The Ideal Life Round-Up: Personal Style

I am thankful that you, my reader, knows me well enough to not judge my flightiness of character. That there would be a theme in my Ideal Life called “personal style” seems so insignificant amid all the other things to be worrying about these days.

And yet…and yet. This is why I got started in all this silly Ideal Life business in the first place. It was a conscious realization that my appearance, and specifically, how I felt about my appearance was the first step to coming out of a post-partum depression which had turned my world into a very, very dark place. If I could at least look like I was a functioning member of society, and not an overwhelmed, self-flagellating ball of nerves and psychosis, I could perhaps, carefully, begin the painful process of learning how to live again.

So. Here’s where we were starting from.

In my Ideal Life:

  • I am a person who never says “I have nothing to wear!”
  • I am a person who knows what looks good on her.
  • I am a person who loves what she owns.
  • I am a person who wears everything she owns.
  • I am a person who always looks effortlessly put together.
  • I am a person who has more good hair days than bad.
  • I am a person who doesn’t just “look good for my age.”
  • I am a person who knows what shoes to wear.
  • I am a person who takes care of everything she owns.
  • I am a person who can alter and tailor her clothes to make them fit.

Where are you coming from?

Spoiler alert: I bought no clothes in 2021. I have worn every single thing in my closet this year, including my evening gowns. I love just about everything in my closet, except for that stupid white blouse which I still can’t bring myself to discard.

My challenge to buy no clothes included a rule that forced me to do my mise en place every night, so that I wouldn’t stand stupidly in front of my closet at 4.00AM when I woke up or 8:00AM before we had to be out the door and whine to myself, “I have nothing to wear,” just because I was too tired and to stressed out to choose.

I’m laughing to myself about statement “In my Ideal Life, I know what shoes to wear.” Laughing, because, truth be told, every weekday for the last three weeks I have been wearing my ancient black rainboots. You see, we have to cross a field to get to the scalawags’ school, and it is unforgivingly muddy at this time of year. I didn’t want to imperil any of my nice shoes during my comings and goings. So I have been thumping around Mulhouse in black rubber boots. I am so cool. (Ah! There was one of those audible eyerolls again. I hope you heard it this time.)

The problem is that…well…I really like not having to think about what shoes I am going to wear. I just wish those shoes weren’t ancient black rubber rainboots.

It gets me thinking about my motto:

I endeavor to live my life with all the enthusiasm of a child wearing rainboots.

I’ve had some ups and downs this year with my body image, but using those Ideal Life statements as a guide has kept me from stewing on the bad surprises, like, I don’t know, starting to actually look my age. It was bound to happen sometime, but at least I haven’t yet pulled a Gigi and started looking into ways to medically reverse the inevitable course of time.

And lastly, I am coming from a year in which I genuinely learned how to alter, mend and refashion clothes so that they become not just wearable, but look spectacular, too.

Where are you going?

One concrete place I am going in the next year? To the store to buy myself new socks. Hear ye, hear ye, I declare the era of mending socks is over!!!!!!!!

You know where I would like to go? I would like to go into a year where I don’t think about this all the time. But given the fragility of my self-worth and my tendency to verbally abuse, then gaslight and manipulate myself, I know I will have to remain vigilant.

I will likely spend the first few months of the year trying to navigate the perilous waters of learning to trust myself. I will probably, although my challenge will be over, avoid going into stores, simply because I’m afraid of all that temptation.

I’ve got a quote from Jurassic Park mangled up in my brain, that says something like, “You were so busy seeing if you could (stop shopping for a year) that you didn’t stop to ask if you should (be in an abusive relationship with yourself.)By removing the “could” guardrail, I subsequently must deal with the “should”. And I just don’t know if I am ready for that. So I either need a plan, or I need to decide that what I have is enough and I am enough and stop talking to myself like rotten fish and then trying to buy back my good graces.

Practically, though, since all of that sounds like too much hard work, I would much prefer to go with the thought, “2022 is a year in which I don’t think about this all the time.” In that case, I know what I need to do: deepen the Go-To Catalog and work on developing the Mise en Place habit as far in advance as possible. Oh–and only own one pair of shoes–just preferably not black rubber rainboots.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

One thought on “The Ideal Life Round-Up: Personal Style

  1. You and me both!! I could follow all that perfectly, cuz it’s me. Going to rehab, I cut off the left sleeve of all my shirts, so it would be easier to get them on. And I cut off all my leggings, same reason. Now I’m left with short shorts, that come up mid thigh- I don’t like that!! And stupid looking shirts. I did it for a good reason, now I hate all my clothes. Except the 4 beautiful purple sleeveless dress, maxi!! Except, the top has smocking which fits very awkwardly, since I can no longer wear bras. sigh. So, I have to fix them, to have anything to wear that doesn’t make me look homeless. I’ll keep ya informed. I’m so proud of you for meeting your goal of wearing everything in your closet!! Get rid of the white blouse already! Accidentally spill some red wine on it. Aww, darn, look at that stain. It’ll never come out. sigh I guess I have to trash it. Bingo!! Guilt free!! ❤ ❤ DO IT!!


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