Is what I wear who I am?

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Feb 25, 2011
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We played the game of “Life” the other day. At times, I get distracted during these board games and, even though it’s usually just the three of us playing–my husband, my son Ethan and me–I lose track of who’s turn it is.

It’s your turn, Mrs. Wear-A-Sweatshirt-Every-Day.

Ethan didn’t say it in a snarky way. Just matter-of-fact. I had no retort, other than, “I don’t wear the same sweatshirt every day” and “I don’t always wear a sweatshirt!” (Do I?) I think I also told him I could wear sweatshirts because it wasn’t like I was going anywhere. That was important to qualify since I’m always harping on him to mix up his school wardrobe. “Didn’t you just wear that?” I’ll ask in frustration. “Are you sure that’s clean?” He has plenty to choose from, since he’s receives hardly worn hand-me-downs from a friend who is a head taller than he. And, P.S., he has lots of sweatshirts and does not like to wear them. Hmmmm. Wonder why?

Why should I worry about my appearance? I work from home.

Photo: | raseniks

My son may put quotation marks around the word “work.” At the age of not-quite-ten, he doesn’t equate working from home as working. It doesn’t help that I don’t make any money–thank you, economy–since my business has been in the red since day one and writing doesn’t really pay unless you’re J.K. Rowling. When convenient, both my husband and son tell me all I ever do is work!

Back to the sweatshirts. I like sweatshirts. They’re simple. And, overall, I’m a jeans kind of gal, which fits my environmental advocate persona. I’m not saying my sweatshirts are all eco-friendly–I’ve collected them from hither and yon over the years. One always needs a sweatshirt, right? I’m careful to choose cute, non-bulky sweatshirts. I do have a fave super cozy sweatshirt from 1984 that used to be my husband’s track sweatshirt. Yes. I claim it as my own.

I let my husband borrow my fave sweatshirt on this day.

If I’m “just” working from home, why waste my better clothes (i.e., cute long sleeve t-shirt) on that? Plus, it’s winter, so I need to be able to allow a comfortable fit over my long underwear and, potentially, another layer. I have sweaters, but since my cats like to climb up on me while I work on my laptop, they’ll instead be loaded with cat fur, in need of vacuuming. Maybe it would help if I didn’t drink a freezing cold smoothie every morning.

Earlier this morning, I was in a pair of sweats, my husband’s old gray sweater. Under that? An old long sleeve tee! By old, I mean I have it for over 10 years. My excuse for crummy early morning attire is that, to make an effort, I’d have to turn on some lights. Don’t want to wake the sleeping husband. Did I mention the afghan?

Side note on the afghan. I’m always cold so, invariably, I’m wrapped in an afghan. Even when making my son’s breakfast, on chilly days, I’ve got it draped around my shoulders. The other day I was joking around, calling myself an old lady. “What would you like for breakfast today, sonny?” I asked my son in an shaky old lady voice, hunched over, staggering around the kitchen with my invisible cane. “I’m Mrs. Afghan. From Afghanistan.” He laughed.

I’m now in my running gear. Post run. Writing this.

I had a discussion about my daily attire with my therapist a while back. I wear the old “crappy” clothes because I don’t want to mess up the “good stuff.” And by good, I don’t mean high fashion, trendy, paint-the-town-red outfits. I’m talking about  unworn long sleeve tees and sweaters that aren’t all pilled up. I don’t want to ruin the good stuff because then… it will get worn out! Then I’ll have to buy new stuff. And since my husband has been laid off since December 2008 (and, as I said before, I don’t earn a salary), buying new clothes is not in the cards.

“How come you wear sweatshirts all the time?” Ethan asked.

“Because we can’t afford to buy new clothes,” I said. But I knew that was a weak response. I can choose to wear the less worn items. What’s wrong with feeling better about how I look in the comfort of my own home? Well, I may have an excuse layered on top of another excuse: Except for the rogue consulting gig or days painting houses with my younger brother–my husband is here with me every day. If I look too cute, he may get overly amorous thus distracting me from my work. How would I get anything done?

