The Uniform

Essentially, that’s what it felt like, a uniform. 

My go to outfit.

My routine was to go to Walmart (because they were the only store that had a 5X) and find the least hideous thing that would fit me. 

All I cared about was being comfortable. 

I had a certain idea when looking at a garment whether or not I would find it comfortable. I didn’t like things to cling to me, or pinch, or be too short waisted. 

I could tell from looking at something whether or not it was going to work, and I didn’t like to try anything on, because I never liked how any of it ever looked.

So once I found something that wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen, I would just buy it in every color in which it was available. 

If I found a shirt that fit the bill, I would have five of them. 

Same thing with pants. I always had to have an elastic waist. 

It was my uniform. 

I had given up. 

I had no desire to wear make up, or to even to do anything with my hair. I wore my hair in a bun most of the time, and I just made sure that all my clothes were neat and tidy. 

I wore the same shirt and the same pants in different color match-ups pretty much everywhere I went. 

I only had a few pairs of shoes, and they were all flip flops and Crocs. I was what you you would call “fashionably challenged”.

I remember seeing something in a store window once when I was shopping with friend, and commenting that I liked it, to which she replied “Really? That doesn’t seem your style.” 

I pondered over that statement for quite some time before I realized, that in the 10 years that she had known me, she literally had no idea what my style was- because nothing I ever wore had reflected it. 

Did I have a style? It was a provoking thought.

So, you can imagine, that when it came time to buy a new wardrobe after losing the first 100 lbs, I wasn’t exactly ahead of the game. 

The only thing I knew for sure was that I was desperately in need of a bra fitting, and a make-over.

I didn’t get too daring, or start to think about coming out of my comfort zone until I was pretty close to my goal. I was reluctant to buy all new clothes until I was close to the weight I was going to stay at, so the Goodwill and I were good friends throughout my entire weight-loss journey. 

But even though I have found some very cute things at Goodwill, I really just wanted to be able walk into a store that had not formerly been accessible to me, and be to be able to buy something off the rack.

So when the time came, I took myself to the outlet mall, and I walked in to ‘Loft’. It was the first store that I had seen that appealed to my inner fashionista.

It was a very overwhelming experience. 

Like over-the-top overwhelming.

I had never had that many choices before.

I was frozen in place trying to decide where to go.

The room started spinning, and  I was completely clueless. I quickly backed out of there like the place was on fire. And then, after ducking into the Dress Barn to hide, a very nice sales woman came up and asked if she could help me. 

A few moments must’ve passed because she leaned in to my line of sight and asked again, “Is there something I can help you with?”

I stared at her blankly, and said “Honestly, I have no idea. I need clothes.”

She smiled, “What’s your style?” to which I replied, “I don’t know yet. Because the last time that I was able to see something that I liked, and then actually wear it…I was in high school.”

I had no idea what would look good on me, or what I would like, or what my “style” was. 

I mean, I was 43, and there had been about two decades worth of style that had passed me by. If I was going to make up for lost time, then I might end up being dressed in some retro 90’s grunge attire that would be strangley outdated.

Now I was starting to wonder if what I picked out would even be appropriate for my age. Hmmmm.

Who cares?

I always thought that was a ridiculous sentiment anyway. It shouldn’t matter what age you are, you should dress to express yourself. 

But I still needed a starting point, and I knew that I needed help. And help me she did.

I certainly learned a lot about myself that day, and hopefully going forward the learning curve will be much more adaptable.

And now, after a lot of trial and error, I am pleased to announce that I left did in fact leave there that day with the basic beginnings of an actual wardrobe. 

I finally know what I like, I wear what I want, and it feels amazing! 

I never even knew how much I liked shoes until I had all of those outfits to buy shoes for. 

And for the first time in my life, I feel confident, that if someone were to look at me, and how I am dressed, they would actually be able to tell what my style is.

My style is “happy”, my style is “healthy”, my style is “ME”!

(and a few pairs of totally adorable rockin’ boots that I wear every chance I get!)

3 thoughts on “The Uniform

  1. I can totally relate. Every time I go down a size now my style changes a bit. I am encouraged by your strength.


  2. That’s so true and you know for me at 57yrs. I’m always wondering if I’m dressing too young? I still love the doc martins, and leggings long tunics . I also wonder if I was dressing too young but it’s what I love and it comfortable too 👍🏼 Thank you for the inspiration 👊🏽

    Liked by 1 person

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