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81. Fashion, Intentional Style and Mother Mary — with Meghan Ashley Sokolowski

Meghan Ashley Sokolowski is a Catholic stylist and the woman behind Meghan Ashley Styling.

About the episode | Listen to the episode | Meet Meghan Ashley Sokolowski | Episode transcript

About the episode

"We're human — we need tangible things to raise our eyes to heaven." A lot of Meghan Ashley Sokolowski's work is rooted in beauty. As a stylist for Catholic women, she has the opportunity to help women develop their personal style that is unique to them while also being modest and fun. Since clothes are a necessary part of our daily life, Meghan's goal is to make styling as easy as possible so that we can put our energy towards things like further deepening our prayer life. In this episode, Meghan shares the role her older sister played in her personal faith journey, what drew her to styling Catholic women, and her love of Mary — the ultimate style inspiration.


Listen to the episode


Meet Meghan Ashley Sokolowski

Meghan Ashley Sokolowski is a Personal Stylist, focusing on specifically Catholic women. She has worked in different aspects of the fashion industry, from brand photoshoots, production and even designing her own line of men's vintage swimwear.

She recently came out with her book, The Catholic Warodbe: Musings from a Personal Stylist, in order to give a practical guide to help women discover their personal style, build their wardrobe, and incorporate the Catholic faith with the use of Sacramentals. Her favorite part of being a stylist is seeing the Look on women's faces and observing how their attitude changes when they start to enjoy what they wear.

She resides most of the year in Austin, Texas with her husband when they're not enjoying their time at their home in Provence, where she soaks up all the inspiration she can get — food, fashion, and architecture.


Episode transcript

00:00 MUSIC

00:10 RACHEL WONG: This is The Feminine Genius Podcast, a podcast that celebrates all women of God and their unique genius. I'm your host, Rachel Wong.

00:20 MUSIC

00:31 RACHEL: A lot of Meghan Ashley Sokolowski's work is rooted in beauty. As a stylist for Catholic women, she has the opportunity to help women develop their personal style that is unique to them, while also being modest and fun. Since clothes are a necessary part of our daily lives, Meghan's goal is to make styling as easy as possible. And our hope is that when we can simplify that part of our lives, we can then put our energy towards things like deepening our prayer life. In this episode, Meghan shares the role that her older sister played in her personal faith journey, what drew her to Styling, Catholic woman in particular, and her love of Mother Mary, the ultimate style icon.

01:16 MUSIC

01:29 RACHEL: Hi Meghan!

01:32 MEGHAN ASHLEY SOKOLOWSKI: Hi! It's great to be here. 01:33 RACHEL Thank you so much for being here and for sharing a little bit of your time with me. 01:38 MEGHAN: Thank you so much. I'm really excited to be with you and, yeah, this is gonna be great. I love to chat with you.

01:45 RACHEL: Awesome. Okay, well Meghan, maybe to start off, could you share a little bit about who you are and what you do right now. 01:52 MEGHAN: Yes, so my name is Megan Ashley, I run a personal styling business dedicated to Catholic women. I started a blog about three years ago after I had worked in San Francisco as a stylist for kind of like a fashion tech company, and when I moved to France with my husband I decided you know what I'm gonna do my own thing. I'm just gonna like focus on Catholic women. And yeah, it's been really wonderful, getting to help women with their look and, you know, redo their wardrobe, it can be such a cause of stress for I think like 60, 70% of women, you know. it's something so simple that you can alleviate and it's like the first thing we see when we get up in the morning so you know we can knock out one barrier of stress and frustration in our day, we can kind of dedicate our whole like head and heart to prayer and doing God's will.

