I have never been a fashion plate by any means, but in my life, I have dabbled. You could find me in my teens caught up in the Teen Angst movement with a flannel tied around my waist and a scrungie in my long dirty blond hair. In college I upgraded to down to earth khakis paired with a tasteful blouse, not showing too much cleavage, to allow all to perceive my astuteness.
Once I became an adult and entered the work force, my tweed blazer paired with a black pencil skirt was matched with a sensible pair of heels and purse in the same tones. I did my best to keep up with the times and present myself to the world in a somewhat positive light. Then came the children.
I went from a downtown business woman to a mother of 3 in the span of 36 months and it really showed. In the beginning, having a colicky baby who barely slept, left me clinging to any sort of normalcy which included a daily shower and wearing clean clothing. If I got those two goals accomplished on a daily basis, I was delighted.
Once baby #2 showed up, just 11 months after the first, I was lucky to show up anywhere with a shirt that did not include spit up on the shoulder. Then there came baby #3. I gave up all hope of ever looking like anything but a tornado of chaos in a oversized sweatshirt with something green on the sleeve.
I was a stay at home mom with 3 babies and their needs came first. Sun up to sun down, I took good care of those precious little bundles of joy; nurturing their spirit, teaching them about life, loving them for who they would become.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the play group, my babies grew up. Slowly but surely, the onsies became jeans with the knees cut out, play dough became smart phones with Snapchat and bottles became Starbucks’ caramel macchiatos. One day I looked up, and I was living with 3 grown, independent teenagers. Nobody was more surprised than me.
So if I am a mother of teenagers, why am I still dressed like a mother with babies. Literally, everything had changed except my wardrobe, my hair and my makeup. I still had a pair of pregnancy jeans that I would occasionally pull out if I was having a bad jeans day, for goodness sake.
I regularly went out of the house with an outfit consisting of a T-Shirt, stained of course, with a sweatshirt over that, oversized of course, and a pair of jeans, stretchy of course. I combined this outfit with a beat up pair of gym shoes and tube socks for the full effect of the “I have just given up” style which I have been sporting for the past 17 years.
Not to mention my hair style which was always the same; a pony tail put up wet, just out of the shower with whatever hair band I could find. To complete my look was a quick splash of mascara and a dap of Chapstick and I was out the door, ready for my day.
Then one day it all changed. I was perusing the thrift store, donning my “I have just given up” style and I came across a pair of boots. They were made of subtle brown leather, worn but still shiny with an onc inch heel and a silver zipper up the side. They had the style of riding boots, boots an adventurous woman would wear while taking a tour of the wine country in France. I was drawn to them and quite innocently, tried them on.
I slipped them on like Cinderella’s slipper and as I zipped up the full length zipper, something changed in me. I walked around a little bit, there in the Goodwill aisle, seeing how they felt and happened to catch a glimpse of myself in a full length mirror, and for the first time in a long time, I saw myself.
I saw a woman in an oversized sweatshirt, outdated jeans, ratty gym shoes with a graying pony tail who was not taking care of herself, who had given up on herself, who was about to change. As my eyes met my reflection in the mirror, I looked long and hard at the person I had become. And I thought, “Girl, you need some new jeans to go with your new boots”. The metamorphosis had begun.
It did not happen overnight. Like any good chrysalis, it takes time before the butterfly emerges. For the next month, I worked on my overall appearance. First the wardrobe, I organized what I had, I researched what I needed and slowly, I added pieces to my collection; a nice fitting pair of black pants, a form fitting pair of dark denim jeans with straight legs, a pair of khakis with a built in waist cincher.
I added layering, to accentuate the good and camouflage the not so good; a v-neck blouse with a flared bodice, a form fitting blazer, a sweater that fell at just he right place on my hip. I added flair; some scarves to bring out the color in my eyes, a necklace to add to the blouse, a good bra to hold up what needed holding up.
Then it was on to my hair. I had been wearing my hair in a pony tail for the past 17 years, it was time to let the locks blow in the wind. I started with a good haircut. I then added some hair products and a good hair straightener. It took me a while to get the style down, but now I look more Meryl Streep than homeless bag lady, which is a nice switch.
On to the makeup. I actually bought some and have been pretty diligent about wearing it on a daily basis. I have to say, a little eye shadow does me a world of good.
By no means am I the epitome of before and after transformations, but in one month went from mother on the verge to mother I’d like to, if I can toot my own horn. I feel pretty good about the transformation and I recommend it to anyone who has forgotten about themselves along the road. Before I slipped on those boots, I perceived myself as unchangeable. I felt that it was not worth the trouble. Boy was I wrong.
The biggest transformation has not been in the way I look, but the way I feel. They say, “When you look good, you feel good.” And I have to say, I believe it to be true. I feel better about myself, when I am taking care of myself and that includes, looking your best every day.
There is something to be said about walking out of the house looking your best. I stand a little taller, speak a little louder, walk a little prouder. I feel better about myself and my future. Those boots were the best $8.99 I have ever spent because they bought me a whole new attitude.