Perhaps a better title would have been fleece free week but it didn’t have the same ring to it. This week my goal is to dress like a normal adult woman and not a bum. I used to love shopping and dressing well. Time and children has changed that perhaps inexorably. I feel like a martian when I go to the mall and the only stores I end up going into stop at size 6x.
I seem to be stuck in a rut of black fleece pants, black t-shirt, and fleece jacket. Sometimes I change it up. Mostly, I vary whether it is a short-sleeved or long-sleeved black tee. Also, sometimes I will wear a grey fleece jacket instead of the black one. But, that is only if I am feeling especially whimsical.
It makes sense on some level that this is my uniform. For one it is easy. The past year was hard enough without adding what to wear to the list of endless big decisions we were making. It also felt safe. Who wants to wear color when your daughter is sick. Not me. It felt too showy. I wanted to fade into the background in the hospital. Keep a low profile and just get through was our plan. It felt like residency all over again. I just wanted my nose to the grindstone until the worst was over and the black fleece uniform fit that profile well. It was sturdy and serious and non-threatening all at once. Perhaps I am reading too much into the clothes I wear but I don’t think so. Clothing projects a lot about who we are and mine was saying no-nonsense Mom on a mission.
This approach made a lot of sense to me while life was tense and uncertain. The problem is, although life is no longer that way, the uniform endures. I have not moved on in any way.
I used to love clothes. Like a lot of young women I used to love shopping with my Mom. It was a time for us to connect and enjoy each other. Beyond that, the business and artistic side of the fashion industry is fascinating to me. Even when I was pregnant, a good outfit could make me feel body confidence. I lost some of that swagger when I was diagnosed with cancer. Interestingly, it wasn’t the thought of losing my breasts or deforming them that worried me. Specifically, I was worried that if I was dying it didn’t make sense to waste money on new clothes for me. That was surprisingly one of the first random thoughts that crossed my mind in the minutes after my diagnosis. It was superficial and deeply meaningful all at once. It is possible that part of me still struggles with that idea. It is time to get over it because I look like crap.
Entering adult clothing stores just leaves me feeling silly. I feel too old for the trendier stores like Abercrombie but not quite old enough for Chico’s either. What is a girl to do? Answer, bring her husband.
In what can only be described as a the biggest shocker of my marriage, it turns out my husband is a fantastic shopping companion. He picks colors and styles that I wouldn’t notice. He is patient and generous with compliments but not so much that I don’t believe him. He is the Andre Leon Talley to my Anna Wintour. Who would have guessed? We went to two or three stores and found enough new stuff to make me feel pretty but not so much to throw off our retirement planning.
This week I wore not an ounce of black or fleece or any combination of them. I felt pretty good. It felt like our life feels now, happy and cancer free. A girl could get used to this.