I realized something the other day: I have a uniform.
I was getting dressed to go out to something. I pulled out a simple black dress, put it on and then went back to my closet. I pulled out a white/black tweed blazer, a camo jacket and a long grey cardigan. I held up the tweed jacket and showed my daughter.
“That makes you look like Madam Secretary Mom.”
Down went the tweed jacket.
I held up the camo jacket.
“Are we storming the building?” she responded.
I held up the grey cardigan.
“Ok. That works. You don’t look as scary as you usually do.”
Finally, I found my persona for the day.
It was then I realized that I have a very organized and methodical approach to dressing. For the most part, my under layer is very simple: plain dress in black, grey or olive, or black shirt and black pants. My underlayer is plain, generic and practical. Sort of like me- at my base I am very simple. But them I add another layer- cardigan, jacket, scarf, jewelry, whatever, and poof! Everything changes. I am no longer plain. I no longer recede into the background. I become who I need to be that day.
Like it or not, clothing is one of the first things people notice about you. It’s literally the wrapping with which you present yourself. From a distance you might not be able to make out facial features, but you notice jeans, or a dress, or whatever.
We also choose clothes to make us feel something. Sometimes we want to feel confident, or mature, or scary. Sometimes we want to blend into the woodwork. Maybe we want to impress someone, or intimidate someone. All these things can be accomplished with clothes.
There are days I need to be Madam Secretary Mom. There are days I need to be cool LA. And there are days I need to be less scary than I normally am. I use my wardrobe to help me with this. I am always the same underneath: introverted, sarcastic, clever. talkative in the right circumstances, and logical. But sometimes I need to highlight certain parts of me: if you look the part, you can fake it till you make it.
I guess this is why a capsule wardrobe works for me. I have moods and personas, but at my heart I am always the same person. I don’t need a lot of clothing to amplify who I am: I can accomplish that with a jacket type thing and accessories- all it takes is a little tweak.
In my younger days I had a closet full of all different types of clothing. I used to wear color. But now, with age comes wisdom and confidence. I now know who I am in my heart. True, we are always evolving, finding different interests and likes and dislikes, but I like who I am on the inside. Which makes me unafraid to wear what I like on the outside.