…and Dressing Like Somebody Else
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
I can count on one hand the number of new clothing items I’ve acquired this year:
- A Ween t-shirt, at their show in Central Park
- A MoogFest 2010 hoody
- Two bathing suits, before we went to Central America
- A t-shirt with two cheetahs screen printed on it, purchased at the Brooklyn Flea
- A Visqueen t-shirt, also with a cheetah (wearing an eye patch)
I think I’ve mentioned that nothing makes me feel like barfing so much as going into a store. Yet for years, I would do this frequently in order to buy clothes, first so that I could feel hip or whatever, and then later, so that I could look professional for work.
In New York, even if you work at a nonprofit, there are high expectations for dress.
For five years, Gap, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic were what I wore. And I hated it. I pretended not to, mostly because I didn’t have a choice. And sometimes, I even convinced myself. I did look professional, sometimes even “good.”
I would look in the mirror and think, “I would take that person seriously.” Which, if I’m being super honest, is the main thing I want.
The problem was, that person wasn’t me. I may want to be taken seriously, but if I’m being even more honest, I know that I will never be a serious person. That just isn’t who I am.
So a great thing about leaving my job has been no longer buying work clothes. But I haven’t compensated by buying “me” clothes either. I don’t wear pastel sheathes, wool suits and pencil skirts anymore, but when I was getting rid of that shit, I decided I would make due with what was left.
I’ve pretty much given up buying clothes altogether, for a lot of reasons.
- I don’t enjoy it.
- I can no longer afford to do it.
- Most clothes are made in sweatshops, which I’m not a big fan of.
- I love having white space in my closet.
- It’s such a relief to have cut from my life the pressure and anxiety of dressing a certain way.
- Stores (aside from a flea market or merch table) stress me out.
This has been a significant (and it turns out easy) way to help compensate for not having a steady paycheck, but most importantly, I just feel a lot more like myself on a day to day basis. And I freed up some brain space.
And hopefully some Salvation Army shoppers have been able to make good use of some Ann Taylor sheaths.