Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Fashion, the New Health Issue
Once my head got above water, and I started to breathe again. I decided that I needed to think about myself more. I needed to realize who I had become because I was no longer a career person and was now a stay at home parent. Just like food and exercise, my self-awareness had become a part of my life that I had neglected for some time now. I know that most people don’t think that fashion is a health issue. I agree. It is not, but feeling good about yourself is a health issue.
After researching about the proper foods and running my heart out, I still felt lost. Sometimes I ran so hard and so far that I felt that I was trying to run away from or to something. When I finally bought a cool and functional running outfit, things started to click for me. I missed the fashion in my life. And if I missed it, maybe other mothers were in the same boat.
Getting a wardrobe together isn’t easy. Life is overwhelming enough for us, and most of us just don’t have the time nor budget to make mistakes. Hopefully, my experiences can help make your life easier. There is definitely an inner strength when you look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.
The clothes you wear reveal things about you to the public that you may or may not be aware of. It is always important, but not detrimental, what you wear because people naturally look at you and come to some sort of conclusion. Why not take the time to make sure that you succeed in setting the impression that you want. None of us are perfect. But how can you feel good about yourself, when you walk out of your house looking dishevelled?
Yes, we have exceptions, when it becomes more important for your children to be in school on time, than getting your outfit just right. You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to be a slave to fashion to be stylish. All you have to do, is sort it out.
Think about it. What is your style? Are you yoga laid back? Are you city chic? Are you a part-time professional? Or are you plain Jane, just wanting to wear new clothes. Or, perhaps just like all of us, our bodies changed and our old clothes don’t fit anymore. No shame in that. Bodies change; dispositions change and so does our lifestyle. Being a mother involves change and adaptation.
Here is how I have learned to set myself up and teach other mothers to do the same. I have limited space, yet an extensive wardrobe. It is simple, and you can do it too. Organization is a key element of having control of how you look and feel.
Focus on sections of your closet at a time. It takes time to build a working wardrobe. Time to make physical changes and time to make psychological changes. If you do too much, too fast, you will be overwhelmed and turned off. Clean out the shelves first, then the hanging clothes, work in that sort of direction. Being organized is a mindset.
Let it go. Clutter brings you down, move on. Clean out your clothes. I know that you have heard it before, but just do it. Plain and simply, if it is worn out and/or does not fit properly get rid of it immediately. Give it to charity or the garbage man. Don’t be a prisoner of clutter. Stop wasting your time and energy on things that don’t work for you. Look at your new space. Now you have made room for the new you, the mother.
Identify what is missing. What do you want to wear that you don’t have? I like nice outerwear. I hate wearing my “rain” gear when it rains, but the reality of North Vancouver is that I have no choice. So I look for the best-quality jacket in the most complimentary colour to add to my wardrobe. This is an investment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t spurge on some fun items, just not too many. I prefer a few great items that work for my lifestyle, so that I don’t have to spend all my morning time thinking about clothes. I have set myself up to succeed.
Edit your wardrobe consistently. Every 3-6 months when you see something you don’t like, put it aside and revisit it upon clearance time. I am not saying throw everything away. I am saying periodically think about your wardrobe and then don’t think about it everyday.
Find your favourite shops. Who has time to window shop anymore? Find the stores that sell the styles that you like and have the sizes that make you look good and only visit those shops. If you are consistently not finding what your are looking for, then take it as a sign and try something new. Yes, in the beginning, it takes time, but in the end, you will be happier with your purchases. Eventually, you also will figure out when they put things for sale.
I have been doing this for years and have now stared teaching my daughters. When you go to the shops, try many things, but only buy the one thing you like most, that you need. Don’t buy three of four items, just because they are on sale. Save that money for indulgence. When you really like a sweater, but it is not on sale yet. Love your clothes and they will be good to you.
A wardrobe does not have to be a prison sentence. Find the colours that work for you. And play around with combinations. Buy few cheap trendy items for fun. An expensive item must have quality, flexibility and be flattering, no exceptions. Buy all year round items that work with seasonal items like long sleeve T’s, a great pair of jeans. Take the time to get the fit right. You are worth it.
Having control over your identity and changing your persona based on your priorities and moods is empowering. No one needs a lot of clothes. A great wardrobe is made with variety. Wearing the same thing twice is not a sin. The challenge is to wear the same thing differently. If you find something that you like, keep it and use it. Don’t save it. I believe there is agelessness with reinventing yourself. Do it in stages and don’t try to do it in one day? Embrace it.
Think of a wardrobe as an investment in your image and well-being. It is not about what people think of you nor being better than anyone else. It is about how you feel about yourself. Don’t try to be perfect. We don’t use the word perfect in our family, because that concept does not exist and therefore, impossible to live up to. Our best and good enough, works for us.
One of the best seeds that I can plant in my children, is that they should always try to be good to themselves. Hopefully, when I allow myself some indulgence, they can learn about self-esteem.
Mattie a la Mode
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