?

I’ve dug into the scriptures on this topic, and I can’t get past the fact that we were created to enjoy beauty, all kinds of beauty. For me, there are times I even enjoy seemingly trivial things like fashion and make up.

Scripture reminds us to not worry about what we will wear, but I believe that emphasis is on the “worry.” We are not to become engrossed with it. If we are more concerned with our outside appearance, rather than our heart attitude, than we have a problem. Yet I think we have the opportunity to allow our outer appearance to reflect our inner beauty, while having some fun with fashion, hair and make up at the same time.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made just exactly as we are, but do we convey that? Do we carry ourselves in such a way that others would believe that about us?

I’m a sweat shirt and sweat pants kind of girl. I’d be happy to just live in those every lazy day, but as I stay dressed in them, my attitude follows suit. Early in my marriage, I knew I needed to get out of my fashion comfort zone.   About four years ago on my blog, I spontaneously shared about my first Red Carpet experience in which I wore completely designer, but thrifted (second hand) fashion. I was dressed fabulously for under $20, standing right next to women who paid thousands for their outfit, and no one was the wiser. Little did I know there was a yearning from women to learn how to dress stylishly, and do it on a budget.

That birthed the on-going Frugal Fashionista series on my blog. For the first year, I struggled with it. It felt uncomfortable. I hated putting pictures of myself on the blog (and still do.) I tried to understand how the Lord was melding my love for encouraging women with my “always a year behind” fashion prowess, but He was.

As I shared seemingly superficial items on Freshening up Ones WardrobeLearning how to accessorize, or even my weekly Frugal Fashionista outfits, women became more confident. They began having fun with fashion, while dressing modestly and helping out their family’s budget at the same time.

As I think through our mission on (in)courage, it’s a home for the heart of women.

Does that allow for talking about both our inner and outer appearance? I think it does. In fact, I know it does.

God cares about every little aspect of our whole women, even down to eye shadow tips.

Last month, when some of the (in)courage girls were at the beach, we started talking about our favorite make up brands. When we got home, this note came through our facebook inbox from one of the beach go-ers,

“Totally vapid question: looking to invest in some decent eye make up….should have written down what you all were using at Hilton Head – remind me/make suggestions will you?”

What followed was one of the liveliest thread of comments we have shared in a long time. Every tip, idea, and favorite product was named. A little cheering section even began with some encouragement to try something new for those that didn’t really wear much make up. I cracked up when I read this final comment.

“I can’t tell you how helpful this whole eye thread was. I didn’t even know I wanted help.”

Sometimes being with our girlfriends is like that, isn’t it?

I love proclaiming Jesus as Lord. Pouring out our hearts and sharing our struggles openly and honestly makes (in)courage an incredibly special place, but sometimes, Jesus loving girls might just need a little chocolate and some good eye make up tips.

I know it’s a delicate balance, yet I can’t help but think that one of my heroes, Queen Esther, carried on some very similar discussions with her girl friends before she approached the King.

Do you struggle with this balance? Is it something you’ve pondered at all?

I sure would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Or better yet, if you want to continue the thread of comments from our beach discussion, “What is your biggest fashion or make up question/tip?”

We could all learn from each other, and I might just follow this up later over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Jen, a mini Frugal Fashionista shares at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, as well as her newly launched food blog, 10 Minute Dinners.

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    I really like this post. I really want to be more trendy and more fashionable (with clothes and makeup) but I don’t ever branch out due to fear of making the wrong choices. My two sisters, mom and sister in laws are super trendy and “in the know” and I always feel a little out of sorts when I’m with them.

    Oh and I agree – on days I stay in my pajamas all day my attitude follows suit!

    Can’t wait to read others comments.


      Brittnie, Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things. The easiest way to finding your style and finding things that complement you is how you feel when you try them on. If you look in the mirror and like what you see, then you’re on the right track. Anything and everything is in all depends on how you wear it and how you feel in it!

