Do We Care Less About Our Clothes When We’re In Long-Term Relationships?

Photos by Eloise Sim

I was going through my camera roll last night to dig up a photo of me holding a tray of oysters, and as I scrolled back, I started to notice a pretty clear change in my outfits.

My clothes used to be almost always colourful; I loved clashing patterns and mixing block colours. I bought my clothes from op shops so they had an element of ‘retro’ to them, and I wore bright lipsticks and big earrings to accessorise. People always used to say “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you wear the same thing twice” to me all the time, and I was super proud of it.

Fashion, for me, was like a game. I’d wake up every day, assess my mood, the type of people I’d be seeing and the environments I’d be in, and dress accordingly. I liked to stand out, to turn heads, for people to look at me and think, “you’d never think those things would go so well together, but they do”.

It’s important to note that my lifestyle, even two years ago, was very different to what it is now. Back then, I was studying full-time, working in a fancy cocktail bar and I was single. The bar I worked at required me to get dressed up, which was pretty good inspiration to wear elaborate outfits on the daily.

Also, there’s no denying that being single leaves you open for a meet-cute to happen at any moment, so you always want to look your best. I don’t think I was ever dressing for other people, but the excitement of not knowing what would happen that day or who I’d meet definitely inspired me to dress up more. Constant first impressions make you want to always look flawless.

The way I dress now is different and I think it’s for many reasons, but it kinda gave me a rude shock when I realised the progression last night.

Right now, I’m finding myself wearing lots of comfortable clothes that don’t have a huge amount of personality. Through modelling, I’ve been given some really beautiful quality pieces, made out of Marino wool and pure cotton, and although they’re classically beautiful, they’re not very ‘out there’.

I started thinking about why I’m wearing comfy clothes more often than vintage clothes at the moment. Has my style changed as I’ve gotten older, or am I becoming lazy now that I’m not trying to impress anyone?

Being in lockdown has definitely made a difference. Working from home doesn’t exactly inspire a super fancy outfit, and I think that the monotonous nature of lockdowns and restrictions has zapped a bit of my creativity.

I’m someone that finds a lot of inspiration in spontaneity. When things become predictable, I start feeling uninspired and unmotivated to get inspired. Usually, I can push past this feeling and force myself to put on some lippy at the very least, because it always makes me feel better. But as I look at my wardrobe now, I have all of these amazing colourful clothes that I haven’t worn since COVID-19 hit early last year.

I showed my boyfriend an old picture of me wearing a fabulous outfit. “That’s the girl I fell in love with.” He said. “I loved when you dressed like that.”

Although he meant it as a compliment to my impeccable style, I honestly felt like crying. What’s happened to my creative sense of style? It’s really easy to be hard on yourself, and compare versions of yourself to who you are now. “I used to be so fearless back then” or “look how much skinnier I was” or “maybe I look better with a fringe” are all things I’ve said to myself before when remembering past versions of myself.

But I think it’s really important to acknowledge that where you are right now is still a version of you and it deserves to be appreciated. And when I think about it, I’m much happier than I was back when I was wearing fabulous vintage outfits every day. I think that those outfits were partly a facade, that made me look bold and fearless when I was actually feeling insecure and lost.

I don’t feel the need for constant validation anymore, especially not when it comes to how I look on the surface. As I get older, my lifestyle continues to change and I learn more about myself, the world and the life that I want to live. And that feels really good.

I am no longer looking for outside sources to make me feel good, like parties, boys, booze and outfits. I’m super comfortable with who I am and where my life is at; I don’t feel like I’m in a constant state of searching anymore.

That being said, a fabulous vintage outfit is never a bad idea.

Looking back has made me realise how much I love and miss my colourful, op-shop style and that perhaps I’ve become a little lost in mainstream designs and comfort. It feels like a response to where the world is at right now and that’s okay. That colourful side of myself is still there, and she still wants to express herself. Maybe I can find a happy medium between the two.

In any case, look out for the gal with the big hoop earrings, shoulder-padded shirt and pair of flare jeans. She’s back.

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