The Outfit That Fits Today

Isn't she sassy?

Isn’t she sassy?

I’ve always had a beef with New Year’s. Always. There’s that damn depressing song, for starters. It’s so bittersweet. As if you’re supposed to reflect on the could have beens, instead of the thank god there was’s. And then the expectations. Oh, the expectations!

This weekend, I took my $150 Christmas cash and went shopping at one of New Jersey’s many outlet malls. It was snowing, and the drive took longer than the shopping itself.

I didn’t need anything, but of course that wasn’t the point. One of my favorite stores was having a “70% off everything in the store!” sale.

When I finally got to the snow-covered outlet village, I shuffled into the store, knocking my boots on the black mat inside the doorway, trying to avoid the sales clerks’ glares, and the furtive glance of a boyfriend, who was hanging from his girlfriend’s arm while she chatted on her phone.

It wasn’t long before I realized that none of the pants I chose fit. I tried on a red dress two sizes too small and stared in the mirror.

Well, Babs [my mom] was right. Red really is my color. I guess it’s kind of tight, but, it’s still hot. I could wear this. Yeah! …Or maybe…maybe for my birthday in April it’ll fit…

And that’s when I closed my eyes.

Stop! Just… stop.

There’s some insistent force that tells us buying our goal weight outfit will make us feel better, when in fact all it does is make us feel like a pile of crumbled up rice cakes and diet seltzer.

I was 30 years old, and there was a lesson I needed to finally take to heart.

Dress for the body you have today.

I carefully lined up the five pairs of pants, one dress, and three tops that didn’t fit. In another pile, I placed the one top and one dress that did. I took a deep breath and headed for the register. With only two items.

And yet, in 2013, I want to lose 30 pounds, instead of celebrating the thousand (this might be a slight exaggeration) I’ve already lost. In 2013, I want to finish my memoir, instead of fostering the blog that really inspires me. In 2013, I want to tell myself it’s all too hard, instead of recognizing I’ve done some of the scary work already.

So I’ve got this radical idea. Maybe instead of starting all over, we Just. Keep. Going. Sound good?

How do you fare on New Year’s, and with resolutions?

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76 responses to “The Outfit That Fits Today

  1. love just keep going–such wisdom for someone so young

  2. I think it depends entirely on which direction you are already heading . . . Sounds like you have found a good road. Blessings.

  3. I’m too competitive. Seriously, I am the jerk Mom who kind of elbows the toddler so I can win the basketball shoot game at Chuck E. Cheese. I’m the MOST competitive with myself, so I’ve learned it’s not safe to make resolutions. I will spend all year kicking my own butt to make checklists happen and then I forget along the way to enjoy life. I’m firmly in the go-with-the-flow camp now. On the shopping front, I feel your pain. I’ve paid too much attention to the size I want to be instead of how strong or healthy I actually feel. It might seem small, but wearing your “true” size, accepting what you are right this minute is a big, big deal. (Life lessons courtesy of fanatical Oprah viewing. I’m not that smart).

    • Actually, Tori, that’s a great point – Resolutions really do get competitive, and since we’re all already our own worst enemies… It can be a nightmare.

      And you’re absolutely right. Which is why, every time in the past year when I haven’t lost weight -but haven’t gained weight, either- and have said to myself, “I just need to do xyz to lose this last 30 pounds” I’ve had to take a step back. Because that next xyz is the danger zone. The diet zone. The yo-yo zone. For me, it’s better to be 30 lbs overweight with a healthy attitude towards food, than back in that yo-yo zone. I was in THAT zone for 20 years. And where did THAT ever get me?

  4. I was just going to sit down and type out some resolutions, but chose to read you instead.

    Of course, you’re right, and most of what I promise myself won’t happen and I’ll feel crappy about it.

    Unlike you, I’m a little further down the road of life, with many of life’s bigger milestones behind me. I’m not as worried about achieving things in the coming year as I am about achieving them at all.

    Promises are made to be broken, after all.

    • I think that’s always the wise choice, Dave, when one is about to contemplate ways to better oneself: read Go Jules Go instead. Preferably with drink and bacon in hand.

      And in that case, please promise me you’ll always say no to booze and bacon.

  5. As for depressing songs, I traded in “Auld Lang Syne” for “Long December” by the Counting Crows – just as sad, if not sadder, but at least Guy Lombardo isn’t involved.