02:48 RACHEL: What a beautiful approach to because like you said, as you were saying that the first thing that I thought of was just shortly after the Fall of course, Adam and Eve had to sew leaves or fig leaves to make like loincloth just to cover themselves. And just to think that, from that point, all the way to where we are now his clothes are a necessity. And like you said, we wear it all the time of course and we think about it a lot but I'm so excited to dive into this topic with you because I think just as you said it flipped a switch in my head it's like oh, there's something a little deeper here so I'm very excited to jump into that. But like you mentioned, you have dedicated this business to Catholic woman, but maybe before we jump to that I would love to hear a little bit of your own faith journey, your personal faith, and relationship with God and, yeah, well, you share a little bit of that. 03:36 MEGHAN: Sure, so I grew up in a Catholic family, Catholic elementary school, went to a Catholic High School, but it wasn't really until my sister, who is about eight years older than I, she was at Columbia University in Manhattan and she was studying chemistry, and then all of a sudden she came back from college, she was dressing a little more modestly, she was going to daily Mass so we were like, why are you going to Mass on a Wednesday? Like, it's not Sunday, what are you doing? It was very boggling to us. She eventually entered the convent in Europe after graduating. She entered the Franciscans and I just knew. Like my sister is a smart cookie, she had everything laid out in front of her and so whatever she's doing, there's something so real behind it. And so it took a little bit of time for me to kind of like get curious going and you know get on board, but yeah I think through her prayer, through her sacrifice, and obviously like my parents, and like the virtues and the faith they showed me, once I got to college I went to Catholic University [of America] , played lacrosse there and yeah that's kind of where I really got into it. So yeah, I think it was through my parents obviously but then the kind of hard conversion that my sister had was very instrumental.

04:56 RACHEL: Yeah. And that is something that I was not expecting to hear but I can imagine what a profound impact that might be and like the subtle changes in the way that she dressed and maybe the way that she carried herself and the fact that she was going to daily Mass. Do you remember what your first reaction was, when she mentioned to yourself and the rest of your family like, "hey, I want to pursue this religious vocation"? 05:20 MEGHAN: I mean in my head hearing like, I'm gonna enter the convent, like, honestly, the only image I had was Sister Act. Like, that was the only nun I knew, I mean, who knows nuns now? Like growing up in Los Angeles, I just I didn't know what that meant. And so, yeah, it was kind of like just something so different you can't really like, I mean, it sounds awful but like all I had was like the movie Sister Act in my head. And so I was really thankful because when I was in eighth grade, she invited me to stay with the convent that she was joining for like a few days and when I got there, it was totally different than what I thought. Like they're very prayerful contemplative but like when we would have dinners, it would be a joy explosion like dying laughing, so much fun, like young nuns but then like so prayerful and to the book and it was something I just had to get to know because I had no idea of what that really meant. 06:23 RACHEL: Oh wow. Yeah, like just how incredible is that and I really appreciate this idea that you were able to, you know, not only vicariously witness it through your sister but just that opportunity that you had to also join in on their community life, to stay with them and, wow, what an amazing experience to be able to do that. Oh my goodness.

06:45 MEGHAN: Yeah, very thankful for them and, yeah. 06:49 RACHEL: Yeah, and I can't imagine just how many prayers you have as well like you, your family, just through the little like powerhouse convent as well, given the fact that your sister is there so that's awesome. 06:58 MEGHAN: Yeah, cuz they really do like adopt the families of, you know, each sister that joins so even the siblings whenever they have a sister in the convent as my sister, it's like oh I feel connected to you because you know we have kind of spiritual family. 07:14 RACHEL: That's beautiful, amazing. And so given that like, you know, you have that lovely like relationship to like this Franciscan spirituality, and notice on your site as well so you have a degree in theology as well, I believe you went to Franciscan University.

07:30 MEGHAN Yeah.

07:30 RACHEL: Okay so, in terms of that where does fashion and your interest, your love for fashion, where does that come in?

