So, 2017 was kind of a rough year for me emotionally. There was relationship/family drama, financial fears galore and just a sense that certain aspects of my personal functioning that I adapted as a wee kid to feel secure and loved — overfunctioning, shutting off feelings, “keeping the peace” by ignoring anger or hurt — really weren’t working anymore. And once I realized I couldn’t be a good girl or a cool girl or a chill girl or a “nice person” just to keep people happy, the people that needed me to be those things freaked out a little. Which meant crazy upheaval and life realignment!
I needed to be fully me again. And over the course of the year, I started doing that. Not perfectly, and not all the time — but let’s just say that things that don’t belong in my life anymore are out of it, or there’s a plan in place to get out!
It feels great, but it was hard work to get there. (I read The Gifts of Imperfection A LOT. I also saw a great counselor.) But because all of my energy and cognitive bandwidth went to emotional triage, certain things fell by the wayside — like trying to be more mindful when shopping.
To be honest, I shopped more than I wanted at times. I shopped emotionally — I bought stuff I normally wouldn’t but told myself it was a “fun experiment” when really it was a way for me to daydream and escape.
(Nothing wrong with daydreams — but geez, I needed to make stories from them, not wear them!)
I got a little haphazard. Like, yes, I love sweatshirt dresses — but did I need to get four of them that were essentially variations on the same style, mostly because I FORGOT I had them? Sometimes I “threw in” a shirt or top when I was out and about at Target or wherever, because I was frazzled and dazzled.
I realized over the past few weeks that all those “little” moments of mindlessness began to add up, as I got that feeling of life being slightly overstuffed. (One of my funny little life lessons is noticing the correlation between how I feel about life and how I feel about my wardrobe.) I just felt I had a tad too much…and none of it was making me how I wanted to feel, mostly because I had lost the connection between me and clothing.
I also realized I wasn’t sure what I liked anymore vs. liking something because it was stylish on someone else. I wasn’t sure exactly how my style had changed. It was time to re-educate my eye and my heart.
So for 2018 I decided I needed to do something. Nothing drastic — that’s not my style. But something to bring a little more mindfulness, awareness and loving-but-discerning attention to my closet.
I went through some options in my mind. Another capsule wardrobe challenge? Doesn’t seem right. Shopping fast? Too draconian. Vision board? Eh, I like them for aspiration but it’s a little too “outside in” for me right now. Closet purge? To be honest, I am already pretty good at them, but this time around I need something a little slower, thoughtful and grounding.
So I decided I will do something else: I will go through and wear everything in my closet at least once. (Since I practice a seasonal closet, I will do this for fall/winter and then again for spring/summer.) And because this is about emotions, I will record why I like each piece, how I feel in them, why they work and don’t work for me. And then I’ll decide whether it stays or goes.
I decided I’ll mostly be documenting everything on Instagram, but I’ll compile and sift through major insights here. So follow me there if you want to keep up with the dailyish…and come back here for the occasional deeper dig.
The goal is to get a sense of who I am now in terms of clothes and fashion and self. What I really like. What really brings me pleasure. What suits me and why. (Or why I just don’t care!) I want to take risks again but ones that expand my sense of personal style and joy — not because the fashion industry or some influencer makes it look cool on Instagram.
I don’t want to reinvent myself or make myself over or adopt a whole new vibe — but rediscover and accept and love what is already there.
Of course, there is life, too, and part of this whole fashion detox is mirrored in my real life on a lot of levels. The thing about having a tough year, though, is discovering just how brave and resilient you are.
Bravery and resilience don’t *feel* glorious or fierce at the time you’re calling on those qualities. You feel scared, uncertain, full of doubt and fear. You feel ashamed. Like a failure. All your core wounds gape open, the ones you’ve been running from all your life. You feel anything but courageous.
It’s only afterwards that you’ve realized, “Wow…you really did a good job keeping it together.” You realized you really were brave and resilient. You’ve gone through the tunnel and come into the light — and it’s time to reacquaint yourself with you again.