Confidence and happiness radiate from the faces of my two beautiful (yes I am biased, but it is still true) daughters. I can’t help but smile and laugh when I am with them. We are getting ready for the day. First things first – deciding what to wear. My four-year-old can finally get herself dressed all by herself (when she wants to). She also likes to pick out her own outfits as well. She comes into the kitchen as I am packing lunches. She is wearing a pair of pastel rainbow striped pants, her hot pink and orange “Hello Kitty” t-shirt and the new brown suede boots I just bought her.”Don’t I like pretty?” she asks me as she twirls around to show me the complete outfit. It is quite an ensemble.”You look beautiful! I tell her. I could force her to back upstairs and put on something that remotely matches. In fact, if my husband were awake and saw what she had on, he would probably do just that, but I don’t. She is so happy and proud of what she is wearing. She has a smile a mile wide! She feels good about herself. Who am I to wreck her happiness and force her to follow typical societal fashion norms. Maybe she will be the eccentric artist some day.
My nine-year-old is already a little more cautious about what she wears. She wants to fit in with her friends. I did too at that age. Part of fitting in is wearing the “right” clothes. She has on a black and teal glittery long-sleeved t-shirt that says “Dance, Dance, Dance” on it paired with a denim mini skirt and black leggings. She is wearing black suede boots and her hair pulled back in a pony tail. As she is putting her books and folders into her back pack and can’t help notice how grown up she looks these days. My little girl is gone. She catches me watching her.
‘What’s wrong Mommy?” she asks me. She looks down at what she is wearing. “Is something wrong with my outfit? Does this go together?” she immediately questions.
“Yes, yes. Nothing is wrong with your outfit,” I reassure her. At this age, her mother’s opinion of how she dresses and looks is still important to her. “You look great! I was just thinking how grown up you look.”
She beams. I guess that was the right answer.
I look down at my own attire. I am still in my PJs. Appearances are something, but not everything I think to myself. I am always turning thoughts over and over in my head. I want to be loved and respected for who I am on the inside. At 41 I am not going to look like the woman I did at 20. In fact, I really don’t want to be that woman again. I continue to think about appearances. My appearance – how I wear my hair, the clothes I put on each morning, the makeup I put on (or not) are all things I can control in a world of things were there is not much that I can control. I can’t control what happens as I drive to work or after I drop my children off at school. I can’t control how people treat me or what they think of my. But, I can control how I react to these uncontrollables. I can focus on what I can control and leave the rest to God.
And so out all that, I choose to wear the clothes that make me happy, that make me feel good and confident. If I think I look good in them, then I do. I am going to choose clothes like a four-year old – if don’t like an outfit or feel my best in an outfit I am not going to wear it anymore. I am going on a closet, clean out rampage and giving away all those clothes that make me feel less than beautiful. No longer will I buy something ho-hum, simply because it is on sale. So even if I have only three outfits left, at least I will feel good about wearing them (and I’ll have less laundry). I am going to dress for me.