A Haute Mess: Battling body image.

I spent thirty seconds wondering if a garter snake was loose in my bathroom this morning and was amused to find out that the hissing noise was actually the sound of my thighs rubbing together in my “new” yoga pants.

There’s a point to this odd story. I purchased three pair of Russell athletic pants at a closeout sale for $5.00 dollars each over a year ago. (Yes, I am the bargain queen.) They’d been sitting in my closet, neatly folded and unworn, for months. Until yesterday. The last pair of threadbare Hanes sweatpants I own—my daily uniform—have paint all over them and I can no longer wear them out of the house. (I actually did wear them to go pick up more paint at Home Depot, but I’ve developed a healthy sense of shame since then.) And so, I had to do something I hadn’t done in a long time.

I had to wear the clothes in my closet.My "shame" drawer

You see, I normally wear clothes from what is essentially a “shame drawer” filled with cheap clothes I regret purchasing and shapeless items I bought in the hopes that they would render me invisible. The contents are as follows

  • 4 blouses likely made of a highly flammable synthetic material
  • 2 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of paint-covered sweatpants
  • 2 thermal Henley tops
  • 3 t-shirts

I hate everything in the drawer. It is truly the hell to my closet’s heaven. So why does it exist? When I dig deep to answer that question I am horrified by the answer. I don’t deserve nice things. It’s the only explanation I have for why I pass by a closet filled with clothes carefully curated for a stylish woman only to pull on a pair of old sweatpants every day. It’s the only explanation I have for why I consistently buy clothes for a woman who isn’t me. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I bought those yoga pants months ago? They didn’t fit. And when I finally wore them yesterday? I felt anxious for about a good twenty minutes. I felt like a fraud—and probably would have sobbed like a cornered criminal had one of the trophy wives occasionally dotting the landscape commented on my outfit.

So what should you take away from this fairly strange story about my fashion fumbles?

You deserve nice things. Please be aware that I am not cosigning you buying that dress that you know damn well is beyond your budget. What I want to impress upon you is that no matter your size, shade, height, body shape, or income level, you have a good body. And that good body should have stylish and comfortable clothes that fit.

Every day is an event. Look, you’re alive, fam. You’re breathing. That good body got you out of bed this morning. Celebrate it. Every single day. Those jeans that make your butt look incredible? Why have you only worn them twice in the past twelve months? Why should you only feel like a million dollars on date night when you can feel that way standing in line at the grocery store? Life is hard, b. Squeeze every moment of joy out of it you can.

Fashion should never be a punishment. The absolute worst advice I ever heard was a man tell a woman who was unhappy with her weight that she should throw out all of her clothes and buy new clothes in a size six in order to motivate herself to lose weight. Listen, your weight is going to fluctuate. Do not throw out your “fat” clothes! Do not throw out your “skinny” clothes! Keep all the clothes you love and wear them when they fit. There’s only one Oprah. The rest of us can’t afford the financial burden of buying new wardrobes every time we gain or lose ten pounds. And we can’t afford the emotional burden of looking at a closet full of beautiful clothes that don’t fit us. It is damaging to one’s self-esteem. And that damage remains even if the weight is lost. If you can’t rifle through your wardrobe and find three outfits that fit, look good on you, and make you feel good right now? Go shopping.

Wait, I don’t mean right now! After all, we’re about organization and proper planning in 2017. Every mission needs a mission statement. Next up we’ll talk about whether the man or woman you want to be is the one that’s hanging in your closet. And what to do about it if he or she isn’t.