07:38 MEGHAN: Yeah, super... I mean, I don't know I wouldn't have expected it going into Franciscan at all, but I grew up in LA like in high school I loves fashion, I loved all that and then I think once I've became Catholic, like seriously like daily Mass Catholic, I kind of had this like, Oh, should I be wearing these, you know, fun clothes and kind of like, I'm like nothing else matters but God it kind of like, tunnel vision. And so it wasn't until like my last year at Stephenville, I kind of have like a change in mindset and kind of reconciled. I feel like we all kind of enter the bait with this like, you know, zealous gusto and I'm going to donate everything, and so I kind of definitely went through that. But then I think God kind of helps you like okay like here's like a moderate version, healthy version of how to kind of attack everything in life. So, once I kind of got to that stage, for me like fashion it can go two routes. Like you can go into like, oh my gosh, I have to be like trendy and cool and has this like self conscious aspect to it, or you can go into like the healthy version of it, whereas, you're more in the mind frame of God is like the King of beauty. And so, to kind of do things beautifully is still like, you know, kind of take on an aspect of God. But anyway, so yeah when I was at Franciscan my last semester, I was part of the chastity club, and there was a woman who a stylist, and she was Catholic, and she was gonna have a talk there but I never went to it and I just emailed her and I was like hey like you're a stylist and you're Catholic, I don't know, just something sparked to me like a month before graduation. And she kind of led me on the path to get into fashion, and it just kind of took off it was weird because like I feel like for two years I was forcing myself to like, no I'll be a theology teacher, I'll teach high school like, I'll just do that. But then when I told people like I think i might go into fashion, everyone was like "yes Meghan!" like it clicked and it was a weird like I think it's good to like pay attention to the people around you because they know your gifts as well. So yeah, it was unusual, but so normal and right like that like switch, the last month before graduating. 09:58 RACHEL: Sometimes it's the people around us that seem to know us better than ourselves just because they have that objective, they're on the outside looking in, and I can totally relate to that we have these gifts inside of us that I think we know that we have but sometimes we either push it off to the side or we just don't want to think about it because we think about the right has something else in store for us. And I love how you put it on your website too, you know just making that logical decision to begin a career in fashion, and just like how nonsensical that could look to the eyes of the world but like you said, you know your friends were just all on board, and I'm sure that was their excitement and like just through any piece that comes like you must have felt really excited. So like you mentioned in your intro, you spent some time working for like a fashion tech startup and I'm sure it must have been interesting to go from a very Catholic Christian oriented environment and go into the throes of a secular fashion industry so I was wondering what that transition was like and what you saw is you spent some time working in the fashion industry? 11:02 MEGHAN: I mean, the San Francisco was like another bear, just because of that whole vibe of Silicon Valley. In one aspect, I think I could have done it better, I kind of just put my head down and like, went for it. But I think you know, being.., I'm 32 now, so I'm a little more assured in the kind of my way of life so I think I would attack it differently. But it's interesting because there's definitely moments where God places things in front of you like, I remember, I would always go from daily Mass, like in the early morning to write and be the first one in the office, and I had one girl come and she was like wait, you go to Mass like before work and she was like a fashion girl and she was so intrigued, she just like popped herself on my table and she was like was like talking to me about going to Mass, and God and so, I don't know, you don't have to try very hard to have those moments, because I think it's so rare to be in that kind of environment so God's like, "here you go. Just talk.". You know about the faith and you know what you normally do because it is so different, like, a Catholic person's normal life is radically different. So we don't have to like go into theological conversations, I mean that's great if we can, my brain doesn't really work. But yeah, we just talk about our life and how we live. I think it's a great moment for evangelization. And, yeah, 12:26 RACHEL: I can't stop thinking about how you were able to bring God to your colleague there. And if you weren't working, and it may even seem kind of like small like in retrospect but just the fact that you're open and you make that point to have that consistent schedule, to the point where you are the first one in the office. And like you said, it doesn't have to be a deeply theological conversation, but that opportunity that presented itself, you know, like you're saying God kind of put you in that place so that you can meet God to your colleague. How wonderful is that. 13:00 MEGHAN: I think not just going to shows like I love St. Therese and how we can be very little and just do like every, you know, 30 minutes a day just move on to the next activity and if we be faithful to that, God will plant those scenarios. Whereas I'm not someone that's comfortable to just like, take a coworker out to coffee and start talking about the faith. So just like you know being faithful to our daily routine. Yeah I God plants those instances for us and, you know all our guardian angels are all working to bring us to God and the faith, so kind of have to rely on them to to carry it on. 13:36 RACHEL: Absolutely, yeah and just the fact that He was able to just bring you through, you know, your interest in fashion and you had that background in theology as well so if the conversation were to go there like I'd imagine that, you'd still be able to have a pretty significant conversation with those that are closest to you. And I'm thinking about to like you spent the time working in the fashion industry and it must be HUGE step to set, maybe your typical nine to five, aside and then pursue something for yourself, which is what you're doing now with styling and fashion. What was that conversation like with God when it came to deciding to spread your wings a little bit, and then go into doing this for yourself, like a more personal business? 14:23 MEGHAN: I mean, it's much more of like, I don't know I think that change between being part of the company and employee and kind of building something, and then being like your only person to kind of like carry what you think God wants you to do, it kind of put my prayer life and you know I can kind of gear you up into overdrive because like you have no one else, I mean, it's like you and you have to make it happen with God. So it's kind of intimidating. I mean, my husband was a big motivating factor and kind of helping me get started. When he told me what kind of like a plan was, I was like, Are you kidding me but I'm like you know what, you're my husband, I trust you. And so, and I think that's, you know comes through from God, because you're like one when you're married, it's like a stream of grace to have his insight and so it's just kind of like a kick into overdrive I would say. 15:15 RACHEL: Because like you said, it's kind of, you know, instead of having a team to rely on it's yourself, but ultimately God that you're able to work and collaborate with and in terms of the work that you do now, because you mentioned you do a lot of styling, you work specifically for Catholic women and maybe like this is the time that like I'd love to dive into like your own philosophy of style and just why it is that you decided to work specifically for Catholic woman. 15:40 MEGHAN: I work with some young moms like trying to transition through like pregnancy and nursing and, you know, that whole complicated situation with wardrobe. But then, a big, big chunk are moms that are probably like 50 to 75, and they have spent their whole life dedicated to raising their families, every ounce of their heart has gone into their families and now their kids have left the nest, and they're like oh my gosh, I have this wonderful life ahead of me being a grandma. with my husband or, you know, wherever they are, and they're like, who am I? Like they've spent their whole life poured into other people and kind of their closet their wardrobe is kind of like the last thing they've thought about. And so those are kind of the women that I really really enjoy working with, and I find too that when I help women like, there's kind of like this other transition that, like we're changing their wardrobe but there's something else going on too, and they just start to get really like excited for your life ahead of them. It's really fascinating that clothes can kind of trigger that or bring on some other aspects of their life that they're working on and kind of like a new beginning or like just a shift in kind of where they're going with their life, and also just the practicality of being a Catholic stylist. First, there's like the modesty issue where, you know I'm always want to make my client feel comfortable with, you know how covered she wants to be or wherever she's at. And then, secondly, styling women is so personal that if we have the faith in common, that's like one barrier kind of knocked down. And so we can kind of have more of a connection, which is so crucial for like understanding who are you, who do you want to be what image are you conveying. And so just that kind of familial, almost like friendly connection with both being Catholic is definitely advantageous. 17:33 RACHEL: You know, your earlier point like I remember when you were introducing yourself and you're talking about the wardrobe and just how overwhelming it can be I think regardless of any age, like we're in this era now where just consumption is just an all time high, so we get a lot of clothes but sometimes we don't really know like how to wear it or how to style it, and I think that's where the trouble serves as we get so overwhelmed and like oh no, like what do I do. And I think that, you know, the interesting thing that comes up for me is that I think many times within Catholic circles, it comes up, and I think you may have touched on this as well where how much should we put into our appearance, especially as women like, is it vain to put in a lot of work or a lot of time into our appearance, into our fashion, should we be spending that time on something else, rather than sifting through a closet or shopping or whatnot. And I guess this isn't so much of a question but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on that because I'm sure that this is something that given the intersection of your interests, it's something that you must have thought about quite a bit.

