Winter 10×10 Fashion Challenge: In Which Outfits 5 & 6 Provide An Opportunity for a Little Halfway-Point Psychoanalysis

To be truthful, I’ve been feeling a little blah-ish lately — mid-winter doldrums, perhaps? And my outfits for this little wardrobe experiment have felt that way to me as well. It finally took me until outfits 5 to 6 to feel like I’m in a little of a groove.

Outfit 5 was the first time I wore a skirt. I don’t often wear skirts anymore, but I used to wear them quite often when I was younger. I suppose I still wondered if I was a “skirt person” in any way. I found this one really fun to wear, and very comfy: the neoprene material functions a lot like ponte, the zipper details were a fun punky detail and the silhouette was pretty easy. I thought pairing it with the grey sweatshirt was a no-brainer, but it ended up feeling a little too boyish for me — I wish I would’ve offset it with a simple but more feminine top, perhaps. Oh, well, I still have a few days left in this challenge for that, so I’ll probably pair it with my blue boatneck t-shirt and give that a go.

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Outfit 6 (you can see it at the top of the post) has been my favorite so far, actually, simply because it just FEELS so nice and comfy: the fleece jogger pants, from Fabletics, are incredibly soft and warm, which just feels lovely during these dull winter days. The straight and narrow cut keeps them from being sloppy, so they paired nicely with tan ankle boots during Saturday afternoon errands. I usually never wear a cardigan with sweatpants, but it kept the nice long lines of the outfit going nicely here. I also like wearing the tank, too — the white was a nice “pop” of color amid so much heavy, grounding neutrals, and the lower neckline felt really freeing and different, just a bit sexier than a plain old t-shirt.

It’s funny to talk about ‘sexiness’ and sensuality in an outfit, but part of me wonders why that is. Culturally, of course, women are encouraged to put a lot of thought into looking sexy — but often that definition of sexy is really boring, frankly. (I leafed through an issue of Cosmo last night — the new editor has gone back to the formula of “HOW TO BE HOT AND MAKE DUDES WANT YOU” that had shifted a bit previously — and thought to myself, “Wow, I am so glad I don’t have to do this, it looks exhausting!”)

Yet to pretend I don’t like the way skin feels when it’s out in the open, or just wearing something lovely-feeling against the body — or just some need to embrace your physicality as a lady, however obliquely or flamboyantly — feels puritanical and dullness-inducing. There are ways of incorporating sensuality and sex appeal into an outfit that are subversive, subtle, interesting and even challenging, and they’re all worth exploring — and it’s interesting that wardrobe challenge is making me realize this has been an ingredient missing in my outfit choices lately. I’m not sure why: maybe because being a mom is a desexifying thing, culturally, or maybe because all the other priorities on my plate that come with caring for a small child have crowded other things out. I chose a lot of my pieces for this wardrobe challenge based on their utility and functionality, but clearly I wish I had a little more flirtatiousness, frivolity or whimsy.

Of course, maybe this is part of an overall craving for spring — and a desire to shelter myself from the deep of winter. Because in all honestly, what really worked about outfit 6 after I got home was kicking off the boot, curling up in bed and reading Harry Potter with a mug of tea in hand. It was the perfect outfit for a lazy winter afternoon, and I really don’t need much more from my closet for that.

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