It was during my birthday week when I was puzzling over what my birthday outfit would be (see pics; warning! I’m much fatter in person), I realized that lately I had been deriving a lot of my serotonin from having fun with my fashion choices.
I have gone through spells in which I’ve played with my style and fashion. In my late teens/early twenties, I tended toward punk/freak ensembles. In my late twenties, after losing forty pounds, I put a little more effort into my style, trying to look a little more fashionable and put together. In my mid-thirties, I did this again, though I experimented a little more, putting vintage vibes into my outfits.
And now here I am in my early forties doing it again.
When I’m not getting my fashion on, it’s usually because of mental illness and/or funds. I don’t have the money to invest in my wardrobe, nor do I have the energy to invest in myself. But let me rebound with some cash and some good brain chemicals, and I’m ready for a shopping spree and the runway.
This latest round started when I started working at the library. I needed work clothes. Old Navy to the rescue. I ended up investing in Pixie pants, of which I already had a few pairs, one of which no longer fit. I got the standard black, but I also ended up getting some patterns. I paired them with different colored t-shirts and a black cardigan. Boom! A uniform was born.
And so was my Old Navy Cash, which I’ve used to continue to invest in my wardrobe.
The pandemic convinced me that I needed to acquire more soft clothes. I had no lounge pants, no leggings, no sweatshirts. And so, I started to build my soft clothes wardrobe, which I wear before I get dressed to go to work. I see no sense in taking a shower in the morning and putting on my work clothes when I’m not going to the library until the afternoon, especially when I’d be eating lunch in the meantime. That’s an invitation to disaster.
In the last year, my library look has evolved away from the t-shirts and cardigans to long-sleeved t-shirts, sweaters, and button down shirts with tank tops underneath. We can also wear jeans to work now, so they’ve been included, but I still wear my Pixie pants most of the time. My collection now includes a variety of fun prints: mermaid (it’s a shiny, blue pattern; everyone calls them my mermaid pants), jungle, flower, dizzy, pinstripe, plaid, tan houndstooth, black and white houndstooth, black and white gingham, windowpane, and hot pink cheetah print. I also acquired quite the collection of slip on canvas shoes in fun prints (glitter! I have glitter shoes!) for some extra pizzazz.
When I got my tax refund this past year, I set aside some of it to buy whatever I wanted. This included a pair of Vans, something I’ve wanted since high school, but never had the money or could justify spending the money if I did have it, some clothes from Torrid (which began my Torrid cash and loyalty points), and some tights from Snag Tights.
You see, by this time, I’d been on TikTok for a bit and one of my favorite people there, Aunty Pinky, has a magnificent punk style that includes Vans, Snag Tights, and some really funky threads, much of which is thrifted. I dig it. But more than that, I wanted the freedom to have fun with my look the way she does hers.
So I bought the Vans, I bought the tights, I bought the threads, and I started to have fun. I started taking joy in putting together work outfits and that joy spread to putting together outfits for my days off, too.
Then I saw a video somewhere in which a woman said that you should dress the way you wanted to when you were a teenager, but didn’t because you didn’t have the money and/or couldn’t find clothes that fit. This further encouraged me to have a good time.
And that’s what I’ve been doing. I own more dresses now than I have in my life, but that’s only because I own more funky tights than I’ve ever owned in my life. My wardrobe has exploded to the extent that I’ve had to acquire space in another closet in the house. As of right now, I need to buy more hangers.
My style definitely has included more punk elements. I’ve been working some vintage vibes, too. And for the first time since the ’90s, I own a bodysuit -the strappy, lacy, sexy one that I wore unapologetically on my birthday. I’m putting a little more sexy in my style, too.
The fun thing about all of this is that I’m about fifteen pounds down from my highest weight and still ten to fifteen pounds heavier from the last time I had a real style run. I’m at an age and a weight when both nobody and everyone cares what I look like. So long as I’m dressing my age and blending in with the wallpaper because of my weight, nobody cares. But I start dressing “younger” and showing off my body, everybody cares.
Too bad for them that I don’t care.
I’m too busy having fun.