Friday, May 02, 2014
All my life, I've been style challenged. There are women who are born with an innate sense of style. They can walk into a store and somehow instantly hone in on the two best items of clothing that will look best on their body, buy them, and walk out. They accessorize with ease. They have the gene.
I was not born with the gene.
I was also taught to buy clothes mainly on sale and/or as cheaply as possible. This might work sometimes, but it mostly meant that I ended up with a closet of clothes that didn't go together no matter how hard I tried.
So I gave up. I was young and thin, and I figured that I couldn't go wrong with the occasional dress (it goes together because it's all one piece, right?), jeans, and t-shirts. I decided that it showed how deep I was that I didn't care about clothes. I had better things to think about… like Austrian economics and my part in Britten's War Requiem. Right? Hmmm.
I got by with this for awhile. The church that I grew up in had no dress code. I wore jeans and even yoga pants on Sunday mornings. My favorite church dress code was when we lived in D.C. So many people in that church (Sovereign Grace) wore jeans on Sunday mornings. It was awesome. I loved it. (I dream of Pajama Day at church where everybody rolls up in their sweats. I would be so happy.)
And then we moved to Raleigh. I had my second baby, and then I had my third. I gained and lost weight. I gained years. And I ended up in a Bible study and a church full of women who look put together, aka "even if they're wearing jeans (which is too rare), it looks like they know what they're doing when they put an outfit together with them."
So where does that have me now? I'm not 25, and I'm no longer thin. A girl can only take so many times of strangers asking her when she's due (when she's not) before it starts to affect her confidence. And trying on 5 different styles of t-shirt in multiple sizes and not coming up with a single one that doesn't hug that mummy tummy doesn't help either.
I know, I know, my body made these babies, and I should be thankful. This is a little bit about the extra pounds around my middle, but it also isn't. I'm mainly tired of feeling like I don't fit in in a world of more stylish women. It's holding me back from reaching out (even though I know it shouldn't). I could change churches and Bible studies, but that would be super shallow, and I'm sure the problem would follow me, even if I found a church with more laid back style.
So I'm diving in. I know about research. I can do research. So I'm pinning outfits, and I'm following "Ain't No Mom Jeans." I've ordered my second fix from Stitch Fix. (Here's my first.)
Lesson number one that I learned: the power of the light sweater. I'm always cold indoors, but if I ever had anything to cover my arms in summer, it was either a white or black cardigan from Walmart. For real. You see that pile of cardigans on the shelf below? Over half of them were bought in the last 6 months. They're helping me mix up my plain shirts just a little bit.
Lesson number two: accessories are my friends. My sister-in-law harassed me into buying a light gray scarf. I'm still figuring out how to use it, but it was a good buy. She got me that red statement necklace you see above. Now I'm on the hunt for more like it. :) A pair of earrings and a necklace make me feel like I tried.
Am I doing this out of self defense? Some days it feels like it, honestly. This is one of them. But some days it feels good to think about myself. Ben is going to be 3 at the end of August. Evan just finally learned how to buckle himself into his car seat. (That shouldn't be a big deal, but it's huge in my world. I'm only buckling one child into the car. One.) My life (on some days) has a little bit of margin in it that I haven't seen in years. I can think about myself and what I look like a little more without the wheels coming completely off the bus.
So I am. It's nice. :)