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  • Julie Garmon

    Oh, I love this post. I blogged on trying out a new shade of lipstick last week. Huge for me–a chapstick kind of girl. :-)

    My mom, sis, and grown daughters are fashion savvy–but I don’t have a clue. Weird as it sounds, I don’t like to shop because I have no idea what goes together.

    Your blog sounds wonderful!

    Blessings~ And guess what color my new lipstick is? Risk Taker!

    • Jennifer Schmidt

      Risk Taker? I LOVE that! I think we all might need to just keep a tube of that in our purse for all times. :)

  • Jennifer

    I am one of those that didn’t even know they wanted help! lol So want to step out and as you so beautifully put it… ” let our outer appearance reflect our inner beauty”. I just love that, Jen! What a great way to think about it. Looking forward to being inspired through the comments here today! :)

  • Talysa

    So true Jen…I’m actually a yoga pants gal myself. No, I have never attempted yoga in my life. ;-) We are created in His image. Creation alone speaks of His beauty. I think it is “ok” to focus on our outward appearance as long as we do not delve into the “worry”. As long as it does not become an idol in our lives. As long as we know where our true beauty and worth comes from. I personally have always wanted to know how to get those “smoky eyes.” ;-)

    • Jennifer Schmidt

      And that is the balance – not making it an idol, and understanding where our true beauty emanates from :)

      I think we all need to tackle those smoky eyes. :)

  • Stacey

    My best tip: A good foundation is worth the $$$. Every other makeup product can be found in just about any line. But foundation is worth the investment!

    (You are awesome, and I loved every little side bar chat we had at Allume. I remain one of your biggest fans.)

    • Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

      Yo. Stacey. Spill. What IS your favorite foundation? Brand, please :).

      • Stacey

        Currently M.AC. Foundation for face and body. I used Mineralize but they changed it. This new one is lighter, but you can layer. It is pretty good!

    • Jennifer Schmidt

      I’m with Robin. As frugal as I am, investing in a good foundation is completely worth it , especially as one ages (cough cough, not that I am….)

      And thank you for your sweet words!

      • Elizabeth

        So…your best foundation is… :)

  • Lynn

    I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. I think this is a balance many women struggle with, but have a hard time sharing. Inner beauty is what matters, but it is not wrong to also focus on the outer beauty as long as it does not become the most important focus to us. Balance is the key. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Amy @ Finer Things

    “I’d be happy to just live in those every lazy day, but as I stay dressed in them, my attitude follows suit. ” SO very true! It wasn’t until a friend insisted (and it was my birthday and right after having baby #4) that I try quality, designer jeans for the very first time… well, those jeans are worth every penny of the $68 (gasp!) I spent on them. Actually, they are the ONLY pair I ever wear. They look good. They feel good. And you know what? As a rather tired mom of 5 children, it’s WORTH IT to feel good. (Now if the rest of my wardrobe, makeup, and hair would just follow suit… ;)

    • Elizabeth

      Where did you get them?

  • Lisa G

    Some years ago, I found fly lady’s friend, and she pretty much rocked my world. Since teen years I wondered how others looked so put together. Knew what an outfit looked like. Dressed in a way that made them look confident. Once I started following her rules, suggestions and ideas, on a budget, sale rack, resale, etc. I get compliments all the time. Others now think I am “one of those” ladies!? I tell them my secret, and a couple have followed. The outside does reflect our inside, and my insides are affected by my outsides.

    • NCJill

      I totally second MSP! Been a member for over 5 years and learn something new every week. I was voted “best dressed” in hs many years ago, but I think most everyone needs help to stay current on a budget.

  • Randi

    I think this is one of the ways women can really come together and encourage each other. We are physical beings with eternal souls, yes our inner beauty and character is what God wants us to focus on. I think that when we become better at “putting ourselves together” physically and financially we are free to take the focus off ourselves. I find that I am more distracted by self-centered thoughts when I DON’T feel good about how I look. When I appreciate my appearance I am less distracted by me and more focused on what is going on around me. So I want to cheer on you girls who know how to help us look better and who know how to find deals etc. You do help us get over ourselves when you equip us. Thanks!