18:39 MEGHAN: Totally. So I would say like, if we carve out, maybe three, six months of the next year and figure out okay what is my style, how do I want to build my wardrobe, what is the practicality of my life, how do I need to like just engineer my closet, so that I'm actually not thinking about it. And I love fashion and that's a hobby of mine so yeah I'll think a little bit more about it it's enjoyable for me but a lot of women, it's not that enjoyable like they just need something that works, something they don't need the stress, something they don't need to focus on. So if you really like just take the time to educate yourself or get outside help, and kind of map it out really like build it like a puzzle piece, who am I, what does my life look like and how do we make that happen with my wardrobe, you will free your headspace up so much. You'll have more time to just focus on your family to be more positive, to pray, attack your mission, to feel confident to not be self conscious. So, I am of the mindset to just take some time and figure it out so that you're not worried about it at all, because I feel like so many women are in like this like hamster wheel of stressing about our closet and what we're wearing, but like when we learn what flutters us when we learn the fabrics, the cuts, we feel great and it's not even a thought in our mind. So there's that part but then the other part I would say is to do things beautifully for God. So we can engineer wardrobe that is beautiful for God, for Sunday Mass. If you think about okay, like how do I want to dress, you know, if you're going to meet the Queen of England, you'd want to put on your best outfit so like, every Sunday we're meeting the King of Heaven. So, if we put that as our pinnacle of okay how do we want to look for that, that's a good inspiration. So I think part of it is to relieve stress, make it practical. The other part is that as Catholics, we can do things beautifully for God. So I think there's, yeah, those two aspects.

