Back in college one of my friends had this amazing and new-to-me concept when it came to clothes: she would purchase something a size up so that it felt too big (because it was) but also because she felt like it made other people think she was teeny (she was). Because that was a time of harsh self-criticism for me I thought I would adopt that little habit of hers because y’all? Wearing things that felt too big made me FEEL good. Really good. It was like losing weight without actually having to do anything with my diet or exercise regime.
That habit is much less comforting when your size actually does go up, for whatever reason, and much less forgiving as well. Turns out really huge and blousy clothes don’t hide the stuff that needs hiding. Rather it just makes you look big and baggy and not super cute. It’s taken me a solid 8 years post-college to figure out that wearing something tailored does so much more for showing my figure and, consequently, increasing my clothes confidence than any amount of baggy spandex ever did.
I’ve already shared that I was basically living in my pajamas that became workout clothes (because I never took them off) that became my entire outfit for the day. It’s not a pretty side of me, but I feel like I’m a pretty “normal” (what does that even MEAN?!) person and I can’t be alone. I just can’t, right? With however many billions of people who live on this blessed planet there has to be at least one other person who wears an embarrassing amount of baggy workout gear.
As this little wardrobe remix has continued I’ve created some loose rules for myself. Nothing set in stone, nothing guilt-driven, but just a few little guidelines that gently nudge me to dress like a grown-up.
RULE #1 This isn’t wardrobe related, but it’s helped: I started making my bed. Not just pulling the sheets up, but actually placing the pillows back on the bed and all that jazz. For some reason it’s helped me to shed the pajama look after waking up, leaving the pajamas for sleeping as they should be.
RULE #2 During the Great Purge of 2014 I got rid of all my over-sized shirts and baggy pants. The things that had holes and sweat stains and paint all over them. The things that I never wore, or maybe I wore them TOO often. I now own 4 cotton T-shirts that aren’t fitted; two of them I sleep in and the other two are newer and so I do occasionally wear them with khaki shorts or something. Regardless, I had to get rid of the temptation to hide under ill-fitting cotton rather than appreciating my body. The rest of my clothes are more tailored and much more flattering now that all the stuff is gone!
RULE #3 When I workout (which I try to do in some way/shape/form every day – living an active lifestyle is important to me and I sweat too much to be truly active in normal clothes) I wear fitted workout T’s. Now I know this sounds a little strict and maybe a bit strange, but hear me out. For one, it forces me to focus on my form. I didn’t have a visual reminder to contract my abs when I was wearing huge T-shirts, but now I can see when I need to focus on my core more. It makes my workouts better. Second, it makes me feel cuter which is a feat in and of itself. I’m not embarrassed to say that I sweat a loooooooooot when I’m working out. I would be able to wring sweat out of my T-shirts during volleyball practice and in games while everyone else sported a cute little sweat ring on their collar. It’s a LOT. But it’s my body and I like having the visual reminder of how hard I’m working. Having designated clothes that are designed to deal with that also helps. And third, if for some reason I can’t shower and change and all that jazz before I have to go grab bananas at the store…it’s OK. My workout clothes are now cute, not filled with sweat and misery.
RULE #4 Give yourself some grace. I’m far from perfect, and I know that I never will be. It’s part of being human. And, except in the case of truly sinful behavior (yep, it happens), that imperfection is also something that can yield great beauty as I change. That grace is so important to feeling motivated to change. I won’t wear something adorable every day; there’s just not time for that between being a wife and the child rearing and the working and the exercise and the housework and the dogs and the trying-to-be-a-good-friend. So it’s OK that I don’t look like I stepped out of an Anthropologie Pinterest board. That’s cool. Because all of those other things are still going to be great, and I’m still loved if it gets put off til tomorrow!
So what about you guys? Do you have any “rules” when it comes to getting dressed? What obstacles keep you from feeling confident in your clothes? And also, any tips on really great (READ: AFFORDABLE) workout gear? I am a fan of Champion (who provided clothes for this post) – their stuff always seems to fit great for me!
I received this gear from Champion to try out, but all opinions are my own!