At the ripe young age of 30plus, after almost two years of lockdowns, of working from home, of wearing predominantly leggings and wellies (while looking longingly at the pretty dresses hanging in my wardrobe and wondering whether the occasion to wear them again would ever arise), I have come to the conclusion that life is too short to deny oneself the simple pleasure of dressing well. I call it simple, but the reality is that dressing oneself is anything BUT simple. Our clothes are an expression of our identity, the way we choose to present ourselves to the world. They can be, and often are, a fundamental outlet for our creativity, even without us realising it.
To me, personally, the act of getting dressed has always been a major source of joy. Choosing an outfit for an occasion, be that a party, a job interview, or simply going to work, is an activity that rarely fails to entertain me. Call me vain, superficial, or whatever you like, I have simply decided that I don’t care anymore. I am tired of apologising for what I like, even if that is a leopard print wrap skirt that some people might find excessive. I have spent, like most of us, a fair amount of time in my life dressing for a role I thought I had to perform. If I were to be taken seriously as an academic, I’d better subdue my love of all things pink and instead move towards a more proper black and navy situation. If I were to be accepted among a crowd of proper artistic people (musician’s wife here) I’d better show up appropriately dressed in a way that conveys my disgust with current society and demonstrate my strong belief that art is the only way, who cares about what shoes you are wearing for that??(spoiler alert – I do, I really do!).
I mean, life is already difficult as it is, isn’t it? Why feed our insecurities by making it even more difficult? Why live with this underlying feeling of shame, that if you are too invested in your appearances it must definitely mean that you are superficial? Almost two years of pandemic have left us, willingly or not, to take a hard look at our lives (and for some lucky ones, to bake a killer sourdough bread. I cannot count myself amongst this lucky crew, despite numerous attempts). We started reevaluating the things that really matter for us, and the things that make us happy. What matters in my life is my other half, my family, my friends. Keeping healthy, relaxed and enjoying the moment. Doing all this while dressed nicely makes me very happy. Matching my earrings to my necklace makes me happy. Having a fabulous bag makes me happy. Having a pair of shoes that looks pretty and still won’t make me slip and fall during the harsh Scottish winters makes me extremely happy.
And wait, bonus, if I feel happy, I feel more confident too. When I feel confident and at ease with who I am, life gets easier. Such basic assumptions, such profound truths.
So be who you are, wear what makes you happy, whatever that may be. Life is too precious to spend it wearing stuff that we don’t really like.
(These photos were taken in the gardens of Prestonfield House, a truly magical spot in Edinburgh. I am wearing a dress from Fatface, because I love pink and florals, and I love their sustainability ethos. My leather jacket is about ten years old, and it was a present from my lovely mum. The boots are several years old, Clarks, bought second hand on Ebay, and probably my favourite shoes. My lovely bag is from Sarah Haran, a birthday gift from my husband, and I love supporting small, local, women owned business).
I love everything about this – especially when you mention pressure to fit in with different groups via what you’re wearing. I think lots of women will find that highly relatable. Also, you can never have too much leopard print. Ever.
Thank you!And I absolutely agree, you can never have too much leopard print, ever.