Life With Crazy

Desperately Seeking Susan…Er, Style

In our up and down weather of late, I have found my wardrobe deeply lacking, especially since at least half of it is in storage. For once in my life I was overly practical and truly packed away the items I did not expect to need for 6 months. And I am so regretting it. Normally I am a prepared for anything kind of person. Just leaving the house for a day of work can require 3 or more bags.

Who knew that it would be 60 degrees in January? It is unseasonable (and unreasonable) to expect weather like this. And who knew that I would be having yet another style swing and would need full options, t-shirts to potentially layer upon t-shirts, that one swingy-sparkly skirt, those ballet flats. I so regret that packing with abandon, that throwing caution to the wind, without careful weighing of wardrobe needs. I am so sick of my sweaters I could vomit.

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Who knew that I would need my cute brown visor cap in the middle of winter? It has 3 buttons on the side and makes me feel 17 in a good way. 17 in the way that I would wear a vintage hat complete with face-veil to school just because I felt like it. 17 in the way that I knew I was using clothes to hide behind but I could declare it style or funk and go on with my bad self. 17 in the way that (some days) I felt adorable in spite of being fat and so sure about love that the only way I saw life going was up.

Now I am 33 and desperately in need of that 17-vibe. I am convinced it is buried in storage and I feel incredibly frustrated to be stuck with a fuzzy black hat that is too warm for this day and head full of limp, helpless hair ( I am attempting to grow it out yet again, a feat I haven’t succeeded with since I chopped my hair all off 15 years ago) when all I want is my cute brown visor. Suck.

My one sister still has clothes she wore in high school. And can still wear them. She has pretty much always been the same size, with the exception pregnancy. Oh, and that one semester abroad where she gained about 7 pounds. I keep that nugget tucked away to console myself when needed. She can get dressed in an instant…she has a closet full of clothes that fit her. I can only imagine the ease of that: everything you own fits you, in both body and style. A miracle of a closet.

I, on the other hand, do not have clothes from high school, with the exception of one pair of Chucks, which I rarely wear but do caress lovingly in the closet from time to time. I have never had the luxury of clothes that fit from year to year (or month to month…). If I think about, oh say, jellybeans for too long, something won’t button.

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I have not only been about 8 different bodies in the years since high school, I have gone through so many personal transformations and style changes that I have found it hard to keep a wardrobe. I tend to make 180 degree changes: from grunge to prep, from granola to sheik, gutting my wardrobe in the process. I feel the need to severe ties from the past; I don’t want things to blurry around the edges. A pair of overalls could sneak in and confuse me.

All this transformation is exhausting. And I wonder what it all means. Sometimes I do think an external change can jump-start something internal, like that summer when I couldn’t quite make life changes yet so I dyed my hair a ridiculous honey blonde. It helped. I couldn’t look in the mirror without feeling life was different.

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I am 33 and still trying to find myself. One day I want to live in the country cottage with some chickens and wear hemp pants that I make myself, and the next, I want to live in an ultra-modern loft, walking distance to yoga classes and wine bars. Does it ever stop? Do I ever get a life that feels like a good fit long-term? Do I ever get a life-uniform wardrobe to go with it?

Sometimes I get wistful and think of all the things I’ve given away. That dark brown, butter-soft leather jacket from Scotland. My blue jersey-knit wrap skirt, that came to me from a rummage sale. My black-10-eyelet-perfect Doc Martens that I used to wear with cut-offs in the mid-90s. Definitely longing for those.

The irony of the longing though…there was always a reason. My Doc Martens…they were always a half size too big. The J. Crew skirt, it got so stretched and stained and worn it was one step above homeless (see last week’s post re: underwear). The leather jacket…first it was really too small, never quite comfortably closing across my ample figure, and then, it was really too big, drooping on my smaller frame, reminding me so strongly of the body I had had left behind that I couldn’t stand it. So it had to go.

I know that all of the shedding, both of weight and clothes and ways of being was necessary and has led me to this place today. I know that I have done life the only way that I have known how, and I promise, I am trying my best. Always. I would really just like to come home to myself, clothes and all, once and for all. And to the person who ended up with my Docs…I hope you really appreciate them.

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One thought on “Desperately Seeking Susan…Er, Style

  1. As the recipient of many waves of formerly fat clothes, I feel I must respond. Star is my sister, and as we have grown, both of use fat and thin again, (but mostly fat, at least on my end) I have really made out. Star has what I think of as ritual cleansing when it comes to clothes. She’s not simply discarding the clothes, she’s shaking off a phase, a lifestyle, a husband………..I have always been a good cast off mark ,for even when not fat I am much taller and broader than her. Our smaller sisters have watched with envy. We share the same eagerness for well made, beautifully cut clothing in fine materials. I remember with particular fondness a wave of clothes from the time before the money ran out. Heaps of early 2000′s gems from Banana Republic, Bloomingdales, J Crew, the best the Willow Grove Mall had to offer. I recall gem tones were in (they should never go out) and I wore them like a proud bouquet for years. Lately Star has been shrinking, so that when she gets thin she has disappointingly medium sized spoils to distribute. The smaller sisters are now much happier. For the record, the leather jacket is incredibly soft. I brush by it every time I squeeze past my huge rack of gorgeous, mostly unworn clothes that live in my upstairs hallway.

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