“What a strange power there is in clothing.” – Isaac Bashews Singer
This month I have embarked on a challenge to wear ‘clothes’ everyday. Let me make this clear, I do not usually prance around naked, as much as my husband might enjoy it if I did. I do actually wear clothing – every… single… day. However, recently, these clothes have tended to be active wear in the morning and either a basic sundress or denim shorts with a t-shirt and my Birkenstocks in the afternoon. [You need to understand, my Birkies are way dressier than thongs, they are dressy because they’re silver!] I often wear active wear to the supermarket on my way home from the gym and have been known to leave at least some of it on until mid afternoon. I don’t look or feel my best in sweaty, smelly gym gear and usually hope I don’t run into anyone I know whilst out and about in it. Not exactly putting my best foot forward, is it?
With time on my hands for now, I’ve been doing some new things. Please don’t laugh, but last week I listened to my very first podcast. I warned you I was old school, didn’t I? Well, I wasn’t joking. It was one of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcasts – number 154: Wear “Clothes” Every Day. You can find it at https://gretchenrubin.com . Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth have decided to wear real clothes every day in February. They’re ditching their trackydacks (or sweats as they call them) and joggers and dressing up just a bit, even when working from home. To research this idea further, I headed to instagram to search #happierpodcast. Here, I found a group of ladies singing the praises of Stasia Savasuk. I followed this research lead and discovered some ideas which really made sense to me. Forgive me for oversimplifying, but Stasia believes us ordinary women should look and feel fabulous all the time, no matter what we’re doing. She advocates mixing it up and tweaking outfits to make them a bit special whilst maintaining comfort and practicality. Her instafeed includes, amongst other things, a photo of her looking fabulous with a beaming smile on her face and a toilet brush in her hand, ready to attack her cleaning chores.
Gretchen and Stasia got me thinking:
Have I let being comfortable in myself and not caring what others think go too far? Maybe.
Has my comfort dressing drained my energy and self-confidence? I think so.
Do I feel fabulous in my everyday clothes? Ummm, that’s a no.
I know I feel better about myself when I go to some effort and I know I have a wardrobe full of great clothes, so why not go to a little effort everyday, even if it is just for me?
“While clothes may not make the woman, they certainly have a strong effect on her self-confidence, which, I believe, does make the woman.” – Mary Kay Ash
My Challenge Preparation
Step 1: Remove ‘clothes that hurt’
Stasia (https://www.stasiasavasuk.com ) talks about ‘clothes that hurt’ and the importance of getting rid of them. Clothes that hurt may not fit properly, may need adjusting throughout the day, may be an unflattering colour or shape for your body or simply not make you feel good when you put them on. Well, I’ve been gradually weeding out such items, but some remained in my wardrobe. I found clothes which were too big, the wrong shape, uncomfortable, not my colour or I just didn’t love and removed them to a donation bag. (My too small clothes are already in another wardrobe patiently awaiting their chance to shine again, so I don’t have to look at them and be hurt by them daily. I am gradually fitting back into them.) My wardrobe now contains only clothes that are comfortable, practical and make me feel good when I wear them. Step one accomplished.
Step 2: Set some ground rules
I don’t know about you, but I need structure and rules, whether external or self-imposed, to feel secure. That’s just the way I am and many would say it’s the teacher in me showing herself. I decided I needed to set myself some ground rules before starting my clothes every day challenge. I’ve kept it simple with just 3 basic rules:
- Gretchen bought herself some dressier but still comfy shoes to help her achieve her goal of wearing ‘clothes’ for a month. I decided I wouldn’t make any clothing or accessory purchases during the challenge month. For me, this is about using what I already have and looking at my existing wardrobe through new eyes. I want to get creative, combine items differently and add minor details to dress up basic outfits. (Thanks Stasia for that tip.) This might mean adding a belt to a maxi dress or finding a necklace or scarf that works with my outfit – simple tweaks to look and feel better. I intend to ‘shop my wardrobe’ every day for a month and I do love to shop. This is going to be fun!
- Don’t laugh, but my second rule is that I will wear real bras outside the house for a whole month. No more ultra comfy, shapeless bamboo crops or sports bras in public. Let’s face it, they do absolutely nothing for me aesthetically and clothes actually don’t fit as well when I wear them. Sports bras are for the gym and bamboo crops are for at home only, at least for this month.
- My final rule is to make an effort by wearing some makeup. This is a big one for me, especially in summer. I use the humid climate I live in and my excessive facial sweating as an excuse for rarely wearing makeup. Sounds charming, doesn’t it? It’s certainly a challenge. I do sweat a lot even when doing very little, makeup does run off my face and when I do work, there is no air con. Let’s face it, makeup running down your face is never a good look. However, I often feel better when I wear makeup, assuming it stays put. I actually find it therapeutic to look at my face for the few minutes it takes to apply some basic makeup, as it’s the only time I do really look at myself. After all, this is the me everyone else sees, well sort of. For a month, I will apply lipstick or tinted gloss when I leave the house and keep my tea flavoured lip balms for at home. (Don’t expect to see me at the gym with lipstick, though. Different rules apply there.) I will shape my brows with powder too, as that is unlikely to sweat off. On cooler days, I will add more, but lips and brows are essential.
Step 3: Get started!
I was a little late getting started, so my clothes every day challenge will run from 3rd February until 3rd March, lasting exactly four weeks.
Stay tuned to see if I can maintain my momentum and what discoveries I will make when I wear ‘clothes’ every day for a whole month.