I could no longer hide behind something new or trendy. I borrowed. I remixed. I swapped, I mismatched and accessorized. Without clothes to give me a confidence boost, I had to find it from within.
I had hoped that my year of no shopping would turn me into some sort of fashion-frugal hybrid. A cross between Dave Ramsey and Anna Wintour. I hoped it would free me from my body hang-ups and fears and give me that hip-mama style I so longed for. But when January 1, 2013 rolled around, I was still me. Granted, I was less obsessed with shopping and more focused on quality over quantity. But I was still me.
And this is what I learned: Fashion doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you, you. Fashion is just that: an accumulation of clothes and accessories. When you scratch the surface of fashion, the person underneath is still there -- insecurities, skin flaps, crooked smile, dimpled thighs and all.
No matter what you wear -- a bold red dress to give you confidence, heels to make you stand tall -- you are still you. No amount of ruching can hide the insecurities, double chin and cellulite that you are so afraid to flaunt. It didn’t take a dress to make Cinderella a princess; she was one all along.
Fashion doesn’t give you confidence. Fashion isn’t magic. Fashion is just there to highlight the parts of you that you love. But that means you have to love something about yourself first – which means you have to stop connecting your self-worth to a price tag. That you have to stop letting your wallet be a slave to your deepest insecurities, hopes and desires.
I think I’m getting there. I was surprised when I didn’t come home with masses of clothes from my first shopping trip. Instead, I choose a few higher quality items that I hope will last through my second child, due in July, and beyond. And when my daughter, now almost two, wants to wear her Elmo shirt with her fancy skirt, I don’t fuss, I don’t negotiate; I let her. I want her to feel ownership over her fashion and not that fashion has ownership over her.
I want that for myself too.