We went shopping last weekend. S needed new shirts for work and I figured we’d give C one more try at finding clothes that fit her tiny but long body. And of course it was BOGO at Old Navy which was good motivation too.
It was going swimmingly until we realized we were short one item for true BOGO savings. Scott suggested I get something for me.
Given the fact I ran a fashion blog in my past life, you would think that I would jump at this chance, and run through the store finding great items in seconds. But no. I stood paralyzed in the middle of the store.
How do you find something to wear that is functional (when breastfeeding a hungry little monkey), flattering (when carrying some extra dough) and feels like me (when thinking about “me” hasn’t been a priority in weeks)?
It turns out a large part of my identity is wrapped up in my career, as I managed to be drawn to the only pencil skirts in a inventory of clothes made for weekend and not work.
At least that problem isn’t new. This isn’t my first year where my job is to sit at home. I spent a year in a home office crafting a thesis. True, I spent 10 hours a week working in a public sector office, had a regular meeting schedule with my advisor, and of course found many excuses to go to campus (the library, the bar) but the bulk of my week was spent at home.
I found that year difficult to dress for as some days I would wear pajamas and other days I would wear business suits. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground.
Sure, I tried for a middle ground every time I hit a store. I’d look at t-shirts, cotton dresses and shorts. But every time I thought to myself “I could even wear this to work!” I would then switch into professional mode and end up buying yet another tweed skirt and, if I should be so lucky, a sweater that might also work with jeans on a casual work-at-home day.
Of course that never happened.
So yet again I found myself in a predominantly casual store, eyeing up the one pencil skirt in the store. While it very likely could have at least been washable, it wasn’t the best choice. And without a legitimate excuse like “I’ll wear it when I go back to work in a year,” (because I will definitely have lost the extra dough by then right?) I had no choice but to settle for something that would actually fit my life, body, and identity now.
Yes,settle. I can’t say I really love the shirt I bought, but it works. It just took a little creative re-thinking on my part. While I couldn’t say “this will also work at the office ” as is my habit, I could say “this will be great to wear to take C to the doctor.”
Let’s face it, the last year I spent at home proved I am a pajamas kind of girl when I can be, so why force myself to be different, especially since it seems to be part of my identity that is still familiar. Beyond that,there is only frustration dressing for the parts of me I don’t know yet. Instead, I’ll let myself dress for someone else: those rare occasions when I actually have someone to see.