Last night in bed I was flicking through my already well-thumbed copy of Closet Confidential by Daddy Likey blogger, Winona Dimeo-Ediger. Now, before I get to the crux of this post let me just say, if you don’t have this book you NEED go out and buy it NOW. It is pure, hilarious genius, and packed full of sage style advice. Lauren bought me a copy for Christmas and it is already well thumbed. It lives on my dressing table! My favourite part of the book is the shoe alphabet, in which she divulges a “shoe truth” based on this blog post.
Getting a shoe compliment from a woman is like having Bobby Flay come up to you at a party and tell you your seven-layer dip was incredible, like having Whitney Houston (pre-crack, of course) duck her head into your car window at a stoplight and tell you that she overheard you belting out “I Will Always Love You” and that you’ve really got something there, like having Mario Testino tap you on the shoulder when you’re posing for Myspace self-portraits in front of your bathroom mirror and saying “You’ve got a good eye, kid.”
Something about this truth struck a chord somewhere and set a chain of thoughts in motion. This week I have been asking you all to vote for the outfit you like most for me to wear on Saturday night. Now, I’m not a girl who usually has problems dressing herself (yes, I know, that depends on your point of view… my hot pink legs have received some VERY odd looks today). I know what I like, I know what I feel good in, I sometimes like to push the boundaries on what I feel comfortable in, hence now LOVING the purple skirt that I was previously seriously uncertain about. 90% of the time I am happy (and excited) to choose going out clothes, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve replied to an invitation out with “Ooh yay! – Can I wear a pretty frock?”
So why am I struggling so much with choosing an outfit for tomorrow night?
Looking back, the last time I asked for your opinion was for another night out in Manchester, going cheesy clubbing for Mikey’s birthday. This might lead one to believe that it is the location that is affecting my decision-making capabilities, that something about Manchester makes me uncomfortable in my skin/clothes, but I’m pretty sure such an urban hive of a city like Manc caters for pretty much every taste…
I have come to the conclusion that my indecision stems from a desire to feel that I belong. Whereas in my day-to-day life I dress for myself, when going out with this particular group of my uni chums I try to dress to blend in. I try to dress like they would want me to, less flamboyantly than usual, even a little like I did for nights out back at uni. I dress for acceptance.
The problem is that I don’t own clothes that fit in with their collective style. I can’t pull off easy elegance like Elena can, I’m far better suited to fun and funky retro. And when I try to find an in-road to that look I get frustrated and end up feeling inferior at best, invisible at worst. I feel like I lose my sparkle.
This really is my problem. I have been friends with these guys for over a decade now, I dressed crazily at uni (Stripy pink roots? Pillar-box red dip-dyed hair?? Bindhis and tiaras??!) and that didn’t put them off – I should be pretty confident that they at least kinda like me… 😀 So why am I so afraid of alienating/embarrassing them? Why can I not wear one of my lovely dresses and go out my usual sparkly self?
I don’t know the answers. I just know that this whole dressing for other people thing is NOT worth the effort. Because people either like you or they don’t, and if they like you, they’re not going to let a net underskirt get in the way!