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Gearing up for Sweater Weather

tara forthComment

Number 25 on my ’25 while 25’ list is ‘Live with less.’ So, it makes sense that I should once again go through my closet to get rid of all the clothes I didn’t wear this summer.

As I was sorting though, I noticed the hemlines on my skirts and dresses were just a little too short. Not so short that my hooha was in danger of showing or anything (although my friend Bekah told me that the 'I forgot my pants' look is in vogue among the college girls these days), but the hemlines weren't exactly flattering, and certainly less grown up than I'd like.

So instead of saying, "okay, I'll update my dress collection over the next few months," I instead launched into a full-fledged makeover mission. Aka: I spent a good hour…okay…two…pinning. Yep, I spent a Friday night in my sweats pinning. That’s real life.

I started thinking about the type of woman I want to be, as reflected by my clothes: Sophisticated, but not stuffy. Hipster, but not grungy. A little glam, but never tacky.

Just somewhere in the middle...the effortless ‘it girl' you know? 

But then it hit me. It occurred to me that I was being a little…well…crazy. Or as Boo would say, "Such a girl, T." I was looking at it all wrong.

I mean, let's face it...my tastes vary as much as the size of my hips. One day, all I want to wear is denim on denim on plaid. The next, it's a little black something with sparkles. So how could I imagine that I would be successful in 'pinning' down (see what I did there?) one particular style to define me? And, more importantly, why would I want to do that?! Fashion is supposed to be fun!

We are more than our clothes. We are more than the size of our hips. I know that. You know that. But it's SO EASY to slip into this trap...to think that if maybe we dressed or looked a certain way, then, by magic or something, that coolness or collectedness or edginess would somehow seep into our very being, and we would, in fact, become the woman we've always wanted to be. 

But fashion doesn't do that. It doesn't change who we are. Maybe it makes us feel more confident or feminine or edgy for a moment. But that's where its power stops. Fashion, style, clothes, whatever...should be just that: whatever. Just like our emotions, what's in vogue, is fleeting. Gone in an instant, changing with the seasons.

There's beauty in that, for sure. The changing waves of fashion can teach us about the values and priorities of a culture. Clothes can reveal the creativity and uniqueness in each of us. And certainly, a perfect pair of jeans can highlight our...assets... And make us feel awesome. And that’s wonderful and fun and super great.

But it's risky to spend even just two hours planning a hypothetical wardrobe in hopes of somehow acquiring the character traits of the 'it' girl.

Shouldn’t we instead focus on building a wardrobe of virtue? Building a wardrobe of good habits and prayer? Building a wardrobe that can get us more than a compliment or a solid first impression. We should really spend most of our time and energy cultivating a life that is full of grace and charm, generosity and balance, humility and peace. It’s our life that should be worthy of admiration; our thoughts and actions should be pin-worthy.

The rest will just fall into place. When we feel collected and poised within, it will reflect on the outside. Cheesy, but true, it’s really what’s on the inside that matters most.

With all that being said, yes, I am going to make room in my closet (and budget) for a few new fall essentials (because who doesn’t love tights, cozy sweaters?), and I just started my annual “Fall Abs Challenge” (to get in wicked good shape…just in time for sweater weather…). But I’m also going to make room for a little more goodness in my life, namely, a little more quiet time, kinder thoughts and words, simplicity, and focus.

I hope you’ll join me.

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Me and my coworker, Mike after our first #TeamFallAbs TRX workout.