aka The Frazzled Mom
When someone asks me if clothes and style are important, I’d first say no. For me, clothes aren’t a means to express myself. I am not a “fashionista”, never will be. In fact, more often than not, I choose my daily outfit based on comfort more than style. Ever watched the show ‘What Not To Wear’? I’d fail. I would fight tooth and nail to keep what I wanted. I understand the mechanics behind it, bootcut helps narrow the hip or a long pointed shoe helps lengthen the legs. There are more tips, really good ones too, but I find that I just can’t. My foot isn’t made for narrow, pointed shoes. Though I do love bootcut jeans and pants. 🙂
So here’s my dilemma. When I need to look nice for a conference or wedding, what do I do? Who exactly am I dressing for? It certainly isn’t for me.
On occasion I’ll stretch my fashion wings. Just the other day I bought a nice, two inch heeled, black suede Oxford. Why? It wasn’t because it looked feminine. No. It reminded me of my favorite fictional character, Sherlock Holmes. My blue scarf and black pea coat? Yeah, another Sherlock-like purchase. When I wear them, I feel a slight boost in confidence. Paired with a slightly more form fitting black top and slacks, I feel great. Though I receive compliments, by the end of the night my muscles are sore from tension, my posture is stiff and my feet ache. Was it worth it? Meh.
Here’s the funny thing. One loooong day I commented on how my feet hurt and my son asked, “If the shoes hurt you, why do you wear them?”
That is an excellent question. I don’t have an adequate response. All I can think of is fashion requires sacrifice, right? Is there more to it than that? I laugh when I watch the movie, Devil Wears Prada. Particularly, I like Miranda’s response to Andy’s use of “stuff” when it comes to fashion.
This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of ‘stuff’.
I’m just as guilty as Andy was in that moment.
I’ve read that moms who dress in jeans and a hoodie are those that tend to put family first and them last. Those that wear clothes larger than their frame suggest they may be body conscious. It’s interesting how we view ourselves in the mirror can be completely different than how someone sees us. I understand the psychology behind it. Dressing up can uplift a spirit. But for me, it can easily smack it down, smearing it into the dirt. It’s that mirror again! If I didn’t look at it, if I’d just dress to “feel” good without looking at myself, that confidence would continue with me.
And shopping for clothes? That sucks the life out of me. The last time my husband went with me. Ugh. I was already hating it and we hadn’t even arrived at the store. It’s so rare to find not only clothes that fit perfectly, but that I actually love. I gathered a ton of clothes, piling them together and sighed heavily. I wasn’t ready to try them on. Again, I blame it on the mirror. Stupid mirror.
Recognizing my declining mood, he asked, “Ready to tackle this exercise in futility?”
I laughed. In that moment, he recognized my feeling of hopelessness and the mood altering activity I was about to face. He was doing exactly what I needed, uplifting my spirit, telling me to go into it with that mindset, with a humorous take, that helped me get through it. He was my wing-man for shopping.