And now, PLOT EXPOSITION. Gobs of it.
About a year and a half ago, I had an identity crisis. After working for nearly 10 years in communications, I finally realized that switching jobs again wasn’t going to make me any happier. I needed to switch CAREERS. My loving husband sat me down, and rather forcefully suggested I pursue a career that involved animals, my great love practically since birth.
Within 6 months, I’d quit my heinous job as a marketing traffic manager, secured a job at the University of Minnesota (which meant free tuition), and designed a degree in Applied Animal Behavior. If I do say so myself, this degree I’ve mapped out will allow me to take the most fantastical group of courses offered at the U. I mean, I get to learn to tranquilize and radio collar beasties. How awesome is THAT??!?!?
So this is still the Main Dream: studying animals and eventually getting paid to hang out with them, preferably as the hostess of my own wildly popular Animal Planet show. But, interestingly, pursuing the Main Dream has been so good for my soul that it opened up some space for the Minor Dreams to creep back in. I found the energy to work toward writing and performing music again, and slowly sought out bandmates with goals as low-key as my own. Stella for Star is inching toward coffeeshop superstardom as we speak, and having a fantabulous time doing it.
Then unexpectedly, an even more Minor Dream sprang into my lap over the past month. This is the Telling Other People How to Dress dream. Let me ‘splain you.
By age 10, I was fat. Not Jabba the Hutt fat, but super-uncomfortable-with-myself fat. I spent ages trying to mask my fatness and did so by dressing in huge, formless, sexless clothes. Osh-Kosh-B’Gosh overalls. Enormous flannel shirts I’d stolen from my dad. Peruvian sweaters that weight 90 pounds. And that’s what you do when you’re a geeky young thing, and that is completely fine. But out of my early fatness, grew an eternally gnawing feeling that I was ugly and unattractive and … well, kind of sub-par. To whom, I’m not sure. But definitely sub-par.
Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I became interested in clothes. My weight continued to fluctuate (and oh my goodness it still does), but I began to really pay attention to which shapes flattered my figure. I began to select interesting pieces and ditch the dull. And, because of these two changes, I began to get compliments from friends and coworkers on my clothing choices. For a while, this just fed the hole. My mindset was that even if my body wasn’t pretty, I could FEEL PRETTIER if I had nice clothes.
But recently, a revelation: since being pretty is all about perception, if you look pretty in your clothes, you actually ARE pretty. ALREADY! You have drawn attention to your best assets, and downplayed your imperfections. If others recognize your prettiness, all the better. They are not complimenting the object, they are complimenting you for your good taste and they are complimenting the way the object works on your particular body. The main thing, though, is how you feel.
We all deserve to feel like we are already pretty, just as we are.
And we are.
As I mention in the description of this blog, I’ve had three friends ask me to make over their closets within the past month. I am positively gleeful. Not because they are dressing like street urchins, but because I feel these requests are a tremendous compliment to my own sense of style. Well, and I also rather enjoy bossing people ‘round. BUT ANYWAY, my dear friend Jan was my first victim, and before we got started I did two things for her:
1. I lent her my copy of Trinny and Susannah’s What You Wear Can Change Your Life. I have never watched a single episode of “What Not to Wear,” but this book has made these two chickies minor heroines in my eyes. Buy this book. Today. Actually, this instant.
2. I wrote up a fashion tip sheet for Jan, much of it Trinny and Susannah-derived, but some of it my own thoughts. And she said, “You should really post this, if you have a blog.”
So I’m gonna. I can’t tell you a damn thing about makeup, and I will never EVER tell you how to lose weight. Or that you should. But I will tell you what I’ve done over the years to build a wardrobe that I truly adore – a wardrobe that caters to my figure, my sense of style, and my ongoing need to feel truly pretty. Turns out I was pretty all along. I just needed to learn how to feel it. Maybe something I do will help you start to see that you’re already pretty, too.
YES I KNOW THAT’S SUPERCHEEZE, BUT IT’S TRUE SO JUST SHUT UP. OK thanks.
Originally posted 2007-09-14 08:45:00.