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      “I find that I am more distracted by self-centered thoughts when I DON’T feel good about how I look. When I appreciate my appearance I am less distracted by me and more focused on what is going on around me.”
      Again, it’s that delicate balance, isn’t it?

  • Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva

    Great post. I also love your necklace – where did you find that precious gem?

  • Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

    God created us in His image; I think this need to feel beautiful somehow emanates from that. HE is beautiful, so we want to feel that beauty; and though I don’t even understand what that means, I think the fact little girls are drawn to princesses is somehow seeded in the Divine.

    And you KNOW I have a thing for Princess Dresses, right? :)

    For cheap make-up, I’ve been happy with L’Oreal True Match; I use its foundation, blush and eye shadow. But I know a whole pack of people who swear by Urban Decay’s Naked eye palette…but it’s pricey and I haven’t yet ventured there yet (plus, I’m living in Germany and it’s too expensive to order right now).

  • Susan

    I struggle with looking nice on a budget but yet not have to copy everything as I’m more a classic person and don’t want dictated fashion have tos! Thank you.

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      The beauty with a classic fashion, is it’s always in style. :)

    • Beth Williams

      Try going to thrift stores, Goodwill, & garage sales. They have cute outfits on a budget. I have found several outfits in places like that.

  • janet

    i agree that putting together clothing on a budget is a form of creativity and we were made in the creators image afterall. i agree that it is a form of creating that is within all of us. looking put together helps me feel put together and it exudes a confidence.

    i also feel beautiful just the way god created me.
    god thinks that i am beautiful on the outside or he woudn’t have made me this way.
    is it still ok for me to like my natural appearance over makeup and still be put together?
    i am grateful for all that god has given me, my straight hair (at least i have hair, my eyes, (that work good) my nice teeth that make a pretty smile. i am grateful god made me the way he did. and i would be considered a 1 on a scale of 10 to the world. but i love and am grateful how god made me and that is what i want to exude. that god made me look this way and that is good. because it is he who thinks i look good.

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      “i also feel beautiful just the way god created me.
      god thinks that i am beautiful on the outside or he woudn’t have made me this way.
      is it still ok for me to like my natural appearance over makeup and still be put together?”
      Absolutely. It’s obvious just from your comment that you are a beautiful women. I love that statement, and obviously you are beautiful exactly how God made you. In my opinion, there’s nothing more refreshing than natural beauty, and I just appreciate that you feel secure in embracing that. It’s a wonderful thing.

  • Lisa

    I think little girls realize they truly are princesses….Daughters of a most high God. As we get older, it is hard to remember. But, as we do, we will act and dress the part. God doesn’t ask that we dress in the finest apparel but in the best that we have….act the best that we can. Our bodies are a gift from Him and we should likewise take care of it to the best of our ability. It’s all balanced on each other, isn’t it? Well, those are my thoughts anyway.

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      Yes, I agree, and ti’s all balance. There’s a reason that sweet little girls are princesses. They know their true value from Him.

  • Fonda

    I have never considered myself a Fashionista. My sister and daughters, on the other hand, have always had an eye for style. But thanks to following your blog the past few years, I have begun to believe that I can do it too. (It all started with your scarf tutorials…I now have several and I love the way I feel in them.) At the beginning of 2012 I knew that it was time to dress ‘better'; for myself, for my husband, and for our business. At times I have felt myself veer too far away from that ‘delicate balance’ that you spoke of…but overall, my attitude has improved and I feel better about myself. Thanks for pushing through the discomfort and being an encouragement to me and many others.

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      Oh Fonda – you made my day. I am so thrilled that in some small little way, I’ve encouraged you through this.