20:44 RACHEL: Yeah, and especially that last point that really resonates with me, I mean, practical, absolute like sign me up for something that is quick and easy but also it just helps me feel good. But I think that second half that you were talking about just this idea that God Himself, He created all of us in His image. He created us to be man and woman just beautiful beings, and like I think that it's true that, you know, we as ourselves like we're already so beautiful but especially like for women like we have that, you know, real feminine beauty and what are some ways that we can enhance it rather than detract from it because I'm sure that that's, it's a pretty important focus is not to like cover ourselves up to the point where we're trying to take away from the beauty, but how do we enhance it, how do we enliven it and really bring that to the centre because we are God's creation. 21:38 MEGHAN: And I think it also shows like respect for God and respect for the people who are around by dressing for that like dressing up for the you know like, if you just comfy you're like okay like you're kind of thinking about yourself like I just want to be comfortable and I want to relax, but like you know if it were like a nice outfit you're like, oh wow, this person like they're excited to see me. There's also something we can do for our neighbour. 22:01 RACHEL: Wow, I never thought about it that way. Yeah, that's a really critical point because I was just going to ask you about something very similar to that but that point that you just made about, you know, really taking the time. Yeah, like not to maybe like go totally overboard but like you say like taking that care, and appropriate time and attention to not only show ourselves that you know hey like we can also show up for God but also show up for neighbour. Just taking that time and intention to go about and show them that they are important, so we were going to take the time to get ready and prepare for an encounter with them. So I find that to be really beautiful. Thank you for highlighting that. 22:41 MEGHAN: And I think even to like it might not mean dressing to the nines or you could think about the friend of her leaving them for lunch, like, how do they dress are they more of a casual person are they more of a dressy person like how can I make them a) know that I care and b) like feel comfortable and good and, you know, inspire, but there's a level of thinking about them who they are and like, okay, how am I going to dress the kind of respect them. 23:04 RACHEL: Yeah, right. Because the other thing that I was thinking about when it comes to dressing for respect was, I'm sure, another thing that may come up with you in terms of thinking about your own style philosophy or working with particularly Catholic clients is that I know that within the rhetoric of fashion, there's always like the talk of modesty, right like modesty and chastity and you mentioned that during your time at Franciscan you're part of the chastity club, and I was curious to know from your point of view, just like what it means I think to dress modestly, chastely in a way that's appropriate. I think that the general misconception is that like you have to not draw attention to yourself, or you know kind of wear turtlenecks all the time or wear something really dull or like long dresses where you can't see your feet. And obviously, like it's a pretty poor conception of what that is because I feel like it's almost like really extreme but I was curious to know like what you thought about chastity, modesty and how it fits into fashion when it comes to thinking about Catholic woman and beauty. 24:10 MEGHAN: Yeah, so I mean I, I would think the intention like you just never want to like showboat your body like you want people to see something other than your finger, you don't a) want to make people feel uncomfortable. And I always say, a little more is better than less. So if you're ever like weary go more, but I think like you do have to have beauty like kind of in mind when you do dress modestly because it's like the intention but that doesn't mean to sound relative like there aren't the new rules. I think our common sense is a lot stronger, and we can often like talk our way in and out of things. And I think if we go with our gut, like, okay, what would I wear, if you could wear to church into Mass and it's easy to overcomplicate it like I can hardly talk about so I'm probably over complicating it. I'm just don't showcase the body it's about you know who you are, your face, it's not about, you know, your figure, all the time, or anytime. Yeah. Gosh, this is like, it's such a hard question. I'm like, butchering it. 25:26 RACHEL: No, no worries. I think the reason why I bring it up, and yeah just before you totally blew my mind about, you know, thinking about neighbours as well, is that I know that that comes up a lot when it comes to, you know, dressing a certain way, it's also like how can we be charitable to our neighbour as well and yeah, it's a tricky part in the conversation where there are conversations that come up around like you know the way that women dress and then how do men either understand it, how do they react to that and I'm sure that there are people who would say it's like well we just need to raise better boys, better men in a way that, you know, when we kind of show up, that they are going to reverence us, that they're going to respect us. And at the same time like you hear a conversation about, like, on the flip side, where it's like, well, why can't I just wear whatever I want but I feel like that's kind of the beautiful thing about where you're coming in. It's that like you said, it doesn't have to be nor should it just be all about the body and modesty is not necessarily covering up the body because we're ashamed of it, but really it's like we should be reflecting who God is to the world. Like we are tabernacles, and we know that tabernacles in our church are so they're so reverence they're covered in a certain way that it should attract people to it but, like what is on the inside versus what do we look like on the outside, I guess, if that makes sense. 26:56 MEGHAN: Yeah, yeah. Going back to like the altar and the tabernacle, like when you go to mass and the priest uses like, I don't know what the name is like the proper name but there's like that little covering that goes over, like the chalice, and the ciborium after communion, and it like usually will match his vestment. And I just think like, that's so cool, we're using like fabrics to like convey a truth about the priests in Persona Christi and in the ciborium, in the chalice is Christ and that that connection is like so amazing and I just think like, that's what like fabric you can like, like we're human, we need tangible things to like raise our eyes to Heaven, just to kind of yeah, bring it home now veiling ourselves and what are we saying with the clothes we put on. 27:42 RACHEL: Yeah, one of the beautiful things that I love when I go to Mass is to admire the vestments of the priests of the deacon and, and I think it's in His mercy, as well as in His love for us like He knows that we need those very tangible, physical signs of, like you said, you know, the fact that the priest is acting in the person of Christ, but He is there among us. We're just ordinary human beings and yet we get to participate every week in the most beautiful wedding feast. And the fact that there's these beautiful fabrics and every other part like whether it's like incense or the music, we're able to participate in that more fully, our eyes are lifted up so that we can see Him in the Mass and through all of these physical outward signs. 28:29 MEGHAN: Yeah, we're like little, we need, you know, the physical to like raise our eyes or we can use a physical like as a means to point our heads and hearts in the right direction.

