Classic Elegance

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

As a child I loved playing dress-up. I had an aunt who every time I visited, opened up her closet to me. I wore heels, fancy scarves, hats, dresses, and jewelry. I still love to play dress up, but now the clothes I chose tend to fit my mood. I love curling up by a warm fire with a cup of tea in a comfy sweater and shorts; it’s my go-to outfit when I am in a relaxed mood. Yes, shorts in the winter.

My tank top and sweat pants are for lying on the floor having an emotional meltdown, these moments are happening less and less. My hard work is starting to pay off.

I love to wear dresses on Sundays. I fix up my hair very fancy. I feel worthy; I am proud of where I am today. I wear my Grandmother’s pearls. On Sunday she is with me, close to my heart.

My dance uniform is yoga pants, tank top, and dance shoes. The clothing is lightweight, which fits my mood perfectly. I let everything go while I am dancing; the stress melts off my body and onto the floor.

Then there are days I can’t seem to turn my mood around. I have no choice but to pull out the tiara. Yes, a tiara. I will  wear my tiara while cleaning my house. I am reminded by this small object that I may be tarnished and worn, but I am still beautiful, unique, and special.

My favorite outfit is a black and gold suit. The top under the jacket is black with a gold collar, and the black jacket has gold buttons. I pair this outfit with back shoes that have a touch of gold on them. To complete the look I add gold bow shaped earrings. I feel confident. I feel like I have it all together. I wear this outfit anytime I have to make a speech or have an interview. I glance at myself in the mirror. This woman looks amazing. My face is glowing, my eyes are sparking. I look beautiful, even my hair shines.

I feel like a woman from the 1940’s. I have the look of classic elegance. I smile often, and I laugh. I don’t know why I don’t wear this outfit every day. Maybe because I know the feeling would eventually wear off. I like the woman I become inside this suit – I am put together and I look radiant. This radiance shines out to others; I let my happy energy spread throughout a room. I am confident enough to talk to strangers and to ask the difficult questions. I am brave, my comfort zone goes out the window, and I own the room.

Why does dressing up feel so good? Each piece of clothing reflects a mood or energy. My clothing reminds me how versatile I am. I start each day acknowledging my mood, owning it and embracing it. Some days I need an attitude adjustment. There was a moment in time when I went into a deep dark place. I had a mentor suggest I dress up every day for a week, fix my hair, and put on jewelry. It was very painful and exhausting, but I did it. By the end of the week my spirits were lifting. People treated me differently. They drew off the positive energy I was giving off instead of my dark energy. I received compliments and gifts, and people opened doors for me. I began to smile, because I found light amidst my darkness – all this from a clothing change.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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