Three years ago, I couldn't imagine going out in less than my best. I dressed up all the time: blazers and jeans, bodycon skirts and sweaters, tights and boots and dresses. As time has passed, my dedication to dressing my best 24/7 has gone away. I find myself wondering how I can get away with wearing the same leggings-and-sweater combo everyday. I debate whether or not I can get away with hitting snooze one more time, not showering, and potentially wearing my pajamas out-and-about. I own an uncomfortable number of leggings and a truly ridiculous number of socks.
As a teenager and college student, I was definitely not a fashionista. I always had ideas about what I wanted to dress like, but I felt very constricted by my body and comfort level. In general, I didn't feel confident enough to wear what I wanted to wear -- including all those punk-inspired outfits that were very popular when I was in high school. By the time I was a junior in college though, I'd gained a lot of self-confidence and that translated into dressing in a way that showed I cared about myself.
That isn't to say not caring is a sign that you're not confident. That's just for me. I felt confident, so I wore what I'd always wanted to wear -- which is no jeans, only dresses, cute skirts, and cute shoes.
That went on for a long time. At the height of my fashion blog, I felt very, very cute and well-dressed all the time.
However, after college, I worked a series of dissatisfying jobs that left me feeling depressed and bored. The longer I worked those dissatisfying jobs, the less I cared about what I wore. I lost a lot of self-discipline and mostly, I lost a lot of self-confidence. I found myself wanting to change my habits -- eating better, working out more, being active, finding a new job, dressing better -- but feeling unable to. I was very stuck; I was very bored; and I was turning into a schlub after a few good years of being, you know, one of those girls who always seemed put together.
It was a hard transition for me, adjusting to the real world. It wasn't something I was prepared for. I went from the happiest time of my life and crash landed into the worst time of my life -- and my self confidence took a hit.
I knew changing jobs wouldn't necessarily change things instantly -- but I was still disappointed when I didn't transform into my old self overnight. It's taken a lot of work, but I'm in a better place now than I have been in probably two and a half years. I still, however, find myself wishing that when I started a job I absolutely love, I would just transform instantly, lose 20 pounds, be able to fit into my old clothes, and restart up my old fashion blog.
You might be wondering, Michelle, why do you now proudly talk about your schlubyness?
Ultimately, people change. The person I was three years ago is not who I am now and no matter how much I want to revert back to that state, I can't do that because I'e been through too much. So while some days, I want to restart my habit of writing lists of outfits for the week, organizing my closet by color, and photographing everything I wear, I know I'm not in a place where I can do that right now.
As my confidence slowly returns, I find myself caring less and less about what I wear -- just because that's who I am right now. There are definitely days where I want to dress up for no reason and I allow myself to have those days. But I no longer beat myself up when I wear the same chevron sweater and leggings two days in a row -- because if that's what I need, then that's what I need.