Since my senior year of high school, I have worked in a boutique in the downtown of my hometown. Sure, I love being around cool clothes — let alone wearing them. However, the most wondrous aspect of my time working in retail has been discovering the ways in which fashion translates to everyday life. Though it has taken time and a little perspective, I constantly remind myself of the secrets of wisdom I have found hidden in the dressing room.
The favorite part of my job has always been helping women unveil their most confident selves. Whether it is trying on a color they would not normally wear or a silhouette that compliments their body type, my heart sings when I see them smile in the mirror as they try something new. However, I will admit there have been times where I have missed the mark.
I can tell they are afraid to disappoint me when they tell me they dislike something I have suggested, to which I respond with resounding support. I always like to assure them not to be sorry and say, “knowing what you don’t like is just as good as knowing what you do like.” We as women are often conditioned to be more delicate and sugarcoat our distaste for things we do not want, whereas we are taught to embrace our definitiveness when we know what we do want.
We may even attempt to convince ourselves to find the good parts of the things we dislike. Whether it be a new outfit or a new relationship, listen to yourself when you spot something you are not quite a fan of. Do not try to convince yourself it will look better with different accessories. If you dislike it when you first see it, what makes you think you will like it better once it is yours? Raise those standards high, and keep in mind that there are plenty of other options out there — brands and boys alike.
Additionally, I have found that some things simply are not meant for me. There have been times when our store would get a shipment of brand new clothes, and I would be eager to try them on during my break. Once, I tried on a jumpsuit that I had my eye on for weeks, but when I saw myself in the mirror, something was off. The material was comfortable, the neckline was fine, and the length was just right. I then realized that there was nothing wrong with the item itself. It was simply just not “me.”
Most times, I find myself wanting to spend money on an item just to feel that momentary rush of excitement after a new purchase, though I know deep down I either already own an item similar to it, or I will not wear it on a day-to-day basis. When deciding whether to purchase something, I heavily evaluate whether or not it is a necessity, which has been very beneficial to my bank account as well as my overflowing closet.
Aside from deciding what to keep in my closet, this mindset can relate to who I decide to keep in my life. For instance, being in a relationship can make things exciting and add some spark to your life, but when that flame begins to fade, it can be difficult to let go. I have come to realize that part of this difficulty is because within saying goodbye, you know you are losing something, and having something is much better than not.
I often try to sort out what purpose people will serve me in the long run. Will they last like a timeless pair of medium-wash denim, or are they only briefly passing through like a TikTok microtrend? Nonetheless, be sure to be careful what (or who) you invest in as you assess whether that person is contributing positivity to your life, and never date solely to avoid being single. As my mom would say, “if it’s not growing, it’s rotting.” Whether it’s clothes or connections, do not be afraid to admit to yourself when things have gone out of season.
Although it may sound materialistic, I would say the lessons that clothing have taught me have aided me when I face conflict in my life. With the right outfit, self-expression helps me feel as though I can conquer the world. I feel as though the wardrobe of wisdom I have garnered will help me with issues in the future. Or maybe my problems can be solved with that pair of platform heels I have been stalking online for weeks.