For anyone that knows me, I am not the largest in stature. Growing up, there were always choices that my family had when making purchases and clothes were not on the top of the list. As hard of a sell I would make, I would find myself in clothes that were too big that I would “grow into”. If you dig deep enough or befriend my mom, you will find evidence. My size large shirts and baggy pants were comical. Looking back now, I can appreciate it more.
To be candid, I never did grow into the majority of what was my wardrobe. But my younger brother was built different. As he grew in my wake, I would mix in a handful of my garments into his rotation so that it would get at least some meaningful use. My brother was so thankful, that upon growing out of the same clothes himself, he returned the hand-me-downs back to me with a tad bit more wear and tear. At that point, I knew that enough was enough.
My solution: Goodwill. Upon first entering this magnificent establishment, I was starstruck by the color-coated rows of clothes well within my budget. The idea of getting a great deal on top of the optionality gave me hope. This store was made for people like me. And at that first visit, I threw down. The buggy was filled to the brim and all at an affordable rate. After paying, I looked around the perimeter before leaving and walked quickly over to the car. I felt like I stole something. I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked at the bags the entire way home. Upon reaching the house, I ripped into them and neatly stored the clothes. Although it wasn’t Christmas, it felt like it for me.
Over the next month, I started piecing together my new outfits. And over time, I would find these small defects. A small hole here, some discoloration there, but most disturbing of them all, an odd fit hovered over my pride. I realized that excitement got the best of me and I made the purchase too quickly. Over half of the clothes did not fit me contrary to what the tags said, and as I tried to return them, I discovered a seven-day return policy that did not bode well. I was devastated, but I was too invested. So I made them work and saved the lesson to go with it.
I used to wear whatever I could find that looked right. I used to patch up holes the best I could. I used to try and mimic what others were wearing. But over time, I became more selective. I realized that there were different dimensions of “fit”. I found brands that didn’t match my personality, materials that didn’t serve my purpose, and features that were never needed in the first place. I tend to leave those articles where they are nowadays. I’m no expert, but I know what fits my style. And the same thing goes for my attitude.
At a distance, the mental baggage that people carry around may look unobtrusive. But if you look a little closer at what’s in their bags, you will see their attire is stained with the wrong demeanor, threading is knotted around poor judgment, and holes are laced in their outlook on life. You see they have heavily worn their emotions on their sleeves, and at times will try to give you a piece of their mind. They don’t mean harm and think they are helping, but it’s mutual. That burden tends to weigh heavily on them over time. And in most cases, you were not meant to carry the load.
I have seen time and time again that people like to give me their hand-me-down opinions. Even with the best of intentions, it is up to me to make sure they are the right fit. It takes patience to “try things on for size” and realize what is best is not always given right away. Below, I have highlighted some takeaways for the next time you go thrifting for a mental makeover.
Don’t accept what you don’t need. Your closet is only so big, and so is your headspace. You may not be able to control the negativity that may enter your mind, but you have a say in what stays there. Limit your wardrobe, declutter your mind, and focus on what you can control. If it doesn’t fit, leave it.
Things may fit now, but you can grow out of them. Just like physical growth spurts, you may find yourself growing out of the things that others continue to put you in. Do not let others cover you with their doubts or fit you into their beliefs that no longer work for you.
Put the baggage down. You may be an individual looking to dump some torn feelings and negative thoughts. Be intentional with what you give to others, be weary of what you carry, and get rid of the anything that steals your joy.
Suit yourself. At the end of the day, only you will know what truly fits you well. You know how something feels on your skin and the versatility it brings. The tailored fit may not be out there just yet for you, but you can take the things that you enjoy most and put them together for the perfect match. Its okay to pay a premium for something that will last, even if you must save for it.
I am fortunate to say I can afford more in the wardrobe. But, I will also say that I am happy with what I have on.