Hanging On By A Thread: The Millennial Closet

I recently just had a garage sale hoping to unload the vast collection of loud, tall and studded shoes I’ve hoarded over the years. They have been difficult to donate as I’ve continued to see value in them, but have come to realize these gems hold more emotional value than monetary. This holds true to the racks of sequined club dresses and outfits that once adorned these curves, complimenting an air of confidence to my stacked fragile steps.

I have repeatedly been revisiting my wardrobe and dragging more stuff to the “racks of contemplation” we’ll respectively call this domain. One could also refer to this place as a Textile Purgatory, where clothing goes to await their fate as they tussle with the idea of moving onto the next realm of life. I too feel in a state of fashion purgatory as I have not yet come to terms with what awaits me in regards to my own personal style that evidently needs an overhaul.

I’ve encountered some insecurities ever since Gen Z spoke up about the Millennials, who were born between 1981 and 1996, who grew up during the height of skinny jean and side part popularity. Rarely was anyone seen without their side bangs swooped across their face and jeans so tight they could pass as leggings. But now, Gen Z says the same style that defined the start of the millennium is now a sign that one is “old.”  

To add insult to inury a video by user @missladygleep, who said she doesn’t think anyone looks better with a side part than they do with a middle part, thus lighting the spark of the #middlepartchallenge and a fiery generational debate.  

So I went in search of a “Mom Jean” the other day, and couldn’t help but want to buy the 5 pairs of Good American skinny jeans that were on sale, only to add to the 20+ pairs of other skinny jeans I own. I just can’t let go! It’s not only that I can’t let go of the jeans, but its the deeply ingrained emotions of what has historically made me feel sexy and confident in my clothes no matter what size I have been along the way. How are high waisted, loose, saggy bummed jeans supposed to highlight my best ASS(ets)? How will they ever fill the emotional gaps in my own body insecurities if I’m left to the deeper devices of actualizing real body confidence in my 40’s at a time things just seem to be going downhill at a rapid pace, Its just all too much all at once. I feel like I’m falling deeper into an existential crisis by the minute.

Damn You Generation Z’ers!

I wish I could reveal that there has been some resolve or at least movement in the right direction in terms of how I will redefine my personal style going forward. My online shopping carts continue to pile up with items that seem like they exist for a purpose that belonged to another time in my life that I longingly hang onto. Or perhaps exist as reminders of a life I still see for myself in the future, you know, for when I get that mommy makeover I’ve always wanted, or if I lose that weight I’ve been meaning to get rid of for the last 20 years.

Its not like I’m trying to evolve either. But when I attempt at being proactive in tackling this task I feel like the internet world reveals titles like:

  • How to Dress Your Age: Balancing Style with Maturity
  • 20 Wardrobe Updates to Make by Age 30
  • Dressing Your Age-The rules for looking “appropriate”

All of these titles trigger a gag reflex in me whereby I’m left wondering how effective the Suffrage and Women’s Rights Movements really were? More importantly, I want to know where Athleisure Wear falls into all of this as it has become the uniform of the Working From Home tribe. Where would my cropped tie-dye jogger set fall on the appropriate scale as a woman in her 40’s who all in one day -takes her dog for a walk at 6AM, has meetings at 8:30AM, has a window of time to fit in some cardio, another meeting at 11, perhaps another dog walk and poop scoop break, another videoconference, laundry, cleaning, more meetings etc.

Tell Me Susan- What is appropriate, I’d like to know. Oh and I’m 43, because clearly that’s important in determining this.

You may have picked up on a little panic as we get closer to returning back to regular programming that will require pants. I imagine once I have come to embody a better sense of how my personal style will blossom in this new era of shapeless jeans, I’ll be sure to share with you all. Maybe you can guide me in the right direction, throw me a bone or two, or share how you’ve evolved over the years and how you settled into how you express your personal style. Share in comments!

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