Jumping in a bit later than I planned to; this was tougher than I expected it would be to nail down! But well worth the effort!
I decided to stick to three main points for each category because if I didn't make a cutoff somewhere, I could probably write a book (this might be novella length), and I frankly don't have time for that right now.
- I'm Worth It! Making this my number ONE. I mentioned in my comment on Angie's blog post that coming to enjoy style and clothing as an adult has been instrumental in working through my emotional trauma. I was in an unhappy marriage the first few years of my twenties, and my ex-husband was extremely unsupportive. One of the first things I did after we separated and I got some of my own money was buy some new clothes, including my blue denim jacket and some new bras (I'd only had one that fit close to correctly for a couple of years, which was a nightmare). It was an important act of empowerment, and shopping continues to be that for me four years later!
- Enclothed Cognition. Echoing Angie, I find that being dressed appropriately for a task helps put me in the right mindset. This weekend my fiancée and I did all of our backlog of laundry and reorganized our closet, and I've been dressing smart casual for work instead of in the first clean thing I saw. Yesterday I wore a tunic tee with a blazer; today I'm wearing my black, gray, and cobalt argyle sweater. Different jeans each day. House slippers because I don't like wearing shoes indoors. The fact that the closet is better organized has also had a strong positive effect on my mind and emotions because it makes getting dressed in the morning a lot easier!
- Social Identity. What we wear can say a lot about us as people, and one thing that is important to me is representing myself as a queer, nonbinary person. I love mixing feminine, masculine, and feminine-cut but masculine inspired items in my outfits. I shop the women's and men's departments and am comfortable shifting my presentation anywhere along the gender spectrum depending on my mood. Nobody looks at me and thinks "That's a straight woman" anymore, and I like it that way. Yes, even living in a conservative state like Georgia!
- Frugality. I learned from my Mom and my Nana that the best purchases are the ones you got a good deal on. It's why I shop almost exclusively during sales and why I love thrifting. As an adult, I'm pretty aware of how businesses artificially inflate prices by selling them for what they're actually worth on "sale" so I know I'm not ALWAYS getting a great deal, but I can still refuse to pay the inflated prices.
- Practicality and Comfort. Historically, the number one reason I get rid of a clothing item is because I've worn it into the ground, or because I found it too impractical to wear into the ground due to not functioning well or being physically or emotionally uncomfortable. Growing up, things didn't get replaced until absolutely necessary. I've toned that down a bit as an adult because I've been working more actively to figure out what makes me happy instead of just what works. But it's still something I strive for and believe I'm getting closer to now.
- Modesty. This is a weird one to talk about after working very hard in my late teens and twenties to be more body positive and appreciate others' choice to bare more skin than I'm comfortable with, but it's true--I like covering most of my skin most of the time, and I don't like tight-fitting clothes. To each their own! I can simultaneously celebrate people I love wearing more revealing clothing and feeling like I don't have to because what's empowering for them just makes me feel uncomfortable in my own body. Give me full length pants, dresses with sleeves, swim shorts, and layers, and size them up a little and I'll feel free as a bird.
- Driven. While I must continuously work to take better care of myself and not push myself too hard, I love my drive. I try a lot of things, I get a lot done, and I do most things very well because I give them my all. I'm not content to sit around and relax, because there's so much life to live. I feel like this is reflected equally well by my love of blazers (professional and great for dressing up casual items!) and comfortable, practical shoes that allow me to get from point A to point B effectively (sneakers give me life).
- Witty. I've always been told I have a great sense of humor, and my humor is very much tied to things like observations, connections between different ideas, and unexpected twists. This is reflected in my style by my love of graphic tees (I own what most adults would consider far too many, but too bad, they make me smile), juxtapositions (lately my two biggest interests have been polished, professorial, academic looks and super RATE, edgy, punk looks), and statements made by my outfit choices. Even if the wit isn't noticed by anyone else, I can enjoy feeling like my outfit is an inside joke with my self. But I love it when I can spark an interesting conversation because someone "got" it!
- Sentimental. I am intensely emotional and I care deeply about the memories I treasure and objects that tie me to them. For that reason, I favor pieces that have a story attached to them. Not every piece has to meet this criterion, but I'm more likely to wear something that reminds me of a happy memory (for example, the black and white baby alpaca scarf I bought during a study abroad trip in Peru reminds me of a great trip with my fiancée and two of my favorite professors). Conversely, I'm unlikely to wear things if I have an especially strong negative association with them because I was wearing them on a really bad day (I purged a lot of things that made me think of my ex-husband; not all, though, because some had stronger happy memories associated with them!).