Fashion Blogging? Moi?

Books have always been important in my life and shaped me into the person I am today. That may sound like an overwhelmingly positive statement, but books can also have an negative impact. There was The Christian Charm course that was an exercise in self-hatred and my Bob Jones math book that emphasized bible lessons with math and left me failing Algebra and feeling sinful in the process. My fascination with literary bad boys like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights may have contributed to my love of asshole men when I was a teen and young adult. The book with the highest negative impact on my overall health and well-being? Sweet Valley High #4: Power Play by Francine Pascal.

First of all I wasn’t supposed to be reading Sweet Valley High books. I was 12 and these books were banned. I read them on the sly during hours-long library trips and because they were banned that meant I couldn’t talk about what I read with my mom. I just sort of absorbed these shitty, vapid books like I was doing the most bad-ass sneaking around ever.

Here is the basic plot of Power Play (you can read a more in-depth review here): Jessica (the snotty bad twin) promised Robin (a fat girl) that she could be in her sorority (what high school has a sorority?) because of something in book #3 that I cannot remember. Jessica doesn’t want a fat girl around and Elizabeth (good twin) thinks that Jessica should do it because Jessica promised. Anyhoo, Robin gets hazed, which includes having the school oink at her while she runs and making her go to the beach in a bikini. You know, because what’s worse that a fat person exercising or enjoying the beach? Like gag me with a spoon. The final task is getting the hot guy to take her to the dance – Elizabeth helps orchestrate that — because of course a fat girl can’t get a date. As if! Douchebag takes her to the dance, calls her Tubby, and then asks “who wants to steer the Queen Mary around for the night?” Robin realizes that everyone is hateful and laughing at her and she leaves. Next comes horrible depression and isolation.

Oh my gosh, don’t worry! ROBIN WILL BE FINE! IT WAS THE WAKE-UP CALL SHE NEEDED. While Robin is withdrawn she is seen wearing drab attire, eating small portions of food alone, and staring at the ground in front of her to avoid human interaction. Then folks notice she is losing weight. She drops gobs of weight and is suddenly thin. Not just thin, but confident, hot, desirable, wins a beauty pageant and becomes co-captain of the cheerleading team. Thin means love, acceptance, and value.

I loved this book. As a chubby teen I felt like this was the answer to my way out. If I could just deny myself food and hide for a little while I would be thin. Hiding meant that I needed to hide my body and wear shitty clothes. You know, so that when I had a big reveal of hotness I could wear cute clothes and everyone would be blown away. And by blown away I mean love me and think I’m great.

Now look at me. I am a 35 year-old married mom of three. I have a degree and a career. I have so many sweet and amazing friends, but I’m still feeling like Robin trying to hide until I get thin. How many times have I worn ill-fitting, stained, torn clothing I hate because I don’t feel like my body should “waste money” on nice clothes. I have a closet full of faded and worn items, clearance rack items that match nothing, and thrift store finds that fit weird or don’t match. My shoes are taped at the bottom. I don’t wear make-up or jewelry because, “why waste the time?” I tell myself things like “If I lose X amount of pounds I will shop, or buy something nice, or spend time looking nice.” What that statement also says is, “while I’m fat I’m not worth time, money, or energy. DON’T LOOK AT ME.” It wasn’t really until this year that I’ve attempted embracing my body and taking care of myself. I started caring for all of me and that included making doctor appointments, visiting the eye doctor and getting glasses, and starting back in weekly therapy for anxiety and depression. I’m still looking for a dentist, but I hope to have a visit before the end of the summer.

What’s lacking in this embracing and appreciating my body? Two things, 1) getting over my inability to be intimate with my husband without being incredibly self-conscious and weird and 2) fashion. Lucky for you all I will not be blogging about my sex life or lack thereof, but I did want to put it out there because I’m not the only married lady who feels that way. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am going to be blogging about my attempt at “fashion.”

Fashion is a loaded term to me. It feels frivolous and vapid. I was going to say, “developing a wardrobe that fits the body I have and I feel great in and also doing things that make me feel nice like wearing eyeliner even if people comment on how I look and that makes me want to run away and hide because I don’t want people to look at me and then decide they don’t like me and really this isn’t about anyone else, but I’m tired and stressed and anxious and when I wear something cheerful and the fabric feels nice it is a small glad thing and small glad things help me love myself and life a little more.” So…. yeah… we’ll go with “fashion.”

I’ve been working on this project of sorts since my birthday at the end of April. I have several steps I’ve identified to get me where I want to be with my “look.” True confession, the concept of me even having a look besides, “tired lower middle class mom who likes grunge music” sounds ridiculous to me. RIDICULOUS.

Okay, on to the steps:

Figure out a color palette
Determine a clothing budget
Go through my shitty clothes to see what I like
Plug in the clothes I like and determine what I need
Shop
Buy make-up that I like
Assess what “beauty” routines make me feel good and do them regularly

Take a ridiculous amount of selfies and blog about this “journey”

I’ve already completed step one. I’ll blog about the process next week, but I wanted to share my basic color palette right off the bat:
ColorPaletteMe
I’m trying to think of a witty way to say this Thing that I am doing for hashtagging and titles and stuff. If you have any ideas throw them at me!
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10 comments

  1. Yes, blog about fashion! 🙂 When you were clothes that you feel good in, you feel better about your body. At least that’s what I’ve found. I used to feel really uncomfortable in my body, also wearing clothes that were stained or didn’t fit as a way to hide. Mentally, something changed and I started wearing clothes that were colorful (and clean) and out of my comfort zone even slightly. Now, I refuse to go back to my old ways.

