Recently, a friend (who likes to shop more than I do) gave me three large bags full of great, almost new, hand-me-down clothes. It felt like Christmas, especially since many of them look better on me than a lot of the clothes I already owned.
Because I’m a bit of a pack-rat, I didn’t have alot of room in my closet or dresser for this windfall. So last night was purge time. As best I could, I tried to be ruthless and let go of anything that a.) I hadn’t worn for awhile, or b.) didn’t really enjoy wearing even if it was recent.
The clothes I packed up for goodwill fit into three categories:
- Clothes that are too baggy because my body has changed OR because I’d convinced myself that an overweight woman like me shouldn’t wear fitted clothes.
- Clothes that used to fit me a size or two ago, that I still really like, and that I hope to fit into again some day.
- Clothes that I never really liked the look or feel of (once I had them home from the store and on my body), or that didn’t really suit my personality, but that I felt guilty about getting rid of because I’d invested money in them.
That list says a lot about the things that I hang onto:
- Old ideas about myself and how I should or shouldn’t dress or I should or shouldn’t look.
- Unrealistic ideals about what I want to look like “some day”, coupled with dissatisfaction over how I look RIGHT NOW.
- Guilt and unhelpful attachment to choices I shouldn’t have made.
- Shame over being the size I am right now and always a longing to be something different.
- Feeling that it’s wrong to want to look my very best, and that some days I should just be satisfied with boring, poorly fitted clothes.
- The sense that if I hang onto worn out, baggy, or not-quite-right clothes, I am fitting into the image I’ve painted of myself as a frugal/earthy person who doesn’t want to use up too much of the earth’s resources for her own consumption.
- The idea that I’m supposed to dress a certain way (professional/practical/conservative/not-too-loud/not-too-sexy) to fit certain roles I have in my life and to ensure I don’t offend anyone or rock the boat.
That’s a lot of baggage I’m trying to pack away in those goodwill bags. No, I’m not idealistic enough to believe that a one-time purge will allow me to shake all of those old ideas, but I have to start somewhere.
Here are some of the new ideas I’m trying to replace them with:
- It’s okay to look great, feel great, (and maybe even a little sexy!) and enjoy what I’m wearing.
- My style is somewhere in the range of eclectic/colourful/global/bohemian/wanderer/artist – and THAT’S THE WAY I DRESS!
- I am a good steward of the earth’s and my own resources AND I appreciate and value the beauty and comfort in what the earth has provided for me.
- I look good and feel good the way my body is RIGHT NOW, even if it’s far from society’s ideals.
- It’s okay to be who I am and let that shine through the clothes I put on my body.
- Old choices are in the past and I can let them go without guilt.