*Wear* have I been?!?

assorted colorful clothes hanging on rack in store

Coming up with a punny title, that’s where 😁

I’m writing about clothing shopping today – not a topic I usually pay much attention to, but bear with me, the story ends with peace, clarity, and comfy pants.

My relationship with clothing is complicated. My size changes year to year, I had limits on how I could dress at work, and well, I’m a woman and spent half my life feeling obligated to “look pretty”. Before the pandemic, I’d started to let go of others’ views about what I should wear (yay 😊 ) but the real epiphanies came during the lockdowns.

I don’t enjoy shopping, and spending money on obligatory clothes I didn’t actually like was never a priority. Living life more sustainably is important to me, so I did most of my shopping at secondhand and thrift shops. Like everyone, I had to shift to online shopping as the stay-at-home orders went on and clothes wore out or I grew out of them. I expected it to be a disaster, selecting clothes (especially pants!) from pictures of people who are shaped differently than I am. I was wrong. I’ve never been happier with my wardrobe than I am now.

Having a Uniform

I’m late to the uniform wardrobe game. Secondhand clothes are awesome for many reasons, but strengths are also often weaknesses. I’ve loved many unique pieces I found over the years, and it meant my wardrobe was always a system of mix and match. When a piece wore out – which, let’s face it, happens quickly with secondhand stuff – I’d find myself with a few other items that no longer had anything to go with. I’d move them into my group of ‘pending’ items, lonely pretty things waiting for a magical future when I’d have something to match them. I didn’t realize how convoluted the system was until it ended.

Last year, I’d bought a t-shirt dress online and found I was wearing it constantly. I worried about wearing it out too quickly, but since I’d bought it new … aha! … I could buy another one of the exact same thing. I did. This (obvious-to-everyone-but-me) strategy continued over the year, so when I found a tank top I reached for each day (at least each day that I wasn’t wearing one my t-shirt dresses), I bought two more of them. My summer wardrobe is now two dresses, a few tank tops, t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a pair of light pants. I am happy every day and I don’t have to think about any of it. My previous pretties went to my daughter who is fabulously creative putting things together. I didn’t spend much money, and I actually shop less (as in *not at all* for months now) because what I have is so satisfying, I feel no need to buy anything. For the fall, I have heavier pants, sweaters to put over tees, and tunics with leggings already, nothing else needed.

It’s hard to describe how much peace I feel looking at my closet.

tidy closet with about 40 pieces of clothing hanging and a few folded items
I upgraded from old wire hangers to celebrate.

Bonus Joy

I won a sweepstakes through one of my online purchases: $500!! And the funny thing is, I can’t think of anything I want to get with it. I scrolled through all sorts of options, but none of them look as good as the things I already enjoy. My kids are pretty happy to boost their own wardrobes, especially since they’re fully vaccinated and starting to venture out into the world again.

Another, Totally Different Bonus

When I used to try clothes on at a store, it was in a little dressing room with a big mirror. At home, I try them on in my big bedroom with a little mirror … and the mirror isn’t even visible from the spot by the bed where I open the packages. This time, my aha moment came when I put on a pair of pants that felt amazing, like these-could-be-pajama-pants-I-wear-to-work amazing. I realized I didn’t even want to look in the mirror. It didn’t matter at all what they looked like, I was going to wear them all the time.

Now, I choose my clothes based on how they feel, not how they look (except polka dots, that’s just basic science, polka dots = little smiles all over). It took me 54 years to get here, and it’s a glorious place to be!

me (54-year-old woman with brown hair) wearing a blue polka-dot dress, smiling amongst greenery overlooking blue water
POLKA DOTS

p.s. My son’s punny title was “Closet Uniformity” – pretty good, but mine’s better, right?

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