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Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.

Writer. Editor. Storyteller. Teacher. Roller Derby Girl.

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jennifer{at}thewordcellar{dot}com
724-787-1288

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Tuesday
Apr052011

The Textures of a Self

(pants & skirt from Texture Clothing; Just Be True tee from Jen Lee; necklaces from Kelly Barton Art and Liz Lamoreux; flowers from supermarket.)

~~Scroll down for a 20% discount code from Texture for The Word Cellar readers.~~

Five years ago, nothing fit me.

My day job had me jamming my staunchly square peg into a rigidly round hole every weekday and crying about it every weeknight. My marriage was going through some serious growing pains and was becoming itchy and uncomfortable. I was almost completely disconnected from my creative self, which left me feeling twitchy and restless. Even religious beliefs that I'd held for half my life started to prickle and sting.

And then there were my clothes. It's not that they were too small or too big, but most of them just didn't fit who I was and who I was unconsciously trying to become.

Eventually I quit my job and stopped having nightly anxiety attacks. My husband and I "did the work," as the saying goes, and grew closer together instead of apart. I started writing again and playing with paint for the first time in my life, reconnecting to and rediscovering my creative self, which went a long way in helping me to breathe easier. I reluctantly let go of ways of understanding the universe that no longer made sense to me, and the universe, in turn, opened up with love.

And then you know what happened? My clothes really didn't fit.

For most of my life I've struggled to make what I look like on the outside match who I am on the inside. Part of the problem has been an overabundance of potential personalities. In high school I secretly longed to be a goth chick, but band geek was more my style. In college I wore plenty of 1990s-requisite flannel and jeans, and that worked fine for a time. But I'd never found a style that felt true to me.

Two and a half years ago I went to Squam Art Workshops for the first time. And I discovered something priceless. I discovered that I could wear a dress over jeans! And put my hair up in pigtails! And wear more than one necklace at the same time! I know this sounds obvious and simple and silly, but it was a REVELATION to me. Here were all of these amazing and artsy women rockin' their funky-quirky looks. Even better, they could tell me where I could find these cool threads online. (I wrote a little about that experience here and mentioned it again here.) All those women in dresses and "piggies" and necklaces (oh my!) were like signposts to me, pointing the way to my own authentic style.

So for the past two and a half years I've been rebuilding my wardrobe. One of my latest acquisitions is also one of my favorites. Have you heard of Texture Clothing? Sweet goodness, I can't stop wearing their pants and skirts.

My pal Liz had been raving about their comfy skirts for months. (That's actually the name of the skirt: the Comfy Skirt. And it lives up to it. Truth in advertising, baby.) When Liz and I went to Seattle's Urban Craft Uprising last December, I walked away from the Texture booth with two Comfy Skirts (one in "berry stain" and another in "robin" blue), plus a pair of Posh Pants in "indigo."

And do you know what I do with them? Sometimes I wear a skirt over a pair of those gloriously wide-legged pants! Again, it's a revelation.


Look, I know that true beauty is on the inside. And I'm not being sarcastic here. I do know that. But as an artistically-inclined person, I care about aesthetics. And as a woman with curves, I care about comfort. (And as a short-torsoed woman with curves, I care about pants that fit my waist but don't give me the much hated droopy-butt or saggy-crotch syndrome.)

Finding clothes that make me more comfortable in my own skin and align my "look" with my internal self has been one of the best gifts of my ongoing artistic revolution/revelation.

Fashion Arts Goddess Teresa Remple owns Texture, which is nestled in Bellingham, Washington. But lucky for me and for all of you who don't live there, she has a website where you can stock up on everyting Posh and Comfy.

And even luckier for you, Teresa is offering The Word Cellar readers 20% off anything in the Texture shop until May 6. Just use the code word20 when you check-out. (whee!)

(There are also dresses, scarves, and tee-shirts. Oh, and handwarmers, which I've just ordered in indigo/wedgewood....plus maybe another skirt and pair of pants because I really am wearing them every day of the week.)

The pants are as versatile as the website claims they are. I wear mine around the house, on dinner dates with my husband, around town, to do yoga in my living room, and even to client meetings in the city. They dress up and down beautifully (with or without an overlaying skirt). The Texture fabric is yummy-soft, earth-friendly (hemp, organic cotton, and lycra), and holds up great even with obsessive wearing. These pants and skirts cost more than I'd been used to paying for bottoms, but they are worth every penny. Texture has convinced me that paying a bit more for quality and style is the way to go. (And with the sweet 20% off coupon, they're a good deal.)

No piece of clothing will ever define me from the outside in, but it's really nice to feel defined from the inside out and have that image carry all the way down to the hems of my skirts and the cuffs of my pants.

Reader Comments (7)

BRILLIANT!!!!

Yay for you!!!!

LOVE your honesty in this post! And am SO glad you're found clothes that work for YOU!

xoxoxo
April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
i've been checking/lusting for these clothes for awhile...what a sweet discount and for a good amount of time too. :)
April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkristen
Jenna! I have to tell you about the awesome timing of this post! I woke up this morning and was getting dressed for work in my usual jeans. And I thought to myself, "Man, I wish I could find some pants as comfy as my lounge-about sweats that I actually feel comfortable and not frumpy in so I could wear them out of the house and/or to work." Well, something along those lines; my brain was still in its just-waking-up fog.

But then I got online and read this post and WOW! You've answered my brain! I can't wait to look into these clothes further! Thank you so much!
April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh
I love how peaceful you look in this photo - so comfortable in these clothes that just fit you, but also so at home in your own skin. (I have a Just Be True tee too - and I love it.)

Your last few lines sum it up - our clothing doesn't define us, but it sure feels great when we find the clothes that fit us. Lovely.
April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
funny thing about this? i'm on the verge of a style redefinition too, headed in similar paths you've taken. for most of the same reasons. and like leigh, i'm in the market for comfy pants that aren't made for working out. it's never made any sense that i lounge around in workout pants, since those pants have never seen a step of exercise. it's time i found something that actually reflects who i am, too.
April 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjamye
i think you look absolutely adorable in this outfit
and i'm jealous...
:O)

and inspired.
April 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergkgirl
love the authenticity, love the fact you are offering writing classes on-line.
would love to find out how you started doing this. I offer creative journaling from my home, but want to branch out to virtual classes.
very cool site
jenn sometimes known as Jenna but only in Italy
April 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjenn

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