"No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize." - Julia Child

Sunday, April 15, 2012

May threads not kill me dead

Oh my word, I'm back. I survived the deadline, emerged somewhat shell shocked and battle weary, spent some time with family for Easter, then had another (much smaller) deadline, and now I'm back.


I've got much on my mind to share, but one of the things that seems foremost right now, due to the positively fantastic lovely weather that gets everyone's sap flowing and everyone's best duds out on display, is fashion.

Specifically my fashion. Or rather, complete lack thereof.

Having worked at home now for nearly two years (another halleluiah!), and before that having worked in publishing and/or academia and/or nonprofits, I can say that the following drawing accurately illustrates my life.

I'm usually somewhere between Worksuit and Hobo-chic. I wear fleece-lined slippers and fingerless gloves in the house when it's cold, like some kind of wan Dickensian orphan. True story.

As I have lived a life in pursuit of the cerebral, I have--either willingly or circumstantially (I think a little of both)--fallen into a non-fashion rut. My life is now spent living out the wisdom of Walden Pond resident Henry David Thoreau:

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.

Apparently, my caution has infected my closets so much so that I no longer remember how to dress myself when a situation requires more than jeans and a T-shirt/sweater (or, in more usual and sadly NOT dire circumstances, elastic-waistband yoga pants and a hoodie). I look at skirts in confusion, blouses in puzzlement, and anything with buttons perplexedly.

And dresses! Oh dresses. Don't get me started. I love dresses, but: SAD FACE. It took me SIX MONTHS to find a dress to wear to my wedding. It takes me about half as long to find a cute cocktail dress to wear to someone ELSE'S wedding. Which is sort of ridiculous. I'm sad that I can't just save myself the search for cocktail dresses and recycle my wedding dress at future weddings--not because of the color, because it's purple and doesn't look like a wedding dress, but because it's too damn FANCY to wear anywhere else. GAH. MORE BLACK TIE WEDDINGS, PLEASE. That or I have to teleport myself into Downton Abbey, where everyone dressed for dinner.

Add to that the fact that I can no longer wear shoes that don't provide firm orthopedic support AND the fact that I am an unapologetically plus-size lady (your state of readiness for my jelliness is a subject for another entry), and I am whole-heartedly flummoxed when it comes to effortlessly looking cute, put-together, or fashionable. How do people make it look so easy?

The other day at a department store, I tried on eight pairs of pants, six tops of assorted styles, and about twelve dresses. I bought one pair of jeans and one dress--the only items that didn't look ghastly on me (either because of size issues or because of OMG WHY DID I PICK UP A MULLET DRESS/STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS issues). I got home thoroughly exhausted and it took all my willpower not to use a layer cake for a pillow.

Who knew it was this effing taxing to get some new threads?

What's a gal to do when she's not given a shit about clothes for so long that she is now confused by them? What's a gal to do when she's got a fat ass and magnificent thighs in a world still firmly built for waifish nymphs, however much people are saying that there's more acceptance of all body shapes and sizes? (It's still decidedly NOT widespread, especially in clothing stores, where often anything larger than a size 12 somewhat resembles a sack, as if we fat chicks had no figure to speak of.)

When you've spent so much time in your head, how do you remember that you have a body?

Now, I don't really, REALLY think that clothes make the gal. I don't. Mostly I wear clothes because they are a practical necessity. If I sat naked at my desk each day, the chair cushion would stamp an unattractive waffle pattern on my ample buttocks, and the neighbors might faint when I went to get the mail. But I do also think that what we choose to wear can be an expression of ourselves, if we want it to be--and I think I am wanting it to be.

Mostly this change comes about because for a long while I was ashamed of my body. It didn't fit the societal mold of beauty, so I saw it as flawed. Bad. Other. Alien. Undesirable. I tried to call as little attention to myself as possible.

Now I'm slowly but surely, with love and support from hubs and friends and a group of supportive ladies going through the same thing, starting to realize that I really am okay, just as I am. Big bottom, ample thighs, round belly and all. And I shouldn't hide myself from the world, or from myself. I should treat myself as a person worthy and deserving of fanfare, decoration, fun, and sass. I am a person deserving of notice, deserving of presence, deserving of space.

But goddamn if I know how on earth to do that if it doesn't involve jeans and a T-shirt. Or fingerless gloves. Or pajama pants.

So bear with me here as I bare it all and try to figure out how on earth I, as a 31-year-old woman, am supposed to dress myself.


Looks and Books said...

YOU CAN DO IT! I know you can. I've seen your sassy style in action many times and I don't believe for a second that you've lost it. One thing you might want to consider is checking out some "plus-size" fashion blogs for tips on how to look cute and effortless. These ladies wear some seriously cute outfits and aren't afraid to emphasize their curves. Here are some of my favorites:

Style doesn't have to be haute couture or stilettos and leather pants. It can just be whatever makes you feel the best in your skin. Good luck! :)

Raquel said...

Thanks, awesome lady! I have checked out some of the plus-size blogs and they are quite inspirational. It's nice to see zaftig babes rockin' it. I'm in a bit of a weird situation in that I'm sort of in between ladies' and women's sizes. Some of the largest ladies' things are too small, and some of the smallest women's things are too big. But I will press on and I am actually looking forward to finding more fun things to jazz up my look.

The most important thing about this journey, for me, is that by doing this I am admitting that I am happy with myself and worthy of looking good. No reason to wait until X pounds from now to start looking good.

Maybe I can save my pennies and hire a personal designer/tailor! ;) Oh, a gal can dream!