I put my head down and I ducked into the change room. I called out to Desiree behind me that I was ‘going in’ in the very dramatic way that I knew would make her smile. Arms laden with items including a new bikini top, a maxi dress or two and some skirts that had called my name. I stripped off and started to try them on.
One by one I either decided to buy or discarded. Then there was the maxi dress. Printed and sort of flowing, dual side splits and a colourful print. Desiree was having a birthday party. I decided something like this dress would be perfect for it. And it was. But let’s flash forward now.
There was something I didn’t consider.
It turns out that I can be REALLY uncomfortable in clothing that feels really feminine, to me. Isn’t that the strangest thing? As I tugged my strapless bra into place, lining the girls up as you do, and slipped the dress over my head, it was there.
I felt self-conscious.
Maybe it was the amount of boob on display, maybe it was the ruffle or the print. Perhaps it was the exposed shoulders, the full length or the print but it was there. Nerves. I turned to Desiree for reassurance that it looked ok and she shook her head and laughed at me. Pffft, errr yeah.
So I took her word for it because she’s not the kind of friend to blow smoke up your ass, and I went with it. It occurred to me that my style really isn’t feminine at all. I’m more comfortable in simple, straight lines with strong colours (black being a big factor) and well, pants! This billowy, busty maxi was something else entirely.
And I got curious about that.
Was I weirded out by the visibility of my boobs? Maybe. But not in the way you think. I’m happy to wander around in my swimmers or underwear in the company of friends no problem. My boobs have never really been a feature in my personal style. I like them, they’re there, but I don’t build outfits around them. They make appearances on occasion like Brad Pitt did on Friends. Welcomed, but hardly necessary.
But that’s wasn’t it.
I think the length didn’t help. Have you ever done a Debutant Ball? Not just been to one, but participated? There’s all this walking, being presented and dancing in a floor length gown that is practically designed to end you. This maxi dress was long.
I don’t know how the short ladies would ever have worn it because I spent the entire first half of the party (before I tucked it into my underwear a little giving me freedom of movement) lifting my hem delicately like some character from a Jane Austin novel-adapted movie. But with more visible ankle.
And then there was the fact that it looked weird with my sneakers! I mean. I can’t even.
But most of all I felt like it was a great dress, it looked great (you guys sure liked it on Instagram) but it just wasn’t me. I felt like I was playing grown-up lady at a nice party in that dress. Not always a bad thing, playing dress up is awesome. But when you know your personal style, have curated from the depths of peasant blouse extinction, wearing something that isn’t you just doesn’t work.
And you shouldn’t. I believe that. I think you shouldn’t do anything you don’t want to do, wear anything that doesn’t work for you or be anyone you don’t want to be. So keep that in mind folks. You do you.