True Confession: I Don’t Know How to Dress for my Age


Age and change tend to creep up on you I find. It doesn’t seem but a moment ago that I could strut with confidence on a night out or shop with sheer enjoyment as opposed to frustration and eventually, all too often, defeat. 

Like many a mother out there, multiple babies in a handful of years have altered my shape for good. This isn’t a shock of course; hips widen and middles, well, shift. The thing is I don’t mind my body now — yes it’s different, but it’s powerful and it’s mine, and good grief it brought several lives into the world, so I owe it respect more than I owe it judgment at this point.

The problem is that my wardrobe hasn’t shifted its mindset in the same way. 

Just the other day I was browsing through my clothes, acting momentarily like I was going to dress in anything other than leggings and a t-shirt (am I right?) and it occurred to me…I have the SAME DARN CLOTHES that I had when I was in college. Before I was a mother. Before I was a wife. Before I was in my thirties. 

I Don't Know How to Dress for my Age

This is a problem. I hadn’t much thought to myself that I could be one of those women who dress too young for their age, or wrong for their shape, or out of (even timeless) style. But hey, there I was, realizing that not only was my clothing literally from years gone by, it was in no way right for my body or my sense of self any more. 

And then a new thought followed quickly after this realization: Oh Lord, I don’t know how to dress myself any more. 

You see, I’ve always had staples: skinny jeans, black flowy top of some description, some kind of boot (usually flat because I’m tall), and a fitted jacket of some kind. Sounds simple right? What could go wrong? Well, when you’re still squeezing into the jeans of yesteryear because you’ve declared yourself too cheap (or too scared?) to stride out into the world and face down those fitting rooms and their all encompassing three-way mirrors, you’re not left with much choice. The tops I once enjoyed, often with graphics that were feminine and edgy, don’t really suit my personality any more. With mostly solids to my name (and mostly black at that), where is my opportunity to change with and celebrate the season (spoiler: I’m falling in love with plaid as we speak)?

Ironically, I literally shop for clothing for a living, so as of this last week I’ve taken to challenging myself by trying on every item that comes into my home that is in my size. Only then will I start to discover what my ‘new’ style really could be. And you don’t have to be a professional thrifter to do this; you just need to escape for an hour or two (not a small feat Mom friends, I know, but totally worth it in my opinion) and take yourself dressing room hopping. Figure out what you like NOW, rather than what you’ve trained yourself to like. What you’ve told yourself time and time again is within your fashion wheelhouse while excluding other possibilities. I need to open my mind a little I know, so that’s on my list for this coming year. Slowly but surely bringing some renewed confidence into my life through the expression of clothing, and most importantly how it makes me feel inside. 

I know they are just clothes at the end of the day. I know that in the trenches of motherhood at all stages it can be really difficult, and seemingly unnecessary, to focus on ourselves and specifically our appearances. Maybe, just maybe though, it will help us stand a little taller and create a new habit of pursuing more for ourselves on a daily basis. 

So if you need me I’ll be wandering clueless, yet inspired through the dregs of my closet of yesterday. Who knows what will emerge on the other side. 

Happy holidays everyone. 


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