A blogger (and I can’t find her/him to give credit) pointed out how our clothes serve as a canvas that we use to tell others about ourselves. Yes, I’m paraphrasing and probably poorly, but this is my take away on what I read.
The post tickled a spot in my psyche that apparently has needed to be explored for some time, so you get the benefit of my mental wanderings through my closet…past and present.
As a kid I liked jeans, shorts, pants. Even though I wore dresses ’cause that’s what girls did, I would change from my ‘school clothes’ into pants immediately upon arriving home. I didn’t analyze it, I just grabbed up what I thought was more comfortable and headed out to play.
I guess I considered myself a tomboy.
I wasn’t intentionally making a statement. I wasn’t consciously selecting an outfit. I just opened my closet door or pulled out my dresser drawer and picked up ‘comfortable’.
It didn’t occur to me that my clothes defined me. I wasn’t aware that my preferences might say something about who I was or what I wanted others to think I was.
My mother was my clothes ‘determiner’ and as a youngster I don’t remember voicing an opinion about what she purchased, although I’m certain she noticed my leanings toward casual over beauty. I think she lived with a huge sense of disappointment throughout her life that none of her 3 daughters cared much about fashion, but longed for informal and ease.
It wasn’t until high school that I remember becoming aware that I wanted to wear jeans to school on days more than just Friday. This was not typical among girls my age. They seemed to like skirts, blouses, dresses, peter pan collars, and makeup. Me? Not so much. Dresses didn’t express ‘me’.
At about the same time, I realized that the way I wore my hair seemed to reflect my personality. If I wore it down in a ‘page boy’ I seemed to be restrained, less free. Today long hair means glamorous, and maybe it did then, but it never occurred to me that I could be alluring if I kept my hair down and long. Let me pull it back in a pony-tail and I came alive! Free at last!
This is not to say I didn’t like dressing up, making sure my hair was clean and combed, and presenting a favorable image in order to attract the boys who roamed the halls between classes. But it seemed that my personality changed as I changed my clothing and/or my hair style.
This pattern has continued throughout my life, wearing ‘professional’ outfits to work, trading them quickly for what I consider comfort attire; not necessarily beautiful–but definitely cozy.
I’m still not certain what this says about me or what I’m hiding or exposing about myself. But today, I live in jeans, shorts, sweats, and pants, soft shirts and less than attractive shoes. My hair is really short and I’m more comfortable in my skin and clothes than I have ever been. Gone are the facades that seemed to limit me, showing one side from 8 to 5, and another ‘after hours.’
I’m freer to look the way I want to look, without self-imposed ‘acceptable’ restrictions dictated by someone else.
Sorry Mom, your St. John suits are now gracing someone else’s body. I just don’t have room for them in my sweatshirt and jeans filled wardrobe. Besides, those Ferragamo heels aren’t nearly as cool as my pink tennies.
As an adult I consider myself Me.