Six months ago I unexpectedly lost a lot of weight. It was a combination of new medication and a healthier diet, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when all my clothes started hanging off me and, in a couple of cases, falling off my frame completely. But I was surprised. And a bit annoyed. A lot was going on with me: I had just moved interstate, was living out of a guest room at my aunt and uncle’s house, and was undergoing new treatment for my crazy brain and old lady body. Needless to say, unexpected weight loss and a sudden, urgent need to restock my wardrobe was not exactly a welcome event in my world. Still, I had to find new clothes. Which made me realise something.
I hate shopping for clothes.
This was a slightly shocking revelation to me; I have spent years loving the excitement of shopping. Now I’m older, I’m busy, I’m more than a little tired, and clothes shopping feels like hell. Somehow I had genuinely thought this would never happen to me. Shopping for clothes was one of the only “forever and ever” kind of loves I’d experienced – well, shopping and chocolate – but alas, it turned out to only be a folly of youth. At least the chocolate is still going strong.
That’s not to say my love for clothes and personal style is gone – it definitely isn’t. The acquisition is what bothers me. The fashion world – especially the kind of clothes I can afford (cheap) – seems to only ever become more hyper-insane; trend upon trend upon trend crammed into shopping malls, blaring a cacophony of too-loud music I’ve never heard (and hope never to hear again) while endless streams of shop assistants ask me how I am, what I’m looking for, if I need any help. Online shopping is somewhat less terrible, but scrolling through endless pages of nonsense that I’m never going to buy, feeling vaguely motion sick while banners flash at me and attempt to convince me to spend more than I can afford is not much better.
Just kill me, basically.
Which is kind of what I did. I sacrificed myself to the world of partial minimalism – something I swore I’d never do. In fact, you’ll probably find evidence of this on my blog. “I’m a maximalist!” I’d proudly declare. “Minimalism is death to my soul!” or some such other typically over-dramatic declaration. You see, I’ve found that my need for the nightmare experience of shopping (that is: zero need) is equal to my need to be constantly overdressed (also zero need). This was something I realised when I was on the phone to my mother, actually.
“I guess I’m older now and I used to dress up to try and be different and have a strong sense of self, but I’m more comfortable with who I am now so I don’t need all that.”
Saying those words was one of those epiphany moments where everything seemed to fall into place; what had unconsciously been rattling around in my mind for a while had finally decided to come out and say hello. It was a simple, pure moment, which is precisely how I dress now. No fuss. Easy. The brain has a limited decision making capacity per day and at this stage in my life it feels silly to waste too much of it on clothes when I can wear something simple and feel great.
Personal style is such a journey. I can chart my personal development through the ways in which I have chosen to dress myself across the years, from the outlandish to the simple. My self-acceptance can be seen in the fact that I no longer care if I’m a “basic bitch” in blue jeans, a button down, and red lipstick. I am happy to blend into the crowd and I don’t care about standing out. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone but myself. I don’t even care if I go out with no make up on because I know who I am and I like that person; adornment is not coming from a place of attempting to prove myself or covering up insecurity but from a place of enjoyment.
The only way to go now is forward, and I just hope that path is filled with less hell-shops, more secondhand pieces, and some quality time in jeans and a t-shirt.