OK, so: I’m reading the book Already Pretty (yes, based on the blog) and liking it for its basic philosophy, which can be boiled down to “dress in the style that suits *you*, not anyone else, and do it for your own satisfaction because if you love the way you look it will lead you to love yourself better”. Like most style books, she has you start off by doing a lot of work to assess your own style, and then go through your closet …. and I thought, “you know what? I don’t really want to do that.”

And then I thought about why – after all, I know what’s in my closet and I like putting together outfits. The first thing I realized is that my shoe wardrobe is *great*. OK, I occasionally want to add things to it – I’ve been wanting a pair of Converse high tops. And not everything in it is perfect – there’s one staple pair of black pumps that do everything I want in terms of comfort, professionalism and versatiity, but that I just don’t like as well as I hoped I would. But it fits my life and my feet; I have shoes for everything I do in my life, the vast majority are comfortable (sometimes you just want to wear killer heels despite the pain) and lots of them just make me happy to wear.

And then I thought, the rest of my wardrobe is pretty good too. Its biggest fault is that I have too many things, and some of them don’t fit my life, like a dress that I thought was beautiful when I bought it, but that has too romantic a vibe to wear to work, which is when I normally wear dresses. I have a few things that don’t fit my body, and I’m beginning to realize that the weight I gained in my late 30s and early 40s is not likely to vanish soon (though it still might, due to dramatic lifestyle changes next year). I can live with being x+1 size instead of x size. I also have a bunch of things I don’t wear here and now – the floaty gauze skirts I wore all the time in Taiwan just never feel right in the Netherlands, whereas if I went back I’d probably never wear the leggings under skirts that are one of my staples her. But in general, each night while I’m waiting to fall asleep I plan what to wear the next day, and I can usually think of an outfit I’m looking forward to wearing.

I like my overall style, which can be described as “REI/Title 9 catalog, modified by the fact that I have a desk job and with bonus handknits”. It’s simple, it’s comfortable, the clothes are durable, and it suits me well enough. I like what I’m wearing right now – short cargo shorts, a T-shirt from Gibraltar, and a merino pullover from Icebreaker. That is to say, it’s 2/3 sports wear and 1/3 world traveler, which seems about right. My accessories fit my style too – a watch that runs on solar power so I never have to change a battery, my engagment ring, earrings I made today, a ring I found in my beading gear. That is to say, they cover practicality, sentiment, and creativity.

So with all that, is my self-esteem perfect? Nope. But I think it’s OK. There are parts of my body I like a lot and parts I don’t like so much, but I can live with them all. I was noticing just yesterday how much my self-image and confidence fluctuate even within a day, though that was more about professional confidence and less about my looks. Overall, I do think wearing clothes I like helps my mood and certainly my comfort, including comfort in my own skin, physical comfort, and social comfort.

I think I’m doing OK (but I’m still going to keep reading the book, in case she has any great tips to make me look amazing).