How important are the clothes we wear? Whether we admit it or not, I think we’re all aware on some level that the way we dress ourselves says something about our personality, and definitely leaves an impression upon the people that we meet each day.
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a tomboy. The cool girls were tomboys and got to play kickball with Stephen Smith and Mike Garren. And the style of the early nineties – baggie t-shirts with stripes, weird velvety-y leggings, and for some reason my girlfriends and I all wore fake Timberlands from Payless Shoe Source – lent itself well to this tomboyish look. I had Taz t-shirts, we wore
overalls, and I would steal my dad’s flannel shirts. I thought dresses and shirts were from the devil and would get in knock-down-drag-out fights with my mom if she ever tried to force one on me. It was terrible.
In junior high, “style” became this weird semi-ganster look – baggy jeans with those belts that you got with your initial on them. Jansport backpacks, covered in whiteout, which you wore on your front. Thousands of keychains. Huge hooded sweatshirts. And we scrunched our hair.
BUT this was also the age of body roll glitter, Hot Topic everything, and multi-colored mascara. And those hideous babydoll tees with oddly suggestive messages or happy faces on them.
Again, it was terrible.
Sometime during high school I learned how to use clothes to get attention from boys. I think “Clueless” had too much to do with this. Skirts that were too short, crop tops, questionable choices in bra colors under white shirts. This was the dawn of the backless shirts, pleather pants, and I figured out how to heat style my hair. But by senior year, most of us were in the “aw, the heck with it” stage, having already “dated” everyone we could date in high school, and were relegated to wearing sweatpants to school most of the time.
Going to college at UCSB, I fell in love with things like tofu, Earth Day, and drum circles. I worked at a natural cafe and fancied myself a hippie for doing so – investing in a lot of long skirts, shawls and dangly earrings. Then it was sexy things we wore downtown, treating my body terribly to try and be thin and fit into things that probably looked terrible. I was much happier after college in Santa Barbara, wearing dresses and back to the bohemian ways I pretended to understand on a philosophical level.
Teaching made me more conservative – 50s silhouette dresses, cardigans, pencil skirts….things I hoped would un-sexy me for the hormonal junior high boys I was teaching. I started wearing glasses because a mom told me I was too young and too pretty to be a teacher. I stopped going to bars and clubs, and slowly my collection of high heels dwindled down to two sensible pairs that could work at a wedding or in the classroom.
And now all I really want is to be comfortable. And not have to think too much. Maxi dresses most days, yoga pants, and owning six of the same black Target tank tops. I pray for scarf weather to come more quickly. I don’t care if you make fun of my Tevas because they support my arches, dangit. The glasses have stayed because I’m too lazy to put in contacts and too cheap to buy saline.
I went to New York last weekend, and one of the things I love so much about that place is that you can literally wear anything, and no one is going to care. I could wear an elephant suit with a tutu, and I don’t think anyone would blink. I have that kind of anonymity here in Durham, as we just moved here and I don’t know anyone. It makes me feel okay wearing the same outfit twice in a row, or going to the grocery store right after a really sweaty workout session. I really appreciate that.
I don’t know what I want my clothes to say, or what they do say. One of the things I’ve grown into is being more comfortable in my own skin and with my own preferences. I like wearing dresses, because then you only have to pick out shoes. I like wearing workout clothes, because then maybe I will work out.
But I really, really, really wish I could incorporate most costumes into everyone’s daily life. Because, honestly, THATS my favorite thing to wear.
- Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man (unpopularutopian.wordpress.com)
- Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make Make the (Wo)man (lifebeinggirly.com)
- Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make The (Wo)Man (smalltownbear.wordpress.com)
- Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man (littlegirlstory.wordpress.com)
- Princesses and Docs | Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man (ireland-ms.com)
- Too Sexy For My Clothes [Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man] (unknowinglee.wordpress.com)