Getting Dressed With Erica: A Stitch-Fix Story

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Once upon a time, in a dressing room (next door to yours, probably) a young woman, named Erica, sit naked, sobbing on the floor. No matter how hard she tried, she could never find clothes that complemented her waist, hugged her strong legs the right way or flattered her loving arms. Ever. WHY is this so easy for everyone else?! WHY do jeans look great on EVERYONE in the entire world, except me?! she cried. In her closet, she had lots of clothes, in all kinds of sizes and styles, based on what her body looked like any given month or year. Previous years of chronic dieting and binge eating had caused her body (and the way she felt in it) to fluctuate.

Though her relationship with food had drastically improved, her body image often held her back from getting dressed. Yoga pants, leggings and over-sized shirts were go-to and kept her sane and safe.

One day, Erica's BFF told her to read a book called, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. So she did. And basically the book told her to get rid of anything that didn't "spark joy". So, she did that, too. She dismantled her kitchen, and tore through her photo albums and old greeting cards.  She parted ways with books that no longer socially or intellectually served her. And then, she addressed her wardrobe...

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Erica got rid of most everything and she was left with just a few pieces that did indeed spark joy. But that was only the first step. Not only was she to part ways with the clothes that no longer served her in the present, she needed a new method, a new attitude and a clear intention for the future of her closet.

To keep it simple for herself, Erica set a very practical and easy intention:

"to cultivate joy, femininity and comfort in a carefully edited and stylish wardrobe"

One day, as she was scrolling through her social media, (which was kind of all-day occurrence), Erica stumbled upon a company named Stitch-Fix: Clothing and accessories hand-selected by a personal stylist, delivered to your door. 

For reals? Erica thought. Sweet. She filled out the profile on the website, punched in her credit card number, which she had memorized, and scheduled her first clothing "fix" for the following week. She even dropped a little note to her stylist:

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She tried each item on in the comfort of her own home, armed with all the tools needed to try on clothes in a sane and joyful way: Natural light, a full-length mirror, and LOTS of room to frolic in the frocks and dance in the denim. She kept what worked for her and sent the rest back.

She scheduled her next fix for the following month:

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So far, Erica not only enjoys Stitch-Fix, but is now able to see the value in wearing clothes that tell the story of how she feels about herself, any given day. Her body image slowly but surely improves each time she goes to her closet, knowing that EVERY item in there, fits the body she has today. She's still the young naked women in the dressing room, only her dressing room is her own home and she isn't sobbing anymore. But she's still naked a lot of the time..which is fine, also.

The End.


some logistics:

if Stitch-Fix is something that might bring peace to your shopping process, here are 7 things that I have found helpful in my experience so far...
1) If you're hippy-dippy-kinda like me, maybe set a simple intention for what you value/want in your wardrobe. nothing fancy or out there, just think about what you want your closet to represent to you.
2) It often takes a few shipments for you and your stylist to find a rhythm. So, give it a few tries!
3) create a style board on  Pinterest, to help your stylist get an idea of who you are! be sure to pin the styles/colors/fabrics/patterns/"mood" of your desired wardrobe. pin all kinds of things from all kinds of places! also, be sure to name it something pleasant :) Here's mine.
4) only keep things from your shipment that spark joy, make you feel & look amazing, and are in line with what you value in a wardrobe.
5) do not feel discouraged, apologetic or guilty for returning anything (or everything) your stylist has picked for you. this is their job. you will gain nothing buy purchasing something just because you don't want to be a 'difficult' shopper.
6) remember: this is not the be all and end all of shopping for clothes. this is just one option of so many!
7) have fun! Go on! get dressed! go out! mmmmbyyyeeee

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Life-Changing Magic: Part Three

photo 1-12 Clothes. I got rid of my clothes. Not all of them, but most of them. The truth is, most of the clothes in my closet didn't fit. They were just scraps of fabric, hanging out, waiting for me to be thin again, mocking me for having outgrown them in the waist, shoulders, hips, thighs, nipples, eyeballs, everywhere.

