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playing dress up is therapy
For the past week and a half, I haven’t been very interested in clothes or fashion. Today I turned a corner in my recovery arc where I felt stale in my home clothes and started feeling the itch to dress up.
Dressing up is play—it’s about experimentation, light heartedness, and connecting your with yourself. Trying on clothes without any criteria in mind like is this suitable for the weather outside or will this be appropriate for the occasion.
I’ve missed wearing tailored pieces. Yesterday I did some closet organizing and gravitated most towards a simple white button down from Chelsea Mak I got on sale from Mohawk General Store. It’s the antidote to the baggy sweatsuits I’ve been living in. It’s a nice weight and a little drapey, not the stiff poplin fabric many button downs are made from. I feel like a chic postal office worker.
A tailored shirt calls for a tailored skirt. I scan my skirt section and pick out a vintage Prada brown and white polka dot number. The coffee brown color keeps my outfit feeling bookish but not overly school uniform-y the way navy or black does.
My favorite styling strategy for the legs has been sheer knee stockings a la Sandy Liang runway. I wear my sheer brown ones from Caldezonia.
I already know what shoes I want to wear: a pair of Simone Rocha platform brogues I scored on TRR but haven’t even unboxed yet. I grab the box cutter and slice the cardboard box down the middle and the two sides, pawing at the papery TRR dustbag to dig out the brogues. The heels are sky high, I love them. I think the fake gem shoelace detail is a little much though and remove them off just one of the shoes. I start unlacing the other shoe to remove the gems but realize I like them mismatched. The gems stay on the other shoe. Light mismatching does wonder to elevate an outfit.
The outfit feels good, but a little stern. I look in the mirror and smooth out the skirt pleats. It’s an attempt to subvert the Uniform, sort of Thom Browne-esque, but I don’t think it goes far enough to feel especially inspiring. Also—I still don’t love seeing my own reflection, swollen face and all. I want to obscure my face so a hat it is. I know just the one: a fuzzy pink toque by Clyde off Depop, which looks like those 1960 vintage swim caps on me. It also kind of looks like a wig. But it adds irony and humor to the outfit. The sleepy wisps of pink pushes the outfit into Neapolitan ice cream territory. I really like this outfit.
After a few minutes of trying to take photos, the clothes starting feeling constrictive and the shoes are like ankle weights. I eagerly pull the hat off my oily bangs and change back into PJs. Playing dress up doesn’t have to last long. I think it’s a therapeutic activity when you’re feeling low, to know you can still be that person who has the vitality to wear something frivolous and merry.
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