I’ve gone from one style extreme to the next: fashion forward toddler (courtesy of The Mother); teenager clad in black all the time; the unfortunate college years, where I think it was telling that my psychology professor noticed my wearing-the-same-jacket-all-the-time habits; the weird 20s, when I volleyed between frumpiness and…frumpiness; and now the early 30s, where, up until recently, I was just kind of functional.
Functional happens. In the process of discovering who we are as indivduals, sometimes we forget that a large part of that involves how we look on the outside. It’s true, and it’s life. Along with the emotional you, there is the physical you. Bouncing around from one style extreme to the next didn’t really give me an opportunity to find a happy medium for the physical me, being that I spent a large part of my formative years despising my physical appearance. Another needless to say truth: self-image/body acceptance affects what you wear and how you want to present yourself. (These days, I wholly accept how wonderfully made and gorgeous I am. It’s taken about, oh, 14 years or so to come to this? But everything in life requires journeying, and this was one of many for me.) As adults and as women, the paying bills/working/my car needs another oil change?/other responsibilities can sometimes blanket everything else. For me, I wasn’t taking the time out to identify my wardrobe, my style. I was wearing whatever I believed fit and/or camouflaged me or whatever was affordable, which meant plenty of sad, loose jeans and loads of polyester. All of this came to a head one afternoon when, as I gazed at myself in the mirror, I realized that I resembled a homeless woman.
Identifying the Issue(s)
I’ve always hated shopping. I don’t know what matches. I’ve always hated trying on clothes. I assigned these things as completely natural, but when you don’t like your body, the desire to dress it up is a bit like desiring to go to the dentist, right? There is no such desire. This was the main issue. The other things were byproducts of that.
Coming to Terms with the Issue(s) (Reluctantly)
It was time to stop. Stop ignoring the real issue here, that I needed to work on 1) admitting that I had positives to accentuate; 2) wanting to accentuate them.
Long Story Short
Once I laid claim to the main issue and chose to fight it and fix it, a few other things needed to be done. For one thing, color. Black and brown had become my staples for far too long. Another thing, fit. I had to recognize that loose is not really a good thing. Yeah, a few pounds came off and that was exciting, but I’m not Stevie Nicks. She can do the flowy thing. My version of flowy just looked tenty and, well, homeless. The next: I needed to choose a style. There are a zillion style archetypes out there. Did I want to be earthy? Preppy? Sporty? (Haha) Glam? Retro?
Simply, modern and chic is for me. Less Bea Arthur, more me. I love clean and chicness and up-to-date, and that’s the style I want to have. So far, so good. Ultimately, dressing for me, accentuating those nice positives—can’t go wrong, can you?
Oh, and to deal with generally being challenged when it comes to all things shopping, I just take outfit ideas from magazines, or gaze at mannequins like a crazy person in the store. (No, they don’t come alive.) I also try things on, despite my belief that something is wrong with those mirrors in there; I worry less about matching and more about the right look and accessorizing well. So still fumbling towards style, yes, but with far more confidence and optimism than ever before. This is a good thing.
READERS: What’s your style? How did you find it?