Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

How many women scrutinize their clothing choices as much as I do? Hmm? The project on my mind is organizing the closet. Now I want to take photos of clothes to store in an album to see the "new" outfits in the morning when I dress for work.

The weather is cold in New York City in the winter so some of the lightweight sweaters I feel I can't wear now and will wait until March.

It really is true that "Eighty percent of the time we wear 20 percent of our clothes." I toyed with getting a diploma in image consulting; it was some kind of dream in my thirties that fell by the wayside. I could maybe return to that in my fifties. Right now, I have the goal of not wearing the faded jeans to work, like I used to.

What I've learned: it's all in the past, you can change your habits today, the thing is to accept how it used to be, and move on. So that even though something happened in the past, and even happened for a long time, you can change today and the changes can be permanent if you realized that the habit used to serve you well and now it doesn't.

That's what happened when I began shutting the lights at eleven o'clock and going to sleep earlier; I erased an unhealthy habit that had been going on for 10 years. Yes, you can change a behavior that used to be long-term. It's not too late.

And so, as 2009 dawns, I'm committed to working on my wardrobe because I've fallen into a rut. This is where people reading this blog entry are going to scratch their heads and say, "Why does it matter to her?"

I would like to meet people who care about fashion as much as I do. I have a good friend who does, and I covet her walk-in closet. Already I'm envisioning how I want my next apartment's bedroom closet to look and function.

When I was in my late thirties, I went through a deeper kind of this soul searching. At about that time, I donated to the Salvation Army the last of my trendier clothes. Early on living in this apartment, I sent three bags of clothes to Sal's.

There's a web site, Closet Couture, where you can view women's virtual closets. I joined, and haven't uploaded any photos or gone back to peek into their wardrobes. That's a little too much, I'm not that fashion-obsessed though from reading this blog entry you get the idea that style matters to me.

In my memoir, Left of the Dial, I hint at how I fashioned my younger self through a weird wardrobe, and then in the "power blue straightjackets" I wore in business to fit in. The truth is, I did NOT fit in, that career was a mismatch, it restricted my self-expression.

Even today I would rather attend and perform at poetry readings, go to coffeehouses, concerts and see films, read good literature, than rub elbows with executives at cocktail parties where you schmooze and booze.

So you can see this isn't frivolous to me, it's part of my life ethic to dress in fashion, be stylish. Some of us are perfectly fine in Sag Harbor, if that is your thing, more power to you. Wasn't Sag Harbor the clothing line you could find in stores like Stern's?

Fashion certainly makes life interesting. It goes hand-in-hand with music and writing as one of my great loves.

On Friday I order a pair of light-color pants from Loft, because I had to throw out the old pair that had stains on them. This sounds like I'm fastidious, no? Oh, I'm not. I call the kind of women dressed in that style "living museums" because they're perfectly turned out at all times it seems.

Do you know the ones I mean? I'll be waiting to cross the street in Midtown Manhattan, and in front of me I'll see a woman with the expensive leather tote, the immaculate suit, and Cole Haan shoes, with the perfect hair.

Maybe that's just not me.

Maybe it really is OK to wear jeans if I wear them with a dressier top or sweater, or a structured jacket.

You see.

My New Year's resolutions involve clothes and finances. One goal is to stop wearing the faded jeans to work, I fell into that habit that I want to cure. It will take time. I can always wear the dark jeans, right?

In America, denim is a democratic fashion, everyone wears it. Though I'm not convinced I wear it to equally good effect, I do wear jeans to work. Again, like I've said, you can change a habit that's been ingrained. This will possibly make its way into a Connection blog entry, so stay tuned. A previous entry for that web site talked about changing our behaviors, and now I could improve upon it by talking about other changes we could make, subtle ones that aren't dramatic.

My other goal is to cut down on taking car service so that I can save money, too. Now that it's easier for me to take the trains [as long as I have a book or magazine to read], I really don't need to call for a car when I'm going long distances. That will free up $50 each month. I've also decided to dine out only once each week.

Those are my two New Year's resolutions. I wish you well with whatever goals you set for 2009, too.

As humans, maybe we're hard-wired to re-invent ourselves at different times in our lives. I turn 44 in April. So I'm taking stock of where I've been, where I want to be in the coming years, and how I'm going to get there. It's time to discard the unworkable and unlivable things and focus on the new things.

Bringing in the New Year with friends in a joyous party was the perfect segue into this new era in my life. I embrace the possibilities and I'm pumped up to make these changes.

Again, life has a funny way of working out.

I urge you to refuse to give up because there's always hope.

Hope keeps me going when the odds aren't good. I love a long shot.

When I turned 40, I wanted to be married, and not any more. That's OK.

What I do want is to retire when I'm 55 and do something else, and everything I do now leads up to that. Will I go back to school for a second degree? It motivates me to keep striving for this, even if it turns out it won't happen.

Keeping that hope alive is something I do to live through what I'm going through now. If it doesn't happen, that's perfectly fine.

Either way, fine-tuning my wardrobe and my finances will rejuvenate me in ways that matter. "If you can't please your soul," you'll wither. All this frivolous stuff isn't really frivolous.

It's kind of a victory, too, because when I was a lot sicker, I dressed in odd clothes and wore theater makeup, so investing in a wardrobe now is like coming home to myself.

I would love to know if any of you women out there feel this way.

On that note, I'll end this blog entry as I feel I've been circling around things.


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