Although there are several wardrobe pillars that nearly every woman is willing to invest in – generally at least one from the classic triad of handbags, coats, and shoes qualifies – there is always some fascinating variation. Some women don’t give a hoot about bags but will spend big on coats. others don’t care about any of the triad, but will plunk down the big bucks for properly fitting bras and undergarments. Plenty need to invest in suiting or work attire for career reasons while others have learned that springing for perfectly fitting designer jeans is a wise use of hard-earned cash.
Me? I am perfectly happy to thrift my tees and layering items, buy my button-front shirts secondhand, and stick to cheap but sparkly costume jewelry. I am more likely to spend big on boots than sandals, but always go for quality handbags. My coats are a mish-mosh of thrifted and cheap lightweight coats and expensive, reliably warm and well-designed down coats. And although I find blazers fairly difficult to fit, nearly all of mine are thrifted. I just can’t stomach paying $200 for a brand new blazer for some reason!
How about you? Do you scrimp on jeans and spend big on dress pants? Put serious money towards shoes, coats, or handbags? Which items will you thrift versus the ones you prefer to buy brand new?
So before we dive in, two quick reminders: No one gets to tell you that you “can’t” wear certain things, and no one gets to tell you that you “shouldn’t” wear certain things. No garment or accessory will cause a body to burst into flames. If you love it and it makes you feel amazing, wear it.
That said, most women have items or styles or combinations that we tend to avoid. We’ve tried them, we’ve tried tweaking them in 90 bajillion ways, we’ve tried asking for help … and they just don’t work. Not how they work on others. I’d say most women have a list of “I wish I could wear” pieces and styles lurking in the backs of their brains.
The one that trips me up every time? I cannot, for the life of me, feel comfortable and classic and cool – the way I think I should feel – in jeans and a tee shirt. I never feel my best and have never landed on a jean/tee combo that I feel truly works for my figure. There are so many other fun styles that I love wearing, I’m hardly missing out. But I do occasionally wish I could just throw on a cool graphic tee and well-loved pair of jeans and saunter out the door feeling done.
And you? What do you wish you could wear? What trips you up about this item or style?
A friend’s daughter, aged 14, has gotten to the point where she wants absolutely no one to see her without makeup. She was sick a few months back, and my friend brought her a washcloth to hold against her feverish face. She accepted gladly, but then sent my friend from the room, hands over her face, saying she didn’t want to be seen without a lick of makeup on her face.
This makes me a bit sad, of course, as no one should ever feel her natural face is so hideous that it cannot even be beheld by family members. But as someone who wore zero makeup until about five years ago and has gradually been adding more to my daily regimen, I understand a bit more now. Some of it is down to familiarity: If YOU are used to seeing your face with eyebrows penciled in and look unfinished and unfamiliar to yourself without some makeup, the very thought of exposing that undone face to strangers may cause anxiety. It’s definitely a learned fear, which means it can be un-learned with time and practice, but my impression is that once learned this is a preference that tends to have some staying power. Just this week Autumn of The Beheld wrote about how she’s taken to wearing makeup to write alone at home, and the emotional repercussions of this shift.
And I’m curious how many of you have given this matter some thought. If you wear makeup, does the idea of being seen without it make you anxious or upset? Or if that wording is too strong, do you prefer to been seen with makeup on? Is there anyone in your life who is exempt and can see you barefaced without making you feel exposed or uneasy? How long have you felt this way? Do you wish you felt differently? Or are you comfortable knowing that you prefer to enhance your looks with a few powders and potions?