Do clothes make the person?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man.”

I was that weird person in high school that would wear dresses and long skirts. I’d wear blouses and vests. I got dressed up for picture day. I met my partner while sitting in a field wearing a blouse and dress pants while waiting for movies in the park to start. He said I stood out from all the other students there. Yes, the weirdo in dress clothes at a very informal student event where every other person was in shorts and a tank top. I’m not sure that I prided myself in my looks or anything like that. I think at that point in life I was too uptight to relax, actually. However, I’ll admit that I did learn to feel pretty when I was in professional attire so I continued to wear mostly dress pants and nice blouses after having my first children. My husband would tease, a little, about how I’d get up and dress for work each day. I think because I never imagined having children, I never thought I’d find myself at home full time. I was keeping my identity of a professional woman alive.

However, we eventually decided that I was going to homeschool the children. Then we moved away from any professional work that I did partake in on occasion (I was an active member of a rape crisis and prevention centre and also a relatively active doula). We moved to a small town community. I had another baby and jeans and oversized sweaters became my clothing of choice. I only wore dress pants and handful of time and once it was to a funeral. I’d even occasionally don the traditional homeschooling outfit of a long denim skirt, but that was as far as my “dressing up” would go. We’d started to go frugal with clothes before we’d moved (and got some flack for that from people who felt we could do better), but at this point I started to only buy second hand clothing for the children and myself.

We’ve since moved even future away from from civilization. I have not purchased an article of clothing in the last two and a half years.  My mother and law gave me a bunch of stuff when they moved full time into an RV, but we aren’t the same size so I am virtually swimming in her pants and I’ve started to wear mostly my partner’s old t-shirts. There are days I don’t actually make it out of pyjamas.

I’m actually going back to school in the fall and want to reconnect with the professional woman I dreamed of becoming. I have thought quite a bit about how clothing gives me the feeling of being put together and I really want to go out and spend some money on myself, but then I think about my real life, dogs and messy (but happy) children, and it all seems pointless. It would get ruined or be covered in fluff all the time. That being said, I think that getting dressed in the morning, brushing up my hair and smiling would do a world of wonders for my mood. However, I don’t think that looking down at myself in new clothes covered in fur and paint would, so I sit here in my paint splattered shirt and jeans that are 3 sizes too big, wondering what happened to the person I was..

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