Sunday, 3 November 2013

The coat condundrum

There's no doubt that we tend to use the things we buy to create a sense of who we are. Everyone has their own sense of style, whether distinctive and stand out or something more subtle. Upon turning 25 in October I came to the somewhat troubled conclusion that I'm not sure what 'I' look like. Does what I wear say something about me, and should I be giving off a different vibe now that I'm 25 and feeling kinda old? How can I be a 'proper' 25 year old while living at home and being currently without a job? Do my clothes scream 'forever teen'?!

Quarter life crisis alert! Everything came to a head during my recent quest for a winter coat.  While looking for coats online and in various shops I began to panic. I'd be wearing this coat every day, pretty much. What would it say about me? Would it say something about me? Should it say something about me? I found myself slap bang in the middle of a new coat conundrum! 

I suddenly felt acutely aware of being 25, five years away from 30, unemployed, still working towards my degree and still living at home. I'm getting married but my husband and I won't be able to move out straight away, and suddenly this worried me. Was I going to be stuck like this forever? At 25 surely I should be conquering the world, or at least holding down a job and earning money to move out, take driving lessons, have nice holidays, think about starting a family within the next few years. I felt all of a sudden nowhere near doing any of these things, and it was as if each one of my anxieties and fears manifested itself in every coat I came across. Coat after coat rejected one after the other, until I'd made my way through all sorts of styles: classic pea coats, trendy long line biker jackets, cropped faux leather coats, soft belted puffer jackets, blazers, casual khaki coats. Nothing seemed to fit. Nothing looked right. Nothing felt right. 

The thought of my limited budget wasn't helping. It's silly but a part of me associated my still living at home and not having much (read: any) money with being immature, which is ridiculous because I don't think that about other people. Throughout school I imagined I'd be in an amazing career by now, living in a beautiful house with my husband and four children (erm, reality check for 12 year old me, please!) Leaving sixth form with straight A's and a strong work ethic I didn't think I'd ever be 25 and unemployed, living at home in my same old childhood bedroom. This coat needed to represent me in an 'adult' sense, in a secure, successful light. I wanted to look professional, together, older. I wanted this coat to eradicate my fears!

The thing is, a coat can't really do that, can it? My thoughts, however, can. I was obsessing over how I felt I should be and not paying any attention to what I'd actually like to wear, right now at this moment in time. Who says I have to choose something my friends might pick, or something distinctly 'professional' looking? Surely it's better to wear something you think suits you, something you find comfortable and something you enjoy rocking every day? And surely it's better to get a handle on those negative thoughts and practice some CBT magic to boost your self esteem and remind yourself of all the things you have achieved, whatever age you are? Just because I'm unemployed at the moment and living at home at the moment doesn't mean I'm still a child. It doesn't mean this is my life for the rest of my life.  I'm a woman, and I don't need to keep doubting myself and questioning everything. I'm on the right path and things will pick up. Only I can make that happen! I am empowered and I am strong. 

With this in mind, I stumbled upon the perfect coat for me. It isn't expensive, it isn't particularly 'trendy', or 'smart' or 'casual' or 'old' or 'young'. It has a detachable hood which I immediately took off because it felt a little too young... But hey, it could come in handy when it's raining/snowing! It's just a coat that I happen to really like. My clothing choices might make suggestions about who I am, but I'd rather not spend too much time fixating on it, as who I am comes from the inside. I'm letting go of worrying about fashion and having fun with it instead, rather than wearing it as a mask and hoping for it to 'create' me. Maybe I'll go for something completely different next winter; that's OK. It sounds silly, but it's worth saying: my coat doesn't define me!

My coat! £25, Primark
Baci e abbracci, 
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  1. Isn't it funny what sets us off thinking about the abyss? Reading through, I felt myself saying 'yes, yes, yes' and almost dreading what you were going to say at the end because I'm 26 in December.

    The coat aside life is never what we plan, I know that myself with recent months being really testing for me with jobs/life etc, and felt many of the same thing you have, especially when you see what your peers are doing and thinking 'oh god every one is doing so much better than me', but I am slowly learning that their life isn't mine, and what I want isn't what they want, and I am working towards my own happiness and not theirs.

    I had to tell myself that quite a few times.

    Sorry for the long comment, your post just really hit me!

    Hmm maybe...

    P.S. the coat is gorgeous...

  2. life NEVER goes to that plan! I still have thoughts at 26 like ahhhhh must catch uppppp, why am I so behind, where's all the money!

  3. LOVE the coat! My Dear, you are putting waaaay too much pressure on yourself! You will never have your twenties again. This is the time to be carefree and young! It's a whole new set of worries once you're married, have a career, family! Enjoy this time! xx


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