Anxiety and Getting Dressed
|Photo via Love Always Hannah|
As a kid, there were so many times that I felt ashamed of the clothing that I had-or didn't have. I recognized the social ease that clothing provided to my wealthier classmates, and I guess that same shame still haunts me in some ways.
Now, as a personal stylist, I can't help but laughing at myself as I struggle, trying on outfit after outfit, becoming more and more anxious. But what I've remembered is that this is one of the reasons that I started StartCloseIn. I know that there are other women like me out there who physically panic when we're trying to dress ourselves. Usually, I have outfits lined up and picked out for the week, but where I still struggle is with the casual stuff. One night last week we were headed to dinner with friends we met years ago and hadn't seen since. It felt like I wanted to wear just the right thing, but I couldn't figure out what that was. Really, I was feeling emotional about other things in my life, and I probably would have been kinder to myself to reschedule that night's dinner and curl up with a book instead.
Then, last weekend, I panicked while choosing what to wear to a town function when the dress I had in mind ended up being too revealing only a few minutes before we had to leave. What makes matters worse is that I feel like I shouldn't be so concerned about it. Phrases like "they're just clothes" come to mind.
I'm writing about this because I have a new idea to help myself overcome this, and I think it might help you, too. Here's what I'm planning to do in keeping with July's plan to purge.
I'm going to take a realistic look at my closet. Yes, it's been pared down, but I still have things in there that I don't wear-or that I wear but I don't want to wear. I used to think that having more choices was better than fewer, but I'm coming to see that I get easily overwhelmed. Instead, my plan is to take everything out of my closet and only put it back in if the answer to each one of these questions is YES.
1. Does this fit and flatter my current body?
2. Do I have somewhere to wear this in the next month? and
3. Do I want to wear this? Is it my style?
Anything that doesn't get a YES from all three will be donated, given away, or stored. I'd like to re-visit the stored items frequently (at the beginning of each season?) to re-evaluate them. I think this will solve the problems of having things taking up valuable visible space that don't fit or don't flatter me currently ("that looks good when my X is more/less Y"), that I might someday wear but never really wear, (flapper costume, club wear) or that are not the style I want to be portraying (sad t-shirts with holes, styles that look great on other people but aren't really me).
What I've realized is that I'd rather have 10 things in my closet that I love and want to wear on my actual body to actual functions than 100 things that are perfect for someone else. What I also realized was that I went through this exact process with one of my closest friends, Hannah, back in the spring! And I thought, I really thought, that I had my own closet pared down, but it's just time for another, more brutal look at the clothes that I'm letting occupy my closet.
Even if that means that I end up with mostly black and the rest stripes, that's ok. I often pressure myself to wear color because it's summer and I should. But you know what? Stripes and black and white and gray? That's me, and I'm ready to embrace it. So here's what I want you to know: we all have anxiety around clothing and our bodies, and I'm right there with you. Also? I'd love to hear if you decide to purge in your closet, even if the clothes just move to a box under the bed. I know I'm not ready to throw away everything, either!
And, if you're in the DC area, we should have a clothing swap at my house soon. Are you game?