there’s something about getting dressed. i never realized how much time i put into the process of outfit selection until i had a baby. suddenly not only the amount of time that i had each morning but the amount of time i had alone became non-existent. the pressure of having someone in the room while getting dressed, asking for your attention can make putting together an outfit feel impossible. i believe this to be the culprit behind moms in sweatpants everywhere. getting dressed is a luxury that many women don’t have. the thing is that i always felt that it was a luxury, and one that i enjoyed even when i drove myself crazy with indecision or self-loathing over what i saw in the mirror.
giving up getting dressed was part of a loss of identity that came with motherhood for me, and looking back it’s interesting how much is involved in losing and re-finding yourself after giving birth. postpartum bodies are soft and stretched and re-arranged and things are out of place. some of them (okay most of them) never go back. pre-pregnancy clothes rarely fit after birth and you spend so much time nursing and dealing with baby fluids and insomnia that it feels pointless to get dressed anyway. the newborn phase, the first year even, is this sort of liminal period between your pre-baby self and your new self. emotionally and physically. it’s only within the last year or so that i’ve started to feel not like my old self again but like my new self. i have always thought a lot about clothes, but having a baby made me realize how much i identify through clothes.
there was a period where i didn’t know what to wear, where i reached for things that i could hide in. this is something that i have always done, at times where i felt particularly bloated or depressed or even when i had to be in business meetings or work situations where i felt i needed to be…shielded or protected in some way. my son having autism has made it really clear when i do this. having to deal with different therapists, case workers and doctors on a daily basis has made me stop to think about what i am wearing. days where i deal with a difficult person or where i feel particularly vulnerable i dress in those ways: ways where i can hide or appear blank. days where my son has no therapy or days where i get a break, i dress differently.
what women wear when they feel like shit is something that interests me a lot. as does what women buy or consume when they feel like shit. there are periods where i buy things that i don’t even particularly like, because i feel some need to disappear: to disappear into a uniform of blankness. of baggy tent dresses made of crappy stretchy synthetic non-fabrics and elastic waists and cheap acrylic sweaters that are shapeless. or something incredibly trendy that has no practical use in my life because i want to feel present or relevant or cool again.
i find the cycles that we go through of cleaning out our closets and then not just re-filling but over-filling them again really interesting. this year i have been trying to pay closer attention to those cycles. because i certainly have cycles of cleaning out my closet, vowing a life of minimal conscious dressing and then i have times where i just want to hit the mall. lose myself in 3 floors of tightly packed brightly colored items. times where i feel a real need to have more stuff, and times where that “gotta have it” feeling overcomes me. and that is a feeling that i enjoy. i’m trying not to beat myself up so much over those times, the times where i want to get rid of everything and the times where i want to buy everything. and to realize that those times are tied to moods which are most certainly fleeting. they come and they go.
part of connecting to myself as the woman that i am now: 3 years after having a baby, after leaving my career and committing to a life of caregiving, has been spending some time in my closet. being at a point where i can take a little time to get dressed has felt like getting something back that was lost. taking the time to stand in my little closet and dig around and pull things out and try them on does feel luxurious, and fun and exciting, even when it’s disappointing.
here are some vintage or alternative takes on the soon to be trends above.
- statement t-shirts. it seems dior’s we should all be feminists t-shirts trumped (too soon?) the gucci logo t-shirts that all fashion girls have been wearing this winter, because it’s the dior shirt that is literally everywhere, while the gucci shirts are few. there are plenty of bootlegs out there. this “immigrant” t is at brown’s fashion for $84, while there are tons of we should all be feminists shirts on etsy for a song. you can get the gucci logo t for a cool $420, or buy a bootlegger on ebay for $29.
- track pants. everybody still seems to be drinking the demna gvasalia kool-aid, because track pants including the vetements juicy kind are abound. here is a pair of vintage juicy track pants for $19. i personally feel like these vintage embroidered “pain and suffering” ones are the jam. here is a vintage red juicy track suit for $49.
- stirrup pants. they’re showing up in all shades, but gilda ambrosio’s purple ones look amazing to my eyes. these vintage purple ones are pretty bang on ($36).
- vetements style denim is still around, but the next wave of deconstructed denim is “demi denim” or layered denim. these vintage layered jeans are so rad it hurts.
- puffer coats like the red balenciaga, giant marques almeida ones and the new vetements camo ones are showing up everywhere, worn off the shoulder or open like “i don’t care.” i love this vintage 70’s red orange one ($38) and this amazing oversized red one ($85). oh and here is a vintage camo puffer jacket ($87).
- shearling. holy crap, shearling is EVERYWHERE. everybody in new york is wearing a shearling coat! blame marques almeida. here is a pretty pink one ($131), a short suede number ($66), and this shaggy denim trim one is my personal fave ($51).
- as far as bags go, the jw anderson piece bag is abound, but i’m also seeing some backpacks. i love this vintage black leather backpack with ring clasp ($45), and here is a vintage pierced bag ($32). the balenciaga bazar bag is still everywhere, and i know we’re avoiding fast fashion, but style nanda did this ($46). here is a vintage mini crossbody bag ($13) because that is what everybody is doing apparently.
- last is the nearest and dearest to my heart: the dior ribbon kitten heels that everyone is freaking the eff out over. myself included. while they’ve just been shown, somehow they were spotted touching parisian streets. if you, like me, cannot wait for these to hit the population and if you, like me, do not have $813 of shoe money laying around might i suggest a couple of alternatives? firstly are these vintage dior houndstooth mules with dior logo ribbon ($75). second are these cute open toe strappy sandals with dior logo ribbon ($70). lastly might i suggest a little diy: taking a pair of black kitten heels ($40) and some dior logo ribbon ($6.99) and creating your own version.
at the beginning of the year i found myself standing in front of my closet every morning feeling wholly uninspired and experiencing the strange combination of under and overwhelment (not a word, i know). after cleaning out my closet repeatedly over the past couple of years i still felt like i simultaneously had nothing to wear and too much to choose from. so, i decided that i needed a new way to clean out my closet, one that didn’t include a pms fueled pillaging that would later be followed by a major bummer.
i decided to spend a month going through everything in my closet, putting together a different outfit every day. i told myself that if i didn’t feel like i wanted to wear it out, i would get rid of it. there were surprising moments (i still have a fair amount of fast fashion in my closet), not surprising moments (vintage makes my heart sing), moments of truth (my days of short shorts and sleeveless tops are sadly done), and realizations (i feel most confident in smartly tailored clothing). what wound up happening was that i sorta fell in love with my clothes all over again. i also felt inspired to get dressed every day, which hadn’t happened in a super duper long time. with that, i present to you 31 days of poorly lit bedroom mirror outfit selfies: