transition: changing more than just clothes
Talda was one of my first commenters back on weddingbee (October, 2006 people!), and is probably one of the bestest peeps you could ever hope to find on the ‘net. She lives in the SF Bay, loves her baseball like no other, loves being crafty and even finds time to teach summer school! I’ve always thought of her as a true friend out there in cyberspace… so I knew I had to ask her to stop by to write something while I was away! She has a wonderful voice and is a voracious blogger, but can also find her on Twitter!
I just turned 30 last month and everyone knows the transitions that result from turning such a milestone age: the horror of realizing you’re no longer in your twenties. The agony of knowing you’re that much closer to this mythical “Hill” that people keep referencing as if it were some magical far off place somewhere in the ether. The misery of knowing that you are now the MIDDLE AGED! ACCCK!
But for me, turning 30 was actually a pretty awesome non-event. I looked forward to it, knowing that there were plenty of great things to be had on this side of the fence, things like finally settling into myself and figuring out who I am exactly and to be honest, I wasn’t really mourning the loss of my twenties. I had fun but they weren’t all that anyway. Besides, who wants to be the self-centered lightweight obnoxious jerk they were in their early-20s for the rest of their lives? I most certainly do not. But the thing I was really looking forward to about turning 30? Well, besides my birthday cake (I do love me some cake) was that turning 30 was the perfect excuse to finally do something about my wardrobe.
I was never a fashionable person and lived in what quickly became my uniform: a t-shirt or sports jersey, jeans and a pair of Nikes. Every single day. Sometimes I would trade pieces out for a pair of overalls (yes, for real) and a sweater but everything was oversized and kind of shapeless. Oh, and most of it were boy’s clothes. Including the jeans. It’s probably no coincidence that I went through junior high, high school and most of college without a single date. Though I’m sure the glasses and braces in high school played a role with that as well. And I’m pretty sure that if I had kept on that track I could have been nominated for “What Not To Wear.”
I don’t know why I refused to wear clothes that fit, or were even made for girls. But this refusal was so epic that my friends still talk about the day I showed up in a pair of women’s boot-cut jeans. This was back in 2001. So yeah, after having spent the majority of my life in this uniform, it was hard to break free from the pervasive thoughts of how I was supposed to dress. My jeans and t-shirts had become such an integral part of my personality that the thought of branching out struck fear into me, as if I would no longer be me if I willingly wore a dress just because I wanted to wear a dress. I had stopped myself many times before from purchasing an article of clothing because I thought it didn’t fit who I thought I was and it wasn’t until I was peering down into my thirties that I realized just how silly and limiting this thinking was. Clothes should reflect your personality; not define it. And so, with this new found revelation, I embarked on one of the most ambitious project of my life to date: updating my wardrobe.
Since then I’ve been slowly adding new pieces to my wardrobe: dresses, dressier shirts and sweaters, belts and I’m on the hunt for properly fitting jeans (anyone have good suggestions that aren’t horribly expensive?). And while I’m far from being certifiably fashionable, I’m finding clothes that reflect my new outlook about myself and where I’m at right now and I’m feeling a lot better about myself. I’m also beginning to feel more confident in reaching past my comfort zone to try new things. Brightly patterned shoes? Why not! A shorter dress than I would usually buy? Let’s try it on! Sure I may still get hung up every now and then on something that might not seem like “me” but I’ve learned to embrace those pieces and rock them anyway. I’ve found those seemingly out of character pieces have become my favorites and garner the most compliments. Sometimes it pays to take a risk. Though, one of the best things I’ve learned so far?
Oh, my picture didn’t come up. It’s supposed to say: “Something I learned now that I’m 30: belt’s aren’t just for keeping your pants up.”