Dress for Success

Then, I went to the pharmacy yesterday to get a prescription for my dad. It wasn’t ready yet, so I had about 10 minutes to shop while I waited.

I grabbed a watermelon and some boxes of Kraft Mac&Cheese that were on sale. I was investigating the spices when someone said my name. It didn’t register that they were talking to me until they said my name again, “Lisa?”

I glanced up to recognize an elder version of a guy I used to drool over when I was 14. Eric was still about 6’5″ and his blond athletic self. He is/was 3 years older than I. (In High School, this seemed soooo important). Now, I noticed that he looked somewhat….faded…but he was still tall, and still blond, and…HE noticed me.

“Hey, how are you?” he began. “I thought that was you…”

“What are you doing here in Smallville?” I asked. “Oh, you live here? What brought you back?”

“I saw you a while back, but you were all bundled up…you seemed in a hurry…I’m divorced…”

We will see each other again at an event this summer that we are both invited to.

But you want to know what I was thinking about when we parted and went our separate ways?

My SHOES!

Let me explain. I like to look nice. I recognize that how I dress affects how I feel. When I am “put together” I feel good about myself. What I see in the mirror impacts my self-esteem, my expectations for myself, and my energy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do look grungy sometimes…

Exercising in the morning is my jam. Pulling my hair back, I put on my Saucony running shoes and sports bra, and head out. I’m focused on moving, breathing, leaning into the work.

I also garden in the morning. Planting and weeding is dirty work. I sit in the grass or on the dirt.  As the day warms, I sweat!  I am not a pretty sight, but the tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, and marigolds are happy. 

Getting showered and dressed for the day are next on my agenda. Then, putting myself together for the day has four important components.

Make-up and hair

It takes me less than 5 minutes to moisturize, add a touch of foundation, and brush blush onto my cheeks. I slap a bit of eyeliner and a neutral shade of eyeshadow on each eyelid. I stroke on a couple of passes of mascara to my lashes before adding a touch of tinted lip gloss to finish my daily look.

As my hair is longer these days, it does take more time than usual. Since I wash my hair daily, it takes about 10 minutes to dry and straighten out the frizzles.

Grubbies Aren’t Allowed

I remember as a kid going to my grandma’s house in the summer. She would often wear culotte shorts with a sleeveless v-neck cotton tank. But it always bothered me that she had grease spots on her boob shelf. They weren’t fresh spots. But the stained clothing wasn’t a problem for her because the thought was “who needs to dress up if you’re not having company over or going someplace”. She was just doing her thing at her house. No one would see her. But I saw her. Her granddaughter saw and felt bad for her. I thought she was poor. But she had many “nice” clothes. But she just didn’t wear them because…they were “for good”.

I actually made a commitment to wearing my “for good” clothes when I was about 5 or 6. A relative went to Hawaii and brought me a green summer sundress. I wore it once. Then it hung in my closet.

I remember looking at the tropical leaves and coconut buttons and thinking what a waste it was that it never got worn again. I’m sure it gathered dust and was eventually donated to Goodwill or St. Vinnies. 

It didn’t make sense to my mind. It was supposedly “for good”. You didn’t wear it every day, because you might spoil it and then it wouldn’t be available when you needed it. good”. 

So now, I get dressed for life… every day. I don’t mean shorts and a worn-out tank, but a tunic and leggings or a skort and crisp shirt on most summer days. You might call my look casual or informal teacher attire. But the important thing is that I look and feel put together. I’m ready to head out on an errand. Someone could knock at the door and I would feel confident answering. 

Bling

I love jewelry and scarves. I don’t think you need a lot of either. But a pair of dangly mandala earrings or a fresh scarf can perk an outfit right up. Spruce up any ensemble that has begun to grow tired. Think Marie Kondo in your wardrobe…any item should “spark joy” or get rid of it. 

Shoes

When I’m barefoot or just wearing socks around the house, I feel unfinished. It makes me feel guilty about the state of my home’s cleanliness when I see my black soiled feet at the end of the day. Sometimes it even hurts to go barefoot. Plantar fasciitis is a real problem that can be remedied by wearing GOOD shoes (and maybe rolling an icy bottle with your insole).

Then there are slippers. ARRRRRgh! They make me feel sloppy and sleepy. As I skuff around the house there is no spring to my step. The sh, sh, sh sound is like a lul-a-bye that sucks my energy. Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE snuggly slippers in the evening when I’m wrapping up the day while reading a good book on the couch.

But NOT during the day. Daytime is for casual, comfortable sandals, flats, or slides (spring and summer) or booties, clogs, mules, or other casual shoes (fall and winter). Casual shoes may include comfortable athletic-inspired shoes, but not cross-trainers or running shoes. 

I do NOT keep old sneakers for “around the house” or for when I’m working in the garden. 

This brings me back to Eric again.

When I was pushing my cart through the Food Pride, it was 9:30 am. I was ready for the day. I had taken a shower that morning. Face and hair were done.  I was wearing a sleeveless silk dress with knee-length leggings and…grungy cross-trainers with mismatched ankle socks. (I had gone for a walk with my sister earlier and had forgotten to bring along my sandals to change into after…)

Sigh.

Do I think Eric noticed my ugly, skunky, aged footwear–that my pup had recently chewed a small chunk out of the left heel? No.

But when you see that hunky guy from high school, who barely gave you the time of day, and now HE is initiating conversation 40 years later….don’t you want to look and feel your best?

I do. Not only for Eric but for me too. When I have the bandwidth to live my best life, one of the indicators is how I express myself with my clothing.

It might be the old chick/egg thing all over again…Do I feel extra good that day because I look good? Or do I dress up on a given day and that leads to a day that I feel like my best self? 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Lisa

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