Keeping up appearances

If I may have a slightly more light-hearted and self-centered moment…

I think I did things backwards.

Before I had Devin, I mainly dressed in jeans and t-shirts. All the time. Even in summer. There were peasant blouses and floaty skirts in there, too, but overall I didn’t stray far from a pair of jeans. When I went to university in a climate much colder than I was used to, I started honing my creative layering skills – I didn’t have money to buy many new clothes, and I was constantly going between lecture theatres that were either over- or under-heated – but still, I generally went with safe choices.

I don’t know if it’s a manifestation of a subconscious desire to maintain my identity (whatever that might be), but since having Devin I’ve become a lot more… adventurous? Well, no, that’s probably not right.
I’ve become more confident in what clothes I like, and confident in my ability to wear them. I’m not nearly as self-conscious about my body as I was before pregnancy, due in no small part to the fact that it handled the whole thing so well. And look, it’s just a body. Bodies are great and funny things – mine is ridiculously pear-shaped. My thighs and hips and butt need a wide-load sticker (honestly, I frequently swipe things off tables and run into furniture with my hip-al area) and my legs basically skip knees and go straight from thigh to calf, but my ankles are so thin that I have to punch extra holes in sandal straps so that they stay on. It’s like walking on chicken drumsticks. And I think that’s kind of amusing.

Of course, I need to take better care of it. But as far as appearances, I’m not so fussed any more. I just buy clothes that I like and that I think reflect how I see myself.

This is pretty standard Liss, and probably what I feel most comfortable in. I’ve also just realised that a lot of my favourite items of clothing are the ones that I almost didn’t own. I saw that skirt at Kmart when I was out with Devin one day… I came home and gave Jene a summary of our outing (as I often do), and said, “And there was skirt that was SO nice and twirly, but it was forty bucks”. I mean… forty dollars was (and still is) a big deal for us, especially forty dollars for something from Kmart. Jene told me to just buy it. I said, “But forty dollars!” He said, “So? You obviously like it.”
It IS so nice and twirly, and Devin really likes it, too.


Jene made fun of me for buying those gold sneakers, just like he did when I bought the silver glitter sneakers. I was drawn to them but didn’t buy them straight away because they did seem a bit… street. But do they look street on me? Pfft, no.

This style of dress is ideal for me – tight on top, flared on the bottom. When I tried it on here, it was still full price at $80. I couldn’t afford it. I went back to Myer a few months later and happened to find one left on a sale rack. It was my size, and it was marked as $35 but came up as $20 at the register. I like to think it was that exact dress, waiting for me.

This was my first foray into what’s a pretty common default for me now. And those stockings… I’ve been through four pairs of those exact ones. I’ve given up now, the quality became crappy and the last two pairs ripped the first time I wore them.

Shirt tucked in to floral skirt, incarnation #89.

Well, that is purple suede clogs (Funkis) with white floral stockings and a green paisley wrap skirt. Don’t think I’m not thinking it when I put these kinds of things on… I absolutely look at myself and think, ‘this is a bit silly/whimsical/odd/mismatched’. And I wear it all anyway.

See?

I dig interesting stockings/tights. I bought these ones (that you can barely see in this photo) from We Love Colors when they had free shipping to Australia and…  I’m a bit disappointed in them. The silver paint flaked off all over the place, and there was none left on the upper legs by the end of the first wearing. They look a bit weird now, half-flecked and half-plain.

The purple stockings are another We Love Colors pair. I’m pretty sure the colour is Rubine. (Here they’re worn under a separate patterned pair.)
I read some iffy things about quality after I’d ordered from there, but I’m pleased to say that these are still completely intact and in shape after repeated washing and wearing. Good thing, since I waited for-freaking-ever for them to arrive from the US.

And the final pair of We Love Colors tights. (Again, under a patterned pair.) Comments as above, so below. These are Olive Green.

Mixing patterns? Yeah!

My high school group of friends once had a 70s themed party, so we all went op-shopping together and one of the girls found this skirt. She bought it for something like $4 and wore it to the party, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it as everyday attire. I sidled up to her at the party and said, “Ellaaaa? Do you think I could buy that skirt off you after this?” She told me not to worry about buying it, I could just have it. It’s a wrap skirt from Malaysia. Still one of my favourites.

I don’t often wear the green tights on their own, partly because my thighs make them so sheer, partly because I feel like She-Hulk in them. Every time I wear them I ask Jene, “Are you sure I don’t look too Hulk-ish?” (Which seems to imply that I’m ok with a certain level of Hulk-ivity, just not too much?)
He always replies, “You just make me want Jolly Ranchers.” Which is unfortunate, because I don’t know where to buy Jolly Ranchers in Australia.
It was Jene who put the Hulk idea into my head in the first place, by the way. Because somehow I missed that connection on my own.

I am still a bit partial to jeans and graphic t-shirts, though.

Individually, we get a fair amount of second-glances when we’re out. Devin is a two-year-old boy with almond-shaped eyes and an unusual hair colour. I’m a young (and even younger-looking) mother with orange hair and a penchant for wearing lots of things at once (be they patterns, colours, items of clothing or all of the above). Jene is a long-haired, army-pant- and metal-band-shirt-wearing Asian. We don’t seem that odd to me, but we also live in a fairly conservative and insular country city. When we’re all out together, goodness me… It’s not like it’s gawking as such, it’s more that we garner a bit more interest and attention than most others.
And I cop plenty of up-and-down looks from other women.
Our previous town is much smaller than this one, but it’s a university town – there is a lot more cultural and personal diversity, and we didn’t stand out there.

Naturally, somebody thinks I take too long deciding what to wear, and that I should just “pick something and put it on… and keep it on.” It’s so easy for some people who have straight bodies and wear the same thing every day…

😉

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