I have never classified myself as 'stylish.' In fact, if it weren't for Pinterest, I'd have no fashion compass what-so-ever. The only time I really go out of my way to shop for new clothes is generally only for special occasions. Shopping to me is usually overwhelming, stressful, and overall un-enjoyable. I hate parting ways with my hard earned money, I feel like everything costs more than I think it should, I have a really hard time finding things I like, I'm completely indecisive, and when I actually manage to find something I want--it's usually not available in my size or the color I want.
I attribute most of my shopping whoa's on spending 15+ years of my life overweight and unhappy. I spent half of my life neglecting my body, ashamed and hiding it under baggy layers, going out of my way to 'blend in' so people wouldn't notice me. The 'IN' styles never fit me anyways so I rarely bothered to even try and look like the fashion models in magazines; doing so only made me feel worse about myself because I looked horrendous stuffing myself into the trendy styles. For a very long time I owned more pajama sets than actual clothes. I was in total denial and refused to shop at the stores for full figured women. Stylish wasn't even on my radar so I couldn't justify spending money on clothes I was too ashamed to wear.
Throughout the years I struggled with my weight, I conditioned myself to believe I couldn't (and shouldn't) try to be stylish and wear what was in fashion. I trained my brain to hate shopping, which really wasn't hard considering years of painful dressing room experiences. For most young girls shopping is FUN, addicting even and sometimes even directly correlates to an out of control shoe-collection; but not for me. I avoided shopping like the plague. I wore the same tattered clothes, dark colors, long shirts, and never form fitting; all in the name of avoiding the shopping experience.
When I lost the weight, I was so excited (and honestly anxious and nervous) to be able to actually be able to go into a store like Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, Express etc. and not walk out crying. I had no choice in my weight loss journey but to buy new clothes because everything was falling off of me. Don't get me wrong, I was over the moon to buy smaller sizes and feeling "trendy." That was an experience I had dreamed of for over a decade.
Even 4 years later, the stigma of shopping and anxiety still looms over my head. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot better and easier to shop now, and I've made incredible strides in regards to improving my self-esteem. Despite that though, a lot of that conditioning has been very hard to get rid of. When you spend over 15 years filling yourself with negative self-talk, those wounds take a looooooong time to heal. Maybe they never do? It's certainly getting easier with time, so I'm hoping they do. The difficult part is it's easy to look in a mirror and still not truly see yourself how you are. Itís easy to do when you're over weight and in denial, as well as at a healthy weight--but still see yourself as overweight.
In general, even today, I don't put a whole lot of effort into getting ready in the morning. I'd say I go to work most days with out make up, with out putting more than 5 minutes into my hair, and usually dress in pretty boring business casual clothes. I do not really have any quarams about that either. I go to work comfortable. I've never been the type of person to wake up early to spend an hour blow drying my hair and dolling myself up. Ain't nobody got time for that. ;) (couldn't resist). Maybe it's a result of my former negativity gradually falling to the wayside, or just me growing as a person, but lately I've been feeling the urge to put more of an effort into my appearance.
I know I'm droaning on and on... I swear I'm going somewhere with this....
I received some money for my birthday, so I figured I would spend it on myself. It's been a while since I did that. I decided to go to the mall for a new outfit, maybe a purse, and some summer sandals. What happened next was 2.5 hours of PURE TORTURE! I will just say #1: skinny jeans are not my thing #2: I need to reset my expectations for costs #3: I need to bring people with me when I shop from now on. I left the mall so unbelievably disappointed and frazzled. I scoured the mall and just could not find anything I 'had to have.' I couldn't make a decision what I wanted, and $20 for Payless sandals was outrageous! I was so discouraged I figured it was best to cut my losses and give up. Maybe another day I'd be in a more productive mood.
I went back to the mall and purchased some of the things I found the day before and decided to just go for it. I even managed to pick out a bathing suit I was actually really happy with! Talk about a non-scale victory! Taking a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, I think I managed to put together some pretty cute outfits and got a great deal on some stuff too!!
Here are some photos:
Getting to the point:
I went to work the next day, wearing one of my outfits, wearing make up, with my hair done... It took me an extra hour to get ready. The only reason that happened was because I went to work late due to a dentist appointment at 9. Normally this mama, who has two kidsto get off to school prior to 7:30 Monday through Friday doesn't have time to do. Apparently I looked a lot different as I got a lot of comments and compliments. Several people asked if I had a job interview, and one person told me I looked like Summer Glau from Terminator (the TV show). That was a first.
One co-worker in particular told me I should wake up early every day and do this because I look so much better, and it's a shame to let my 'cuteness' go to waste.... I laughed and said thank you... I think? That was meant as a compliment, right? She felt so bad for the rest of the day back peddaling saying she didn't mean to sound like normally I don't look good. I felt bad that she felt so bad because I know she didn't mean it like it sounded.
The comment truly didn't offend me, and knowing her she absolutely meant it in the nicest way as a compliment. It was actually more of a welcomed reinforcment and reminder for me to take better care myself. I've lost the weight, and I feel great! Iit's high-time I start dressing the part. And don't get me wrong, I have branched out since I lost the weight. But I needed this reminder to keep moving forward. I'm no longer the girl hiding behind baggy clothes and it's time to ditch her hang ups about shopping. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the hardest part of this journey has not been losing the weight, it's been repairing the damage to myself. I really didn't realize just how deep my weight troubles went when I began this journey 5 years ago. Slowly but surely though every day I'm erasing the bad and replacing it with goodness. Though I don't know I'll ever be comforatable with parting ways with my hard earned money, or pastel colored skinny jeans. :) What can I say, old habits die hard. ;)