    • Bj

      Good point on the dressing better for your business. My husband is a business owner, and though we never had a uniform for our drivers, it was expected that they would dress well. It represents the owner, and being dirty or sloppy doesn’t show the community the true nature of who my husband is as a service provider. To me, it’s an easy transition from representing your place of employment to representing your God.

  • Kristy

    Great post, I think God calls us to be beautiful and feel beautiful about ourselves. Sometimes putting on a new lipstick or shirt does just that, it gives you the boost in your day that you need. It doesn’t make you materialistic it makes you the woman God made you to be.

  • Amanda

    My favorite fashion finds lately – concealer and scarves. Concealer because my one year old still doesn’t sleep through the night and I wake up at 5:30 am for work. Scarves because they can make an otherwise bland outfit interesting, and they draw the eye up to your face. :)

  • Jen

    Thanks for this post, Jen! I have always loved beauty, beautiful things, but felt guilty or less Jesus-y for it. (bad legalistic thinking I have broken free from) Thanks for affirming that God is the creator of all things beautiful, and He delights in our delight. Feeling awesome in a great pair of investment jeans beats cheap sweats any day! I feel more confidant, more myself, more sure. Not because my worth comes from my outfit, but feeling good about myself allows His spirit to cast light on those around me. I love this topic!!

  • Mollie

    These are good thoughts, but I think we need to be careful of the need to “put ourselves together” and the thought that we are able to through feeling better about how we look. Of course this is something we all struggle with and I’m not saying physical appearance doesn’t matter, but our worth is in Christ ALONE and we are only put together by his mercy and grace. I think saying “as long as we find good deals” or keep up with fashion and these types of things in a healthy way is fair, but to say it can help to take the focus off of ourselves and be less distracted by these things is dangerous. As women in America, our culture is constantly telling us who to be and how to look. We have to stand by each other with floods of prayer, continuously declaring the name of Jesus and His wisdom, not the world’s wisdom. It’s a battle I KNOW I struggle with, but we should keep each other accountable in that inner beauty that comes from our identity in Christ is the priority. When we’re all old and no longer able to preserve our culture’s obsession of youth and society’s standards of beauty, we will still be confident in our beauty in the Lord.

    • Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam)

      Mollie – I agree with you 100%. Our identity is whole heartedly found in Christ Alone and He alone is where our worth it found. There are too many pulls in our society to “measure up” in the beauty department and without our worth and value coming from Him, we are lost, yet that is where the delicate balance comes.

      Too many times within the church, women aren’t given freedom to embrace any kind of outside beauty, and that is dangerous as well. Fortunately for me, when I write on fashion, it’s never about “keeping up with the latest trends etc,” because I embrace the “Good enough mentality.” It never has to be perfect, but taking a little extra time for ourselves is a good thing as well.

      • Mollie

        Jen, thanks for responding to my comment! It really brought some much needed clarity for me. I totally understand what you’re saying, and I’m so glad you said what you did. I have been struggling with these concepts for a while and it’s good to have a conversation about both sides and how they can both be dangerous. Being legalistic or not given enough freedom concerning outside beauty is just as dangerous as being consumed/obsessed with it. Thanks for the post and the dialogue :)

  • Lisa-Jo@incourage

    Oh my WORD this made me laugh so hard to see that question made it into a post. First Mary now Jen – who knew a FB group of kooky sister late night chatter could inspire blog posts – love it!

    • Jennifer Schmidt

      Well, I thought of outing you, but I didn’t, until now. ;)

  • Amy

    Thank you for this. I often struggle with just this issue. I love what Ann said at Allume..”creativity is good theology”. I think we can be creative with our wardrobe and glorify God in the process. I think it’s all about our mindset!

  • Elisabeth W.

    Biggest Tip: Don’t be afraid.

