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simplicity, Catholic homeschooling, Old World inspiration, Oriental dance, style & beauty

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reflections of a Once Stylish Mom

I had my home (the downstairs that everyone sees, that is) all clean and decorated for Christmas by Saturday, Dec. 1!  While I told myself that this was an awesome thing, as now I could just relax for the Advent season, I felt let down by the end of Dec. 2.  The reason for this is that I had been working like crazy, preparing for a bridal shower I gave for a friend on Sunday.  All that house cleaning for an event that lasted less than three hours. Was it worth the blood, sweat and tears? Of course, I was more than happy to throw the party for my bosom buddy, and as long as I keep vigil so that clutter does not creep back in, I won't have to do any more stressful house work, well, maybe ever. (Okay, I know myself better than that.) Also, my sister said this was the cutest my home has ever looked! So why am I not satisfied?

Well, I like to beat myself up about the things I might have done better. And I was tired that day, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I might have. I had to drive to the next town for church that morning, since my RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) class had our Rite of Acceptance, so I couldn't miss it. And I hadn't slept terribly well the night before, in anticipation of the big day ahead. So I felt like I looked tired. My hair had gotten frizzy from running around in the wet mist. My living room was so crammed full of guests that I was sweating and kept having to open the front door. I got compliments on my house as well as my snazzy new ankle pants from Ann Taylor Loft, but I still didn't feel like a morning star.

One of the problems is that I was once so very stylish. I had a nearly perfect figure and could wear one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that I can't fit into now, even if they still worked with my lifestyle. I had the best wardrobe, which came primarily from thrift stores, garage sales, Target, and vintage boutiques. I took risks, I had flair, I was fabulous! Now I live where there are not any shopping malls, or one-of-a-kind boutiques, or even a Target (yes, weep for me now, my sisters...) But that's not really the problem. It used to be easy to look great with only a little makeup. Easy and breezy to throw something on without thinking too hard about it and look hip. Although that's not entirely true, either. I once had the time to play around with my outfits, accessories, hair and makeup. I'd get dressed up and find somewhere to go if I didn't already have plans. Now there isn't anywhere to go. Dress up to walk the dog, run to the grocery, visit the library or my grandparents? And my husband doesn't help--he seems to think I am gorgeous and desirable no matter what. Wait--that's a good thing, right? Well, yes, but it doesn't help me try very hard to find the balance I so desperately need between being stylish and functional.


 Stylish Mom Icon, Katie Holmes

Strange things happen accidentally, though, that can help us see beyond our tunnel vision. Is there no way out of this beauty malaise? One day recently I had gotten hot and had taken my sweater off and was wearing only a tunic length, simple camisole top. When I got chilly, I grabbed the nearest thing, a rose-colored Western style shirt of my husband's. It fit perfectly. I looked pretty sexy if I do say so myself! Even our daughter remarked on how well it suited me. "After I wash this, I'm putting it in my closet," I told my husband. I was serious. I am that desperate.

I have bought new clothes, and I am cheered and inspired for a short time, but then my hair still doesn't work right, or the outfit doesn't work as well as planned, or I compare myself to someone who is thinner and has more money to spend on clothes. Even if I wouldn't dream of wearing shorts with lacy patterned tights in December (like the guest of honor wore to her bridal shower), I want to feel as attractive as she always looks. But I don't want to dress like her; I want to dress like me. How, for the love of all that is chic in the world-- exactly how? I found some great, stylish mom blogs today, and that got me thinking in a better direction. A key theme is to shop your own closet. Comfort is a necessity, but a few festive accessories can glam up an otherwise basic outfit when you need to be dressier. Layers bring out creativity and personality and help you change your pieces up. Getting rid of clothes you don't love and don't wear is a vital step, so that you can see the clothes that you will look forward to wearing.

If the sun had shined brightly today, I might not have fretted so. After all, this is trivial stuff. These are not Real Problems. But there is a long, long winter ahead here in Ohio. I want to feel like the best me I can be in every area of life. I want to feel lovely while I sit in my cozy home all decorated for Christmas. Most of the shopping is even done already! I don't want to waste a moment wishing for a better hair day, or cuter shoes, or a scarf that matches my coat better. So it is time to get myself together, once and for all! Or at least until spring, when I will have to figure out what to wear again. So stay posted. I'm going to be ambitious and put together some outfits with stuff I already have and become one of those savvy mom bloggers. We will get through these dark grey days in color, texture, beauty, and warmth--together!!

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