  6. I guess making resolutions is a good thing, but there is no one I know who actually keeps them, so why go through all the bother to create the list of things not going to get done. Everyone has “lose weight” on their list of resolutions, but after they spend hundreds of dollars on new workout equipment and cute outfits to wear, they start using the equipment to hang their clothes on. If you are happy with yourself – that’s awesome! Keep going forward! I am personally knocking on the door of 50, so my goals are different than others. I don’t have to lose weight, as I am blessed being a size 2. (don’t hate me for that) I just want to be happy and go through life doing the things that make me happy and enjoy life, be creative in my craftiness, enjoy life with my boyfriend, and love hanging out with our dogs who bring so much happiness in our lives. I don’t need a list or resolution to do that! Happy New Year to you Jules!

    • A size 2! Ug! Get lost!

      πŸ˜‰

      I love hearing about how you enjoy the good life – those things are at the tippy top of my list, too. HAPPY New Year, indeed! Thank you so much for all of your support and kind comments.

  7. Haha! I hate resolutions. I made a long list of “Things I Resolve Never to do in 2013.” I’m still adding to it. It’s a list I can really live by, one which will have at least thing checked off every single day. Swear, I’m onto something.

    As for bodies, well, I’m the skinny bitch who has hot clothes in the closet that she never wears because she doesn’t want to get them dirty while on the lawn tractor. So I wear khakis and T-shirts and fip-flops nearly every day of the year. Yes, even when we go out on a date. I’m such a dude. (I do like to freak my friends out a couple times a year and doll-up for no reason. It’s the little things that make me happy.)

    “Losing weight” or “Fitting into that hot dress by April” should NEVER been on a resolution list. Especially not yours. You’re already hot (I’m sure Pepperman will agree).

    Happy New Year, Jules! Just. Keep. Going. And Cheers. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much, Shannon! And I am very intrigued by your list. I actually started a list of goals, by month, back in September, and there are quite a few check marks on that bad boy. There’s really nothing as satisfying as crossing something off a list, is there?

      And here’s to you wow-ing your friends in 2013! πŸ™‚

      • No doubt! I’ll wow them, alright, but it might not be in the way you think. LOL If you saw my other blog, you’d know why. You can say I go against the grain most days. And the roughness of that grain on my side feels gooooood! I’m getting a bit addicted to it. πŸ™‚

  8. You typed what was in my heart. Just. Keep. Going.

    All this “new beginning” crap and what not depresses me every single year. For starters, it’s the middle of the winter and everyone’s too vitamin D deficient to feel motivated to do ANYTHING, let alone muster up any resolve. For seconds, Fall always inspires me so much more than the New Year. For thirds, haven’t you ever seen my best friends (in my head) Clinton Kelly and Stacy London on What Not to Wear? They always have solid advice.

    For lasts, Babs is right. Red is your color. And you’d look hot in ANYTHING, including that sassy number in your photo.

    • Rache, you bloggy soul sistah you. Thank you. Maybe there are just ‘fall’ people? Because that’s exactly the way I feel. And I do the big reflecting on my birthday (end of April), looking at the year before. It’s usually really positive: “Wow, I didn’t realize I did that much!”

      But January. Puh. Worst damn month of the year. It doesn’t help that at my job we got off for MLK Jr Day, then nothing -NOTHING- until one day off for Memorial Day. Then again, I have seeing you to look forward to (that seriously made it into my morning pages/journal this morning, when I was trying to psych myself up for the first day back at work/January)!

      And yes! I love Stacy and Clinton. The whole ‘dress for your size’ thing has taken me THIS LONG to accept.

      • I made it into the top secret Journal of Jules from Go Jules Go??? Let’s plan this hang out soon, so you can write about the awesome time you had with your Bloggy Soul Sistah.

  9. Only resolution: Finish the damn book. Seriously. Get ‘er done.

  10. My first resolution was to wake up and make coffee. Done and done. I like low expectations.

  11. I don’t know if you ever watch the show “What Not to Wear” but they say that exact thing…dress the body you have right now. But still I have a closet and dresser full of things that I am waiting to wear…soon. Sigh.

    I hate resolutions and refuse to make them. Except that I do stop to think – how can I make this a better year? Without the “In 2013 I am going to…” Instead I say something like “I think 2013 needs a little more blogging/wine/friendship/dogwalking/vacations”. That way, whatever comes up that I thought was good idea on January 1 – I can just roll with. Works for me!