    I wore a giant headband one day (hot pink) and that was the day that I got a million compliments and a lot of “I’m so afraid to…” I wore silver eyeliner, and raked in the compliments that time too. I’m an artist, a colorful girl with an outgoing personality, but while I know how I “want” to look, for a long time I was afraid to dress that way because I didn’t want funny looks or negative comments.

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  • jolene

    Well….. Seems like this message is definitely for me! Yesterday I picked up a magazine in a nail salon and read an article about how dressing up a little makes a girl feel prettier and more confident. (We all know that, but the ease and comfort of sweat pants and t-shirt are often irresistible…) Then, about 12 hours later, your message was delivered to my inbox. Yes, I’ve gotten complacent regarding make-up and dressing well, and my husband says it doesn’t matter to him. HOWEVER, I will heed the doubly impacted message, and make some changes. Thanks for posting!

    • Bj

      I think sometimes husbands don’t even realize it matters to them. But change it up once and while, and you’ll both find out it matters a lot. :)

  • Monique Harr

    *squee* is what I did when I read this post! So thank you for my early morning *squee*! I firmly believe that our inner beauty reflected in our outer beauty reflects God’s love for us and can draw non-believers closer to God. I feel more confident sharing God with others when my inner and outer beauty have meshed into one glorious light. I also firmly believe that every women is a unique creation of God and true beauty is letting that uniqueness shine. Being true to who God made us makes us so stunningly beautiful. What works for one woman may not work for another woman but that is perfectly wonderful.

    If you cannot tell I am very passionate about this topic. :)

    I could go on and on and on but I will leave with my one tip for absolute fabulousness: Skincare is the best beauty investment ever. Seconded only by sunscreen. Wear sunscreen.

    Thank you for the post!

  • Gindi

    I struggle with the same thing with my three year old daughter. I want her to know what real beauty is but still be able to relish wearing a tutu and walking around in mommy’s high heels. I think when she sees my security in my self as I age and my weight fluctuates, and as I work on it, hopefully she will know our worth comes from Christ and that it’s okay if we wear red high heels.

  • Lori P

    I love clothes and make up, but there are times when I live in my comfy sweats. I’ve tried to have a balance so that I’m setting the right example for my daughter. I’ve wanted her to learn that her appearance is important, but that her inner beauty is what is most important. She has grown into a fine young woman who allows the Lord to guide and direct her.

  • Kristina

    We all need creative outlets — whether music, cooking, painting, fashion, etc. If we treat it as a form of personal expression, not as a status thing, doesn’t that allow us to express what we are feeling inside anyway, just as a painting or a song — joy, meditation, sorrow, fun, etc.?

    • Bj

      Oh, I love this thought! yes!

  • Pinky

    I am a woman “of a certain age” but think I am very fashion forward. People always tell me I always look “so put together”. I shop mainly at Marshalls. I like to wear black pants and a colored top with a JACKET. Sometimes even black pants and top with a colorful jacket. NOT a blazer, I hate them. I have a ton of cute jackets and coats that make up my outfits. I can’t wear high hells anymore but still wear a kitten heel. I am only 5 ft. so feel much better with SOME heel.

  • Beth Williams

    I’m totally not a fashionista. I don’t wear eye make-up, just foundation & blush–maybe some lipstick. Love love love earrings. They are my fettish. I usually dress up once a week for church & then back into comy clothes & srubs for work.

    My tip is going to thrift stores or garage sales with friends. You can make a morning of it and have fun while looking at nice outfits.

  • Wendy Duncan

    Best ever is sunscreen. It will really make a difference and don’t stop at your chin or you will stress the skin on the neck and chest. I actually had a green tutu to do housework in. A princess takes care of things and I hated cleaning so I got the tutu and matching gloves. We are a beautiful part of creation; we can believe that and participate in creating beauty or deny that it’s true. When you make something beautiful, you walk in God’s footsteps and that is a good place to be.

