Last weekend, I got to help families shop for clothes at Cornerstone NCT’s Donation Center. If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Sometimes I get anxious around people I don’t know (Ok, always. I’ve just gotten better at hiding it! :)) and I wasn’t sure how the day would go, even though I do this with other people all the time.
Not long after I got there, a mom and her two high school daughters walked in. I nervously started up a conversation and as we all talked and laughed I started to relax a little. We went into the room overflowing with donated clothes and I showed them where to find their sizes and left them to browse a little bit. The older girl immediately found a few things, but the younger took a loop and was still empty handed.
I asked if she had seen anything she liked and she gave me the cutest sideways smile and said, “I’m really picky about what I wear.”
Immediately, I knew what to do and my nerves were gone. I waved my hands in the air (a little like a crazy woman, I admit) and said, “No, no no! We’re going to find you some really cute stuff!”
For the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I got to look through clothes and hold them up and talk with her about what she likes, what she doesn’t, how to dress her body, and how to find a style that she loves. She tried on tons of things (claiming she hates doing that but that she couldn’t say no to me) and little by little I saw her start to come out of her shell. Shyly at first, but gaining confidence, she started to smile when she walked out of the bathroom-turned-dressing-room of that old house.
What I saw in her I’ve seen in women of all ages. She wants to feel gorgeous (don’t we all?) but wasn’t quite sure how (even though she was stunningly beautiful). She had things that she “couldn’t” wear, like any color- especially white, saying it made her feel fat, and turning up her nose at a red and white striped sweater because it was too Waldo-ish.
With a combo of laughter, a little nudging to push her outside of her comfort zone, and a few questions, I think we helped her start to see what a great shape she has. We talked about how to show off an hourglass shape with clothing rather than shrouding herself in bulky tops that make her look bigger than she is. I asked questions about why she thinks she can’t do stripes, and challenged her to let go of the Waldo thoughts because she looked so stinking cute in that top.
By the end, she left with a pile of cute pieces and a giant smile on her face. It was the best thing ever.
Just like that sweet girl, we’ve all got invisible scripts about clothing that hold us back. Sometimes they’re obvious, and sometimes we’ve gotten really good at hiding them, and it takes a while to figure them out.
I hope that instead of giving in to the feeling that you have nothing to wear, you’ll take a tiny baby step today to create one “new” look you love by shopping your closet. If it helps, imagine I’m in your closet, telling you super sappy jokes, and refusing to let you tell me “no” about trying something on.
Read this advice (flip to page 30) I’ve given tons of women and work through your closet to see tons of new possibilities.
If you’re hungry for more, dip into the Remixing Vault and join the GTR e-mail list (on the righthand side of the page under ‘Free Guide + E-mail Tips’), and if you need a little extra help, I’d love to be that extra set of eyes for you whether you’re here or live across the country!