    • Yes! That show is fabulous. I really believe in the power of a good outfit – if it fits and you feel good, you feel like you can conquer the world. People go on the show thinking it’s about vanity, but it’s about self-respect.

      I’ve definitely gotten rid of things that then later would have fit again (damn!), but opening your closet and realizing you can wear ANYTHING because it ALL fits (since you got rid of the stuff that doesn’t) is an amazing feeling.

      I love your approach. Happy New Year, Katy! πŸ™‚

  12. That was a hard way to end and start a year, wasn’t it? I can imagine a slightly sick feeling of acceptance (of self as self is, so imperfect in self’s own eyes, or acceptance of self’s situation). I think (and of course hope) that sickly feeling will morph into one that fits you better (unintended linguistic connection, truly). Good luck with resolutions. I don’t think they have to be made very year, and if the same resolution is being made year after year, it’s probably time to find a different resolution. I think it’s difficult enough to remember to write a “13” instead of “12” at the beginning of a year.

    • Even if unintended, I love that “linguistic connection,” Linda! You really captured that feeling so well, too – “slightly sick feeling of acceptance.” I keep thinking of this moment this summer when I complained about a picture of myself on another blog to my best friend. She said, “That’s so funny, when I saw it, I thought, ‘Jules is so pretty.’ We never really see ourselves, do we?” Everytime I shame spiral now, I hear her saying, “We never really see ourselves.” It has really helped shift my perspective.

      And ha! Yes, we should all resolve to just try to remember “13” instead of “12.”

  13. Oh Jules. You are so wise. I have a closet full of “almost fits, but I’ll just buy it because I’m gonna lose a few pounds and this will fit soon, right?” clothes that I have never worn. Doesn’t help that the magic weight number has steadily been going up up up these past few years. Sigh.

    I don’t DO resolutions, just for the reason that they never keep, and I don’t care enough to follow through. Getting healthy is on my list of things to do, but it’s regardless of this new year. It is just time. But not today. Today is my last day to relax and be off before going back to my hateful job. But soon. Soon.

    And you look fab. Especially in that sassy dress, I’m sure!! Love you! πŸ™‚

    • It’s all the life coaching from Zest and Zeal, Misty. Every time I tell them I’m jealous of their cute cheeks and slender stripes, they remind me to accept myself as I am today. because “quite frankly, [I’m] only getting older.”

      But seriously. Is there anything more depressing than that too-tight pair of pants, sitting in the closet, mocking you?

      I totally binge the night before I have to go back to work after a vacation, that’s how anxious I get about the whole thing. Last night it was full-on cheeseburger and onion rings fest. But I’ve tried to accept that that crap happens, too. And starving myself the next day isn’t the answer.

      Love you too, Misty!! Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

  14. Ah keep going, keep dancing! πŸ™‚ Sounds great! Let’s!

  15. This might be different, but never fails my mom always gets me clothes that are too small, for Christmas and Birthday (which is one month after Christmas) This year my brother was with her and my grandma when they were shopping for me and they said they didn’t want to offend me by getting something that may be too big. My brother said (no offense) “You don’t have a daughter!” I thought it was funny. They still got stuff that was too small and when I told her that she said it could be “incentive” to lose weight. I’m sorry, but a teal t-shirt that says “Seattle” isn’t incentive enough for anything. If you’re going to get me clothes, get me stuff I can wear now please. How can a Mormon be pimpin’ if the slacks don’t fit?

    My resolutions include loosing weight, but I’m not going to buy clothes for it. Good Post!! Happy New Year!!

    • Thank you! And the “Seattle” t-shirt comment made me laugh out loud. Getting clothes from relatives is verrrry dangerous. My mother-in-law buys clothes for me, which are always lovely, but back in my dieting days, I always used to hold my breath wondering what size she’d pick. I had so much invested in that number. Now I can simply enjoy the clothes because I’m not killing myself to fit into them!

      Happy New Year!

  16. I’ve never cared for resolutions. I saw people making and breaking them, and just felt that they were a way to set oneself up for failure. When i decide I want to do something, I just set my mind to doing it, from losing weight to being a better person. All things worth doing take some time.

