When I moved with my husband to Indianapolis a month ago I had no idea how different the life and the people would be. I had been to the city before and I thought I knew what moving here would would be like. I envisioned the romanticized cosmopolitan life of New York City on a smaller scale. I fancied we would be like Carrie Bradshaw and a middle-class Mr. Big. I anticipated wearing heels everywhere that I went and for the first time I would actually fit in, and as I walked down the halls of the Fashion Mall for a brief interlude of time I thought I might've been right. But then the grind and reality of life set in and the only places that I was going was the grocery store and the pharmacy and Michaels to buy wedding decorations. And the more I looked at the people I shared a town with, the more disillusioned I became in my expectations. Apparently Indianapolis has a dress code - everything that the fashion industry would frown upon. Specifically, a sweatshirt, leggings and Ugg boots. I'm beginning to feel like Blair Waldorf in Brooklyn. Every day as I walk out the door of my painfully suburban apartment I feel like yelling "Leggings aren't pants!" But unfortunately I'm not Queen B and I don't get to send girls home for how they dress so therefore I just stick out like a sore thumb.
When you get dressed to go out and your husband gives you a quizzical look and says, "Is that what you're wearing?" the automatic female response is, "Oh crap he doesn't like my outfit," but his comeback is always, "Well you don't dress the way my friends' wives do. I'm just not used to it, that's all." While I'm all about being different and being an individual and standing out, the undertone of fashion disapprobation I'm getting from this town has thrown me for a loop. So much of my life has changed in the last couple of months that some days I feel like I can't get my footing in anything solid beside the love of my amazing husband. Fashion and music have always been my rock in the darkest of times, but I can't seem to get a handle on it here. I try very hard to show the world the strong confident woman that I see in the mirror every morning but so much of that is based on where I see my footing in the world and this time I can't seem to find it. Some days I stand in front of my closet and just want to sell it all and start over. (P.S. If I do, it will be on Poshmark and you're all invited to the sale.) I'm starting not to see myself in any of them anymore: the fashion T-shirts help me fit in but I feel too mainstream and not the best version of myself. When I wear the chic dresses and pencil skirts in my closet I feel overdressed and showy but its the only times these days that I'm comfortable in my own skin.
I always saw my own personal style as rather an established fact with room for a few minor variations but never as something that would ever change. But now I'm discovering that my sense of fashion is a journey just like everything else in life. I started out as a Southern belle, then ended up in college that expected professional skirts and dresses everyday, and now I'm living in the land of sweatshirts and leggings. I sort of just thought that you matured into your sense of style and that was the way it would be from then on. But this move has made me realize that as you change and evolve as a person your style changes and evolves too. While I always preach that ultimately there is no right or wrong in fashion, I think I just needed to take that to heart for myself.
I also had never considered the fact that your region partially dictated your fashion. I mean I thought about it from the swimsuit versus coat perspective but nothing beyond that. As steeped in the whole fashion world as I always have been I don't know why this never occurred to me since I knew that Charleston definitely has its own style. So how do I assimilate without looking like everyone else and betraying my own fashion sense? And that brings me back around to me standing in front of my closet and not seeing who I see myself to be in any of those clothes. There were days when they made me confident and happy and feel beautiful, but today is not one of them. Now I feel stiff and inhibited and way too proper. The last ten years have made a huge difference in who I am as a person and in my personality. So why did I think that continuing to wear the same clothes was going to work? No wonder I felt completely out of place in everything I put on and in every situation I went into. You can't expect to feel at home in a situation if you aren't at home in your own skin. So if you don't feel at home, the answer is to change something. So I did. I dyed my hair.
I started writing this post several days ago right after I dyed my hair. It accelerated my personal style journey. So remember that closet sale party I promised? Yep, that's happening. So make sure to keep checking your facebook feed for the next week!! I started going through the closet and just throwing things on the bed. It was interesting to think through all the memories that I had associated with each garment. And I began to realize that those memories were a huge part of why I had kept some of those clothes this long. But I also didn't see myself making any new memories in them. So that is the indication its time for them to go to a new home!
Now a few days later, a shopping trip, a reorganizing of my closet, and a new hair color and my husband is now saying I look like a rockstar and he loves my new look. So this moral of this rambling post is to never be afraid of reinvention. Most of the times when everyone else doesn't see the need for it is exactly the perfect time! Never settle when someone tells you that its good enough but you feel like it isn't. Fashion is about making your outside look like your inside so when you grow as a person and your inside changes never be afraid to make changes to your outside; even if they're dramatic! Being true to yourself is always the most important thing in fashion.
Oh yeah, and my answer to the legging problem? I bought "peggings". Pants that look like leggings but are made of actual fabric. So now Queen B wouldn't banish me from the steps of the Met but I can still incorporate into my wardrobe some of the style of my new city.
"A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes." - Vera Wang
"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It will be the journey to find yourself." - Anonymous