Life · mental health

Wtf Am I Supposed to Wear? (And Other Things That Keep Me Up at Night)

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Perhaps it’s due to all the excess stress at work recently, but I’ve been having difficulty sleeping, despite the fact that I’ve been crawling into bed by 9:00 every evening. Early this morning, at the wee hours of 4:30, I was wide awake again. I gave up a few hours later, once Merlin decided that those lumps underneath the covers (aka my feet) were deadly enemies that must be destroyed. Truthfully, I was somewhat grateful for the excuse to get out of bed, having exhausted my mind with a major issue that has been haunting me lately…

What the fuck am I supposed to wear now that I’m 30?

You can roll your eyes at me if you want (I know I probably would if I was reading this), but this is a legit concern that has been bothering me lately, along with a few other key 30-something related issues. Remember last year, when I was panicking and having a major existential crisis over turning thirty? I look back at it and chuckle a little bit, because it really was no big deal. I’m still me, chugging along, trying to figure out who I am and what the hell I’m doing with my life. (I’m beginning to suspect that I will continue to feel that way on and off throughout my life and that it has nothing to do with my age.) Nothing major happened. Well, except one thing. Despite the fact that my eating habits have remained the same and I exercise regularly, I’ve noticed some small, but noticeable changes in my body. My metabolism has slowed and I’ve gained a few pounds. Only a few pounds. No big deal, right? But that’s where you’re wrong. Considering my 20 year battle with body image and eating issues, I didn’t handle this particularly well at first. I admit that I almost relapsed, due to that stupid little voice in the back of my brain that likes to troll me and tell me that my weight and appearance are important and are tied to my worth as a human being. Fortunately, I’ve had some time to adjust to my new 30-year old body and was able to pull myself off the edge of another downward spiral. Phew.

But, there’s still one problem.

I’ve noticed recently that some of my clothing is a little snugger that it used to be. It makes sense, as much as I want to rebel against it. As someone who detests shopping for clothing, I’ve put off fixing my wardrobe for as long as possible. I’ve reached a point, however, where I’ve grown tired of trying to squeeze my slightly larger hips and ass into jeans that were skintight to begin with, so I’ve had to begin shopping for new clothes. *Cue second crisis*

During a recent excursion to Hell, I mean, the mall, I all but had a complete mental meltdown. There really is no better place for it, after all, with all those bright lights and hundreds of staring, obnoxious sales people. (Just picture it: Me lying on the floor of the mall, sobbing and pulling her hair out as a kiosk saleslady runs over and attempts to spray me with free perfume samples.) Even my failed attempts to shop online have led to the same frustrating, confusing conclusion that I don’t know how I’m supposed to dress anymore.

Body changes aside, I’m not the same person that I was in my twenties. I’m successful at my job and work in a professional office setting. I don’t go out as much as I used to anymore. When we do go out we hang out as more relaxed, casual places, rather than loud, stuffy bars and clubs. I actually care about being comfortable now. Suddenly, all the tight, short dresses and high heels in my closet feel completely out of place in my life. When I’m not at work, I typically wear jeans or yoga pants with something comfortable on top. I wear flat boots and converse sneakers. I’ve started wearing my glasses all the time. But what am I supposed to wear to work? What about when I’m going out? My jeans, nerdy t-shirts, and cardigans are fine for when I’m hanging out at the bookstore or coffee shop, but what about the rest of the time? I’ve been struggling for years to figure out how I’m supposed to dress in the semi-professional/business casual environment at work that still allows me to express who I am. But, honestly, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to express anymore. Places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic are too old for me. Forever 21 is too young. So where am I supposed to buy my clothes? Why is there no store for people like me? They can call it “Leggings & Lace” or “Mid-Life Moxie.” “Wine and WTF is On My Shirt?” Even if they had these stores, I still probably wouldn’t know how to dress myself, considering I’ve never been particularly good at these things.

Not long ago I got brave and added purple streaks to my hair. It’s on the underside and there are few of them. You can hardly even see them unless my hair is up and there is good lighting. Still, I know they’re there and I like them. I like my slightly funky, rebellious hair, even if nobody else realizes it exists. (Especially Boyfriend, who is colorblind.) Is it okay for me to have purple-streaked hair now that I’m thirty? I don’t know. Do my nerdy tees and converse sneakers make me look like I’m trying to be younger than I am? Again, I don’t know. How do I figure out the balance between being comfortable, but still looking professional enough for work? I DON’T KNOW. All I know is that I have a closet full of clothing meant for my 20-something year old self that don’t feel like “me” anymore.

I’m going shopping again this afternoon. Wish me luck.