I intended to write this “amendment” to this month’s challenge a long time ago, but boy, this month has been busy! So I’m a little late and the month’s challenge is almost over, except that I never consider these monthly challenges *over.* I consider them to be a set of tasks that I work on and explore over and over and over again. So…
I wanted to be clear about what I meant in this month’s RtL post. I entitled it Dress Beautifully, which I think might have been slightly misunderstood. I used the example of wearing my “fat pants” during my seminar in Portland and feeling insecure and (honestly) fat and ugly, and I related the story of seeing blogger Christa Taylor walk by in a beautiful dress one night and realizing that I could have saved myself the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing by just dressing nicely. I didn’t mean to imply that this challenge equated self-respect with wearing a dress. Or makeup. Or high heels. You all know how I feel about dressing for comfort. And about makeup. And high heels.
So upon thinking it over, I realized a better title for the challenge would have been the title of this post: Dress So You Feel Beautiful. Your definition of beautiful is all that matters. For me, it wouldn’t have taken much to put on a casual skirt or to wear a shirt that made me feel better about myself during my Portland trip. It wouldn’t have taken much more effort, nor would I have been uncomfortable in different clothes. In fact, I can’t even explain why I consistently choose to wear my two pairs of baggy, unflattering pants and T shirts instead of all the beautiful, breezy blouses I have or the gorgeous, comfortable, custom-made organic cotton skirts I have been investing in these past two years. Laziness? Lack of self-confidence? A little of both?
My point is: It doesn’t ultimately matter what you wear, as long as what you wear makes you feel good about yourself and how you are presenting yourself to the world. I don’t care if you like wearing sweats, yoga pants or ripped flannel shirts – or suits, pencil skirts or platform sandals. As long as you feel good about yourself, wear it with pride. And if you don’t feel beautiful, if you don’t feel that you are putting a little effort into your appearance, if you don’t feel you are presenting yourself in a way that shows your true self to the world – then change it. And it often doesn’t take much. Add a scarf. Wear a little blush. Put on some earrings. Choose a different pair of pants. Try anything.
This continues to be a challenge for me. Those baggy, ugly pants are so tempting to wear. And I do often wear them around the house. However, I’m challenging myself to take a few extra steps when I go out. Whether it was running errands or meeting friends at the coffee shop, this month I have tried to dress as if I’m going to work (and lucky for me, my work dress code is somewhat casual). I pulled out my pretty skirts and wore them with simple T shirts and added scarves or necklaces or something to spice it up. And I felt good. And I know it showed because people consistently commented that I looked nice. I didn’t need the compliments and am not suggesting that we dress for others’ approval. But the compliments reinforce what we already know when we take the time to pick clothing that makes us feel good about ourselves – that we are lovely, beautiful beings of light.
Don’t be afraid to change your closet. So many of us have set up a shrine to our “skinny selves” in our closets. Eighty percent of our clothes are what we wore in college or pre-motherhood or whenever. We are larger now and don’t like that, and so we buy a piece here and there because we have to have something to wear – but the other 80% of our wardrobe is too small, waiting around until we finally lose that weight. Screw that! I gave away my skinny pants last year and never looked back. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be that size again – but don’t dishonor who you are today. Today is all that matters when you get up and have to get dressed, after all. Don’t you, today, deserve to wear something that fits you and makes you feel good?
How are you doing with this challenge?