What I'm not buying for BlogHer

And there will be about 4500 fabulous people there who aren’t speaking.

There are even tons of private parties that I don’t know anything about.

The whole thing is kind of a big deal.

And for the last few weeks, it’s been blowing up in my twitter feed.  There are constantly new announcements, new excitements.  I get emails about it every day.  I’m connecting with my fellow panelists and hashtagging all over the place. 

And, believe it or not, a big part of what I’m seeing and reading and hearing is what to wear at the conference (seriously, if you follow that link it will take you to pages and pages of posts about what to wear at BlogHer).

For a few days, I lost my mind about it.

I was constantly designing outfits in my head –

sophisticated sequin top, black skinny slacks, red flats  

boat-neck striped top, a-line skirt, low, colorful wedges

chambray shirt dress, sparkly belt, hot pink flats

dark wash trouser jeans, lacy tank, giant flower pin, low wedges

I could go on.

The problem is I don’t own any of these clothes.

I was designing all these outfits in my head that I thought would present some image of me as sophisticated yet fun, stylish and quirky, the type of person you’d want to come over and say hello to.

And with the constant tweeting about new shoes and last minute runs to the mall or TJ Maxx or wherever to buy little black dresses or sequin tops or the perfect pair of flats, I started to think that it was totally reasonable for me to buy a whole new wardrobe for the weekend.  Everyone else was presenting their most fashionable selves – I should be too!

I was planning a shopping trip. Shoes were on the list. And new pants. And maybe a dress.

And then I got an opportunity to change my travel plans a bit, to be closer to the conference, to be, in fact, at the conference hotel. I took it, which meant that I’d be paying a lot more for this conference than I had anticipated.

But I would be paying more so that I could be more in the action, so that I could be more a part of things, and enjoy my time there more.

As I got my bag together to head out to the mall, I thought about my bank account.  About the big check that would be coming out of it to pay for half a hotel room bill. 

I sat back down.

More money for more fun?

Or more money for more fashion?

It seemed clear what the choice was.  I was dishing out the big bucks to have more fun.

And that meant I couldn’t dish out the big bucks to be more fashionable.

As I’ve thought about it,  I’ve realized what a gift this turned out to be.  It forced me to look at what I was doing – trying to control a situation that was causing me anxiety.  I’m nervous about BlogHer.  I’m nervous about who I’ll talk to and what it will feel like to stand in a room filled with people I don’t know and rustle up the courage to walk over to someone and say hi.  I’m nervous about my panel and whether I’ll sound interesting or silly, whether I’ll make good points or ramble.

So I was going to go spend a bunch of money on clothes that I hoped would make me feel special, like some more impressive version of me.  There’s something to that – it’s not like I’d be the first person to buy new clothes for an upcoming event.  We do feel better when we’re wearing things that make us look great. 

But it’s also not like my closet is filled with torn jeans and 80s hair band t-shirts (not that there would be anything wrong with that).  I have a perfectly fine closet, with clothes that look like me, just how I am.

I’m not a fashionista.  I don’t have 80 pairs of shoes.  I wear one really comfortable pair of black flats almost every day.  I don’t own a sequin top because I rarely have anywhere to wear it. 

And the truth is, no matter what I’m wearing at BlogHer, I’m going to be me – fun and excited, but also shy and a little goofy and probably somewhat scraggly.  Clothes won’t change that.  

Yesterday evening, I went shopping in my closet.  I pulled out the things I love.  I tried stuff on.  I thought about what would feel comfortable on a long day and what pieces make me smile because I remember buying them or I just love the print, or because they’re dresses with pockets (which are, hands down, the most fabulous things ever).  I set out my black flats and my sensible sandals.

Maybe I’ll be sorry this weekend that I don’t have a sequin top or a pair of red flats, but I’m guessing that I’ll be having so much fun that I won’t even notice.  Either way, it turns out not buying anything new is kind of liberating – I can’t present myself as anyone but me.