intensely trivial


I need some fashion help. Or maybe what I need is someone to tell me to stop worrying about it.
It’s hard even to know how to explain all this, and I realize it doesn’t really matter in the long run, but right now it’s bugging me.
In winter, I suffer the dilemma of comfort versus style. They cannot, apparently, coexist. Comfort to me means warmth and non-tightness. I want comfort and practicality more than I want style. So, for instance, right now I am wearing some old windpants of an outdated color (these are only about 8 yrs. old), a new (!) full undershirt (because my old one was falling apart, and my even older one isn’t enough to keep me going all week long), and a sweatshirt that my mom sent me when I was an exchange student in Germany in 1995. Oh, also some Lands’ End slippers that I’ve had for about 10 yrs. I can concentrate when I’m warm and comfortable. I can relax this way. I don’t always have to be feeling tight things digging into my crotch and my belly, or hugging my rice socks to keep warm.
If I could, I would wear these kinds of clothes every day. They do not make me feel pretty, but doggone it, I can function in them. And I really don’t care that much, normally.
However, I have friends who do things like resolve to care about their appearance, and then I start to wonder if I should worry about mine more. I’m sure Dan would love to see more of an eye-candy version of me, but that is just plain torture in the winter, and he’s fine with that. We’re not about to turn our thermostat up to 80, which is what it would have to be for me to be comfortable.
Another problem is that I don’t really love any clothes in my closet (well, except my down coat with the fake fur and my organic cotton socks from Maggie’s Organics). But I’m not about to go spend a bunch of money on clothes that I might not like next year; everything I buy has to last until it wears out. On shopping, #1: It costs a lot of money to shop at regular stores, unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time finding the good deals. #2: My time is worth a lot more to me than pretty clothes at good prices. #3: Most clothes available to me in this town come with ethical problems attached in some form or another.
So I end up back at this same old dead end: boring clothes, and comfort over style. If I could wear workout clothes every day, even though it would not be beautiful, it would be almost ideal: warm, comfortable, practical. And if said perfect clothes would just appear in my trashcan and maybe sorta match, and the legs be the right length, that would be the best.
What to do? If you have any advice, send it my way. My favorite piece of advice would be: It’s OK to wear whatever feels good; stop worrying about it so much.


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  1. * frenchgirl says:

    I agree that it’s not that big of a deal, and that comfort is number one. However, I do think that as moms and wives we need to feel good about ourselves! When I’m home I pretty much always take my pants off and put on what we call “comfies”, so I’ve invested in some nicer, non-holey and non-baggy pants for home. They are mostly from Gap Body. Have you looked at any of their stuff? They have lots of comfortable work out and lounge wear that is also cute! I never buy anything at Gap unless it’s 40% off. They have 40% off a reg price item every Wednesday and lots of other great deals. I don’t know about the ethical part of it with Gap. Athleta is a sister company that has wonderful yoga pants and swim suits online. It tends to be pricier than Gap but the quality is great.

    For me, starting in the 7th grade when I “had to have” name-brand clothes, etc., it became an identity issue. I so wanted to identify with the popular kids who had nice clothing, that I would do almost anything to get it! Since then clothing has been important to me. I always need to do a heart check to make sure I am not “dressing up” for the wrong reasons–i.e. to get attention, to achieve/maintain social status, etc. An embarrassing admission!

    I do struggle with comparing myself to the moms (so stupid, I know) that always look completely put together in public. I strive to look decent and have a nice wardrobe, but you know, some days, that just falls apart and I end up at story time not showered and in sweats. And you know what? I’m ok with that. It takes so much time to shop and put together everything from clothing, underwear, shoes, boots, accessories, etc. that it can be exhausting. But…it can also be fun!

    Posted 7 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Erika says:

    I so identify with this Rachel. Sometimes I think to myself…”our expectations of what we ‘should’ look like are totally skewed by our culture, so what if a handful of people changed what was ‘normal’? Could we just change the standard?” So sometimes I think, I know I’ll stand out, but I’m going to be different than the norm.
    Easier said than done. I still struggle with comparing and wanting to dress more like other people sometimes.
    But just so you know…you never seem to stand out or look outdated to me. I’ll be with you in the dressing comfortably. Nothing is better in the winter than a hoodie or sweatshirt. I also function much better when comfortable. If I look at some other cultures (not all) there are many that value comfort and practicality and it doesn’t mean that beauty is suffering. We just have a skewed standard here.
    See you soon at church or Mom’s LIFE!

    Posted 7 years, 4 months ago
  3. * Sandie says:

    Rachel, it’s okay to wear what feels good! I think color is more important than style, so if you are looking for something new or new to you, make sure it’s a color that you love and is becoming.

    Posted 7 years, 4 months ago

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