Above are the tan pants that inspired a blog post with two of my inspiration boards in the background.
2017 has been a year of change for me. I left a job that was slowly chipping away at me spiritually, emotionally and even physically. I began a path towards the creative future that I have always envisioned. Along with the changes, I felt a need to overhaul my physical surroundings. A huge part of that is cleaning out my two overstuffed closets to the point where everything that should go in the closets can fit in there (this is still a work in progress).
I have come across items that made me feel a myriad of emotions. My leftover accessories from the early 2000s were particularly hilarious: a straw cowboy hat, a cream satin belt with a rhinestone buckle, a cowboy style belt that did not go with the hat at all. I found items that reminded of me of good times, such as the DKNY blazer that was the first designer item of my adult wardrobe. The day I brought it at Filene’s Basement, I was so excited that it was cute and ecstatic that I could afford it. I was also reminded of the sad times, like the sandals I wore the day I had to put my senior cat to sleep. I easily donated all items except the blazer, which I will probably keep forever.
One of the items I struggled to decide on was a simple pair of pants. They are a pair of tan wide-leg slacks, which had been perfectly tailored to fit me. They still look new, probably because I only wore them twice. I can imagine Katharine Hepburn wearing them, but the issue is I am nothing like Katharine. She had a slim figure and I am more like Jennifer Lopez on my bottom half. She was tall and I am somewhere between short and average height, depending on who you ask. She preferred an androgynous style while I prefer my clothes to be as feminine as possible.
What in the world was my problem with donating these pants then? Why would I want to keep something that is neither particularly flattering to my body type nor complementary to my style? I wondered if I will ever need them again. Was this something that I should have in my wardrobe? These pants had me feeling more self-doubt than a pair of pants ever should. Would I ever have to return to the general drabness of cubicle land? Should I want to wear something that makes me feel like I blend in? Why can’t I feel good in something that would be considered a basic building block of a wardrobe?
The problem or simply the fact is that I do not like plain. Plain makes me sad, like it desperately needs a dose of glitter. Instinctively, my clothes do not blend in. I remember my middle school classmates making fun of a super bright, super early 90’s multi-patterned shirt (the sleeves and the hood and the body of the shirt were different patterns) I was wearing. I didn’t care, I loved that shirt. One boy said I always tried to stand out, like there was something wrong with that. I kept wearing the shirt and I kept loving the shirt because it fit my burgeoning style. (I wish I still had that shirt.)
So, how did I ever get to the point of wearing tan pants? I don’t wear much black because it washes me out. That at least explains the color. I chose the wide-leg fit because more fitted pants brought too much attention to my curvy bottom. (That unwanted attention is another blog post or ten because I have so many thoughts on it.) I wanted to look like I belonged in the office culture. I never really fit in and I wanted some way to show that I should be there.
The fact is I never should have been there. I let myself settle in a place where I would I never be happy or fulfilled, where the people showed me daily how they did not like or respect me. It is worse that I stayed in this miserable place for over a decade. The office itself was my prison, but so was the way I would not let my inner self out. I dressed older in my 20s than I do now. Gradually, I began dressing like myself at work partially thanks to a change to business casual, and then casual dress code. My tops featured foxes, owls and other animals. My dresses were bright and glorious. My skirts swirled when I turned around in the copy room.
The change that occurred was more than appearance. I felt like myself for the first time in years. I felt glimpses of happiness at work even on my worse days when I looked at my very me-like outfits in the mirror. Those outfits helped me gain the wings I needed to fly closer to my destiny.
The tan pants will be donated to charity tomorrow. I don’t need them anymore nor will I allow their dullness to be part of my life. I will wear things and take part in things that bring joy to my life. I am ready to shine.
For suggestions on non-boring work clothes, please see my “Fun Work Clothes” Pinterest board.
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