I'm reading Women in Clothes. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do at some stage.
I saw it doing the rounds of instagram a few months ago and couldn't for the life of me understand how the topic could be interesting enough to warrant the raving reviews, and it's sheer size. On a whim I purchased it, and have been joyfully dipping in and out for two months now. It sits on our dining room table and I peruse it while having my mid-morning coffee.
The premise is that three women, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton, sent a questionnaire to 639 women asking them a list of more than fifty questions about their personal style.
This book is totally inspiring. On more than one occasion it has taken my breath away with that feeling of recognition you get when something rings totally true.
Here is just one of those quotes.
I'd love to hear your take on this... The quote might strike you as it did me - or maybe you just think it's total rubbish.
For me - I realised that after having my kids I've often dressed to hide. Hide the fact that I didn't quite feel like me. Hide the fact that I weighed more than I did and that my body had changed. Sometimes dressing as an unconcious way of conveying my exhaustion. Dressing to be invisible so I didn't have to chat because I didn't have the energy. The whole nursing top and baggy pant stage. It's almost like me as a person disappeared into the mothering and that was reflected in what I wore. Not everyday but often enough.
And there was another thing. It was almost like when I came out the other side of the early days I wasn't sure who I was, and that was reflected in my dress. I wasn't the same person - the pre-motherhood, working in pencil skirts and heels, jeans and tshirts on the weekend kinda girl. And yet I was. Everything I put on felt wrong. Too slobby, too dressed up, too whatever .... and that felt awkward.
That awkward stage of dressing and mothering ended a few years ago but I'm not sure it's left me completely. As my kids are getting older I can feel things changing and I've recovered my idea of "self". Dragging it out from under the all-consuming getting-through-the-days of early parenting into something where I recognise me in me. My clothes are reflecting that - reflecting the fact that most days now I remember to have a shower and look in a mirror on my way out the door. That there is the brain space to engage in the self-care and self-love involved in dressing in a way that makes me feel good. And that in itself feels pretty good.
The quote made me think that maybe it is partly a chicken and egg situation. Maybe by consciously dressing to convey my me-ness I'm encouraging my me-ness to return. And around it goes?