I was one of those teens who dressed way out of line for what was required in high school. I wore ballroom gowns to school. Nearly daily. My dress code didn’t improve much throughout my life, although it toned down. But when I became a graduate student, I found a stylist at a consignment store who gave me considerable advice and made me quite fashionable. It helped that I’d won a significant scholarship that year, which I mainly invested in clothing. The Dean with purple hair labeled my wardrobe the best on the faculty.
But since then, I have gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of weight, and my wardrobe was replaced with everyday items that look unflattering. To date, I wear the same two outfits over and over: pink crop pants and a black shirt, or shorts and a polka dot shirt. I am at a loss figuring out what I will wear once summer ends.
Recently, however, I stumbled on something incredible: a course on Udemy on dressing like a fashion icon. The $14 course taught me that I’m an inverted triangle body type which requires more clothing weight on my legs and hips and less on my arms and shoulders. So, I need flare pants, not skinny jeans, to balance the body. It taught me that my color palette is soft Autumn, which I can Google to quickly see which colors I should buy and which ones I should avoid. Finally, it taught me that my preferred style is classic (conservative) with a romantic (feminine) flare.
With all this insight, I can quickly Google what sleeves, collars, pants, shirts, skirts, jewelry, and scarves are most suited for my body type and skin tone.
As a result of this styling education, I find myself shopping endlessly online, knowing almost immediately which clothing will suit me and which won’t. But what is troubling me is that I’m developing an addiction. Fashion is becoming my idol.
I’m not young anymore, and I believe this stage of the life journey needs to focus on developing the beauty of the soul, not the body. So, I’m torn. The time I usually spend on skills- or self-development, I’m now spending shopping. I’m undergoing a life-stage crisis.
The Christian bible says to dress modestly. The Muslim tradition is even more conservative. To me, traditional religious dress de-prioritizes the body in favor of beautifying the soul. Despite this, my fashion choices are now modest, but I’m fixated on them. It frightens me that I’m growing obsessed.
So, how do I take heed of such wisdom and balance fashionable conservative dress with beautifying the soul? In other words, how do I curtail this newly formed addiction to online shopping? The fashion course stated, “If you think clothes will bring you more success or power, think again. Register for a seminar or skills-development training instead.”
I desperately need new business clothes, but I no longer want to spend an entire Saturday evening well past bedtime shopping online. So, I’m going to buy a few classic items and replace shopping time with skills development. I plan on unsubscribing from all the online retailer apps I’ve downloaded. And I’ll set out a maximum budget each month for online shopping.
My advice? Never let an addictive habit drag you down. Instead, research and turn it around fast. But if you’re young, I’d highly recommend taking a fashion course. And no matter your age, embrace your inner beauty, as that’s the only one that lasts.