There is a pile of clothes on my bedroom and a sheen of sweat on my body. I. Can’t. Get. Dressed. It’s like being 15 again. 15 always. Without the perfect skin. I hate all my clothes. I have never grown out of having nothing to wear. I always buy the wrong thing. Capsule wardrobes? They are for other people. Nice idea but I don’t even own a white shirt.
And now, this morning, my body has joined in the conspiracy. Never a clothes horse, I appear to have subtly and catastrophically changed shape overnight. Everything does up (not the really thin clothes but I leave them hanging there as an act of self-loathing) and sort of fits but looks wrong. As though tiny goblins have been at them in the night and pushed and pulled them about a bit. For a laugh. Even the tent dresses have gone all funny: the length seems peculiar and my knees are weird and I look defeated.
And, as I pull things on over my head and then tug them off again – sweating off tinted moisturiser on to all the necklines – the despair builds and the urgency mounts because I needed to be out of the house three minutes ago and I need to be wearing something that means I get taken seriously in a lightness-of-touch kind of a way. The shoes that should work look dated. The jacket that was elegant is frumpy. The dress bought as ‘throw-on’ trouble-shooter has morphed into a trouble-maker.
Inevitably – just as I did at 15 – I end up wearing the first thing I tried on. Disheartened and crumpled, I stomp off wondering why I never look the way I imagine myself looking in my mind’s eye. I avoid myself in shop windows. Mine is the opposite of effortless style. It’s effortful mess. Not hot mess. Not even cool mess. Just me mess. Would I look any better if I won the lottery? I suspect a bit, but not much. I’d just be a rich mess.