I started in an ordinary manner; I emptied my closet, my drawers and under-the-bed "storage", dumped everything in my living room, became overwhelmed and anxious, rubbed a Grounding Blend on the bottoms of my feet and stared at the piles for about ten minutes, waiting for them to organize and purge themselves. Of course, I could have done one drawer, one section at a time, but I've never been interested in doing things the easy way.

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I had to keep reminding myself; Joy, Erica. It has to spark Joy in order for you to keep it, k? One great suggestion I got from my Magic Sponsor was to look at my clothes and ask myself if I would buy this item again. Were I to see this shirt/jacket/tube top/sequined beret in the store TODAY, would I buy it? And most importantly, DOES IT EVEN FIT? I promise you, I am the queen of keeping clothes for the benefit of my "future body" and especially my "past body". I don't talk a lot about my experience with chronic dieting, or binge eating, or weight gain, or weight loss, or body image, though, I probably should and also I want to, but just take my word for it; getting rid of the clothes once compatible with my body, that now even my arms wouldn't slide into, was mildly devastating.

I studied most of the items as though it were someone I used to know; holding the garment out in front of me, squeezing the material down its length, cocking my head to the side and squinting my eyes, vaguely remembering what it felt like to wear it and mostly remembering constantly being terrified for the day it would no longer fit. And that day came a long time ago. I've gained enough weight and my body had changed shape drastically enough to warrant more than half my closet to not fit me. But the only reason those clothes ever fit me was because I ate nothing but straw, hay, kale and cow diarrhea green drinks. Plus, I exercised like German Nazis were constantly chasing me. (Too soon?) But seriously.

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So, out they went! TEN bags full of clothes that didn't spark joy, I wouldn't buy today and that reminded me of the years I was terrified of gaining weight. Mmmmmbyeeeee!

I'm *technically* still not done with this category, though. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up gives specific instructions for how to reorganize after de-cluttering. The author has a folding/organizing method that I refuse to use, simply because, in addition to every other article of clothing, she wants you to fold your underwear and I am NOT that kinda gal; I don't have the patience, I don't have the upkeep and I don't have the underwear. (Remember?) But for those of you who LOVE folding your underwear and dividing your t-shirts into thirds and arranging your clothes in the closet from lightweight to heavy...the link is above. Knock yourself out! Make this YOUR magical experience.

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So, what now...?

It's hard for me to get dressed, and has been since I was twelve. When I do actually get dressed, I seldom stay dressed. Being self-employed, I have the option of changing my clothes if my mood, body image or the climate changes. But I'm not so sure that helps me feel like a mature, confident woman. For years, I've worked in an industry that regards stretchy, forgiving spandex as put-together outfits and I think it's time I thank my Yoga pants for their service of safety and forgiveness, and try my hand at getting dressed, in "real" clothes.

So how do I start getting dressed, staying dressed and liking it?

Step One: I did the "Yoga Thing"; I set an intention, based on what I value most when it comes to my personal style and clothing. Here are some things that came to mind...joy, confidence, satiety, comfort, stylish, appreciation, worthiness, deliberate, choosy/picky, quality. From there, I pieced together my over all intention for getting dressed; To cultivate joy, confidence, comfort and spiritual satiety in a carefully edited, deliberate and stylish wardrobe. 

Step Two: I made a Pinterest Board filled with clothing and looks that inspire me and that I can see myself wearing on the daily...the ENTIRE day...unless I'm legitimately going to Yoga, in which case, the spandex is okay.

Step Three: I enrolled in Stitch Fix: Clothing and accessories hand-selected by a personal stylist, delivered to your door. Right?! Apparently, there are people in the world who literally want to make my getting dressed their problem. Fine! I won't stop ya! I even dropped a note to my stylist...

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Thanks for sticking with me for this series. Next up: "What's hiding under my couch?" AND "Let's not keep old alarm clocks and other non-kitchen items in the kitchen cupboards, k?"

Ok! Namaste! Byyyyeee!

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Oh, and PS: I totally got dressed yesterday ;-)

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