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.
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!)