The empress will have new clothes for this new year...
It is the year of the woman, according to media pundits, and high time for this woman to define herself and dress herself even more according to her own lights. I've never been one to care about what is fashionable, nor to dress myself to fit in, or for others' eyes. But until recently, I was very thin (not by design, due to genetics and stress and illness), so finding clothing that fit wasn't much of an issue. Now that I am settling into mid-life, and coming out of a long recuperation from back injury, my body has changed and grown bigger. Overall, I like this; it's rather nice to feel voluptuous for a change. It does, however, mean that my old clothing no longer fits me well, or at all. I felt pulled to colors that weren't in my closet, and to shapes different from the usual offerings. I bought a few pieces, thrifted and other, as stop-gaps, but realized that a complete wardrobe overhaul was needed. And I decided to take the opportunity to think about creating a wardrobe that really reflected who I am now, that makes me happy, preferably without coming at anyone else's expense, or the planet's. I had grown weary of what I had in the closet, because much of it didn't feel good. Nor did it feel like "me" at this time. Because mid-life, like adolescence, is a time of change and reinvention and retooling yourself for the next stage of the journey.
I grew weary of old clothes not fitting. I grew weary of wondering what to wear. I wished to look forward to getting dressed, rather than dreading it. I wanted to have clothes that enfolded me tenderly, rather than pinching, pulling, and poking. So I looked around until I had collected many images of women wearing clothing that delighted me:
gathered, pleated, poufed, ruffled, and layered creatively...
clothes with originality, with authenticity
well-made, fair-trade, artisanal, mostly pre-owned:
nothing fast-factory produced
nothing conventionally 'sexy'
nothing that felt like market forces telling me who to be...
Then I began to select a palette of colors, and to search for pieces of clothing both beautiful and useful to build my new wardrobe. I removed everything from the closet that no longer fit or served me well, and folded it up to take to the local op-shop. After a few weeks of fairly intensive looking about and then shopping the options available, I have a full closet again. I can put my newly voluptuous self into pretty things that feel good. No, my new clothes are not sexy, not unless being at ease in your clothing, being comfortable in your own body, and delighting in adorning it with things that speak to your soul is sexy. (It is to me.) Now I am happy. I look forward to getting dressed; I enjoy combining different things in various ways.
And I love the colors which are drawn from nature:
dusky indigo sky
stones in all their shades
gold autumn leaves
new green tendrils
dark bloomy fruits.
I enjoy feeling the fabrics:
soft, rustic woolens
gently gleaming silks
linens both smooth and fine, and nubby, home-spun
soft sheer tulles
crisp, delicate voiles.
Everything was purchased as re-sale, not retail, except for a few pieces made by individual artisans working from their homes. I have made a few adjustments---tweaking fit, creating gathers, poofing hems, dialing in waists and bodices, adding beautiful vintage buttons and trims. I feel...at home...in my body and in my clothes.
The empress is pleased...
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