Saturday, February 4, 2012

I always thought of myself as of only-recently-fashion-evolved. I had this idea of my ugly duckling past firmly embedded in my self-image, even as I was always hoping to become this stylish confident woman when I (finally) grow up.

"Why did I waste my youth wearing ugly track suits, ill fitting jeans and cheap sale dresses?" I complained once to my long time friend.
"I don't know what are you talking about, you never wore track suits" my friend sounded genuinely puzzled.
"I didn't!?"
"No, you had those cute blazers, awesome combat boots (!) and what ever happened to that hat you were always wearing?"

I started to think about it. Maybe she was right. I remember that cool black leather trimmed blazer I had (from the Limited). Oh, and the Calvin Klein dress I really liked, and yes, the newsboy hat. I tried to ignore the combat boots part. I remembered that the coworker once said I was "the best dressed person in the whole department" leaving me shocked and embarrassed.

Hmmm, maybe I did not look so bad, but why do I remember it differently? Part of it was that I grew up in the shadow of my fashionista mother (see here). I was poor and could never afford things I liked. I was very focused on my career and I didn't want to admit I was even interested in fashion. I thought I was a tomboy.

But then it hit me. It is because of the pictures!

My family liked to spend our vacations camping, hiking, swimming and sightseeing.  And, of course, taking tons of pictures while doing it. Since I always prided myself on being able to pack in a small single suitcase, I ended up taking only practical, durable clothes, shoes that were meant for walking etc.

Wrong! Those clothes ended up looking really ugly in the pictures. My mother was onto something, after all. With her multiple stuffed suitcases, amidst my exasperated father huffing and puffing (but secretly feeling proud of her), she is always beaming in our vacation photos.

Elegant women, like DaniBP,  are wise when they plan their color story inspired vacation wardrobe. Dani always has the best packed suitcase when she goes on vacation, and I have learned a lot from her. Actually, I tried to pack Dani style on our recent vacations and I was much happier with the outcome. Finally, I came of (fashionable) age!

I never liked to spend too much on my special occasion outfits. You only wear it once, I thought, it is a waste of money. So there I am, attending weddings and First Communions, wearing dresses that were 'good enough', but never what I really look good in.

Wrong! While the cost-per-wear is still atrocious, the memories-per-wear are pennies. For my daughter's First Communion last year I bought the dress that was more expensive than my wedding dress (which was very cheap). I felt pretty and confident. I never wore it again (but I will have the pictures forever). I have no regrets.

Then, there are all those goofy pictures, taken by surprise by my talented photographer husband. "Mom, you have to see it, you look soooo awful" my daughters are always in hysterics when going through the evidence.

Why didn't anybody take pictures of me at work, I wonder?  That would show them. Remember my wise coworker? Well, nobody usually does, unless, of course, you do it yourself. So there is another purpose of this blog! 3o years from now, I will be able to pass those pictures to posterity without shame. Ha! I have outsmarted the system!

See children, even in the bathroom, grandma was a-stylin

As for the goofy business I found a solution too. I am buying my lounge wear and work out/hiking/skiing gear with the same amount of thought as my occasion dresses and work clothes. They can be comfy but at the same time still 'give me the feeling', ykwim?

After all, you don't need more than one 'painting the basement' outfit, right?

Go ahead, take a goofy picture now

Hope you are having a great weekend. 

How do you see your style evolving over the years?  Do you see yourself as fashionable as you want to be? Do you like looking at your old pictures? Please share.


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