It is not that I made a conscious decision to stop buying girly clothes, it just kind of happened gradually over time. The shift in clothes choice related to a dark period of my life when I put on shit loads of weight. It was a confidence thing, clearly. I was also in denial and wore elasticated waist lines so that I didn't have to admit that I was fat...and getting fatter.
I've lost all that weight now but I didn't go back to particularly feminine clothes. It came to a point a few weeks ago that I had to dig through old (ancient) photographs of me looking very feminine just to prove it to people. Short skirts, very long hair, long nails (kept shortish now for practical reasons), delicate shoes. Now I like to wear my DMs and smart trousers to work, or jeans at any other possible time that I can. It is because it is practical; comfortable. It certainly was for when I worked in IT.
But I am not in IT any more. This should have been in an update a while ago, but I am now a Personal Assistant. Back to administration, which I had promised myself I would never return to (it is actually a good job, but that's another story). I don't always need to wear such practical clothes, as I'm not going into server rooms or crawling under desks. I felt that it was time for a change. So I did it...I bought a dress.
I was always told that you should look in the mirror at yourself and find the one thing you like about yourself and say 'I love my *' (*fill in with eyes/smile/wrists/or other relevant body part). It isn't an ego thing, it is purely to say to yourself that there's something good you like (much more positive than look at sagging stomachs with self-loathing - I know, I've done that too). For me: my legs. I love my legs. All the hard work from doing three martial arts has paid off with perfectly toned legs. OK, so there are bits of my body I don't like at all, but if I look at my legs: I am good.
When I was overweight I was at my least confident and could barely speak to a shop assistant. It took me 6 months to get hair cuts, and I wore crappy clothes because I was afraid to go shopping. The guys at university even had a nickname for me: mute girl. It wasn't nice, but it was accurate. Over time, I grew as a person, but I was still lacking confidence and staying in terrible relationships because I didn't know that there could be better for me out there..
One day, when the shit hit the fan (I very suddenly became single), I decided that I didn't want that for myself any more; I wanted to be a part of the world. So I changed. I worked damn hard at change. Now I am a healthy size, I go to three different martial arts lessons, I am a PA that has to speak to a lot of different people, and I wear dresses.
This dress isn't just a dress to me, it is a reflection of how far I have come.
Everyone did a double take when they saw me today. Everyone. If an earlier version of myself could see me now, I doubt she would recognise me either.