This isn’t going to be my usual Shoe Friday post. You know, where I post a photo of a gorgeous pair of shoes and then explain exactly why I deserve to own them. The truth is, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a fraud when it comes to Shoe Friday of late. Ok, about being a fashion blogger in general.
It’s not that I love fashion any less than I ever have. More than just loving clothes, I love the whole process of getting dressed, putting together an outfit, of knowing what will look good together, of knowing what will look good on me. I’ve always felt that way. I can remember being a young child and having very adamant thoughts about the types of clothes and shoes I wanted to wear (skirts not pants, except what I called “swishy” pants, which I believe must have been bell-bottoms, though now I’m dating myself in a way in which no fashionista ever wants).
Of course, I still have very adamant thoughts about the clothes I like and want to own. But, the reality is, that more often than not these days, I’m all dressed up with no place to go.
I used to work in a law firm. Every morning, I’d get up and dress the part — tweed pencil skirts, silk blouses, structured blazers. And heels. Of course, always beautiful heels (except for that unfortunate period when I hurt my ankle and found myself in a walking boot for months, but I’d really rather not dredge up those painful memories). Over the past few years, though, I’ve been working from home or, for brief spans here and there, not working at all. Oh, and then there’s pregnancy and motherhood, each of which present their own unique fashion challenges.
Now, I’m not one of those people who thinks that the great advantage of working from home is staying in my pajamas all day. For me, that’s an easy recipe for checking my email and then taking a nap. Even on maternity leave, I’ve felt it hugely important to still look put together, no matter that no one but the baby might see me that day. It’s been important because “looking put together” is such a part of who I am. And as any new mother will tell you, it’s really easy to lose all sense of who you are once baby comes along.
Still, it doesn’t feel right to pull out the pencil skirt and silks to sit at my dining room table with my laptop. And it’s really, really incompatible with spit up and playing peekaboo on the living room floor. So, I have a closet-full of office clothes and no office to go to. And I’m left with the realization that what I’m good at is, well, dressing up. Need to look good for an interview? I’ve got that covered. Cocktail party? I have the dress and some killer accessories. Last-minute tickets to a black tie event? Not a problem. But looking nice for running errands and afternoon lunch or a stroll through the park? Well, it turns out, I’m at a bit of a loss. Casual chic has never been my thing. Yet, here I am, leading a casual life. And for a lot of reasons, I really need it to still be chic.
I think a lot about how we can use fashion as a means of expression — telling the world how we view ourselves and how we want to be viewed by others. Lately, I’ve thought a lot about how our sense of style isn’t static but changes as our sense of self evolves and the demands of our life shift over time. My life has evolved in incredible and fundamental ways and yet my wardrobe and my style are dragging their heels (ahem) about changing too.
Funny, I always called my business casual office wear my “lawyer costume” because it never quite felt like me, like my true style. Now, when I stare at my closet, deciding what to wear, I wonder what my true style really is these days. You could say that I’m still looking for the right pair of gorgeous, if slightly more casual, shoes that I just have to own. Although, let’s be honest, I know they’re still going to be a pair of heels.