So I am working hard on dressing less like a giant slob and I think it’s going well. Does anyone want pointers? Probably not, but too bad, I am going to give them to you anyway.
1. I got rid of stuff. I am still working on this, and probably will be for awhile, but the first thing I did was to get rid of all the stuff that didn’t fit or didn’t work. Some of the clothes I was VERY sad about, so I let myself keep a box of it under my bed. It was much easier for me to think of it as “going away temporarily” than it was for me to think of it as “I will never wear this adorable dress again I might as well eat all the brownies.”
2. I went shopping, with a very specific list. I have a really good idea of what silhouettes I like to wear, and what looks good on me. (If you know me in person and disagree, feel free to pipe down over there.) So armed with my list of what I thought I wanted in my closet, I sought out some of those things. Mostly on Ebay and Old Navy and at American Eagle. Not all of them were winners and probably I should have tried things on, but this is reality. I hate the mall and I have two small children. And like I said, I know that knee length skirts/Old Navy t shirts/v neck cardigans work on me. This doesn’t leave room for that suprise fabulous “I can’t believe this looks so good on me dress”, but that can come later. We were at emergency status over here.
I have a few things left I am looking for, although it’s possible that I just don’t look good in button down shirts, so we’ll see. I will probably have to spend some time looking for that and a few more dresses in actual stores or at the outlets, but I’m not really in the mood for that right now, so it’s on the back burner. If anyone has a recommendation for button downs for short curvy girls, I’d love to hear them.
3. I made myself wear the clothes. All the stuff I have now pretty much goes together, and this is where it started to get fun. I started mixing and matching it, and putting different things together, seeing what worked and what didn’t, what shoes I liked with what. And I made myself wear a skirt to some occasions when I thought “I could probably just wear jeans.” I could just wear jeans, but I have five skirts! I should wear them!
(And bonus – this whole process has made packing AWESOME. So easy!)
This is when I finally started to get excited to get dressed in the morning again. I started going to bed thinking about what I’d get to wear the next day. Instead of feeling sad about the fact that I was wearing my husbands dubiously clean Detroit Tigers shirt, I started thinking “what this shirt needs is a long turquoise necklace” or “I wonder if that tank top would be cute with this?”. Just this morning, in fact, I thought “I wish I had a cute blue jacket to wear over this outfit instead of this brown puffy vest” and then I remembered that I do in fact own a cute blue trench coat, and I wore it! I haven’t worn that thing in a year! Success!
It should also be noted that at NO POINT in this process did my husband notice any of this effort or anything I was wearing unless I said “DO YOU THINK OUTFIT IS CUTE?” so please be aware of that potential for disappointment. Dudes will, for the most part, not get that you are wearing a cute new skirt and they should comment on it.
5. I made myself accessorize, and it was finally fun instead of awkward. I think maybe it was Holly that finally inspired this? She wears tons of cute necklaces and makes it look so easy! Or maybe my Target just finally got on the ball, but I have bought five big chunky necklaces and a bunch of scarves there lately, and I finally realized that the reason I NEVER wear jewelry or accessories is because the ones I have are from 1994. Seriously, I owned all these tiny little delicate girly necklaces, when what I wanted to be wearing, what speaks to me, are big chunky long fun necklaces! Not crystal earrings from being a bridesmaid eight years ago. And so I cleaned out the jewelry bin and bought some fun necklaces and now I feel like I need more! Bring on the chunky necklaces! The Target website makes the baby Jesus cry, but here is a ridiculous picture of me wearing my latest find:
6. I officially gave myself permission to do my own thing. I have a very particular fashion aesthetic. I suspect it is not officially sanctioned as cool, this weird mix of preppy and california beach bum, but it is what I like. I do not own a single pair of skinny jeans. I LOVE madras. I do not want to buy peach colored anything. I like navy and orange and boat shoes and flip flops and wedges. I will buy anything striped, but polka dotted shirts remind me of rashes. I will never be the person in the hipster outfit of the week. And I have given myself permission to be totally ok with that. I like what I like. Who cares what anyone else is wearing?
7. I decided to be really honest with myself about how certain things look. Mr. E and I once had an epic fight because he advised me not to wear pajama pants to the movies. “For my own good.” Quite frankly, given my preference, I would wear a too big hoodie, pajama pants, and Uggs on every occasion. I am not sure I quite ready to give up my hoodie entirely, but I am entertaining the idea that it might not be as cute as it is comfy and I might want to reserve it for lounging around at home. If it made me feel great when I wore it, I don’t think I would care who thought ill of me wearing it in public, but it doesn’t make me feel great. It makes me feel as though I have given up. I might just buy a smaller size one though. Everyone needs to wear a hoodie to Home Depot every once in awhile.
8. I told myself it was ok for me to own three of the same thing. I always felt sad when my white spaghetti strap tank was in the wash. They go with so many things and I always feel cute when I have on those combinations. I never wanted to wear the brightly colored ribbed tanks sitting in my drawer, the ones that seemed SO FUN! in the store. So I got rid of the ribbed tanks and bought myself two more plain white tank tops.
9. I finally stopped spending money on kids clothes. Seriously. My kids do not need more clothing. I can barely fit the clothing they have in their drawers. Katie could wear a dress every day for two months and not repeat a single one. Based on the hand me downs from my cousin alone, I never need to shop for her again. And yet every time I walked in the hallowed doors of Target, I headed for the little girls clothing section. What a stupid habit! I have mostly stopped doing this, although I still think to myself “I wonder if I should go see if they have leggings on sale”. NO. MY CHILDREN DO NOT NEED MORE CLOTHING. Seriously. But honestly, the first time I found a necklace that I liked? I touched it, put it in the cart, then put it back, then told my husband I’d love it if he wanted to buy me a necklace like that as a present, then came home and obsessed about it, looked for a different or cheaper one online, im’ed Maggie Cheung about it, thought about it some more, and then finally went back to Target for it. Over a $12.99 necklace. And this is the same woman (me) who will throw $40 worth of children’s clothing in my cart with no second thought. Clothing my children do not need, and have not asked for. I know. Weird.
10. Doesn’t it seem like there should be a number ten here? Oh, here it is. I tried to pay REALLY CLOSE ATTENTION to what was a stumbling block for me when I was getting dressed. I started thinking “I wish I had a less boring pair of flats” and I know I don’t like ballet flats, so I started saving up for some metallic Top Siders. I felt stressed out about the fact that one of the two bras I owned was always in the wash, so I bought two more bras. It’s amazing how much less awful the process is when you eliminate things like “none of these pants actually fit me” or “I have no clean bras.”
Now I just have to work up my courage to take some pictures of myself in actual clothing. And to buy a pair of white shorts. That’s all A’Dell’s fault, that one.
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