My husband is a paragon of patience. He makes me laugh everyday. He is wonderful in every way, but he just doesn’t understand what I mean when I tell him that I have nothing to wear.
He sees me standing in a walk-in wardrobe stuffed to the brim with clothes and shakes his head at me for moaning about my lack of appropriate attire.
I thought I’d break it down for him, so here’s why I say I have nothing to wear.
1. I’m apprehensive about the event we’re attending.
Clothes can help a woman feel confident. They can be a suit of armour. If I’m going to an event I’m feeling nervous about, whether it’s a work do, a family dinner, or an outing with friends, I want to be as well-presented as possible.
I might be feeling nervous about meeting new people; anxious that I look like a frumpy mum, or that I have nothing interesting to add to the conversation after being a stay-at-home mum for so long. I might have had my ‘perfect’ outfit in mind, but the dress is in the wash, or I tried it on and it didn’t look as good as I thought it was going to. I might be secretly wishing that we could just stay home for the evening, but I know that hitting upon that magical combination of clothes will make me feel a million bucks and ready to go.
It’s just a case of finding it in there somewhere….
2. Half of the clothes in my wardrobe don’t fit me.
I know that all the minimalists and fantastic organisers out there who are reading this will cringe at this, but I hold on to my favourite clothes (from when I was bigger as well as when I was smaller) because I loved the way that they made me feel. Maybe I loved how my butt looked in those trousers, or maybe I’d always be complimented on that top.
I’m emotionally invested in those clothes and I’ll hold on to them until I find a suitable replacement. Yes, I know they’re just taking up room. Yes, I know that I’m not being rational, but a big reason that I’m standing in a cupboard full of clothes with nothing to wear is that many of those clothes just. don’t. fit. Fact.
3. I feel fat.
I know that my husband thinks that I’m beautiful. He tells me all the time and I love the way that he sees my grey hairs and my extra belly-padding and those lines that are appearing on my face as route markers for the journey we’ve been on together. I can’t begin to make him understand how cherished and desirable he makes me feel when he looks at me. But I still feel fat sometimes.
Those waistbands that dig in a little remind me that my stomach is no longer flat. I’m keeping a close eye on my upper arms in sleeveless tops, worried about arm flubber. My thigh gap is but a distant memory. I’ve lost 7 kilograms lately and I’m super proud of that, but I’ve still got about three or four more kilograms to go and I’ve hit a plateau.
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Yes, I know that I need to get fit, but there’s a reason that ‘exercise’ and ‘eww’ start with the same letter.
4. I just like new clothes.
I’ve seen my husband shake his head and grin when Miss Pink gets new clothes. She gets all excited and runs off to try them all on at once. She can’t wait to wear all the new things, straight away.
He’s seen it in our six year old daughter, but what I want to tell him is that women never really grow out of that. I love the feeling of wearing something new for the first time. I get bored of the same thing day after day. I think it’s a hangover from wearing a boring school uniform. Who am I kidding? I just love clothes, and new stuff makes me happy.
5. I compare myself to others.
I have gorgeous friends. Some are wonderfully stylish. Some are beautifully slender. Others still carry themselves with a confidence no matter what they wear.
I see the best in these women and find myself lacking in comparison. I know my husband will argue this point with me because he thinks I’m beautiful (see no.3), but I see these wonderful women and feel like they’re what I want to be when I grow up.
6. Clothing tells a story.
When I say that I have nothing wear, I’m saying that I can’t anything to express what I’m trying to say about myself today.
I might want to portray myself as a smart, capable woman who has it all together. I look in the mirror and see the frazzled, dowdy mum who needs to throw some shampoo through her hair and has left that same load of washing in the machine for two days straight now, and is contemplating giving her children pre-cooked sausages for dinner instead of making a pinterest-worthy meal. Again.
Tomorrow that outfit may well tell a different story, but today I’m just not feeling it.
So there we have it. It’s more complicated than it seems isn’t it?