“What does worthy of wearing mean to you?
Almost five years ago, my friend-via-Instagram, Nicole Caruso, posed this question. It was the first time I recall hearing the phrase “worthy of wearing” and it immediately gave me pause. I was less than two years into motherhood at the time. In my case, that included a rocky transition from working in an office to staying at home with my son, and often feeling a little bit lost in the process.
I had always loved fashion and personal style, but time and time again, I found myself reaching for workout clothes over the floral tops, statement earrings, and tailored dresses that made me feel most like myself. Day by day, my confidence steadily decreased, as did my sense of contentment with my season of life. Nicole’s thought-provoking question felt like a much-needed wake-up call. Did I feel worthy of wearing clothes that made me feel good? Did I feel worthy at all? I brought these questions to the Lord and found so much comfort uncovering His gentle answer: yes, I was worthy.
Over the next few years, Nicole’s reminder to women that they were worth dressing in a way that upheld their dignity and brought them joy caught on like wildfire. It went from a popular hashtag to, now, a beautiful coffee table book.
The Heart Behind Worthy of Wearing
Worthy of Wearing, releasing on May 25, is divided into three sections:
- We are Worthy of Wearing
- Personal Style in a Catholic Context
- How to Curate a Worthy Wardrobe
This progression leads the reader from the heart behind the movement, to why it should matter to Catholic women, to the practical, step-by-step tools to bring a “worthy wardrobe” to life.
Worthy of Wearing is a movement to teach you how to show up for yourself so you can carry out the mission God put on your heart at your Baptism…[it] is a mindset that gives you permission to embrace and celebrate your inherent beauty.
Throughout the first section, she brings us alongside her journey to uncovering this mission. From her preteen attempts to fit in, to the thrill and inspiration she found working in New York City, to the way early motherhood challenged her feelings of self-worth, anyone could find something to relate to in her experiences.
Applying It to Your Own Style
Thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter encourage you to apply the wisdom Nicole shares to your own life. As you reflect on them, you’ll uncover not only an updated and practical view of your style in your current season of life, but also, most importantly, a reminder of your worth as a beloved daughter of God.
Nicole shares how to own your story, invite God into this process, and identify how your clothes truly reflect (or don’t reflect) the best, most authentic version of yourself.
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What This Means for Catholics
As modern Catholic women, we experience a tension that we each have to discern: how can I live my Faith while also being an active and relevant member of society? I appreciated the way Nicole dedicated a whole section of Worthy of Wearing to this topic—one I sometimes feel I wrestle with daily. She goes right to the heart of the question: can I be a faithful Catholic and care about fashion and style?
Her bold and resounding answer: yes.
Nicole says, “Our role as Catholic Christian women is to save souls by representing Christ in our calling and making our devout life look attractive…When you embrace certain aspects of modernity (within the bounds of Catholic teaching), you make the Gospel attractive. You demonstrate that anyone can turn his or her life to Christ and still make a difference in the world.”
In the World, Not of It
Through her experiences of witnessing vibrant women—from the members of a Bible study in New York City, to the founders of Verily magazine she worked alongside as Beauty Editor—Nicole provides vivid examples of women who are “in the world, but not of it.” Complementing this idea perfectly are the joyful, beautifully styled, full-color images of women throughout the book—all Nicole’s real family members and friends.
Nicole also addresses true beauty, the difference between style and fashion, a refreshing perspective on modesty, and the importance of first impressions in evangelization. This section of the book was admittedly my favorite. It challenged me to consider the way I present myself as part of my witness (remember how Saint Perpetua pinned up her hair before her martyrdom?).
Practical Tips for Curating Your Wardrobe
A lifelong magazine enthusiast, I will never shy away from a fun list of closet must-haves. When it comes to her practical tips for curating your own “worthy wardrobe,” though, Nicole takes an entirely different approach. You won’t find a list of must-haves anywhere in this book. Instead, Nicole guides you through the challenging work of identifying what is not working about your wardrobe, identifying the aesthetic that is truly “you,” curating a collection of clothes like a stylist, and much more.
Before diving into her wealth of styling knowledge and advice, she gently invites you to consider the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs you may have in your season of life. While the continual shifting between topics like clothing and beauty to prayer and the Sacraments may sound jarring, Nicole brings them together seamlessly. I appreciated the way faith never feels like an afterthought throughout the book—it is always the core of the conversation.
Editing Your Wardrobe
This section dives deep into the practical, nitty-gritty information that can help you curate a wardrobe that truly reflects your style and works for your season of life. Nicole covers everything from measurement ratios to clothing categories, and textiles to makeup. With this information at your fingertips, you’re invited to follow Nicole’s steps to editing your wardrobe and then participate in a 30-day action plan, building the habit of dressing intentionally.
Embracing Your Worthiness
Even though I’ve been encouraged by Nicole’s ministry for years now, I closed her book with a renewed sense of excitement. From the approachable and joy-filled photos, to the practical tips I knew I could apply immediately, Worthy of Wearing delivered inspiration on so many different levels. I know it is a book I’ll return to again and again.
What does worthy of wearing mean to you? To dig into this question, find Worthy of Wearing at Sophia Institute Press and follow along with @worthyofwearing on Instagram.
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