On Knowing My Style & Not Wearing Clothes I Hate (Plus: A Look at My Bridal Shower!)

Friday, September 1, 2017

My bridal shower was last Saturday, hosted by my Aunt Sarah & held at Toast in Gordon Square. It was a difficult time to plan an event - the last weekend of summer, when tons of people are out of town - but we were still joined by about 20 of my friends & family, including three of my aunts, my best friend who drove up from Tennessee, & a bunch of my mom's friends who I've known for years.

It was a great day, complete with lox & rosemary/sea salt bagels from the Cleveland Bagel Company, pretty little petit fours (with edible glitter!) from The BonBonerie in Cincinnati, & two sets of dishes that came in boxes featuring hilariously large photos of Gordon Ramsay's face.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post - about fashion & my sense of style & wearing clothes I hate? OK, OK, I'm getting there.

Originally, I bought a dress from Target's Ava + Viv line to wear to the shower - a bright pink floral maxi. It was flowy, colorful, & summery, perfect for an end-of-August event, though I was surprised I actually liked it because, if you know me at all, you know pink is not my jam. Literally, this would be the only article of pink clothing in my closet. But when I tried it on in the store, it seemed like the right purchase.

The night before the shower, though, I tried on the dress again... & hated it. For starters, it didn't fit as well as I'd remembered. It was a little too big, my bra slightly visible at my armpits, & my bra straps showed at the shoulders, where the dress thinned into ribbons. Worst of all, though, it just didn't feel like me. I felt like I was prepping for my bat mitzvah, sporting a stuffy dress made for someone else's style, & I started to have visions of myself feeling super uncomfortable & awkward at my own wedding shower - an event that I was already feeling a little bit uncomfortable & awkward about to begin with (hello, center-of-attention status - yikes!)

I texted my mom, who of course loved the look. "WEAR IT," she commanded, but I knew that, if I didn't feel like myself, I wouldn't fully enjoy the day.

Immediately, I got to work trying on every dress in my closet. Unfortunately, I've gained a bit more weight in the last few months (ideal right before my own wedding!) so not all of my go-to dresses fit comfortably. I tried on eight to 10 dresses... & nothing seemed right.

Finally, I landed on one outfit I  loved (& the dress was even white!) but it seemed too casual. In retrospect, I could've worn this - it's not like I threw a cocktail party - but at the time, it didn't seem like the right outfit for the occasion. My mom's text response, an uninspiring "Eh," wasn't a huge vote of confidence, either - though I'm definitely going to wear this combo someplace else in the near future. (Probably not to hang out with my mom.)

So what to do? Wear the dress that was right for the occasion but not right for me, or wear the definitely-my-style outfit that might not be right for the event?

I posted in a Facebook group I'm in filled with other women who are working their way through the Feel Good Dress Better workbook, created by Nicole of Writes Like a Girl. They shared some feedback & lots of support - but I still fell asleep wracking my brain for possible outfit options for the next morning...

...& then I woke up with the perfect thing in mind! I took my Macy's INC jumpsuit out of the dryer & paired it with gold sandals I bought long ago for a trip to Vegas, plus a simple gold rope necklace I got on the cheap this summer a Cleveland boutique called Banyan Tree.

Voila! Suddenly, I felt like myself again - albeit a casually-dressed-up-for-my-own-party version of myself.

This third outfit felt very me, & it was definitely dressy enough. It seemed to go over well with everyone else, too - even my mother. My aunt has a very classic, preppy, pretty-in-pink style, & once she complimented me on my all-black-&-gold outfit, I think my mom had to relent, too. My aunt told me she saw the photo of the pink dress & didn't like it. See?! It wasn't just me who thought it just wasn't me!

I'm glad I listened to my instincts & didn't wear a dress that felt too far from my style - but also that I resisted the urge to wear something that wasn't right for the occasion. I know I would've felt uncomfortable in both of the first two outfits: one because I didn't feel like myself, & the other because I would've been self-conscious about feeling underdressed.

I think the end result was a good one, & I'm proud of myself for listening to my style.

But wait, wait - does this mean I maybe, finally, actually have one?!

Another style post to come very soon...

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