Dress for the Life You Want, Not the Life You Have
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a yoga junkie, so strung out on Bikram yoga (a ninety-minute, twenty-six posture series done in 105 degrees) that I practice between four and five times a week. In fact, last year, I took on what is called a Thirty-Day Challenge in Bikram, and practiced for thirty days straight. Those in my yoga community, who know me solely as “Bikram Bridgette,” are often surprised when I tell them that I am a style expert and author.
Bikram is so super sweaty that there is little point in worrying about what you wear to and from class—and given the post yoga euphoric high you feel afterwards, little desire to care anyway. Yet, it can get pretty boring to wear the same utilitarian, blah clothes everyday solely because they function in my low maintenance world. Case in point: Last summer, I would wear the same denim skirt to yoga practice EVERY DAY because it was easy on and off. Not only did my pigtails (the hairstyle I’m famously known for wearing to practice yoga) become my signature, but everyone started to know my skirt. I hate that skirt at this point, but keep grabbing it because it’s easy to put back on after my post-Bikram shower and I’m still sweating profusely.
You may not be a devout yoga practitioner, but you may have a lifestyle that doesn’t demand that you get dressed up. Be it a stay-at-home mom or that you work from home, for example, these can be some of the cases where it really doesn’t matter. Oh, and a little side note: Right now I am writing this article in my pajamas. Years ago, I remember a client asking me for help with this. She told me that, because she was a stay-at-home mom, it was hard for her to justify getting too dressed up. However, she hated wearing the same shabby sweatpants to walk her kids to school everyday. I surmised that in cases where getting dressed, and looking good, isn’t a matter of "have to” but a matter of “want to” it is easy to let things slip and just grab the same old uninspired, junky stuff over and over again. In that moment, I made the suggestion to my client that my she a) ditch the shabby sweatpants (she can’t grab them if they’re not there), b) buy new casual items that she likes wearing and, c) think more about her lifestyle when shopping.
One of the biggest mistakes I see women make with their wardrobe is that they don’t buy realistic clothing for their life. A woman who stays at home with the kids all day has no business having fifty pairs of stiletto heels. Someone who works from home would benefit from having some casual pants and tops and/or some easy fun casual dresses so they’re not lured into staying in the PJs all day. Speaking for myself, I could buy something other than that stupid denim skirt to wear after yoga. I know it sounds so “duh” easy, but if we all based our wardrobe choices around our lives, we’d be a lot more content with our wardrobe…and I’d be out of a job. Trust me, I’ve been in enough closets to know that most women do what I refer to as “Wishful Wardrobing” which means: Dressing for the life they wish they had, not the one they currently do.
I’m not sure why we “Wishful Wardrobe.” I wonder if it is because we don’t want to accept that our life isn’t glamorous enough to warrant cocktail dresses and three-inch heels and that it is, instead, quite ordinary. Or, if it is that, unless we have to, we don’t take time to care for ourselves. Have we pushed ourselves so far into the back of the closet that grabbing a “that’ll do” piece to wear is enough for us? Why can’t we be comfortable in our lives without looking like we took a nap in the laundry pile? When we “Wishful Wardrobe,” it’s the equivalent of having fine china but using a plastic cup and paper plates everyday. We have all these lovely things in our closet that have no business being there, while we take out the trash in seven-year-old sweatpants with holes in them.
If you are a Wishful Wardrobe and your closet is stocked (but with NOTHING to wear), I urge you to take a little time to really assess your clothing to ensure that it supports your lifestyle.