So in fairness I’ve been comprehending this a lot longer than just today. In fact the last few weeks it’s been on my mind. Over the weekend I reread The No-Brainer Wardrobe for the third time. It has inspired me to slowly rework my wardrobe, mostly because most of the time I feel just plain blah. (More on my attempts to work through Frumps to Pumps later). My children are 4 and almost 18 months and most days find me in my workout shorts, sports bra and t-shirt, with the intentional of actually exercising, but it rarely happens.
I’ve struggled with my weight somewhat since I weaned my son, mostly because I don’t like to diet. Frankly I don’t like to weigh myself either. For the first time, I’ve finally started to buy my husband’s philosophy that it’s just a number. But I do want to be healthy and feel good in my own skin. Part of that is trying to work regular exercise back into my life. The other part is actually getting dressed, preferably in clothes that are comfortable, and look good on me.
Why is it so hard to get dressed?
I got into an unfortunate habit of putting on what I call temporary clothes. Most mornings I roll out of bed as my kids are both waking up and wailing for attention. I try to at least run a brush through my hair, pull it back in a head band and throw on some clothes, any clothes. Anything that wasn’t what I wore to bed the previous night would do (even if it was something I would usually wear to bed).
I told myself that once the kids were settled with their breakfasts I would dash back upstairs and put on “real” clothes. But most days it didn’t happen. Other days I would get up early to exercise, but not have time for a shower before my husband leaves for work and I never change out of my workout clothes. The hot weather was not motivating. Why bother to look nice when I’ll be sweaty and gross in an hour or so?
My wardrobe is also sadly lacking in stylish tank tops, mostly because we only have a month or so of really hot weather in our area, and at least some of that time is spent in overly cold air conditioned locations (my car not being one of them). So during the super hot weather I ended up wearing the same four or five tank tops, most of them barely being suitable as workout wear, let alone be seen in public in.
I have made an effort in the last year to update my wardrobe with a few pieces I love. I’m realizing that my style is a little bit complicated. I don’t like a lot fuss, though I like feeling put together. I love jewelry and having lots of pieces that coordinate with different outfits. (So when I put on a particular outfit I immediately know what goes with it without having to think). But some of the pieces I really like (like bangle bracelets and large dangly earrings) are just not practical for me, at least at this stage of my life.
I think the one of the hardest parts for me is trying to feel at least somewhat “in style” while still developing your own personal style. I had become a jeans and t-shirt girl (when I could find jeans that fit), not so much because I wanted to be, but because other things didn’t feel practical. In fact, even when I had nice clothes that I did like I found myself saving them for special occasions for fear of ruining them in the everyday grind.
Our family budget for clothing was small, most of it going to my kids. I’ve also made my peace with the fact that I almost always require a petite size. This makes the selection considerably smaller, more expensive and shopping second hand very difficult.
I was never someone who had a lot of shoes. (My husband would disagree with this, but he has no idea how atypical my small collection is by comparison). I don’t own any shoes that aren’t brown, black or on a rare occasions white. I tend to buy shoes when I need them, and not having much money they end up being cheap and uncomfortable. On the rare case where I find a pair I love that are in my price range, they usually fall apart quickly because I wear them all the time. Plus, I had certain shoes I wore to work (more than four years ago), most of which have now seen better days, and everything else was sneakers.
Last winter I got tired of wearing sneakers to church so I bought a pair of wedges, really comfortable mary jane flats and some clogs. I realize clogs are really cliché, but I wanted a brown shoe that wasn’t a clunky laced boot (which is what I previously had) that I could wear with jeans, corduroys or khaki’s, basically a step up from sneakers. I do regret it a little bit now, but they are still really comfortable and I wear them a lot.
I also wanted some attractive tops for church that fit we really well. I discovered a feature that I love in almost all clothing now; faux wrap and ruching. I don’t actually want shirts or dresses that wrap (with my luck my kids would manage to unwrap them in a public place). But the faux wrap with a v-neck and some side ruching is really flattering. If it’s the right fabric, it is comfortable and if the cut is just right it makes me look slimmer too. I now own four wrap shirts (two short sleeve, 2 elbow sleeve), two faux wrap sweaters and two long sleeve dresses as well. I love finally having solid practical dresses with longer sleeves for winter. These dress up or down really easily and I absolutely love them. I even took a risk on a bright color, which is unusual for me.
So I’m in the process of developing my own personal style. I’ve decided that I like scarves. I used to knit decorative scarves to go with some of my outfits when I was working, mostly by necessity, my office was cold. But also because I enjoyed the kind of bohemian look that went with them. Now my style is much more minimalist and preppy, but I’m learning to embrace accessories. I read somewhere that an outfit should have at least 3 pieces to feel put together. So when I’m just wearing jeans and a simple t-shirt, a scarf can really dress it up.
So please join me on this journey. If you’ve never read The No Brainer Wardrobe, I recommend it. It will help you learn to only buy and keep clothes you love and avoid purchasing items just to have something to wear. As moms we spend tons of time pouring out into our kids lives and so little time on ourselves. Don’t feel the need to dress like someone else or even replicate trends. Find clothes that look good on your body, are comfortable and that you generally enjoy wearing.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be providing updates on my progress towards a functional wardrobe that makes me feel comfortable and confident; including reviews of chapters of Frumps to Pumps as I work through it.