Let’s face it. When it comes to prioritizing all the things we need to get done during a busy day, taking care of our physical appearances is often the first to go. But over time, neglecting ourselves can damage our sense of self-worth, our reputations, our marriages, and our overall well-being. That’s why, as part of my month of self-care, I gave myself a make-over.
Today’s post is about the way we dress. (You can also check out last week’s post about hair and make-up.) The advice is aimed at moms, but it applies for any woman who wants to look good without spending too much of her precious time in front of a mirror.
Step One: Set a budget.
Anytime you embark on a self-improvement project, it’s important to budget not just how much money you’re willing to spend, but how much time and thought you’re willing to invest as well.
My “mom-jeans” wardrobe demanded a major overhaul. (Between self-consciousness about my post-baby body and depression, I hadn’t really bought non-maternity clothes in three years.) Between Christmas gifts from my husband and parents, I was able to invest in a one-off shopping trip. My depression is finally under control enough that I felt like I was worth the effort to think about the way I looked and spend a good deal of time improving it.
But improving your wardrobe doesn’t have to involve a big, one-off spending spree. It doesn’t take much time to clean out your closet to eliminate those look-terrible-feel-great outfits you just can’t resist. With a little more time, you can put more flattering clothes that look and feel good in easy arm’s reach. You may be surprised how many great outfits are lurking in the back of your closet.
Step Two: Define your look.
Again, even if you aren’t going to buy another stitch of clothing for the next six months, it is still worthwhile to define your look. Your clothes should celebrate the way you look now, which means they should make you look and feel amazing.
I’m no expert at fashion, so I went through Sally McGraw’s Already Pretty: Learning to Love Your Body by Learning to Dress It Well. Part of the book asks readers to keep fashion journal as a part of the make-over process. The project not only helped me identify what parts of my body I like—and what I’m still sensitive about—but it also taught me how to dress to those strengths. Then I used photographs of myself and pictures from magazines to identify how I dress now, and to define an ideal, figure-flattering look. I won’t give the whole book away, but I highly recommend it to anyone attempting a self-care project.
Step Three: Start from the bottom up.
I would strongly recommend starting any wardrobe renovation with strong foundations garments. That means investing good money in bras, underwear, and slips that fit. Start your make-over with the things people can’t see because the right panties can dramatically improve the fit and feeling of items you already own. A fun petticoat can transform a blase dress into something fun and funky. Most importantly, great support is the best way to look and feel good in your clothes.
Most lingerie stores carry 32-40″ bands and AA-E cups. Women like me with unusual proportions–I’m narrow and large-busted–should consider stores that carry smaller and larger sizes. (I’m personally a fan of Intimacy.) Look for stores that advertise as “European,” “salon,” or use the word “fit” in their names.
Step Four: Judiciously build your wardrobe.
Part of the reason I really love Already Pretty is that it encourages women to spend days or even weeks working out of their current closets before telling them to head to a store.But when we look carefully, most of us will find holes—literal and figurative—in our look-good-feel-good wardrobes. When we know what we’re missing and what fits into our signature look, it’s easier to resist the siren call of clearance racks and one-day sales.
For those of us who are less confident shoppers, try Stitch Fix.
Stitch Fix is personal shopping for the masses, an on-line service that sends you five garments that will fit into your wardrobe to make you look and feel beautiful. Fill out their on-line fashion profile or link to a Pinterest board of your dream wardrobe.
For $20, you’ll get a box of five items that fit your tastes and wardrobe needs. Keep any item and the $20 goes toward the cost. Return anything you don’t want by putting the paid, self-addressed envelope in the mail.
(I would never recommend a product or service I don’t love, so I’m happy to tell you that Stitch Fix has a referral program. If you do choose to try Stitch Fix, you can support Experimental Wifery by following our links.)
Stayed tuned for the last post of Make-Overs for Moms (and Other Busy People), Change Your Wardrobe Change Your Life.