So you know that shiny happy, best time of your life that's supposed to be the last year of high school? It kind of destroyed me. I gained 25 pounds and dated a giant jerk and my self esteem is a little shattered, even six months post grad. Naturally, I'm hoping shopping will fix this! Well, not exactly, I'm actually fine with the way my body is now, I'm a size ten-ish and the whole weight gain thing gave me boobs, something I'd just accepted had puberty had skipped over entirely. But none of my clothing fits very well anymore and it's making me hate a body that's actually pretty great. In short, after that long droning tangent, I kind of have a new shape to dress. And that's exciting, but I have no idea what looks good and how to go about anything.
Finally Dumped Her Jerk Boyfriend and Would Like to Buy Pretty Things Now
Rock it out, sister! I'm so proud of you for dropping that jackass and being patient and positive with your body and yourself. Can I also just say that the best advice my mom ever gave me, besides "A good foundation is essential", was to tell me that high school is absolutely not the best time of your life, and in fact it is usually pretty unpleasant? For instance, just the other day a couple of girls I know were talking bad about people and being generally awful, and I thought, "Ugh, this reminds me of high school." I did not think, "Aww, this reminds me of that shiny, happy best time of my life!"
I swear that your life will get immeasurably better in the coming years. It sounds like it already has.
Now, onto the fashion advice! Rather than give you specific style tips, I focused on some broader ideas to help you shop for new clothes and feel better in the pieces you already have. Hope this helps, my dear:
Go to a store, and try on one of everything.
Do whatever you need to do to open your mind and get in a good mood, whether that means meditation or a brisk walk or a slice of food court pizza or psychedelic drugs (kidding!), but try to shed all your preconceived notions of what does or doesn't look good on you. Then, head to a store with flattering lighting and patient employees and force yourself to grab one of everything and take your haul into the dressing room. If you're shopping for denim, for example, grab bootcut jeans, wide-leg jeans, straight-leg jeans, skinny jeans, cuffed jeans, and cropped jeans. Grab dark denim, light denim, black denim, acid wash, tie-dye, destroyed, and pristine.
Vigoss patchwork stretch bootcut jeans, $39.90, Alloy
In the dressing room, forget every fashion rule you've ever learned (no small task, I know--at last count I had 14,376 fashion rules stored in my brain) and just look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? It's such a simple question, but we're often too distracted or confused or scared to give ourselves an honest answer. If you don't like something, think about the reasons why. If you love something, buy it (or take note of the style and find it cheaper somewhere else), even if it's something you thought would never, ever in a million years look good on you.
Who knows? You might end up falling in love with a pair of lime-green acid wash cropped skinny jeans. And that would be awesome.
Comfy is key.
When I'm feeling down and emotionally vulnerable, here are the top 3 things that make me feel better:
1. Bagel sandwiches
2. Ace of Base
3. Super-cozy shapeless blanket sweaters
While it's great to discover new clothing styles that flatter your shape and improve your outward appearance, it's also important to have a few pieces that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This could mean a grandpa cardigan or cashmere pants or a silk robe or all three at once, and who cares if you look silly?
Don't forget about that "good foundation" thing.
This is the most boring advice on the planet (sorry!), but definitely get a professional bra fitting if you haven't already. Most department store lingerie sections can measure you and help you find the right size. This will quite literally perk you (and your new boobs) right up.
Also don't forget about cute undies.
Set of 2 Panties, $15.50, GAP.
Throwing away a pair of old, rapidly deteriorating underwear and replacing them with a cute new pair = instant self-esteem boost. Honestly, some of my best therapeutic shopping trips have consisted of nothing more than driving to Marshalls and buying a pair of $3 pink polka-dot panties. It sounds trite, but wearing beautiful undergarments, especially if no one else is going to see them, is a reiteration that you--just you--are worth the effort.
Find fashion inspiration that makes you feel excited to carve out your own personal style.
This post might be a good place to start.
Readers, what advice do you have for this lovely young lass?