Sunday, July 29, 2012

One Perfect Outfit

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.



Unknown said...

Oh, wow! Congrats on losing all that weight! I think it's awesome. I also suspect that you are way too hard on yourself!

Julie said...

Excellent work! I admire the hard work you have done.

Pants are hard. I *think* you are taller than I am--I"m 5'1" on a good day. I have the added fun of hemming or buying "petite" of buying crops and calling them pants because they are just a little bit of a flood... Finding clothes that fit is really tough. I think you found a ton!

Kohl's and Catherine's are my go-to places to find clothes and pants that fit. Although there's a Catherines at Eastland I like the one up at Polaris--more roomy.

Good luck on your quest for that perfect outfit! It will find you eventually.

Hello Jodi said...

Boy, do I have loads to say on this topic! I waited a few days to put them all together, but I’m not sure if it helped.
First I will say that I think wedding dress shopping is a crucible for self-image in more ways than one. The one that’s most important to me is that you need to try shit on. The wedding dress in my dreams might not look as good on me as I dream it will. The hardest part is not making that a value judgment. The fact that it doesn’t look like I thought it would isn’t good or bad. It just is. Thankfully (?) there are a million more dresses in a million more styles and there will be one that looks amazing on me.
It’s funny because I learned this lesson YEARS ago. I’ve been buying used clothing almost exclusively for over 5 years so I have a different skill set. There will not be multiple sizes of an item, so I can’t get attached to it. There might not be fitting rooms (or, more likely, I’m limited on shopping time) so I have to be able to look at a garment and tell if it will fit me (my mom and I went shopping for her dress for the wedding yesterday and I correctly named the size of every dress she picked up). I am aware of all the major brands and what size (meaningless number) fits me. One of the hardest things though was being honest about what worked for my body. I don’t know how many button-ups I tried to safety pin together before I accepted that just because Stacey & Clinton say women should all be wearing these things doesn’t mean I have to. I won’t even guess how many pair of jeans languished in a mending pile waiting to be hemmed before I just decided not to buy pants unless they were sized petite.
It is still a struggle. I figured out recently that the reason jeans look good on certain people is because they are a bit too big. I like that folded-front/hanging-off-the-hips/big-belt look. But this weekend I tried on 6 pair of jeans at the thrift store that were “my” size and looked terrible because, even though I know sizes are meaningless, when they are on a label attached to denim they Mean Something. So I found a pair of petite jeans a size too large and have worn them at least twice since I bought them.
And, by the by, I can totally imagine you in a smart, nicely fitted slacks/top/fashionable blazer with a funky brooch and possibly a fun scarf outfit.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe the perfect outfit doesn't exist - but the perfect attitude can."

Riteous, indeed. I had thoughts along those lines a few months ago when I went from working from home for 2+ years to unemployed to business casual attire. My WFH outfits were all strictly comfort based, so getting back into business casual meant that I had to shop for clothes that were beyond the gray, fuzzy, formless fabric that lined my closet.

It wasn't really fun. I didn't know much of my size beyond the elastic waistband, so I had to try on a bunch more stuff. And I was judging myself rather harshly each time I put something on that I thought would fit, but just didn't. And then I started to wonder... "What number would equal self-acceptance? How many pounds do I need to get down to before I decide I'm good enough? What are those magic numbers?" Oh yeah... They Don't Exist.

Therefore, I'm just as worthy of love and other good stuff regardless of what number is on my scale or in the clothes I wear. Right here, right now, as I am. Not when some future goal is met, because that bar always goes just a little higher.

You're an awesome lady, Tammy. The last several times I've seen you, you've just radiated goodness. You've got the perfect attitude, and honey... you wear it well!! :-)

Anonymous said...

30 lbs??? YOu go girl! I'm so glad you did this for yourself!!!

Anonymous said...

30 lbs??? YOu go girl! I'm so glad you did this for yourself!!!