The Effort of Looking Effortless

June 3, 2017


I am in a fashion funk.


My clothing board on Pinterest is titled “My Many Styles” for good reason— I have never quite been able to pin down (no pun intended) what matches my personality, how I want to look to the world, and what I look best in. I’m attracted to leather jackets and ripped mom jeans, but I’m also a sucker for a preppy pinstripe top— does that paint the picture?


July marks a year since I had my breast reduction surgery and with that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my expectations were in terms of fashion when I got on the operating table. Of course, clothing was not the deciding factor for having the surgery, but it was a perk I intended to take full advantage of.


Some expectations were way more realistic than others. For starters: I’d never wear underwire again, my breasts would look perky in any bralette, shopping sprees would be easy, and any neckline would flatter me.


One of those is correct: underwire is not in my near or distant future.


I thought that surgery would allow me to wear effortless-looking pieces— the Brandy Melville style, if you will. What I learned instead is that, for me, it takes a lot of effort to look effortless.


I recently talked to my mom about my surgery expectations and told her that getting a breast reduction was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, but my chest still hinders my fashion sense. When I step into a fitting room, I expect to look great in crop tops or spaghetti straps, and I do some of the time. But just because one part of my body changed, it doesn't mean I am going to have ultimate body confidence.


My weight has fluctuated over the last few years, but the way low rise jeans fit on my hips or how plunging necklines outline my chest has not changed despite what I have weighed. I have a smaller chest from surgery, but that effortless crop top from Brandy Melville is doing nothing for my stomach and that spaghetti strap top is highlighting my commitment to the dumbbells collecting dust under my bed.


Relearning how to choose pieces that flatter my body and show off the chest I never felt comfortable exposing pre-surgery has been a challenge, but I’m committed to purchasing clothing that looks and feels effortlessly stylish. Athleisure and loungewear is popular because it gives you that mixture of put-together and "I woke up like this," but I find that I wake up and then take two hours to get ready just to end up looking like I woke up like this. 


Feeling tired of changing my shirt four times in the morning, I started to figuratively give my closet a makeover by creating a new Pinterest board plainly titled “Wardrobe.” The simplistic title reflects how I want my closet to look and I've been very selective about what I pin to the board because even though I have no intentions of splurging on these exact items, being choosey keeps my mind focused. Less experimentation, more realistic inspiration.


I decided that what I really want is a capsule wardrobe: simple pieces that are easy to customize and can be swapped out for one another to create a different look. To me, clothing with simple cuts and a neutral color palette that you can dress up or down screams effortless style. Knowing this, I'm attempting to tackle my closet in its current state and trying not to scrap everything. I don't have the money or heart to leave all my hangers empty, but it's tempting. This is what the fashion funk has brought me to.


So, how do you create a cohesive wardrobe out of impulse buys, old favorites that you're attached to, and new items that actually represent you?


I'll leave you to ponder this and if you already know the answer, let me in on it, please.



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