I was not a stylish kid. Pretty much the opposite. My shirts were baggy comfortable and I distinctly remember a pair of jeans that got hemmed with glue and that I wore way past them being highwater length. I’m sure there are pictures of those days somewhere; but because the word “selfie” let alone the ability to take one didn’t get big until I was way out of college, they are pretty easy to keep hidden. Wearing a nice fitting shirt wasn’t even on my radar, let alone getting some wardrobe of my dreams.
The Origins of Giving a Damn
I know that not giving a shit lasts well into adulthood for most people, and I applaud them. There’s no sense getting wrapped up in needing these kinds of clothes or looking this kind of way if it doesn’t make you happy and how you are now should suffice for the professional world. But for lots of reasons, some healthy and some not, I got wrapped up in actively crafting how I presented myself.
Do you know how hard that is to do with 0 direction? Really hard. How are things supposed to look? To fit? Where do I find them? How do I even know what I like? Questions for the ages, and ones I’m not even sure I’ve figured out now, or if I’ve just given up on answering all of them. Following fashion and trends doesn’t help, or at least, it didn’t help me. Ruffle sleeves? Turtle necks? Kick flares? I am 100% not into what’s “hot” right now, and also not into chasing the latest thing only to have to re-up next season. More than anything I want a uniform, a template for how I look and dress that I can apply when I go hunting for clothes that fit that mold.
The Answers to the Ideal Wardrobe
As much as there are any.
Dannielle Owens-Reid always has fantastic advice, and this video on crafting an ideal wardrobe is no exception:
In my experience, figuring out how I want to look and gathering the resources to look that way was probably a decade in the making. I learned how to sort of put on makeup. I learned what kinds of clothes I liked and didn’t like, and what clothes worked well together and what didn’t. I learned how things were supposed to fit, and wasted many hours in many stores trying on things that didn’t. I learned to get mad about the frequent “advice” to find clothes that fit the biggest part of you then tailor the rest, but not so mad that I ever taught myself how to hem my jeans or take in the sides of a blouse. I learned that liking how things looked as body-less pieces of clothing, or as clothing on models, could be and often was a totally different thing than liking how they looked on me.
I wish there was a faster way. There is a little bit, with the beauty of YouTube and the internet, but unless you find your doppleganger and they have already done all the experiments so you don’t have to, you won’t emerge with a neat little list of all the items for the wardrobe of your dreams. So you still have to run that gauntlet, however you are able to, balancing your time, money, and how much you really give a shit.
It’s okay not to care. And it’s okay to care. With this more than anything I agree with Dannielle: looking how you want to look makes you feel good, and feeling good is always a valuable investment.