Once upon a time, I was hip. I was stylish. I was cool. In some circles, I was sometimes called a fashionista, although I never viewed myself as such. That was a long time ago, before I became a mom
. Back then, I relished waking up in the morning and taking the time to pick out my outfit. Clothing and how I used it was a form of expression for me. I was never known to fall into one style. Conservative clothing, Boho-chic, elegant, punk, preppie. I loved it all. I adored high fashion
, mid-rate and thrift shop fare alike. Chloe, The Gap, Payless Shoe Source, Anthropologie, James Perse, you name it.
I sat on my couch for countless hours reading Vogue, Elle, Lucky, W, and everything else in between. Back then, I had the time. My closet was organized and systemized. Throughout the week, I had events to attend for which I could adorn myself like a peacock. It was all so much fun; it was a game. It was, well, almost an obsession.
The way I dress these days, as the mother, is very different. I would even go as far as to say that I am but a shell of my former groovy self. I wake up at the crack of dawn with my little girl, and four hours later I am still in my PJs, covered in jam and butter. Then, when she naps, I manage to throw myself into a pair of jeans and a breast-milk stained t-shirt.
Oh yes: I have tried to bring a little life into my closet with some color or stripes or a little flare to my jeans, but at the end of the day I look like I was wrestling with a room full of pre-school children, and I am a mother of only one. The rest of the time I am in food-speckled yoga clothes. Even if you the layperson can’t see the stains, I promise you: they are there.
I may sound like I am complaining, but in truth I am not. Becoming a parent has given me new perspective and has opened up my eyes to a new way of seeing and dressing myself – not to mention a new lease on time management. It’s not that I don’t care about clothing or fashion any more, but whereas before I over-valued my clothes to the point of refusing to lend anything out, now I value what I own, but am no longer attached to them. Yes, non-attachment is something that I practiced in meditation for years, but there is nothing like the implementation of it when your child smears her spaghetti sauce covered face all over a cashmere sweater.
Quite frankly, I am glad that the pressure is off. I am thankful that I no longer feel the need to stay on par with the trends and dress to impress. I am much happier these days to spend my time being comfortable in my frumpier duds. And now, when the rare opportunity to dress up comes along, I choose my clothes based on how I feel on the inside, and not what I want to reflect on the outside.
I find joy and ceremony in it, and less calculation. Now, it’s more about spontaneity, on-the-spot creativity. It’s true, I am no longer a “style maven” in the traditional sense, but now the way I dress comes from a more authentic place and, of course, a practical place. I would rather spend my time with my daughter than be keeping up with the cover of Vogue. Lately, at night when I am not using my magazines from last month as coasters, I curl up on the couch and dip into worlds of fashion that I am glad are places I visited in the past.
Now when I dress my daughter, India, I dress her from a place that I imagine she would like to be dressed. Maybe one day she will take the clothes-loving torch, but from her own authentic place. I plan on having more children, so this phase could last a while. Perhaps one day when they are grown, I will re-explore the racks of thrift shops, or maybe start my own clothing line. Till then, I am keeping it simple: kid-friendly duds.