The first suit I ever purchased was in Victoria, BC in a beautiful cream colour, size 10. I bought it because I needed something for my MBA entrance interview at McMaster University. I purchased the suit (more than I could afford, but my BFF Lisa convinced me it was the way to go), broke up with my boyfriend (dodged a bullet there), flew to Ontario (thanks Mom), and convinced Mac I would be a good fit. I still have that suit actually, because despite it being 15 years ago, it’s classic. Not Jackie O. classic, but it wasn’t the 60s. Plus, at the time, I think it cost me 15% of my annual budget, so I can’t let go of it. And I got in, so it must be a lucky suit, anyways.
They say that clothes do not make the person, but I don’t know about that. I am woefully ignorant of fashion, do not read women’s magazines (they just try to make me feel inferior somehow, although I have considered a subscription to Chatelaine as of late), and am completely mentally handicapped in the application of makeup. But when I have made the effort to find good quality, well-fitting clothes that perfectly match the occasion, a sheen of confidence envelopes me. My 5’8″ stands tall, I walk confidently with my heels first and I want to shout “I belong here!” Wherever here may be.
Over the last three years, I have reduced from a size 14/16 (yes, I was occasionally a 16, nobody would ever believe me, and that is yet another advantage of being tall) to a size 12 (with an occasional 10). My closet is decimated. I can fit into all of my career clothes certainly, but they hang on my waist, they sag in the front, and generally go not look good. And no, a belt cannot fix ill fitting clothes. Please spread this around. I sorted through the closet a while back and created three categories: too big – donate, too big-put aside for altering, and wearable.
My professional closet – once a decent sized – now consists of 2 pairs of pants and 2 shirts suitable for interviews and three boxes of “for altering”. It just doesn’t make sense to purchase or alter clothes in potentially the wrong size. And spending the money when I don’t need to is folly. So, the alter boxes sit. So long in fact, I probably will have to re-sort them to check for fashionability again. Like I have any idea. Sigh. I am so hiring a consultant when I can afford to (Punch List addition).
But in this new life I am forging for myself, I have found confidence and a sense of power and ability to achieve more. And it flows when I put on running clothes. Often in the morning, I will rise and change immediately into workout clothes. This is two-fold – if I see someone they won’t think “Look at that unemployed bounder, she is still in her pajamas” and it is one less barrier to getting out the door for a run. It’s a public declaration of my intentions (for the cat I guess). One cannot take off work-out clothes, one must peel off sweaty work-out clothes.
And as I type this (not in my pajamas), I have in a racing back Lululemon purple top, a Running Room racing back sports bra, and Adidas Climalite black snug fitting shorts. And indeed I feel strong. And powerful. And like an athlete. And when nobody is looking, I will flex my bicep or admire the cut of muscle across my shoulder or sneak a peek at the curve of my waist to my hips. After a run or work-out, I want to stay in these stinky clothes for a while as a reminder of what I have achieved for that day.
Do clothes make the man? No, but the right ones match what you are feeling inside and help it come out.
June 28th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: I ran 4.0 km in 35 degrees Celsius (with the humidity). What potential will this racing back unleash today?