Today, I came to a realization about my wardrobe.
As a child, I didn’t have trendy clothes and my feeling of being born in the wrong era, wrong state, and wrong figure were displayed quite plainly. In my twenties, assembling my adult self with my own money, I was first and foremost fixated on clothing that was pleasing to others or, at the very least, considered in fashion. Almost always in heels, short this, low-cut that. If my measurements were a mystery to anyone, I’d be surprised. I was so willing to present this Forever21 situation at all times that I was reprimanded twice at work. But I felt hostage to an idea that I’d never have the opportunity to present this way again and that I was supposed to.
Now, in my early thirties, I find myself feeling very different about clothing. Most days, I look like a high school art teacher or someone who’s stumbled out of bed and accidentally found themselves in an office. Ninety percent of my life is spent in clothing that drapes in soft fabrics and shoes that require very little effort to put on or take off. Comfort is the first priority and if I can manage to be on trend, bully for me.
It would be easy enough to chalk this up to getting older, and it probably has a lot to do with that. But I started this by saying that I came to a realization and that realization is this: I have plenty of discomfort on my plate every day, so I’m sure as hell not going to wear heels.
Between being risk inviting and an advocate for procrastination, I’m already on the edge of my proverbial seat when it comes to stress. People talk about doing the things that scare you or how valuable it is to be in situations you find uncomfortable, and I can’t argue against that. Embracing this life has required me to find my comfort, my reprieve, elsewhere. For now, I’ve decided that’s in 100% pure cotton and felted wool. I’ve squished myself so far into this comfy couch of attire that when I put on a pair of wedges or a nice sweater, everyone wants to know what kind of fancy presentations I must have on my calendar. They’re not wrong. That’s pretty much the only way to get me to dress that way anymore.
In reading about the fashion phenomenon that was the self-imposed uniform (a la Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Matilda Kahl) fourish years ago, I found nothing even remotely enticing about the idea. I still don’t fully like it, but I understand the need to give your brain a break on coming up with creative expressions on the daily. Because I love color and fabric, and bore easily, I doubt I’ll be able to get to a point where I’ve created a single signature look and kept to it. I’d be willing to wager, though, that my comfort habit will live another ten years at least, assuming that my stress level follows suit with the growth of my business. I may have to invest in Allbirds stock just to ensure I’m taken care of.
Instagram would have us believe that every female presenting entrepreneur is waking every morning, attending sunrise yoga, applying full-face makeup, dressing in the latest what-have-you, and then promptly documenting across social media. Maybe a good number of them do, but I can’t. And I think we’re asking quite a bit to require adherence to this 1950s sensibility of appropriate presentation as if it were the defining guideline of female success.
I, personally, don’t have the patience or the interest in the meticulous consideration it takes. I’m also pretty sure I’m not some kind of sole radical in how I actually am. I don’t think I’m the only one that lays in bed answering emails until the absolute last minute, throws on something that won’t embarrass me too much, and runs out the door while telling myself I should’ve gotten out of bed thirty minutes before.
As important as I think it is to show women in positions of power and decision-making, I don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favors by fixating only on the ones that follow the guideline. Not that you can’t love a mimosa every morning after your walk through the park with your perfectly-coiffed dog, wearing a matching collar to your bracelet. All I’m saying is that some of us aren’t that woman and we’re being socially punished because of it. After all, when’s the last time you saw a top influencer that didn’t fit the mold? Where’s the article in Business Insider about the lady who’s daily mantra is, “what was I just doing? Oh yeah!”
So, I’m going to continue to dress for my stress, keep my mind on my business, and let my dog off the coordination hook. If you ever want to meet up in sweats and have a cocktail, just let me know.