28:42 RACHEL: Yeah, absolutely. Now like just with all of this like I know that you obviously you spend a lot of time working with different clients and you spend a lot of time like waking up and dreaming about and working with fashion. And I know that you also wrote a book as well like it's called The Catholic Wardrobe: Musings From a Personal Stylist and I was wondering what the inspiration was to put together a book and really to, I'm sure, put together a lot of the thoughts that you have a lot of the musings, so to speak, into like pen and paper and then of course into a book. 29:17 MEGHAN: So, I really just wanted like a practical guide. Like if someone was like, okay, like, you know, I might not be able to have a stylist, help me or shop for me but I really want to fix my wardrobe on a budget. This is like, why this book you literally put on a shelf in your closet, and you just work through it page by page, and by the end of getting through this book, you will have a transformed closet you will know how to find your personal style, you know like the building blocks of fluttering your figure. But then it also incorporates Sacramentals and how to wear the miraculous metal and the Scapular and the Marian devotion ring or, you know, however you want to like wear that to show your consecration. I'm a big advocate of sacramental. I just think like these are like streams of grace that are like right there in front of us that we can wear them. I love that like Mary just appears all over the world and she's like here, where this because I'm your Mother and you need something to know. And something I can like work through and just give you all the grace you need. So, the combination of personal style, being very practical with how to flatter your figure, build your closet, and then incorporate the faith. And one other thing I guess this would touch more upon the musings part of the book, but I just love that like when Mary appears, what she's wearing it like says something, so like her blue belts or the stars on her mantle like when she appears she uses her clothes. Like it's so cool. 30:52 RACHEL: Again like I feel like there have been a lot of just mind blowing moments for me in this conversation for me Meghan, but you're absolutely right. Maybe I need to spend more time like reflecting on that but it goes to show that every part of our faith is just so intentional and just exactly to your point there. And again, something that I've never really thought about but I think I need to pay a little more attention to is just like how intentional Mary is like when it comes to where she shows up where she appears, and what is it that these garments that she's wearing, what is it that it says. And we can say the same thing about you know like the colours of your mentioned vestments earlier so it's like every corner of the vestments, what does that convey about the current time that we are in, in the church, yeah like I can't get over just how personal and intentional, things are and it goes to show like God's love for us, the way that He approaches us is not just kind of vague or He doesn't kind of generally just shows Himself like okay like I'm here but He's very intentional, like He will think very clearly about it and it just, you know, Mary is the same, 32:01 MEGHAN: Like I read something online, and I put this in my book and I mentioned too kind of discovered this or kind of wrote about it but even like Mary back in the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant, I guess like the covenant, like blue tassel, or something and that's like when Mary has, it's connected to Mary's the new Ark of the Covenant bearing the Bread of Life. And so like that's why she has that blue around her waist, thinking like that it goes back to the Old Testament and like it's a crazy like God wraps it up with a bow, and it's amazing. 32:35 RACHEL: Amen! Yeah, the Ultimate Designer, Ultimate Creator and just from the very beginning of time and I mentioned Adam and Eve and just how they created those clothes out of practicality, but just realizing that we were made for so much more and just how He very intentionally sets things up for us so I love that so much. I guess maybe just like as we tie it all together like I was curious if you have like, any advice I think like for any woman you know when it comes to thinking about their personal style. When it comes to approaching something like that or maybe they're like worried about, how can I find that balance of, you know, clothing and fashion and modesty. All of those things like what advice do you have for women who are seeking out their personal style? 33:24 MEGHAN: I would always say like, first of course take it to prayer. Like, honestly, Mary, she is our Mother, but like, you know, spiritual and we can think of it like lofty like you know progressing in the spiritual life, but like she's also so practical. Like honestly, I find the best dresses and when I pray to Mary before I go shopping, like I think she can really guide you. I don't know I going back to St. Therese, the little way, you know, all of our little things about our life, the things we think aren't important or that we're over stressing about bring them to Mary, and then she'll just get us on the path. So, a decade of the rosary or a little Hail Mary, and she'll kind of align us.

