Remember the good old days when you were pregnant with hyperemesis gravidarum and only had 4 kids (including a breastfeeder) to get ready for 8:30 am Mass? Yeah, me too.

It was probably around that time that I came to the realization that I was wasting way too much time, money and effort on church clothes and developed a plan to help me keep my sanity and tame the budget a bit. I knew that we would always dress for Mass because this is the one hour a week where our work is simply to be in God’s presence and worship Him. Other days Mass fits in around our work, but on Sunday, Mass is our work.

So I decided, based on our budget, the season, and where we lived (Hawaii in the picture), we would choose one set of appropriate Sunday church clothes for each of us. That set of clothes was worn for Mass and then came home and was hung in my closet. Shoes, socks, undershirts and handkerchiefs were kept in a box in my closet where the kids couldn’t reach. If clothes were dirty, I washed them Monday and ironed them on Saturday night while I watched a movie. Usually, they did not need to be washed. Now, on Sunday mornings when we are scrambling to get ready, there are no fights about what to where and no ‘one shoe blues’. We can dress in about 15 minutes in a drama free zone. Ahhhhhhhh.

Those general guidelines have now become streamlined into me buying at most 2 sets of church clothes a year, a Christmas set and an Easter set. Here’s our list:

100_0605Boy–Christmas (also worn on Holy Thursday)

  • winter church shirt
  • white undershirt
  • winter church pants (often navy chinos)
  • belt
  • patterned church socks
  • black church shoes–no laces
  • tie (opt)
  • handkerchief

 

100_0592Girl–Christmas (also worn Holy Thursday)

  • winter church dress
  • sweater
  • slip
  • tights
  • black boots or shoes (because we don’t live in Hawaii anymore)
  • handkerchief
  • hairbow
  • veil
  • earrings and other jewelry

 

 

easter2

  Boy–Easter

  • spring church shirt
  • white undershirt
  • spring church pants (or same navy winter pants)
  • belt
  • patterned church socks (makes them easy to find in the wash)
  • black church shoes (because black shoes look good when they altar serve)
  • tie (opt)
  • handkerchief

Girl–Easter

  • spring church dress
  • spring sweater
  • slip
  • white church shoes
  • tights or fancy socks
  • handkerchief
  • hairbow
  • veil
  • earrings and other jewelry

We also keep at least one set of daily Mass clothes. These are nicer than play clothes but I do let the kids play in them. We go to Mass once mid-week, and the kids wear these all day.

Daily Mass Clothes 

Boys: Solid polo style shirt, nicer jeans, chinos or chino shorts, every day shoes unless altar serving. No holes or stains.

Girls: Casual dress or nicer shirt with a skirt and every day shoes. No bare shoulders or knees.

Holy Week

Holy Thursday: last day for Christmas clothes. Shirts and dresses are laundered and placed in the hand-me-down closet.

100_1364
The Good Friday clothes also work for a variety of more formal occasions where there will be food. Like a promotion for example.

Good Friday: Boys wear daily Mass shirts with Christmas bottoms, girls wear daily Mass clothes. Christmas bottoms are laundered and placed in hand-me downs unless they are being used for Easter too or they are showing “praying knees”.

Easter: New Easter clothes

This has made shopping much less stressful for me. Across Advent or Lent (often sooner because I love thinking about it), I have weeks in which to assess kids’ clothes, decide what ‘look’ I want for the holiday, pin ideas, and spread out the purchasing. And while clothes for a large family are never going to be inexpensive, it’s much easier on my budget than the old method of buying multiple outfits. In fact, I often will buy one Ralph Lauren shirt for a boy at a higher price knowing it will be worn 26+ times this year and by tons of younger brothers. In this way, I balance expense against value. Cheap pants that pill in 2 weeks and can’t be handed down are not cheap because they are a bad value! Usually, I do my shopping for the boys at LandsEnd. For the girls, hand me downs from my sister with awesome taste, Lands End, Hanna Andersson, or I sew it myself. (Hmmmm, spellcheck doesn’t recognize ‘sew’. I try not to either.) Since we are short on the girl side and my girls can’t really wear the same clothes, I make sure to bless some other large family with what we have.

Ash Wednesday is next week which gives me plenty of time to tuck the Easter clothes planning and sewing in without it becoming a Holy Week near occasion of sin crisis. And so do you.

 

 

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