CLOTHING IS NOT ARMOR
The “perfect” wardrobe won’t protect us from the pain of life.
A great outfit doesn’t make us immune to suffering.
Our favorite “skinny” jeans don’t make us skinny.
We can’t hide our shame with a baggy sweatshirt.
CLOTHING COVERS OUR BODIES
There’s no doubt we feel better about ourselves and sometimes life in general when we wear “nicer” things, or things we love, but your dog can still die while you’re wearing your favorite cashmere sweater, and you can still get fired wearing your best suit. Nothing can protect you from life.
I’m not trying to diminish the role of clothing in our lives, after all, things matter. Clothing is a great tool we can use to boost confidence, show our creative side, or just have fun, but when clothing becomes something we rely on to act as a distraction, and mask what’s going on inside, it becomes a crutch, and an obsession. I know, I was there. Obsessing. And still today, even though I’ve recognized what I was doing, I have moments when I think “if I just had THOSE jeans”…
Why did I obsess for so long over having “the right” things in my wardrobe, and why did I collect so MUCH STUFF?
I discovered that I was trying to create the life I wanted via my wardrobe; I was trying to fill emotional needs with clothes. And I thought I could actually slowly transform my life in to the one I wanted by adding one (or two) items of clothing at a time.
I was addressing the dissatisfaction I felt with my life by putting up a wall of clothing around me; my perfectly chic, comfortable and drapey outfit would both show the world that I am strong and creative, while at the same time protecting me from disappointment and the pain of failure.
But clothing is not armor.
My feelings can still be hurt even while I’m wearing my favorite James Perse dress.
I can still feel lonely wearing my soft & cozy Inhabit cashmere sweater.
My Eileen Fisher harem pants don’t protect my ego when I feel under-appreciated.
It’s time to stop elevating our clothing into something it’s not; it doesn’t have to be so serious. (this coming from someone who writes and thinks about clothing ALL THE TIME!) As I get further along in my minimal journey, I am starting to let go. I am starting to appreciate the freedom that comes from just living in the moment and appreciating what IS, and from just wearing what’s appropriate & fun, not my suit of armor.
How have you used clothing as armor?
*hat tip to the October 2014 issue of Lucky magazine and the article “Flawless” by Kayleen Schaefer for making me think about this issue in this way.