  • Dana Butler

    Jen, I loved this post!! Thank you for the courage it took to write this…. and the courage it’s taken to provide fashion coaching on your blog. I think as women we’re sometimes afraid to “let our outer appearance reflect our inner beauty.” I, at least, have struggled with this. But I am learning… I can be beautiful and confident and yet hidden in Him and let Him reveal aspects of His beauty through me….and He is glorified and I don’t find my identity in the way I look… but in Him. Ezekiel 16 is what I’m thinking of…. “And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.” God is so ABOUT beauty…. Anyway… thanks again for this. This stuff is dear to my heart.

  • Leah

    I write a lifestyle blog with a lot of focus on fashion, and I have struggled with whether or not this is healthy, or if that is truly what God wants me to share with others. But I have come to realize that God put these passions in my heart for a reason, and to hide that part of me would just be a shame. We see God’s beauty and artistry all around us, and we too are his creations. I believe we should feel free to express ourselves with makeup and fashion, and stand as confident women. I don’t think it should be seem as a negative thing, I love encouraging women to step out and try new things. It can be so freeing!

  • Erin

    Okay, ladies. I may be too late in writing this. But have you heard of the Goodwill boutiques? There are two in my city (Austin) and I find the most fabulous treasures there. I can get get 6-10 designer items for under $70 (1 season at a time) and give my wardrobe a facelift.
    My favorite foundation is Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. The trick is in the moisture. I never realized how “old” my regular foundation made me look. This stuff gives me a dewy complexion and I just use a little concealer for red areas.
    Also…Sephora has a box set of lip glosses from 6 different makers for $25. It’ll last me 5 years.

    • Erin

      Oh, and one more thing! I have really been struggling lately with my “why” for investing in whole foods and a gym membership. I thought, “Am I vain?” But no, the truth is that I FEEL so much better when I’m at a healthy weight, with strong muscles. I don’t like how it feels when my belly hands over my jeans and my love handles push down the waist of my pants. I LOVE how I feel when everything sits just right and I can bend over without worrying that my booty is showing. I don’t need to look like a fashion model or restrict my eating so that my clothes are falling off. I just need to feel healthy.

  • Regina Jones

    what i like best about your blog is that God never said Christian women had to be plain, unattractive, simple, “played down”. Most of us think that to shine, to dazzle, to make a fashion statement, is not Godly. I believe that’s far from correct. We are representatives, and as a representative of Him, I intend on making a statement everyday. In my clothes, my hair, my makeup, etc. every part of my appearance AND my behavior. I would love to do a workshop to help some women “come out of their comfort zone” and experiement with colors, styles and find what best suits them.
    I am a faithful Goodwill shopper and I don’t dress head to toe from G Boutique.
    I use Goodwill to either anchor an outfit or accessorize an outfit. But I can’t tell you how many wonderful Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Talbots pieces I have. I couldn’t afford these clothes otherwise. And I found some of your posts on Goodwill finds exceptional! Thank you

  • Bj

    I have six children, and when people find that information out for the first time, one of the most common responses is that “you don’t LOOK like you have six children.” I have *tried to not be frumpy or let myself go. And it is a balancing act. I would love to have a shoe closet, but it’s not necessary. I love being girly, and accessories are amazing. I want to represent my husband well, and even more, my Lord. It must be working to some degree, because a few days ago, my husband thanked me for wearing what I had to church, and told me how proud he was to walk in there with me. I need to be careful that it doesn’t go to my head, but with my insecurity, it’s being more of a balm to my heart. I will say, modesty is crucial, but modest can be very cute! :) Now, anyone have any tips on keeping eye make-up in place?

  • Bj

    One more thought – don’t forget we are His temple. Imagine what Solomon’s temple was like! Obviously God was more concerned with what went on inside, but He certainly had no problem with decorating it! And I heard a rumor that Heaven’s streets are gold…If He’s made a place where what we walk on is a precious metal, then I’m confident that it’s not offensive to Him when we dress our earthly temples well.