  17. Oh, look! WP is letting me comment (I couldn’t all day yesterday to others’ blogs)!

    I concur! I did this a few years ago when I was at my largest, sickest, most worstestest. I said f it and bought some nice work clothing. My size for the majority of my life is a single digit. I didn’t want to buy double digits, let alone those numbers. I did. And I got healthier. Course I’ve been backwards the last few / several months but that’s okay. I’m not the healthiest bird. It’s hard to focus on not ‘medicating’ my pains and inabilities with food cos it doesn’t end up helping, does it? Course it works 100% at that moment. Boo!

    And YAY for new clothes that fit you! You are amazing RIGHT NOW. If you get larger or smaller, you’re still you. Smaller you isn’t going to be happier or smarter or cooler or funnier. Smaller you will be exactly you in a different size. Rock on as you already do cos you’re brilliant!

    • Lily! I hear you re: “medicating.” I don’t kid myself for a second that I don’t simply trade one vice for another. Food, booze, TV. It always has to be something. BUT, I think the general direction I’ve been moving is forward, and well, I can only say that BECAUSE there are setbacks and I ‘just keep going.’

      Right back at ‘choo, my friend. You are lovely and talented, and I’m so glad to know you!

  18. I have to confess, Jules, that I kind of like resolutions. I like milestones and symbolic dates. I do better when I’m working for something specific, so perhaps that’s why I still make resolutions. They have to be realistic, though. Usually, the details may differ but the spirit of every resolution I make is essentially, “Make something better this year.”

    I think the way I think of resolutions is actually similar to “Just keep going.” I just think of new year’s as a natural time to regroup, assess, evaluate and plan before I keep going πŸ™‚

    The dress is fabulous and you are fabulous whatever year it is! πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful 2013!

    • Happy New Year, Leonore! πŸ™‚ I definitely tend to romanticize resolutions, and think there’s value in the idea that a person can start over – that it’s never too late to change.

      That’s such a good point. I do the same thing, actually – simply resolve to [try to] make each year better than the last (I tend to do that on my birthday, as opposed to New Year’s).

      YOU are most fabulous!

  19. I do not have any New Years Resolutions.

  20. Nice post! I agree, we have to keep going… πŸ˜‰ Happy New Year Jules!

  21. So well said. Just keep going. This is why I don’t make resolutions. Because life is a process that does not begin new each year. Each minute is new and another opportunity to choose. So I choose to just keep going.

  22. I totally agree. I hate New Year’s resolutions. For one, I never keep them, and for another, I don’t know why that one day of the year should be the day we all hate ourselves for feeling like we don’t do enough already.

    • Yes! Why is there such a negative connotation with New Year’s Resolutions? There’s this feeling of failure before you’ve even begun, like, whatever you’re doing already just isn’t good enough.

  23. On December 29 I took 5 giant trash bags to Goodwill, they were full of clothes I might not ever fit again, I might but if I do they won’t be stylish and I will need to replace them anyway. You said a mouthful, dress for what looks wonderful on you now not someday.

    Just keep going, just breath.

  24. Last year I made huge, sweeping resolutions. Hugely ambitious (I think largely fueled by “last chance before the baby is born”). I crashed and burned on most of them, partly via my weaknesses with which I am familiar; largely due to life being what it is. But as you say, I wound up focusing on those instead of the things I did accomplish. A poisonous approach to life.

    But this year will be HUGE.

    • “a poisonous approach to life” so well put – I struggle with this tendency all the time. I tend to focus on my faults to an unhealthy degree, and give lip service to the successes.

      • Peggles, that’s exactly the line I was going to quote! “Poisonous.” Perfect word in this contest. I mean context. I actually did just make that typo. Life is not a contest. A neverending contest against ourselves where we lose over and over again. Nooo.

    • As I reply to this, I’m noticing I lost a subscriber since this morning. Apparently they found my dress TOO sassy. Please help me craft a strongly worded letter to them. They’re threatening to ruin 2013, the greatest year there ever will be, ever.

  25. Clothes shopping after the holidays really is the worst.
    I love your idea that we should just keep trucking along with the good things though. And taking a moment to revel in things we’ve done. Cheers to you and wishing you a great 2013!

  26. Great words to sail into the new year with! let’s all be a little kinder to ourselves. And I love that blue dress.

    • Hear hear, Peggles! Thanks! That photo filter really does make it look blue – it’s actually black, but I was so wishing they had it in blue! I wanted to wear my brown boots with it. So, I’m thinking of bringing brown and black together ‘back’. They had a brief run together a few years ago. It could be time.

