Projecting An Image

Last night I went to a party with some really pretty people and I wanted to step things up a bit, outfit-wise, so I wore a short (for me) flowy blue dress with my knee-high boots, over tights and a merino. This constitutes stepping it up, for me. I even put on some lip gloss and attempted to subdue my hair into behaving in a more party-appropriate manner, such was my devotion to the cause. People were very friendly and complimentary towards me during the evening, which is always lovely and much appreciated, but somehow I still spent basically the whole night worried about how I looked: tugging at my dress, fiddling with my hair, pulling up my tights, all night long.

I wish I were going to make this entry like a Mighty Closet -style photo shoot, with me wearing various cute outfits doing various cute poses and making various cute faces. I want to feel as cute as Maggie always looks, because I seem to be in one of those things where nothing looks right, nothing feels right, nothing is right in terms of my physical presentation to the rest of the world. My jeans are too loose, my jeans are too tight. My boots feel funny. None of my layers of black wool–in which I swathe myself daily when I venture out into Wellington’s stupid, stupid, cold, stupid, long, stupid winter–match any of my other layers of black wool. My hair is ridiculous and my face is all broken out in a manner upon which I can no longer blame getting off the pill. Oh, girl. No pictures, please, no. No thank you. Not at the moment.

And you know, things are still pretty busy with me, with work and friends and everything else. I’m currently booking out my social calendar about two weeks in advance, and—I don’t know how—I am still involved, if only peripherally, in swine flu stuff. We have a new flatmate at our house, who is currently cooking us dinner to celebrate moving in: awesome! There’s a lot to do and a think about, lately, so can anyone tell me why all I can think about is, like, my clothes?

And maybe it’s a coincidence and maybe it’s not, but for the past six months or so I’ve been thinking more about …I don’t know. I am thinking a lot about, like, wearing patterned tights and knee-length skirts and putting on makeup. I don’t want to call it beauty, because, well, you know. It’s not the same thing, not at all, and I know that, but I can’t help thinking that the cure for my cuteness-related woes is probably completely external. I just need to learn to pluck my eyebrows, right? I just need to wear short dresses more often, right?

I know the solution isn’t, really, to get all new clothes (how would I know what to get?) or to color my hair (how would I know what to get?) or anything like that. I know that. I also know that it’s all about confidence, all about projecting an image and that when you feel good you look good and so on and so forth. I also know, I guess, that everyone goes through times of feeling less than adorable. I guess since I haven’t really been able to figure out what the correlations are, like why I feel awesome-looking and why I feel forgettable-looking, I can’t really change how I think about it. I don’t even know if it’s important, all this nonsense about presentation and projection and cute outfits and confidence, or if it matters, or if I should care.


  1. The external totally makes a difference. Shorter skirts and patterned tights are an excellent idea. After I had a bunch of stuff tailored last winter, Ian did a double-take and pronounced that the shorter skirts made me look taller — no mean feat for me. And the freshly tailored clothes made the *hugest* difference in my self-confidence.

    Also: “Adornment is never anything except a reflection of the heart” – attr. Coco Chanel

  2. This is timely for me to read.
    Over the past two years, various things have caused a 30+ weight gain for me and a month ago I finally started doing something about it. It’s not just the extra weight though – it’s everything that goes along with it: not fitting into most of my clothes (and I certainly can’t afford to go buy a new wardrobe), feeling like hibernating all the time, feeling self-conscious in front of the man I’ve lived with for 13 years…it was all bad. I’m starting out slowly, because the thought of an entire overhaul totally intimidates me, but after only a month of exercising regularly and keeping track of what I’m eating, I can tell a HUGE difference mentally, if not so dramatically physically (I’ve lost only 7 lbs so far). I think how you look (or perceive to look) directly affects how good you feel in the brains.
    I realize this is probably something I’ll have to work at for the rest of my life, but I’m willing to do it because the benefits are so great.

  3. Just wanted to offer a wee bit of support/validation: this is EXACTLY how i have been feeling in for the last 2 weeks!i put it down to it being a particularly crap winter and the fact that wellington is filled with gorgeous, effortlessly-cool people that always make me feel like i should be trying harder. i am currently using a tried-and-tested routine of chocolate, coffee and cigarettes that has succeeded in making me feel much better.
    Probably not a long term solution but itll get me through till summer! :)
    take care of you.x

  4. Meh. I always feel underdressed. So recently I’ve started shopping more often, just getting cheaper accessories that I can mix and match. And taking inspiration from magazines and seeing whether I can get something similar locally.For example my $15 too small boots I wore on Sat!

    But, honey, you looked FAB on Sat. All you now need to do is to WORK IT. Stand up straight, shoulders back and don’t worry about it! Channel your inner second-hand drunk. No honest to god party girl worries about her outfit once she leaves home. Look fab in your mirror at home, then forget about it.

    All you need to do when out is add an extra layer of lip gloss, get a fruity coloured drink in your hand and start having deep and meaningfuls with random people you’ve just met. Fun!

  5. “I just need to wear short dresses more often, right?”

    Yes, exactly. I’ve been feeling the same way. But I don’t have the same dress-up-and-go-out group of friends that you do, and I don’t feel comfortable dressing to the nines by myself. So I dress in the typical Northwest frumpy look. I’m tired of it.

  6. Been there, hell, AM there!, done that. I always feel my clothes don’t fit AND I’m too hot and sweaty and windblown.

    One thing that always annoys me is that when I put on my whole tribal dance get up I feel fabulous! Of course it takes two hours to get that way and I can’t really wear it around town. My baby step has been to start wearing lip color and eye liner more often. And only buying clothes that look great. Not good, great. If they don’t then I don’t bother spending money on them. Hello slowly dwindling wardrobe, as more things go out than come in.

    Oh, a great piece of advice from my mom. Check your outfit right before you head out the door and then do not fuss with it unless you’re in the bathroom, it makes you look insecure. This is the reason I don’t wear mini skirts, I can’t not fiddle with them, but otherwise put it on and forget about it.

  7. Paolo Stermieri ( Giulia's dad )

    Life is pretty much like a mirror……..
    if you smile at it…… it’ll smile back to you…!!!