Confession time. I cannot dress myself like the grown up that I play on the internet. There are days that I still look like high school Adrienne going to work at the GAP. It’s not good. I also hate shopping for clothes. Hate. My level of loathing for shopping was historically reserved for swimsuits, but as I’ve gotten older, it has spread like dandelions.
My better-dressed friends have spent a lot of time trying to convince me that I should just go into Nordstrom and meet a stylist. They insist that if I had things that felt like me and fit me, I’d feel more confident. In a Hail Mary move yesterday, I signed up to meet a stylist at Nordstrom. I say Hail Mary because I am scheduled to leave for California in 4 days to attend two conferences. We can all agree that my usual jeans, t-shirts, and kicks are not going to come off as professional.
Now, going in to my appointment, I knew I had to have an open mind. For one, this woman had never met me and certainly couldn’t glean my style from one phone conversation. Second, if I could dress myself, I wouldn’t have needed her help in the first place. Even so, I was not prepared for what waited for me in that dressing room. When did I become the age of a woman who wears these things?
What does any of this have to do with decorating? I’m getting there. I spent nearly two hours with my new best friend the Nordstrom stylist. In that two hours, I tried on things I would never have looked at twice, things I couldn’t imagine putting on my body, things that I did not buy but as my new BFF said, I had to admit looked damn good. I can’t remember the last time I looked in the mirror and thought I looked damn good.
And I laughed. A lot. Because just like decorating, fashion does not need to be so serious.
As I was checking out, BFF and I started talking about Garanimals. Those of you of a certain age will remember the label matching system from when we were kids. I have no idea if the new Garanimals match the same way – my kids have Target – but you get my point. I’ve often postured that what I really need is Garanimals for adults. My BFF shot back that if I wanted adult Garanimals, I could just shop at Talbots. Fighting words, people. Again, with the age thing. When did I become the age to shop at Talbots?
I conceded the point because I knew she was right and I feel the exact same way about bedroom sets from Pottery Barn. Mind you, I have nothing against the Barn. They have some great pieces. I just can’t get behind how everything matches and at the same time fades away. My BFF asked my opinion on Bed-in-a-Bag. Without hesitation, absolutely not. She was surprised. Really? Really. Unless you are headed off to college for the first time, there is never a reason for Bed-in-a-Bag. Actually, even then, it hurts my sensibilities. I mean, college students are off to explore what they are all about as individuals separate from their families. Isn’t part of that expressing personal style? But I digress.
The point is, my BFF, who had just spent two hours getting me out of my own (closet-impaired) way has always had a Bed-in-a-Bag. And even more importantly, she didn’t see what was wrong with said Bed-in-a-Bag. So I asked her a very important question, because when you are BFFs, you have to be honest. You do it with love, but you must always be honest. Would you walk into Ross or wherever and buy your husband one of those matching shirt and tie combos? No. No, you absolutely would not. So why would you do that to your bedroom?
Lightbulb. And now you understand that I really was getting to decorating. The bedroom needs to be dressed like a human. If you are working the monochromatic outfit, you need something with structure and something with texture and something that has movement. Ditto the bed. Neutral can be beautiful with the right textural differences. You wouldn’t match camo jeans with a camo top, right? Fine, you might not wear camo pants at all, but maybe you should (BFF sold me these and I am shocked that I love them). The point is, you wouldn’t go all matchy-match with your printed pants. So why is that ok in your bedroom? This is your sanctuary. Layer things, mix patterns, go with the best sheets you can within your budget. You are an adult and you don’t need the bedroom of a teenager.
So the moral of the story is that BFF and I both learned some things yesterday. I learned that it is time to dress my age and that does not mean I need to haul out the St. John. I can still be me in clothes that aren’t from my teen years. I also learned that I really did need someone’s help to get there. BFF learned that Bed-in-a-Bag equals Talbots equals no style. She also learned that her bedroom is ready to look like a grown up bedroom and that her bedroom can express her style just like her clothes do.
Have you ever wanted help with a room in your house but then you watched HGTV and thought you should totally be able to do it yourself? I’m here to say there is no shame in hiring someone to help you out. You are an adult. You can ask for help. You know what you like and are grown-up enough to admit that maybe you need help getting there. Just like with my closet crisis, be open, be curious, be outgoing. Make the call. You will feel so much more confident in your home when you do.