“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.” – Caitlin Moran
I think of this Caitlin Moran quote often. I love the way she summed up so succinctly the conundrum we all face so often while standing in front of our own closets. We change. Constantly, consistently, sometimes from day-to-day. Our clothes cannot possibly keep the pace, never mind our bank accounts. We attach so much meaning to our daily wear because what we wear tells the world who we are. And if we have nothing to suit who we are, then we have somehow failed at presentation.
I am a woman who spends most of her time around men. But I think that serves to make me more aware of how differently men and women perceive clothes, rather than less. My husband and my best friend occasionally lament the lack of fashion options available to them. But why, I wonder, do they want anything else, when it doesn’t matter if they wear the same thing every day? (This is no exaggeration; they both have a uniform, with multiple copies of the same pieces hanging in their closets so they can wear them consistently.) Options never make anything simpler. As women, we have endless clothing options. We are also under constant appearance-based scrutiny. If a woman goes to the moon, it is almost guaranteed that how she looks in her space suit will garner more attention than her actual trip to the galaxy.
So, of course, we feel like we have nothing to wear. How can we possibly live up to the pressure of knowing what to wear when what we wear and how we look is apparently still the most important thing about who we are, no matter what we go about quietly achieving while we’re dressed? I don’t know. I wish I did. The truth is, I feel less like I have nothing to wear these days than ever. But I work from home, which means facing the world less. I want to believe my sense of peace with my wardrobe comes from having found my style. But I often wonder if it might not be that there is a positive correlation feeling good about my clothes and not facing a world that wants to make me feel bad about them every single day.
This topic becomes more germane as I commit, with increasing dedication, to only sharing outfit I actually wear. For a long time, I treated clothes as costumes. I dressed for parts I wanted to play, rather than the life I actually lived. It was fun for a while until it inevitably began to feel silly. But while I don’t want to feel silly in my clothes anymore, I still find myself wondering if the looks I share now might not be boring. I wonder if who I am right now will be enough for people who admired a different version of me. And conveniently ignore that the only person whose opinion actually matters is my own.
I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the idea that life is a course I’m taking pass/fail and that, as a woman, every move I make is judged based on a list of criteria that is as long as it is arbitrary. I love beautiful clothes but I want wearing them to be a choice rather than an obligation. And when I choose to wear practical clothes instead, I want it to be a simple decision, not an act of rebellion against the narrow confines of partiarchal definitions of femininity.
I have never had nothing to wear. But until the world can accept me, and all other women, exactly as we are, not as they would have us be, I will always have moments where I feel like I have nothing to wear.
#zara #mavijeans #gucci #anthropologie #celine