I do feel better—bubbly even—when I’m more presentable. Gee. Is that a revelation? Until a hole formed in the elbow recently (I only noticed it because I felt a chill on my arm), “presentable” used to mean once-cute-form-fitting-twelve-year-old Ralph Lauren sweater. But I think even that was a stretch for being presentable. The hole gives it character.

Today I vow to shed the title of Mrs. Wear-A-Sweatshirt-Every-Day by not wearing a sweatshirt. Instead, I will put on a sweater that’s not too old. And, in order to be afghan-free, I’ll do mini warm-up breaks from my computer –a set of jumping jacks here, a run of laundry up the stairs there.

(Now I finally understand why my Dad still wears his maple leaf belt buckle that he’s had since the 70’s).


About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at and A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


24 Responses to “Is what I wear who I am?”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynn Hasselberger, Red Fox. Red Fox said: Is what I wear who I am? […]

  2. Thanks for this article Lynn! 🙂

    And, Yogi Tobye, man, I choose comfort over I'd say 99% of everything….and, I love them smelling like laundry. 🙂 I can remember the days when I wore high heels to work EVERYDAY while working in London…of course they were cute and I liked the way they looked, but the day came when I realized that I wasn't truly wearing them for me. Yeah, those were also the days when yoga was starting to become a closer friend in my life. And now, I'm the jeans and t-shirt gal I had always been. 🙂 🙂

  3. yogi tobye says:

    Are you flirting with me Tanya? Lol 😉

  4. Now this is what I want to hear! Thanks, Maureen!! I am currently in non-sweatshirt attire and feeling confined. Lucky for me, my husband doesn't seem to care. He's also a jeans/cargo pants/t-shirt kinda guy. If he was chilly, like I always am, guaranteed he'd put on a sweatshirt 🙂

  5. You didn't have to twist my arm, Tobye. I feel free! Thank you! I am a tee-shirt kinda gal and I just need to stick to that! I is who I is. 😉

  6. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Tanya. And for making me realize I'm off my rocker on this! I'm being influenced by my not even 10 year old son! And where the heck does he get these ideas from?

  7. Elle says:

    Lovely afghans, yoga pants, a soft, stretchy shirt, a nice fire, a cup of tea, a warm furry body next to mine … what could be more divine?

  8. […] Another friend suggested getting dressed, properly, instead of living in sweatshirts. My parents’ Buddhist teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, often said that sweatshirts and […]

  9. jen says:

    When I go out of the house,I pick a cute outfi I brush my hair, toss on a chic scarf, and maybe even put on a 'lil concealer or foundation, but the first thing I do when I get home is throw on some comfy, old sweats. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be comfy and warm in your own home where nobody but your loved ones will see you. Sweatshirts are awesome for shlumping around the house, and there is nothing wrong with them!!!

  10. LasaraAllen says:

    "Most of mine were varying shades of grey, which my husband found depressing. So, I got a bright orange one recently which is very fun to wear. I also have a burgundy one, which I mostly wear out because it's not AS comfy, and it is cute. "

    Most pf my SWEATSHIRTS.

  11. andrea says:

    Sweatshirts ROCK, if you are sweating. They fit right in their with gym shorts, sneakers and sweat pants. SWEAT.
    Old clothes…yuck. Every 3 years it should be mandatory to throw out ALL the clothes in the closet, dresser….and start fresh.

  12. Well said, Elle! Under afghan, drinking tea right now! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! xo

  13. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Especially love your support on shlumping around the house 🙂 xo

  14. Appreciate your comment, Andrea! What do you think about "fashionable" sweatshirts or hoodies? And what about those who can't afford to trash all their clothes to start fresh?

  15. I like when people say what I want to hear. Thanks Jen 🙂

  16. Another vote for being comfy at home. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Lasara!

  17. Thanks for reading and commenting, Andrea. That may be tricky if not impossible for some. If I had to toss my clothes every 3 years I'm not sure I would have any clothes to wear right now. LOL! PS. If you have anything size 0-2/XS, I may be able to take them off your hands.

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