    Have you thought about getting a box from Stitch Fix? It’s a pretty awesome way of finding amazing clothes that’s affordable.

  2. Oh I love getting dressed and style (I’m sure it helps that I’ve had thin privilege all my life, although I didn’t start enjoying clothes until after high school). Especially since discovering thrift stores back in 2008: I’m on a small budget and buying secondhand is the only way I can afford my favourite fibers. Nowadays I really like EBay too; I ask for a million measurements and compare them to an item I already have in my closet and like the fit of.

    Anyway, that book and its effect on you is terrible, and I’m glad you’ve decided to use clothes to brighten up your life; I use those luxury fibers to comfort my poor pain-ridden body as well as boost my mood. So I hope you can find the clothes that do that for you too!

    Your colour palette looks beautiful. 🙂

  3. ” also doing things that make me feel nice like wearing eyeliner even if people comment on how I look and that makes me want to run away and hide” I have been there and it’s uncomfortable but the good thing is it lasts maybe 2 days and then people just think you look “normal” and stop saying anything. I had lots of cute clothes (dresses/skirts) that I never wore to work because most folks are more casual and I was afraid of dealing with the “why so dressed up” comments but finally I bit the bullet, dealt with it for a day or two and now people comment when I wear jeans because it’s so unusual! 🙂 Good luck on your journey and I love your color palette.

  4. LOVE this post 🙂

    I read the Sweet Valley High books, but they weren’t so great for self-esteem I reckon. I remember ages ago putting a pic of one on Tumblr and someone replying words to that effect. I can’t remember most of the plots, but bizarrely the second I read “Power Play” I knew what you meant.

    Love your colour palette and hope you blog more about it! My colours are black, grey, and tan – not adventurous so hopefully I’ll get some tips!

  5. I did a similar process a couple of years ago because I was tired of wearing too-big, full-of-holes, or only black, navy or other neutral items. Hiding clothes! What I really had to prepare myself for was things not fitting. Because clothes aren’t made for every body, and I cannot let myself hang my worth on a size, and I also can’t shop for clothes when I’m not in the mood; I’ll just give up. I found that I dreaded trying on pants, so I went into a shopping trip like a warrior and ONLY shopping for pants. I gathered something like 32 pairs to try on, and if I had the slightest inkling they weren’t going to fit, I’d chuck those bastards and keep mowing through them. Because it’s not about my body or what’s right or wrong with it…they’re just clothes. They can’t be cut to fit everyone…no matter what size. Once I engaged that process I dreaded I came out on the other side with some stuff I really loved, that made me feel good, and once I built that basic capsule, I could just add a few pieces every season and still be set with clothes that fit and are in good shape. I’m sending all the love your way. Holler at me if you need to vent in the process! ❤

  6. I had this same mentality for a long time. Just recently I cleaned out my closet and did the same thing — went out to buy 4-5 staple pieces that I really liked, and not just because they fit. Everything I picked up, I asked myself if I would still be wearing it if I were a size 6. I also started wearing jewelry every day, styling my hair, spending time on my skin and makeup. It makes a HUGE difference. You don’t feel like a waste of time or space, and that totally reflects in how you go about your day (and feel about yourself, at the end of the day). I wish you all the luck with this project, and I will totally be following along!

  7. Lol… I also blame one of those Bronte sisters for my youthful attraction to dangerous and angry guys… In my case it was Charlotte & Mr Rochester. Unfortunately I married my asshole & stayed married to him for 20 years.

  8. This is a wonderful decision!

    I have the same cringe-y feeling when I think about fashion, my instinct is to make fun of myself for being so superficial. But really it’s not fashion I’m interested in, I have no energy or desire to follow the ever-changing trends. What I want is to develop my personal style.

    In general and entirely subjectively, I think that I have good taste but for some reason I often don’t feel like this translates into the things I wear. I too went through a phase of just wanting to blend into the background and not be noticed. Even though I don’t feel like this any more I’m still not making much effort to wear nice things that I love and that make me feel happier.

    That is, not until recently, when I began to form my Wardrobe Resolutions. I got rid of a lot of clothes I never wore for one reason or other, with my goal being to have a closet that contains clothes that I love and make me feel good about myself. And I’m also trying to get out of the rut and try out different and unexpected combinations every day, to have fun with my clothes; I’ve found that the hardest thing is to overcome the silly mentality of saving things for best. Not enjoying things in the present and saving them for an imaginary occasion (or imaginary body) is just a waste.

    I know it’s “just clothes”, but I also learned that what I wear and how I look really does affect my happiness levels, so it’s a project I’m very excited about. I wish you luck on your journey and I can’t wait to see how you get on. And I love the colours you picked!

  9. Those SVH books were so not good for us. I don’t remember that one in particular, but the one I really DO remember involves one of the twins hitting their head on a water park ride through a fake cave, or something like that, and this whole fantastic adventure/mystery happened, and then in the end it turned out she was unconscious the whole time. Lame. And for my 12 year old self, it meant that I spent a lot of time hoping to enter some sort of wonderful world that would change my life every time I bumped my head, and that every time I bumped my head I would repeat to myself that I knew I was awake, just so I wouldn’t be fooled. Etc. Anyway, I know that’s not much to do with your post, not the fashion part anyway…just know I’m looking forward to reading more about this journey. I’m a fashion-idiot myself…

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