But two parts, one would be like you have to be very practical. So if you do want to make a change you have to like write down steps how you're going to make a change to find your style or build your wardrobe. And the second is to always have Mother Mary like as your North Star. Kind of like when you walk out the room think "Okay, like what would Mary think?" I don't know, this might sound really corny, but we can't do anything without her! So yeah, just prayerfulness the Mary and God and always start it out with prayer, but then also, you know, don't use that as an excuse to not do anything and make practical steps to figure out okay what am I going to do? When people make the initiative to change, and we have like the guidance, spiritual guidance and we're good!

But also it should be fun too! Like it shouldn't be like, overly stressful, like it should be an enjoyable experience. And I think when it is fun, when it is enjoyable, that's when it's going to be a success, but if it ever feels too much, it's probably that's to like curb it for a couple months and then come back to it.

35:09 RACHEL: Yeah, Mary being the true model of the feminine genius, of feminine beauty and the feminine heart, like I can't think of a better example to follow after so I love that you mentioned her and just speaking on the feminine genius and making I'd love to hear your given all the work that you've done and I love that story that you told at the beginning of your sister and how she had her own deeper conversion to the faith and that led you to have your own. When you think about your own personal feminine genius, how have you seen that flourish in your own life? 35:44 MEGHAN: I think a big part of femininity and what I do is to nurture... like being a woman, to nurture is huge, and also encouraged. And so for myself like, to nurture I think of it as like okay, I'm going to teach someone how to find their style, how to build their closet, and to encourage is, when we're doing our style or doing fashion it takes a little boost. So you do have to like help them out and be like a little cheerleader in the corner, because it might be uncomfortable at times, but I think yeah as women like nurturing and encouraging is huge, like we have such a gift to do that. And so, those are like two parts that I've really seen me having to kind of like flux with what I do. Yeah and I think to like what you do, like, you encourage women by your podcast and you nurture by like all your teaching so this is yeah, it's cool to see how, like that's how I see nurturing encouraging and what I do but I can see it in you too. That's me.

36:40 RACHEL: Oh, thank you so much, Meghan, I appreciate you saying that. You've been, just from the time that we met almost, maybe an hour ago, you've been just a source of encouragement to me so I really appreciate that and I appreciate the work that you're doing to encourage women, to take that time to care for themselves and to recognize the beauty that is already inherent and deep within them, and just how you're able to help women grow in that so thank you so much for what you do and for your time today and just for sharing a little bit of that and those would close I was wondering if you could lead us in a prayer?

37:17 MEGHAN: Sure. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

37:34 RACHEL: Meghan, thank you so much.

37:36 MEGHAN: Thank you! It was so fun to talk to you, you're a joy. 37:39 MUSIC

37:47 RACHEL: Thanks again to Meghan Ashley Sokolowski for joining me on The Feminine Genius Podcast today. You can learn more about the work that Meghan does, as well as see some of her fabulous outfits, by following her on Instagram @meghanashleystyling and by checking out our website, I've left links to these in the episode description below.

You can stay up to date with The Feminine Genius Podcast by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we're @femgeniuspod. And you can listen to this podcast wherever you find your podcast, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other platforms. All this information can be found on our home on the web, We'll talk to you soon, and God bless, always!

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