“The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.”
– Mark Twain
Ok, so I’ve decided that I’m missing a gene somewhere. That gene that makes women get all excited and giddy about shopping and dressing up and looking cutesy and all that stuff? Yeah, I don’t have that. I’m not sure what happened.
Now, I’m not saying I’m a sloth or anything. I’m generally clean and things somewhat match. Somewhat. But a fashion sense or style? Psssssh. What’s that? If it fits, I put it on. That’s about the extent of my “style.” If anyone wants to nominate me for that “What Not To Wear” show, go for it. I’m all in. Just sayin.
Now honestly, I usually don’t even think about it that much. Actually, I’m probably just too busy to think about it. My days consist of so much activity that I’m lucky if I remember to put clothes on at all before I walk out the door. So, most days, it’s really a non-issue. Most days.
But then. Then there are days like yesterday.
I unfortunately, yet again, found myself in the presence of someone who intimidates me. Anyone else have someone like that? Someone that when you’re around them, you just feel….I don’t know….small. Uninteresting. Boring. Drab. Dull. Ok, I’m out of negative adjectives. But you know what I mean, right? They seem so classy and put together and perfect and…well, pretty. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not generally an insecure person, especially when it comes to the looks department. I mean, really….Who the heck cares? But once in a while – once in a while – I guess I’m just human. And yesterday was one of those days. Which got me to thinking about this whole topic.
I came across this quote while I was researching for this blog:
My first reaction to this? Well, crap. But then….I don’t know. I started thinking a little differently about it. If my “style” says who I am without having to speak, then what am I telling people about who I actually am? What am I saying?
And here’s what I’ve decided.
My hair is in a ponytail today. What does that say? I hope it says that even though I actually woke up with the full intention of taking an early shower and spending time on straightening and styling my ‘do, instead I ended up spending a couple extra moments talking to Richard. Discussing our plans for the day…talking about work…talking about our kids and the upcoming play, etc. etc. etc. Before I knew it, time had flown by and I didn’t have time to do anything but throw my hair in a ponytail.
My fingernails aren’t manicured. What does that say? I hope it says that as a struggling single mom, spending money on manicures is a luxury that I can only occasionally afford. And besides – my hands stay so busy that I’m not sure the manicure would last long anyway. I keep my fingernails just long enough to scratch a child’s itchy back, peel a price tag off of a gift I’m wrapping, and “comb” my hair when I can’t find a brush in the clutter of my purse.
My shoes aren’t high heels. They’re flat and functional. What does that say? Well, I hope it says that I stay too busy to worry about hurting feet. I don’t have time to walk slowly in high heels when I have a million places to be. I drive over an hour one way to my job, and then leave there to go pick up kids to take them to their various activities. Or, on the days when they’re with their dad, I leave work and go running to train for my first half marathon that is coming up. These runners’ feet can’t handle being in heels all day and then pounding pavement for a few hours afterwards during marathon training.
My clothes don’t have fancy labels. What does that say? I hope it says that I value simplicity and frugality. That I know that there’s more to a person than the name sewn in at their neckline. And I’m proud to say that this same value system has passed on to my kids. While other kids are begging for name brand clothes, my kids rarely ask for new clothes and are thrilled when they get them – regardless of what store they came from. At Christmas when they were given gift cards for clothes shopping, they both bragged about the amount of items they were able to buy within their spending budget by buying items that were on clearance, etc. I think that’s something to be proud of.
Those are just a few examples.
So, like I said before – I’m not a sloth. I’m clean, I’m neat, I’m functional. But am I dressed to the nines on a daily basis? Nope. Very rarely actually. But rather than beating myself up over it, maybe I should realize that my “style” really does tell my story.
And you know what?
I think the story I’m telling might not be all that bad after all.
Your clothes may be Beau Brummelly
They stand out a mile —
You’re never fully dressed
Without a smile!
Who cares what they’re wearing
On Main Street,
Or Saville Row,
It’s what you wear from ear to ear
And not from head to toe
– Fully Dressed lyrics (from Annie) 😉