New Clothes, New Me

pre-shopping spree wardrobe
I hate change.  I despise it.  It's the most uncomfortable, and often I feel like it comes from an outside force and I'm not being true to myself if I follow the changing tides.

When E first suggested that I maybe look into getting a new wardrobe, I reacted with internal resistance.  Do I not dress well enough?  And who is he to judge my style?  I generally like how I look and the vibe I give off, so why should I change for anyone else?  But then I let the idea sink in.  He wasn't insulting me, but offering me an easy means to control and refine my image.  How you dress is more than just being about style.  It shows your level of self-confidence and your opinion of yourself.  What you wear really truly shapes how people see you.

Generally, I have a penchant for loose tops and skin tight bottoms.  I want to show off my legs and hide my stomach (like every other human, probably).  I don't buy quality fabrics because I don't feel like I deserve to dress in those quality goods– I'm twenty, not yet a professional, and still in the mindset of fun cheap clothes rather than cultivating work outfits.  My body is a work in progress, and not necessarily something I'm always proud of.  My dresses are too short and my skirts are too tight.  I don't have the staples and adult should.  And yet I'm working "grown-up" jobs and interacting with non-students regularly.

But E knows me well enough to know that the prospect of going shopping with him would turn my attitude towards the whole situation around.  The idea of him encouraging me to try on clothes he thought would look good is an ego boost that I simply could not pass up.  So I consented to work on updating my wardrobe, albeit hesitantly.

At first, it was awkward.  I was shopping at The Gap– a store I never thought I'd ever set foot into since my eleven year-old self declared her hatred of jeans.  I was trying on straight-legged jeans and striped shorts and linen pants that fit the preppy image I work so hard to avoid.  Plus it was weird to be shopping with a guy.  Especially one who wanted to see every single outfit.

Eventually I hit my shopping stride.  He wore me down to the point when, if he tossed a pair of pants into my arms, I'd willingly trek to the dressing room for the billionth (it seemed) time and given those white capris a shot.

And surprisingly, I usually liked them.

I was happy with my purchases.  But when I dressed the next day, I didn't quite feel like myself.  A bright blue V-neck with black and white striped shorts?  That's not Madysen at all.  I like short dresses and combat boots and studded pants (none of which ever fit well).  I walked around all day feeling like a stranger in my own body.  I was acting like myself, but the image I was putting off didn't feel like it matched who I am on the inside.

But that was kind of the goal.  You dress how you feel you deserve to dress, and I didn't (and still don't completely) feel like the clean lines and bright colors adequately suit me.

But the other day I played around with some outfits.  I paired a black V-neck (my favorite wardrobe staple, regardless of fit) with a the steel grey linen pants.  I cuffed the pants and threw on some toms.  Still too preppy.  Still not me.  The lines were too clean and the colors too solid.  There was no personality in the outfit.  I traded out the toms for heeled sandals and added some big statement earrings to the mix.  Before my very own eyes, and just in the knick of time to head out for work, I saw myself differently.  For once I was not hiding in a baggy shirt.  I didn't have anything to hide.  The lines were clean, the clothes fit perfectly, and I still felt like myself.  I looked like someone who deserved the job to which I was headed.  I maybe even felt a little more confident already.

I hate to admit it, but E was right.  I was hiding behind sloppy clothes.  Every time I caught a glimpse of myself in a window or mirror that day I was shocked by the confidence in my step.  I really was holding my head up high and walking with a noticeable spring in my step.

I'm not finished updating my wardrobe, and it's a silly thing to put stock into, but I have a feeling that my self-image will only improve from here.  My aspirations seem to be a little more within my reach.  Jobs that I would never have applied for before suddenly seem worth submitting an application for.

And now I can say with absolute certainty: damn, do I look good.


  1. Show us pictures Madysen! I would like to see ;)


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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