“I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn’t itch.” – Gilda Radner
In the future, while you will have a smaller body, your sense of style will not improve. For some reason God decided you didn’t need the “shopping” or “fashion’ chips in your brain (guess more room was needed for baby cuddling. Wouldn’t trade, really). However, there are a few things that you learn about clothing along the way:
- Wearing Troy’s clothes is wrong. You have rationalized that many male tops are unisex…and they can be…if you are wearing them to exercise or run to the Home Projects Store. However, they are no substitute for say…a maternity blouse. You cannot blame the x-ray tech for asking you if you could be pregnant – even though you are at 34 weeks along – when you are wearing an XXL “I’m with Goofy” sweatshirt with horizontal stripes. You don’t look preggers; you look like you’ve had one too many Dove bars (which you have. Who are we kidding? The baby needs the calcium and chocolate comes from a plant. It’s practically a vegetable).
- Just as there are no milk elves that sneak gallons of the stuff into your fridge at night, clothes do not magically appear in your closet. You have to go out and get them. Yes, you hate shopping, but you hate laundry and washing windows and you do that…mostly. Get over it and get out there.
- The key to knowing if an item of clothing is either flattering or fits is to try it on (Yes, it is exhausting and tricky with four small children. This is why God invented “I Spy” and Tick Tacks).
- Pick up a variety of styles in at least two sizes (always start with the bigger one first. Trying on a 14 when a 12 fits better is like finding a twenty in a pair of old jeans. The other way around is a depression tsunami). Even try on things that look ugly. They can often surprise you.
- OK, yes. You are a woman who is so afraid of seeing her body that she soaps up the bathtub fixtures just in case. However, when trying on clothing it is important to look at yourself from every angle. Do not only look at your face. Otherwise you’ll just keep buying the equivalent of tents with pretty collars. Take a deep breath and learn what is flattering and what is not.
- One reason you don’t go clothes shopping is you keep telling yourself that you will buy nice things once you lose the weight. Sorry, but this doesn’t work. The truth, is when you feel unattractive you tend to eat more and exercise less. The solution is to own your body at every size and dress it as well as possible. Yes, it’s not your dream bod, but it’s yours. Make the best of it – even embrace it. This will make clothes shopping less torturous.
- I have heard several times now from real live flesh and blood men that the most attractive thing about a woman is confidence. Pick clothes you feel comfortable and confident in – but don’t go the slut route. That’s not confidence, it’s desperation. Troy will let you know where that fine line is with his standard, “I wouldn’t mind you wearing that around the house…after the kids are asleep.” Hear this and you need to take it off and walk away.
- You will never really figure out what is flattering on you. You have a clothes shopping disability. Admit this to yourself and ask for help. Asking a friend with skill to go shopping with you is a win/win for everyone. They are complimented that you asked them, they almost always love shopping, so you are inviting them to do an activity they enjoy, your shopping venture is less painful because you are getting to socialize while you do it, and you will come away with some good stuff!
- Troy adores shopping (the freak) so take him along. He does have strong opinions, however, so make sure that you don’t let anyone talk you into something that you loath.
- Don’t commit harry carry if something doesn’t fit right. Remember, manufacturers are lazy. So if those jeans are way too long this is not a reflection on your legs, it is the price of mass production.
- Clothes shopping is like fishing (what I’ve heard about fishing, anyway): some days they’re biting and some days they aren’t. There will be shopping expeditions where you will find nothing. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL NEVER FIND ANYTHING. It just means that you didn’t see anything good. Please know that there will be days when you love everything you try on. These days are rare, but they’re great. Remember, if you don’t routinely throw your line in, you won’t catch anything. It’s best to go once a week or every other week. If you make it a routine, you will be more likely to find stuff.
As previously stated: when God made you a girl He doubled your maternal instincts and forgot to put in that sense of style thing (I swear that to this day, when I hear a baby cry I have a dry let down. The girls still want to feed the world). And the mall will always send you into PTSD from the years of power/marathon shopping with your mom. Still, facing the dragon is worth it when you have a closet full of functional, comfortable and flattering clothes that make you look – and feel – your best. You deserve it!
Love, Older Wiser You