Let’s be frank: over the last three months I have worn more sweatpants, sports bras and pajamas than I have in the last 21 years. And the most obvious reason is that I don’t really leave the house. I lounge around, work out and work from home. Why would I wear jeans? Why would I put on a dress when I could wear leggings and a sports bra? There is no apparent reason to stuff myself into a pair of trousers or God forbid, A REAL BRA, when I know nobody is going to see me.
Ah, but this is where I have made a crucial mistake. I may not be seeing other people, but I’m going to see me. Every time I walk past a mirror or a reflective surface in my house, I’m going to see me, and I don’t know why I’m pretending like that’s not enough. Why am I willing to dress up for other people, but not myself? Are other people more important than myself? Hell no! I’m a damn treat, and I should treat myself as such.
I do have to admit that this idea is not entirely my own, so I must give credit where credit is due: Tan France. For those of you who don’t know, Tan France is a stylist on Queer Eye, judge on Next in Fashion, creator of the fashion line Kingdom & State, and just an all-around style icon. Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched two seasons of Queer Eye and one season of Next in Fashion, so it’s safe to say that I’ve seen a lot of Tan France. Obviously, I’m a little obsessed, but I’ve also learned a lot.
Yes, I’ve learned some basic style tips, like mastering the French tuck, but I’ve also been reminded that style is not for other people, it’s for me. The last couple months, I’ve been wearing comfy clothes under this false pretense that it doesn’t matter how I dress. But it does matter, because I’ve set the bar for myself so low. I’ve established this double standard where other people are worth putting time and effort into my looks, but I’m not. I’ve settled into this habit of wearing “whatever is clean” because taking the time to make myself feel pretty seems unnecessary. Did you hear me? Giving myself a little TLC feels UNNECESSARY, which is ridiculous, and if anything, I’m a little disappointed in myself for feeling that way.
One of the craziest parts of this whole situation is I love clothes. I love shopping and trying new styles and putting makeup on, but I’ve been denying myself that joy. I’ve practically lied to myself over the last couple months saying that I’m more comfortable lounging around my house in old leggings and pajama tops. But I’m not comfortable that way, because it doesn’t feel like me. Do you know what feels like me? Blue eyeliner and floral dresses and bike shorts with oversized button downs. I think I am the sun, the moon and the stars and I’ve been dressing like the dirt, the manure and the gum that gets mushed into the sidewalk.
I think this all came to a head a couple weeks ago. I had gotten dressed up and put on makeup and straightened my hair to take an Instagram photo. Yes, I am cringing at that just as hard as you are. And I got home and almost instinctively put on boxer shorts and an old t-shirt. In that moment I realised the dichotomy I had created. This world where I was shouting to the rooftops about honesty and self love and self respect, but behind the scenes had devolved into an Oompa Loompa. One of the craziest things was, I was comfortable. Sure, I was wearing jeans, but I was still comfortable. If anything, I felt more comfortable than any athleticwear had ever made me feel, because I felt like me again. I felt special and beautiful and that’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
Please, don’t take this lesson and assume I’m asking you to base your value on your appearance. And I don’t want you to feel the need to dress like you’re about to walk a runway. But dress like you, whether that’s a suit and tie or boho or athleisure. Just take pride in the way you present yourself. Clothing is just another way to express your personality and I can guarantee you my personality is not dirty sweatpants. I want to remind you the selfcare is not selfish. There is nothing self-absorbed about putting time into the way you look or taking an extra 15 minutes in the morning to feel presentable. Sometimes in the world of self-love, amongst the inner beauty and confidence and growth everyone talks about, we can forget to take care of ourselves on the outside. Washing your face, doing your eyebrows, painting your nails, doing your hair, it all seems like this surface level obsession with appearance that is perpetuated by social media, but it’s not.
At its core, taking care of yourself is about respect. If your friend told you she wasn’t worth the time in the morning it takes to make herself feel beautiful, you would slap her upside the head with a magazine. So why isn’t that true for us? Why do we only get dressed when we go on walks or have social distancing drinks? I know the world is opening back up, and we all joke about “having to wear pants again”, but you know what? YOU WERE ALWAYS WORTH PUTTING PANTS ON FOR. You were always worth putting makeup on. Most importantly, you were always worth wearing a bra.
From me, with love, to you,