Never Fully Dressed Without your Smile

Hey, hobo man
Hey, Dapper Dan
You’ve both got your style
But Brother,
You’re never fully dressed
Without a smile!

from the Broadway musical Annie


Recently, my wardrobe (or lack thereof) has been a great sense of embarrassment.  I love the clothes I found on Black Friday, but I only wish I could multiply those by fifteen.  😉

My closet is broken down into three segments for my work clothes.  The smallest section for the five outfits that I absolutely love.  The middle section for the six outfits that I really don’t like, but which I can’t throw away because they’re perfectly good clothes.  And then the larger section of seven outfits.  These are sweaters that have shrunk, shredded, or fuzzed a bit too much and of which should really be in the trash.  But I can’t yet throw those away, or else I’ll have only about eleven outfits. Which means, for the rest of winter, I’d wear my entire wardrobe every other week.

And so yesterday, I found myself wearing a fuzzy red sweater that had shrunk and was now a bit too short. So I paired it with a long tank top and kept pulling and tugging, hoping it would stretch.  In all honesty, I felt a bit like a dork and wanted to hide under my winter coat and risk melting. 

I called Nate to vent, sure that all the laughter around me was based on how tacky the curly-haired girl looked.  He assured me that there will be a bit of tax returns with my name on it, and I can use that for clothes.  But that didn’t help me out then….

I hid at my desk as long as possible, and when I did have to run to the restroom, I walked as quickly as possible.  And I tried to avoid looking in the over-sized mirrors as I washed my hands.  “Okay, it’s really not that bad,” I told myself, finally taking a peek.  “It’s not flattering, but at least it’s a nice color. It’s really okay.”

Oh, I this is so humiliating.

I was then joined by an older woman who walked with a cane.  It fell as she washed her hands, so I rushed over to pick it up.

She smiled at me and said, “You know, you are a very pretty girl.”

I think I grimaced a bit.  “Awww, thanks. I don’t really feel it today.  This sweater is a bit old.”

“Oh, I don’t notice your clothes,” she said with a shrug.  “You just have the nicest smile.  It lights up a room.  It’s beautiful.”

I wasn’t sure whether to run up to her and give her a hug or to hang my head in shame.  My entire attitude had been based on how I was looking.  When the people around me (or at least one of them) wanted nothing more than a friendly face who cared.

I learned my lesson.  Sure, I’ll be more than excited to obtain that tax return check so that I can revamp my wardrobe.  And I’ll be honest, today I’m sporting my new Gap pants and blouse.  (And I feel cute!).  But when it’s all said and done, you can be confident with who you are, even if your clothes aren’t top of the line… or if they’re a bit fuzzy.  Because in a world that’s often cold and hard, people are more impressed with — and in need of — your smile.

Are you wearing your smile today?

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15 Responses to Never Fully Dressed Without your Smile

  1. Krista says:

    Oh, I know your woes too well (even if I can get away with more casual attire than you can – where I work you see more people wearing khakis and sweaters than blouses and black dress slacks!). My work wardrobe is sorely in need of some work to make it look much more professional. I’d say that I have about five outfits total that I’m okay with wearing and not all of them are my favorites. I just have such a hard time finding pants that fit these days. :-/ Old Navy has discontinued my favorite pants! *cries*Maybe I should try the Gap…where is there one around here?!

    But…you’re right: it’s our attitude and smile that people notice the most, not our clothes. And if they’re noticing our clothes and not our attitude and smile, well, phooey to them. 😉 I’m going to smile today even if I don’t feel the most put-together as far as clothes.

    Great post, Nicole. 🙂

  2. This is such a great post!! A smile is the most important accessorry, you’re right.

    (p.s. you’re gorgeous!!)

  3. Jeannine Como says:

    I could have been the lady with the cane! The whole time I was reading your blog I was thinking about how everyone needs to dress differently every day, and their closets need to be full of choices! When I was a kid, I was lucky to have one pair of jeans (the only pants I owned) at a time, and 3 or 4 outfits for school. That was the way it was back then, and nobody knew any different! You have a very pretty smile, and a killer personality, and you can wear old clothes very well, as long as you don’t let your discomfort with them show on the outside.

    Keep smiling!

  4. Hayley says:

    It is so easy to forget that clothes and material things are not important, because they are what is tangible and have the power to make us feel “pretty” and more confident. I know that a bad hair day can make me feel unattractive and ruin my day. (Speaking of which, it is raining today, and I’m about to go outside…which means instant frizz). Thanks for the reminder. I will keep in mind today that no matter how frizzy I am, no one else really cares about that stuff. It truly doesn’t matter, and should never be a determining factor of our self confidence.

  5. Meg says:

    What a sweet story, I’m so glad you shared it. I don’t think we realize how much smiling at a stranger can brighten their day! 🙂

  6. love1025 says:

    Hey girly!! I know just how you mean!!! I was terrible with buying clothes but we have put a teensy weesy amount in our budget for it and even a piece of month feels like progress…also accessories will change a look!! scarves, headbands, earrings, fun belts will make it a whole new look and tun 6 outfits into 60 (okay maybe 12 but still great!)

  7. jelillie says:

    A-men! A-men! A-men! says the guy who looks like a round vegetable in just about everything he wears. 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing–I’ve clothes like that in my closet, that I’m sure everyone must be thinking how tacky I look and the truth is, they are probably not even noticing.

  9. Erin says:

    I’m lucky that work is fairly casual so I can wear most of the same clothes for work and personal life. I’ve fallen in love with some of the nice secondhand shops in the area that have like-new Banana Republic and Ann Taylor clothes at a fraction of the price.

  10. What a sweet post and what a nice thing that she said to you. It’s so true… a smile can make all the difference!

  11. I enjoyed this post so much – thank you for sharing! 🙂

    P.S. Is it okay if I link again this weekend?!?

  12. I am right there with you girl. I started working in August full-time, and it was sad because I wore three polo tops to work for 3 weeks. As soon as I got my first paycheck, I quickly headed for Banana Republic, Gap, Ann Taylor and NY&G. Totally worth it. I shopped this black friday too?

    You look good in that outfit by the way.

    Blessing Oshin
    Working Mom Journal

  13. Pingback: Weekend Linkiness ~ 05.12.10 « Hope Scribbles

  14. undividing says:

    Loved this post – there’s nothing like a great smile from someone to brighten your day! And I have to say, that’s one reason I love older ladies – they have such great perspective on what really matters!

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