In the floating years of high school, I regularly raided my mother’s closet to expand my meagre wardrobe, trying to impress the cool girls with something other than everygirl’s Mariposa. The result however, was that I dressed like a 40 year old virgin – color block dresses, sensible pumps and thick shoulder pads sewn into those blousy, angora-blend sweaters. At university not much later, I explored biker-chic with abandon, and could be found toting a studded black leather jacket and spiral-permed hair at all times. Upon entering the working world in the early 90’s, short tight skirts a la Ally McBeal ruled my day. Once I changed firms and got promoted, “take me seriously” black pantsuits made sure I got the job done.
Looking back, I have to admit that these clothes served as my suits of armor. They costumed and protected me from my developing sense of self. Emulating others, whether they be Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl or Tila Tequila, a different kind of working girl, gave me modus operandi, even if it was not my own.
Three kids later, my new best friend is Lululemon. My body has metamorphosed and I no longer fit my armor. And I no longer have anyone to impress except my kids and my Facebook friends. So, I have finally accepted the fact that I only need to impress myself. Even though skinny jeans are impossible because of them, I love my giant thighs and butt when I’m training for a half-marathon. I love how bouncy my hair gets after sleeping on it wet. I love my biceps (Thunder and Lightening, named after Michelle Obama’s) more every day. Thighs, butt, hair, biceps, and not a stitch of armor anywhere. That’s impressive.