I have a secret. I have recently lost a little weight. Not a lot, nothing noticeable by any means. Enough, though, that my clothes were starting to fit loosely. All of my pants with zippers? I could step out of them without bothering to unzip. That's kind of a kick. I would catch myself at work playing absentmindedly with the folds of fabric I could gather up on my thigh. It was kinda cool.
It looked sloppy, though.
It wasn't only my pants - I could grab up a decent sized fold in my bras, too. When I mentioned that to my doctor as he was praising the weight loss, he said, "You don't need new bras."
"Yes I do! I'm rattling around in there!"
"Guys like that."
"Guys are weird. I'm buying new bras."
I decided that I deserved more than new bras. I deserved one perfect, new, head-to-toe outfit.
Everyone I mentioned it to agreed.
Not a wardrobe, just - one perfect outfit.
So off I went, with visions of the perfect outfit swirling all around in my head. It would be casual but cute. The sort of thing I could wear to work then out after. I could picture myself in it - still big, of course, but not so sloppy - polished and chic.
I left for my shopping spree in a very good mood indeed. I'd earned this. I deserved this. A few months of six days a week in the gym - three lifting, three cardio - plus my bike rides on Sundays had left me with a better body image than I've had in a long time. I was standing taller. I was feeling stronger. I was woman - did you hear me roaring?
I don't know why I was so optimistic.
Shopping doesn't work out that way for me.
The good news was, I was able to confirm that I had indeed gone down a size. Maybe a size and a half. Two cup sizes, if you're still stuck on the bra thing. With pants, though? I was sort of going back and forth. That was the first snag in the quest for the perfect outfit - nothing fit quite - well - perfectly.
The reason for that was obvious.
While I'd lost almost 30 pounds, my general shape hadn't changed at all.
It's hard to feel fit and confident when you spend the day mostly naked in front of full length mirrors.
Well, maybe not hard for you. But it was wicked hard for me.
All of these amazing muscles that I feel remain hidden under an awful lot of - me.
That perfect casual outfit I had in my head? The nicely fitted pants top and sweater or jacket? That is never going to look good on me.
I am probably never going to look good in jeans.
I look good - or at least feel like I look good - in dresses and skirts.
Which I cannot really wear to work.
So what did I buy during my quest for the perfect outfit?
Two bras. Smaller cup size, ridiculously bright colors. They were on clearance. I have a hard time giving myself permission to shop anywhere but the clearance rack.
One dress. It is very pretty. And completely impractical. I cannot think of one place I can appropriately wear it. But I couldn't pass it up. It didn't suit my lifestyle, but it suited me. I would've dreamed about it if I hadn't bought it. So now I have that.
A pair of absolutely neutral flats. That was probably smart. I have not been rocking the pedicures this summer. It seems impractical when I spend the vast majority of my time in gym shoes or Chuck Taylors. But every now and then a girl needs to feel pretty. And she doesn't always have the time and money for a pedicure. Nope. No buyers remorse on the shoes.
A sweater. I know. It's like a million degrees. But it was so cute and on such a good sale. I'll wear it in a couple months and be glad I bought it. It won't be so stinking hot forEVER you know...
Three tops - only one of which is something I'll really wear to work - but all of which are cute and casual and - most importantly - fit.
And a nightie. Because - while I still love sleeping in shorts and a T-shirt, something in me has been hankering for a nightie. Not a negligee and not pajamas. Besides - have you been paying attention? Clearance.
No pants. So I'll still be stepping right out of all of my bottoms. Belts are not just a fashion accessory anymore. I just couldn't bring myself to spend money on something I didn't feel like I looked good in - even if it WAS a better fit than what I've got.
Maybe the next 25-30 pounds will put me in that perfect outfit. Or maybe - just maybe - I need to rethink the perfect outfit and learn to dress the body I've got instead of the one I want. Or maybe I'll just keep developing a completely impractical wardrobe and always look a little over or under dressed for every damn occasion.
And maybe - just maybe - I'll develop enough confidence to deal with that.
Surely ridiculously colorful bras are a step in the right direction.
Because maybe - just maybe - that's what it's all about.
Maybe the perfect outfit doesn't exist - but the perfect attitude can.