Reclaiming Femininity

After watching an episode of Brett Cooper’s Comments Section, where the discussion focused on the allure of women in sundresses for men, I found myself thinking. There I was, watching a woman on screen embarking on her journey to reclaim her femininity, shedding sweatpants for sundresses. I couldn’t help but glance down at my own attire—shorts and t-shirts, my uniform of comfort that had become my default

In the wake of losing my husband—the person who admired, loved, and protected me, the person who knew my style and taste better than I did at times; the notion of dressing up felt like a memory. Who was I dressing up for now? Where was I going and who with? Why did I need to bother? Comfort became the new normal and I suppose a new uniform for me. Shorts, t shirts and minimal make up.

But there comes a time when the lightbulb goes on and you realise that you need to do something, reclaim your confidence and your sense of self. Well, at 52 my lightbulb was flashing with an urgency that told me to get on with it. Go through the wardrobe and dust off the make up bag as change is coming.

So that make up bag was first. Using the ‘war paint’ every now and then was something I could do that wasn’t as scary as an image change sounded. Have a shower, dry my hair and slap on some lippy and mascara. Doesn’t sound too hard, and you know what, it wasn’t. That’s where I started. Next stop the wardrobe.

Opening my wardrobe used to stir a sense of trepidation within me. As someone who’s always leaned more towards a tomboy aesthetic than a girly one, my wardrobe naturally mirrored that preference. T-shirts, rugby league shirts, trousers, shorts – the staples of my style, predominantly in shades of black and navy. Yet, tucked away at one end, lay the seldom-worn attempts at femininity: dresses. While I occasionally don one for a special occasion, they remain largely neglected. But it’s time for a change.

Admittedly, my penchant for organising my wardrobe by colour might border on obsessive-compulsive, but it ensures efficiency when selecting an outfit. With determination, I pushed aside the familiar array of garments and began the daunting task of reassessing each piece. As I embarked on this wardrobe purge, two questions guided my decisions: Firstly, if an item hasn’t seen daylight in the past six months, is there a realistic chance I’ll revive it? And secondly, if it bears stubborn stains from kitchen mishaps, why am I holding onto it?

Confronting the truth was unsettling; a surprising number of my cherished t-shirts bore unsightly marks from cooking adventures. They were dumped straight away, along with anything I hadn’t worn or anything that was the wrong size.

Now it was rearranging time.  I brought the dresses to the front of the wardrobe so they were in my eyeline everytime I opened the door. Next to those came the blouses I had begun to buy recently. Dresses, blouses, shirts and collared t shirts have begun to make more of an appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I still have tshirts in my wardrobe but the colours are altered. Where they were black and navy, there now lies red, green, aqua and hot pink. Didn’t see that coming did you!

So, the make up bag is dusted off and the wardrobe is beginning to change. Even the hair tongs came out of the bathroom cupboard too. Now comes the next step, packing for a trip. Usually, I would pack t shirts and shorts. This time, there is a dress, 3 shirts, a collared t shirt and a normal one. Maybe femininity is creeping back…..