I have a secret.
I’m not really into clothes.
Now that I have your attention, I should explain that I am not referring to a penchant for nudism. Given the choice between clothes and not-clothes, I would definitely pick clothes every time. But I don’t care much about what clothes.
That’s not to say that I don’t dress well. I have been described as “well put-together.” I manage to show up to work looking reasonably professional. But I don’t have a lot of clothes, and when I latch on to something that I feel looks “right” on me, I guarantee you will see a lot of it. I own one purse. I have a couple of pairs of black leather shoes for work that have been chosen because they can be worn with everything (or rather, I WEAR them with everything, regardless…)
I sometimes think it would be nice to have the kind of job where I was expected to wear a uniform to work, so I wouldn’t have to think about what to wear. In lieu of that, I’ve created my own ersatz uniform that generally consists of plain black pants or a plain black skirt, an equally plain black shirt, and one of an assortment of solid-colour blazers.
One of the (many) nice things about being on leave from work is that I have, for the past two and half months, existed pretty much exclusively in a black t-shirt and a pair of black yoga-capris, until the weather turned cool and I could trade in the capris for my jeans. Actually, never mind the uniform. What I really want is a job to which I can wear jeans and a black t-shirt every day. (Maybe THAT’s why I would like to be able to write for a living.)
Another nice thing about being on leave has been the discovery that, if one faithfully walks and does one’s leg-strengthening exercises daily as prescribed by the nice orthopaedic surgeon, one’s jeans suddenly start to get looser!
So when I screwed up the energy to go and try on clothes today, I found myself hating the process less than I usually hate clothes shopping. Not that I was inspired by my newfound muscle tone to go sartorially crazy—I hasten to point out that I came home with black pants and a black shirt. But they looked REALLY GOOD. And I suppose the shirt is slightly less plain than many other black shirts I have owned.
But actually, my real secret is this: I would love to be on What Not to Wear. In my heart of hearts, I would give anything to have Clinton and Stacey knock on my door, confiscate my drawer full of faded black t-shirts and tease me about my sensible shoes, and then waft me off to New York to build a whole new wardrobe from scratch. The “Cinderella” transformation story that runs through every episode totally captivates me. My favourite was a reunion episode where a group of program alumnae talked about their lives after being on the show. These women really were transformed by the discovery that they could feel good about their appearance. I don’t think that’s shallow. Actors will tell you that putting on the costume helps you become the character. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that learning how to dress your particular body well is going to make you more confident.
And I bet those New York boutiques have some really nice black pants.
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