So I think I'm not superficial.
But I am.
It bothers me.
Here's how I know I am: I like to look in style. That's not such a big deal and it doesn't make me superficial. But I don't have a great sense of natural style. I've talked about my overly matchy-matchy dressing tendencies before. I can see stuff in a magazine or on a mannequin and then buy it for myself, but that's not exactly an organic approach to fashion. It seems like people with a natural sense of style can find really disparate items of clothing from all kinds of places and pull them together in a way that is totally hip. I would never be able to look at the same pieces they do and come up with an outfit. Yet you look at the same stuff on someone else and they have that air about them, that confidence that even if what they wore didn't all match, they'd feel sure they were awesome, anyway.
Yesterday at church I saw a girl in a gray and white striped blouse (matte cotton), a silver skirt (shiny), opaque black tights and metallic gold Mary Jane heels trimmed in silver. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. I'm sure (in my own head) that if I tried to wear the same outfit, it would look all wrong. People would look at me and think, "She has no idea how to dress."
Naturally stylish people can find the coolest outfits at the Goodwill. I'm sure if I wore thrift shop clothes, people would know I got them from a thrift store. That wouldn't matter if I still came off looking cool or stylish, but I would look like a bag lady. And that's how I know I'm superficial. Give me a Payless version of a shoe or the $90 Nordstrom version of it, and most likely, I'll pick the Nordstrom version of it because I'm sure in the Payless shoe people would look at me and say, "Huh. Cheap shoes" and in the Nordstrom pair, people will say, "Huh. Cute shoes." Even if they're IDENTICAL.
Basically, my self-esteem depends on me spending more money than I need to on clothes so that I can feel confident in front of other people.
I'm so pathetic that I've actually seen something cute on markdown and then thought, "Wait. If it's on markdown then nobody else wanted so it must not be that cute after all." And then I've not bought it.
On a related note, I'll be spending my next vacation running with the lemmings.
Anyway, I'm trying to overcome this. There are flashes of hope. When I have bought items of clothing or pairs of shoes on a whim simply because they amuse me or appeal to me at some emotional level, simply because I like them or the mood they put me in, those are the items that I get the most compliments on no matter how much or little they cost.
So you'd think I learn. The lesson would be: spend less time and money on trying to project an image and more on the things that please YOU. That is REAL.
I understand that this is about the lamest, most inconsequential issue ever. But it's been on my mind because I have the LDS Storymakers writing conference to go to next week and I've been planning my wardrobe for weeks now. It's fun to dress up for stuff, but as I puzzle over what to wear and discard or as I eliminate choices and consider my reasons why, I realize how totally lame I'm being. If I showed up in my oldest, rattiest stuff, the truly cool people are still going to like me regardless. And if I think wearing my sharpest brand new outfit is what will gain me friends, then I'm not cool at all.
The funniest thing is that I couldn't care less what other people wear. I don't know why I think they care what I do.
That's it. It's official. Something inside my head is broken. Maybe a little retail therapy will help . . .