Overcoming Fashion Doubt

Overcoming Fashion Doubt

One day last week I woke up and looked at emails on my phone. (Nothing like doing things like this in the morning to totally distract me and make me get to work later than intended.) Anyway, there was an ad from one of the shoe stores, and on it they were talking about Valentine’s Day, and how you need these heels for that special date of yours.  (I’ll also note I’m single, and despise this crap right now.) But this particular pump comes in a variety of colors of your choice!

And the thought that hit my sleepy brain was that I thought they were really pretty.

The follow up thought was “Why do I have this love obsession with pumps?”

I have a friend I chat with a lot during the day about fashion things. And I ended up having a conversation with her and telling her I feel weird and strange (which it’s not the first time). And through a series of a couple of other events, I just got into a really dark brain spot. And one of the side effects of that was just feeling stupid for liking fashion things (and for liking heels too).

I feel like this is a multi-edged sword I keep dealing with:

  • Women who dress up fashionably and do more with their hair/makeup/clothes/shoes/nails are all stuck up and conceited and vain and not smart, etc.
  • Women who dress up fashionably and do more with their hair/makeup/clothes/shoes/nails are more confident and look amazing and are happier and such
  • America seems to be land of the casual. One should dress comfortably, not wear ridiculous things like tailored dresses, heels, tights or hose (turning you into a sausage), and such. After all, you’re not applying for a new job, going to a wedding, or attending a funeral every day, right?

Looking feminine is amazing and empowering and yet awful and discouraging. And I feel like this is a fight I do daily. I imagine if I could dress how I wanted every day with no budget constraint and no fear of what people would say or what people would think of me, I imagine I’d probably wear dresses and pumps daily. I just love the shape of the outfits, the classiness of the footwear, the beauty of the whole outfit. And nearly every morning I talk myself out of about every outfit that runs through my head. I feel like it’s just a compromise with myself. “Well, maybe wear one part of that outfit and not the whole thing, Sarah.” “Maybe you can hide more of the shoes under long jeans.” “Maybe put that black cardigan over that color to dull it down some.”

One of the things I really need to work on is somehow giving myself permission to wear these things. I need to realize that nay-sayers are probably a bit jealous or just don’t understand. (Ex: “Ugh, I don’t know how you walk in those shoes. I can’t do that. I don’t know why you do.”) I need to accept that I feel great in these clothes, and I should be able to wear them out, even if I don’t have a fancy excuse. And I think I need to say that despite in the tech industry, more feminine/dressier women tend to be looked down upon a bit more, I should be able to rock some awesome shoes and still build robots or solve complex software problems or show off what a great woman in tech looks like.

Finally one of the things I probably should do is to talk more with real life and online friends, and just say “please support me, even if it’s not your thing.” It’s good to support your friends anyway, but if I don’t feel judged by friends and such as much, then perhaps I might be better off.

Anyone out there love fashion and find themselves conflicted on a regular basis over feelings about it? Is there something fashionable you love and talk yourself out of constantly? I’d love to hear.

~ Sarah

Photo credit:  http://www.freeimages.com/photo/legs-1436793

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