on fashion and feeling like you are ‘too much’

In PART ONE we basically speed dated my fashion history and all its embarrassing traits. Moving from frump to enjoying fashion has been a slow process. And one that also came with some real heart talk.


It sounds simple and shallow that it is about fashion, but we all know it’s more than that. I’m writing this, not because I know the dos and dont’s of fashion. Rather,  as I said, something random my husband said blew up in my brain and I need to get it out.


So you just read part one about my embarrassing venture into womanhood through remnants of my wardrobe.  Now I will share part two, the WHY. Why does it matter what I wear? Why do I need a foundation of thinking supporting decisions as simple as sweats or a dress? It is because, for me, fashion means something so much more than fashion.


Let’s think of some reasons why fashion can matter…..

Sure, if you look good you feel good (it’s a fact and if you don’t believe me hang out around the house in your wedding gown).

People treat you better, sad but true.

But does it make you treat YOURSELF differently? 

I strongly believe that how we present ourselves to the world is an echo of what we think our position and place is in the world. 

So back to that morning that spurred this post. My husband was off work so I took my time getting ready to go into town. Caveat, we live in a very SMALL town, where fashion standards can be summed up by witnessing whole families wear pajamas to the grocery store. Since we were going into town I ventured out of my ‘comfort gear’ (aka sweats and stained tee-shirts). I did my makeup, rocked some headband curls, some new lipstick and my coat that was an early Christmas present.



Would I say I looked good? YES! I did look good.
My husband agreed, he said “Looking good….. maybe too good”. What I felt suddenly was that I was ‘too much’.


What do most women do when they think they’ve exceeded the dress code relative to their surroundings?  Maybe if you are like me you pat down your giant fantastic curls, blot off a bit of that adorable lipstick, zip your coat up to hide your lovely outfit.


And then I thought of that saying I read years ago in my friend’s office at work.



This saying slapped me in the face years prior when I needed a personal push to move beyond my good-girl-hood habits and mindset. I had come to a point where I had lived my whole life nervous to upset the balance around me (type Nine problems, if you aren’t sick of hearing about the Enneagram).  Following all the rules, mostly made by me. Fearful that if I ‘out-shone’ someone that they would feel like less. Keeping passions and talents at arm’s reach because I didn’t want to fail or succeed.


Amongst a few other things that happened in the year following, I started to become aware of the decisions I was making based on holding back. From how I let people talk to me; to how I projected my voice; to the shoes on my feet. Everything was bound to these fears of being too much and having people look at me, or hear me, or see me.


So I’m relating what some take as ‘vanity’ and ‘superficial’ and applying it to that girl with hair in her face who wouldn’t wear nail polish. I hope you can understand that it’s not about fashion.  It is about anything that you contribute to your surroundings and the presence you bring to your surroundings. It could be the words you say, the food you make, the DIYs you make your kids, the stories you share at a party. Maybe even how you scrunch up your letters to make them small (like you feel), or how you take up as little space as possible in a chair while some others spread out.


It’s about letting yourself be worthy of your own time and energy, unashamed to stand out, uninhibited by your self-imposed rules and beliefs, led by passions.  I will also add here that it seems women have a hard time with this, both letting themselves do it and watching other women do it. We need to empower each other to follow our passions and take care of ourselves. 


So next time my husband tells me I’m looking hot to trot. I will smile, instead of bringing my standards down to what is around me I’ll just say thank you to him.


He has confirmed that I am letting my little light shine for me, to glorify the fact that God made me to be nothing but me because he wants to use me. I have to be me for Him to do that. And being me means wearing lipstick cause it makes me feel dang skippy!


It is a scary thing to embrace the good and negative aspect of that.  I am stepping out beyond my comfort zone. In red shoes and lips. Even if I sometimes feel uncomfortable. Even if I sometimes make mistakes. Even if I say the wrong things, or do the wrong things, or wear the wrong things.


…….I’m getting there.


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11 thoughts on “on fashion and feeling like you are ‘too much’”

  1. I hadn’t ever really thought of it this way, Shawna. Very interesting. Now that you have me thinking about it, though, I definitely see how true this is. One recent example is when I started going to a new Mommy and Me class with Ashton in September. I dressed the way I normally would–not all gussied up, but definitely not in sweats and a tshirt. I showed up that first day seemingly overdressed. Everyone was wearing jeans and sweatshirts and tennis shoes. I immediately felt out of place and uncomfortable. The next two times I dressed myself down, and I STILL felt uncomfortable. Why? Because I wasn’t being true to myself. When I leave the house, it’s an excuse for me to be Angie, not mom, even if it is in a mom setting. So I like to put on something pretty, do my hair and makeup, wear tall boots and scarves and jewelry. So what if these moms don’t dress the same way? So I started wearing the same things I normally would, and you know what? I’m a lot more comfortable there now. I blamed it on the moms for me not enjoying our time there, but really it was on me. I was the one not being my true self. Thanks for this post, Shawna, and if you want to write more: GO FOR IT!

  2. Thank you for writing this Angie. I love hearing about other moms in the same boat. I really think the way we dress is one of the first things we let ‘slip’ as moms and our identity is tied to that. It really means a lot to me that you left this comment. Makes the stress about this post all worth it. I was nervous to post it and my sister encouraged me to.


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