In With the New


Whenever I have an event to attend or a trip that I’m taking, I always feel a need to buy some new article of clothing before I go. Thinking about what I’ll wear for the event or the traveling, I find myself completely dissatisfied with the contents of my small, but full closet and have to add a new dress, a whole new outfit, or hell, even just a new pair of socks that realistically, I don’t need. I’ve heard from friends that I’m not alone in this, but I don’t understand it.

I’m preparing to get on an airplane to make my way back to Boston for the first time since I moved away four years ago. This has caused a particularly distinct kind of stress to emerge relating to my clothing choices. It had me running all over town in a fit of anxiety trying to find a new pair of jeans, that I inevitably didn’t find.

When I lived in Boston, I can’t remember if I was stylish, but I did work for Jimmy Choo and I wore lots of black. I don’t really know if I’m stylish now, but I still wear lots of black; if I didn’t, I’d stare into my closet, confused for possibly an eternity. I have learned to mix patterns and textures, add accessories, and even make belts work for my figure, which are all new developments. While I make an effort to dress myself well most days, there are days when I’ve made the leggings and sweater that I wore to bed work for public viewing (shameful). In other words, in daily life, I don’t sweat it too much.

So why now that I’m heading on this trip, am I so strongly compelled to want an entirely new wardrobe? The people who I’m going to see, in the end, probably don’t care (and wouldn’t even know) if I had a new pair of jeans or a new dress, picked especially for the occasion of seeing them again. They probably don’t associate me with my clothing choices when they knew me four years ago, either (except for the Jimmy Choo shoes). Yet, knowing this intellectually, I still bought a new dress (at 50% off the sale price, at least) and it bothers me.

Am I trying to represent myself differently through my clothing choices? If that’s the case, I don’t know what I’d really even be trying to project, unless it’s that I’m creative and cute. But not too cute, because that might be weird at nearly 30 (or maybe not?). Aside from that, I just don’t know what the gripping anxiety about packing for travels, especially this trip, is all about. Until I figure it out, me and my new dress will just have to go and have a fabulous time roaming the streets of Boston and visiting with old friends, who won’t know our secret.

What do you think, dear readers? Do you feel like there are situations where you have to add something new to your wardrobe to feel a certain way? Any insights to share about why that is?

2 replies on “In With the New”

I feel your pain. I live in hijab and abaya everyday. I get in such a tizzy about packing clothes for travelling that I stress for hours and hours over what to pack, because I percieve that people will harass me or treat me unfairly because I look too ‘islamic’. So I go and buy clothes that I would not wear just to shut my inner monologue up. The next time I travel I repeat the same conversation in my head (too ‘islamic’ / harrassment aaarrggghhh!) so I go and buy more clothes.

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