The Dust Shaker

I’m battling with a bit of life and career confusion at the moment – what do I want? who am I? can I just hide in a hole please? Most days, these battles take place in leggings/joggers, a cosy jumper (my honest favourite is the one with the robots) and my dressing gown. Hardly a fashion blogger uniform, I know, and my teenage self would be horrified.

To offer a small defence – the jumpers cheer me up, I like to be cosy, and one of the effects of going to drama school is that it’s then hard to fit into tight waistbands (you learn to breathe deeply and it’s hard to go back darling). Another key point to remember here is that my job for an arts charity is 95% working from home, so as long as I get my hours done I could be wearing a bikini, a hazmat suit or a SpongeBob Square Pants costume – nobody would know, and nobody would care.

What is the incentive to pick out a good outfit, when all you need to do that day is roll in front of the laptop, type for 7 hours, eat, watch TV and sleep?

I had a bad day once, where the above thought seemed very logical. So I didn’t really bother. I made that mistake again, and again, and again. No-one noticed, of course.

That way of thinking gained more space and it leached over, almost imperceptibly, into the rest of my existence: What’s the point of brushing my hair? What’s the point of smiling? What’s the point of going outside? As you can imagine, sadness is the main thing that’s left.

About 3% of my wardrobe currently gets used, which is a shame because I put a lot of creative energy, gift vouchers from beloved family, and sales shopping know-how into the other 97%. Back in previous theatre office jobs, I used to really enjoy picking out what I was going to wear to work the next day and laying it out the day before. The robot jumper is a good 10am ice breaker – style it right and people actually think you look good. I enjoyed the knowing exchange when one like-minded fashion enthusiast noticed a bit of my outfit and complimented it, and I could find out where they’d got something of their’s in turn. I curated outfits that would hopefully identify me as ‘professional with a playful, creative twist’. When it seemed like that day’s ensemble had nailed my brief, I really enjoyed the day. If I could put that effort in for transient co-workers, why did I not bother to do that for myself?

I’ve always been a bit glass half-empty – it was temptingly easy for me to adopt the pragmatic, but very negative, view that dressing well today won’t affect anyone else, rather than fight for the positive outlook that dressing well will make me feel good, so I’ll work better, and that will affect other people. Even now, I’m fully aware I need to get back on track but I haven’t yet managed to actually shake out the majority of my wardrobe. Negative habits are so ridiculously hard to break, aren’t they?

But that’s where you come from, my handy little blog. I didn’t name you randomly, you know. You’re going to help me enjoy putting the effort in again. Into my outfits, into my hobbies, and into my life.


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