Today my son, Asher, a 7th-grader, wore black pinstriped dress pants, shiny black dress shoes, a royal blue button-down and a sharp green tie to school. No particular reason.
At the end of the day, when I picked him up at the school door, he said, “I believe that how you dress has an impact on the kind of day you have. I had a great day, and I really think it had something to do with what I’m wearing.”
Profound awareness for a 12-year-old.
When I went freelance in the late 1990s, I promised myself that even working at home, I would shower and dress, do my hair, take pride in my appearance – even if I was the only one I saw that day. Most days I keep that promise, but sometimes I fall prey to the temptation to throw on Lululemons and a long-sleeved waffleprint shirt with Detroit embroidered across my chest.
On days like today, when it’s gray and rainy outside and I know I have a big trip scheduled for tomorrow, that shleppy outfit comes with a knit winter cap over my unwashed hair and glasses instead of contacts. No makeup whatsoever. It’s a miracle I have earrings on.
And I have to say, I feel like a shlep. My son emerged from the school building all upbeat and happy, and I huddled under my black umbrella, shuffling down the sidewalk like one of those moms I swore I’d never be.
Now I have to give myself some slack for having off days and times when I just want to chill. Sometimes dressing for success is the last thing on my mind – especially since I’ve been taking care of a sick child for three days, completing work before yet another vacation, and getting ready for Chanukah, which begins, um, now.
I made two holiday parties for middle-schoolers over the weekend and attended a neighbor’s holiday party to boot. Spent Sunday morning at urgent care with my 102-fever daughter. This morning I chopped shallots and onions with garlic before waking the kids for school.
It’s a lot. People ask me all the time how I do it all, and I’m starting to think it’s a bit crazy indeed to expect to get it all done. Maybe that’s why these comfy clothes beckon.
But I want to feel as happy and upbeat as my son, who by the way, carries the heaviest backpack full of obligations I’ve ever lifted and has a lot on his plate, too. We’re all busy. That doesn’t mean we have to look it.
The other day, I was featured on CW 50’s Street Beat TV show, talking about end-of-year planning for businesses to succeed in 2015. I wore a great outfit, including a tan jacket that a friend said, when he saw the segment, “I’ve never seen you in that!”
Apparently, the put-together look is an exception rather than a rule. And as I prepare to depart for a yoga festival in Florida followed by a little Disney escape with my youngest, trust me when I say that my suitcase is filled with “comfortable” clothes.
Since it’s that time of year, I am choosing to be inspired by my son’s revelation and resolve to put myself together more days than not in 2015. That means outfits and makeup, hair done just right and accessories to complete the effect.
That’s my New Year’s resolution, but it’s not for any of you. It’s for me. The promise is to my Self, to be happy, healthy and whole in the new year, and comport myself for daily success, even if I never leave the house.
What better gift could I give myself?