Clothes for a Strong Woman

The other day I watched my friend try on some new clothes.

Nearly ten years in full habit with the sisters

had changed her form,

softened and mellowed her character,

and added a layer of seriousness to her heart.

But she was still the same girl that I knew in school,

ready for fun and adventure at every turn;

ridiculously joyful.

But now a new call to serve the world

required a change of clothes.

Among a few small piles of slacks and sweaters

that serve as her first set of working clothes,

I tried to give her advice about what the modern woman wears.


The fashion show that I’ve been watching

follows a young designer who is continually praised

for creating clothes for strong women.

Ninja spy assassins and warrior princesses

are her inspiration.

Bold, confident, and a force to be reckoned with,

her woman makes a mark on the world;

she runs the company and sets the trends

or doesn’t care enough what other people think

to follow the rules of conformity.


But what can I tell her,

she whose bravery to step out into a new path

after so many years within her religious community

astounds and inspires me.

Only that her black tunic and veil

when she first donned them

were symbols of her courage and freedom.

But then, so too are these indistinct pieces of business apparel.


Oh my dear,

it doesn’t matter what you wear,

your strength itself is a enough.