Finding My Groove: How Corona Helped Improve My Closet and My Confidence
Updated: Mar 29, 2021
So far as I can remember I've always wanted to be a fashionista (my iconic first instagram handle would support this notion.) Passed down from my mother, this 'passion for fashion' was an unremarkable fixture to many of my days growing up. From the countless hours getting lost in the Lord and Taylor shoe sales, bi-seasonal Talbots trips, and even an established junk drawer for store coupons, it was not lost on me that one really needed to "dress to impress." And to the squat, awkward preteen I was, this idea that one could impress others simply through improving their possessions was obviously one that I took to heart. So much so, that eventually most the things I desired were in some way dictated by my desire for it to impress someone else (though I'd argue that sometimes 'impressing others' can equate to not unimpressing them either.) So, I got the cool shoes that hurt my feet, and the white-girl-autumn infinity scarves that scratched my neck (unfortunately the list goes on) all in the effort to be whatever "impressive" meant at the time. Yet up until recently, I never quite felt authentic in any of these various styles that I piloted.
I was simply giving back what was given to me, instead of actively creating my own identity.
Come our good friend Corona last spring, and finally I had had enough with this played out pattern. Stirred from a surplus of free time and a pretty penny banked from my hours of reimbursed refolding, slowly but surely, I began the towering task of revamping my wardrobe.
I first started by looking at what I had. Meekly, I canvassed my closet and inevitably found that though I did have a lot of clothes, I really couldn't say I liked any of them. My jeans were either two sizes too big or small, any top that wasn't a sweater (which was few and far between to say the least) was either an eighth grade t-shirt or a sophmore year splurge, and my less-than-vast shoe collection was determined more by dinginess than detail. It was obvious what needed to be done. Armed with my debit card and a desire for change, the next few months were spent seeking out the pointed purchases I saw helping me finally achieve the authentic confidence that I always desired. New top here, new bottoms there! The sight of my name probably haunted my mailman's head.
So why was I so worried about upping my warbdrobe game in the midst of a pandemic? Well in short, socially-distanced from society, I was finally finding freedom from others' perceptions of me. Safe in the confines of my new home, I was inspired to encourage my individuality and challenge the previous notions of who I thought I 'was' before. I essentially came to the realization that 'dress to impress' was more about impressing yourself than anyone else. And even though I'm sure my neighbors did get a kick out of seeing my fresh fits sported up and down our shared streets on each days dogwalk. I knew each morning I woke up and stared down my evolving hangers, that I was thinking purely of myself and no one else. And while that's not something many people proudly champion, I'm not afraid to challenge the popular belief that demonizes selfishness. Being selfish is sometimes necessary in order to reorder ones priorities in life. I had spent my entire young life caring way too much about other peoples needs and other people's opinions. So for the first time in a long time, just allowing myself to simply care about something as silly as what I wanted to wear without the hesitation of what others might think about it, returned my locus of control inwards, which at the time was exactly what I needed to improve my self-esteem.
Now, don't get me wrong, I still struggle a lot with anxiety regarding others opinions of me, so I'm sorry to report that a forever 21 crop top didn't completely cure my social angst. But, my tall tale is true in the fact that we all have the option to 'wipe the slate clean' everyday. Whether the clean slate you need is a material change like mine or something greater like a major life switch or adjustment, each of us has full autonomy to alter the choices we make each day. Of course I'm not ignorant to the fact that not everything is as easy as just filling your cart. Of course some issues are more nuanced. Yet, even if the situation which you find yourself in is far from favorable, no parent, friend, partner, or community can control how you choose to handle it. My closet was by far not the most pressing issue I had to deal with in quarentine, but just because it wasn't the most important didn't mean it wasn't important. Small changes are still changes at the end of the day. And small changes can still have a huge impact over time. I mean I didn't just blow all of my money in one sitting buying out half the mall. I did it stategically over time. (Sorry dad.) Still, today I can pretty much say that 90% of what I wear came into my life from this timely transition. Which means that eventually, I did accomplish my goal of reimagining my style, so what if it didn't happen over night?
We all only have so much room in the pan to fry the fish, so why not just be compassionate with ourselves and go for the smaller ones first? At least then, when we eventually have to face the big kahuna at the end of the line we'll have a bit more experience under our belts.
*I feel it's noteworthy to clarify that this analogy was in no way motivated by my last name
Just for fun I figured I'd give you guys a little peak into this infamous closet for the cover photo :)