To be surrounded by people exponentially more creative and fashionable than you can be overwhelming. Despite your best efforts to fit the dress code, you fall short in the ‘flair’ category because your headpiece isn’t quite big, colourful or weird enough (in fact you’re not even wearing one). “Oh is your top from insert-generic-mid-range-label-here? It’s so cute…” a girl says to you as she shimmies away in a one-of-a-kind organic shift dress she made herself, complimented with bold red lipstick and a “I’m so unique it’s ridiculous” attitude. You become suddenly aware that you look prissy and feminine in a room full of quirky and fascinating, and that your Tiffany & Co jewellery isn’t making an impression on anyone. To top it off, you’ve worn your cutest heels only to find walking in them two hours later an excruciating experience possibly worthy of an ambulance ride home (while everyone else had sandals, boots and flats so interesting they didn’t need a heel to look chic). The disillusionment sets in; heck even tears threaten to make an appearance.
One day you decide to branch out, wear something just a little bit whacky and colourful. You look good; the floral vest you found at an op-shop works well with your skin tone and the skirt you’ve chosen hides your unsightly thighs quite nicely. Some chunky beads and stacked bangles add some flair and your hair doesn’t actually look that ridiculous in a bun on top of your head. You feel you’ve done well to step out of your comfort zone and yet still resemble yourself. You leave the house and feel like a hippy in a world of Audrey Hepburns. You find yourself surrounded by tailored jackets and skinny jeans, shiny hair and expensive handbags. Oh help, you just can’t get it right.
Every morning; the agony over what to wear, only to choose something that you regret with some (or every) part of your sanity later in the afternoon when you have a rash from your tights, you’ve been sweating profusely all day because the top looks awful without the jacket, or because the skirt you sucked your gut in to get zipped up in the morning looks simply tragic once you’ve had lunch. Aside from your clothes, your skin is too pale, your makeup too thick (or not thick enough) and you really should get your eyebrows seen to. Oh and you can’t ignore the fact that you promise yourself daily you’re not eating M&M’s again until you have legs like her.
The truth is that sometimes no matter what anyone says you still think you’ll be infinitely happier if you just owned that $400 skirt or lost 10 kilos. It’s a stupidly vicious circle of negativity. And it really is both of those things; stupid, and vicious.
November 2010 – I just had to edit this:
Having stumbled across a charming article by US mother Dara Chadwick the other day, I remembered this post and started to ponder how to truly break the cycle. Wise words, Chadwick Junior – “Just rock it”. I also came across this story about an inclusive fashion show in London. My conscience laughed hard at me, pointing a finger with a big sneer on it’s face; “… and you’re complaining your legs don’t look good in shorts? Well boo-hoo sweetheart, at least your legs can walk!”