  27. Great dress! You made some excellent resolutions. I don’t tend to make them, as I’m not liable to keep them for very long. I do, however, have longer term goals that I’m aiming for. Most revolve around being kinder to my body (make healthier choices) and finances (shop less). Other than that, it’s just to keep trucking along and have fun doing it πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year!

    • Thanks, Amy! I think those are terrific resolutions – being kinder to ourselves/our bodies is probably one of THE HARDEST things to do. We’re so conditioned to be our own worst enemies.

      Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

  28. DUN DUN DUUNN! LOOK!! IT”S MEE!!!

    Anyway. New years was party down time. I ended up going to bed the following day at 6:30am. I believe I am still hungover.

    Resolutions are bs. I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on and constantly strive for change. And maybe not drink so damn much. and blog more and talk to yoouuuU!

  29. Hi Jules! I love that attitude . . . I have the same thing going–moving forward with the same. Trying to stay healthy and keep exercising. Trying to get more work out there.

    Also, I was reading Minneapolis/St.Paul Magazine the other day and I swear there was a whole fun page of different mustache-themed products. I ripped it out for you. (yay!) I just need to figure out where I put it. (boo!) If I find it I will email you for your address!

  30. It’s interesting that your post was about this today because i was thinking of posting about a dress i bought on my honeymoon a year ago hoping to fit into it lol. Now it’s just a sad reminder but i still keep it. I also used to keep my favourite clothes that no longer fit hoping that i would wear them someday. You’re totally right though. Every time i took those clothes out it made me feel horrible so i eventually gave them away. I need to lose 55 pounds to be at a healthy weight again but would love to lose 75. I’ve decided to go easy on myself this year and just try to get healthier and hope i lose weight as a result lol

  31. I’m not good with resolutions, however, this year I’ve decided to read less and do more, to swear more, to quit the bullshit and eat full fat ice cream (that’s the nutshell version of the blog I wrote). I have to say, dressing for the body one has now is a sign of acceptance and ultimately love. It’s so hard because so many external factors tell us we shouldn’t love ourselves as we are but rather what we could be. But that’s bullshit (ahem-the kind I’m quitting). You’re beautiful, witty, intelligent, an amazing writer/blogger/crafter…you don’t have to lose weight, you want to. We all want to (or rather I get it, trust me I do!). But seriously, embrace yourself as you are no matter what, okay? Oh, and I am looking forward to reading your memoir!

  32. Well, you already know how I feel. You are a gorgeous person, through and through, inside/outside. And I know you will KEEP GOING.

  33. I rocked out on New Years and plunged on New Year’s Day! I’m not really focused on resolutions this year, just health, family and my resolutions from last year! Screw the red dress!

  34. Brilliant! Love that advice!

  35. I’ve done that myself, bouyed by the weightloss sucess i’ve had so far, bought clothes do not yet fit, promising myself i’ll fit into them by a certain day when i really should be focusing on what i need to do. Enjoy what you have now and good luck with your weightloss goals

  36. You’re one smart cookie, Jules!

  37. Richard L Wiseman

    Was stopping one of the options? I’m keeping going is fine, but if stopping is one of the options I’m armchair, cocoa and slippers ready!

  38. I haaaaaaate New Year’s, Jules. For the same reasons you state. I love reflecting on the distant past (ahem, obvious), but reflecting on the recent past gives me the icky-blahs. I even get all queasy when I see the gazillion Top 20 Something-somethings of 2012 lists. I hate those damn lists. I don’t want to sit and reflect on the prior year. I want to focus on the now moments. And, okay, the 30 years ago moments.

    I bet you looked smoking hot!

  39. I love it! This is an incredible message πŸ™‚ as for me, I have decided to do full time studies instead of just part time so my bachelor’s degree with be finished even sooner, I want to recycle even more (which we already do recycle I fair bit – but I figured hey, we could probably be throwing out even less because I have one friend in Vancouver who throws out less than a shopping bag full of trash every week, that’s amazing!) and just keeping working away at the fitness, eating right, and weight loss goals too! πŸ™‚

  40. Keep on keepin’ on, sister! The most beautiful people I know are the ones who OWN their bodies, no matter their shape, size, age, etc. Confidence really is the most attractive feature of anybody, and I’m so happy for you that you were able to take the first step towards being KILLER Go Jules Go. Rock 2013 so hard!

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