I love my friend Ella! We’ve been friends since we bonded over our love of New England, makeup and matching accessories while studying abroad in the South of Spain. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know that she also dresses me on a regular basis and is helping me discover the joy of shopping my own closet! (No small feat!) She’s started her own personal styling business, Start Close In, and I love her perspective on style and clothing. I asked her to share her thoughts on a topic she and I have talked about quite a few times.
Why do we wear clothes we don’t love?
We hold on to clothes that we don’t love the way we feel in because we’re afraid that we’re the problem-not the clothes. We’re afraid that there isn’t a better option-that we won’t feel beautiful in anything. So instead of getting rid of things that don’t fit, don’t flatter, and don’t inspire, we hold on to them. What if we can’t find anything better, we think, and we don’t have anything? What if we are just left with what we perceive as the reality-that we are the problem, not our clothes. We think of it as our bodies not being the right shape or size instead of the clothes not being the right shape or size for our bodies. There’s a fine line between making a plan to build a healthier body and denying the body that you currently occupy in the hopes of some day looking different. Instead of honoring our current bodies with clothes that emit the message that we want them to, we punish ourselves with shapeless, sad, or too constricting clothes. We convince ourselves that our clothes do represent who we are: I’m not someone who cares about that, we say. What is “that?” Is it true to take it to the extreme and say, “I’m not someone who cares about….myself?” I like comfortable clothes, I like casual clothes, or I don’t have to dress up for my job. Is that the number one thing that we want to project: I’m a comfortable person? It matters more to me to be comfortable than to be _____ (professional, sexy, powerful, beautiful)? Few of us would put on our resumes that we are a casual person, yet we send that message to everyone around us.
“It’s just clothing,” I hear my inner voice fighting back, and maybe some of your voices, too. But, it’s not. Clothing is incredibly personal because it’s so wrapped up in all of these things about identity and our thoughts about the past as well as our hopes/fears/desires for the future. That’s some of what I love about personal style. It’s the chance to capture a moment in time, a chance to be as at peace as possible. Yogis say current moment, only moment. Clothing is the embodiment of that. It’s the chance to say, honestly, what do I have in my closet now? Today. What fits-now? Where am I going and how do I want to portray myself to the world?
Everything that doesn’t fit that image or the current body shape that you are living in, put it aside. I know, I know. We are also frugal and as women taught to conserve resources so you don’t have to throw it away. Wash it, fold it nicely, and put it in a box. Take it out in a few months and see if it fits where you are then. For now, put it away.
Everything else that’s left is where you can play. I have some suggestions and inspiration for how to shop your closet on my blog, and you can search on pinterest by item of clothing, too. Green pants you actually really kind of like but aren’t sure how to wear? Put that in the Pinterest search bar and see what other people have done with their green pants.
“But, Ella, what if there’s nothing left?” First, I doubt that there will be nothing. There will likely be some basics-black t-shirts, a pair of jeans, things like that. But if there is truly nothing, then you can go shopping-try on as may things as you can and don’t buy anything until you feel the way that you want to feel in it. Bring a friend who has snacks and patience to spare, and ask her beforehand to hold you accountable to your vision of yourself. Or, you can always call me.
Who you are today is beautiful. Who you are today is valuable. Who you are today is worth dressing up. Who you are today is worth celebrating.