“Angst”: a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general OR a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial. The second definition is the informal one, according to my dictionary, but I’m not even sure into which category my personal angst falls. It might be viewed as trivial by some, but I’d say “deep anxiety or dread” better describes my mental state! And why am I feeling this way?
Fashion. That fickle beast is the cause of my angst. Last night I sat in the midst of chaos, pulling clothes from every drawer in my room and tossing them ruthlessly into piles: keep, donate, trash. Keep, donate, trash. Over and over again until the mountains grew higher and higher, and my husband came home from the gym and raced upstairs, wondering what on earth was going on and why I looked so upset. I wasn’t upset, just on a mission.
You see, I’ve been feeling like a frump. This is coming from the girl who used to shop more than was good for her, exploring the shops of Queen West for bargains and picking up fabulous finds right, left, and centre. I shopped because I loved it, or had nothing else to do, or felt like going for a walk, or actually (rarely) needed something in particular. As a result, my wardrobe grew and expanded marvelously, usually within the limits of my student budget because of the deals I sniffed out. It was great fun that I thought would last forever.
Then I had a kid. Change rooms become hard to negotiate with a baby in a front carrier. Then I moved to the middle of nowhere. There’s exactly one “cool” clothing store on the main street. Then I had another kid. Picture a stroller plus a front carrier in the tight aisles of that one cool clothing store. The salesgirls’ expressions became ones of “I hope she gets out of here soon before the toddler rips everything off the shelves and the baby pukes all over those clothes,” rather than the hopeful “I think she’s going to buy a lot of stuff today!” So I started waiting till my husband got home from work so I could leave the kids and rush to grab whatever I needed in as little time as possible. That’s a glimpse into the current sad state of my fashion life.
Which leads me to another point that was depressing me terribly last night. Now that I’ve purged my wardrobe, with the assumption that I’ll now make a concerted effort to spruce it up and start feeling like my old self again, where will I even wear those fabulous hot outfits? My social life, as much as I hate to admit it, revolves mostly around kids. I stick to a few basic rules: NEVER wear sweat pants, always wear makeup, rarely wear running shoes, pull hair back if it’s a bad day, etc. But if I kick it up a notch and start dressing to kill every time I go out, I’ll look ridiculous compared to the other moms! Is this my new fate? Is my style to be defined by my new role in life as a mother? Three years ago I could have walked out of the house in (almost) anything and youth was my excuse. Now? Skinny jeans, wedge heels, oversize designer bags, and leather jackets all look slightly absurd when you add a car seat and diaper bag on the arm. Great, yes, but absurd.
Nevertheless, my mini crisis of angst last night has reinforced my determination not to lose my previous zest for fashion. My style may be influenced by my new role as a mother, but it will not be eclipsed. My new mission is to strike a balance between what used to be feasible and what’s now realistic. We’re off to the city this weekend (for reasons other than shopping.) My husband, after seeing my state last night, gave me a budget and said he’d babysit the kids for a few hours so I can go off on my own. He’s amazing. We shall see what happens!