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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Love Affair with spandex.

I’m a clothes girl. Apparently I always have been. According to my mother, by the age of three I insisted on dressing myself in designer outfits that I had personally chosen, and I would only where dresses. In middle school, I remember being the envy of all my friends because I would go to Houston, Texas every summer and shop for my school clothes for the coming school year with my stepmother. I’m from a small Alabama town so designer clothes from Texas were impressive to us small town girls. I remember one particular canary yellow dress, strapless and stretchy that I worshipped. I’m laughing just thinking about it now. I had absolutely no cleavage and my nickname was string-bean.

In high school, I thought what you wore was everything, and I wore the best. I was thrilled when I was on the Homecoming ballot for best dressed, and oh so put out, when my mother told me loudly and clearly in the middle of a crowded boutique that “No, I couldn’t get that outrageously expensive outfit for Homecoming because I was not a Rockefeller.” I didn’t get it, though. Not yet.

In college I continued my adoration of clothes. I’d buy a new pair of designer jeans but a used textbook. My closets were packed to the rafters well into my late twenties with enough clothes to dress a village, and then one day something happened. I had a child and then another. My body, thanks to luck and gym time, didn’t really change too much, but the way I looked at clothes did.

Before when I would see women in their spandex gym pants in stores, or restaurants, or even dropping their kids off at school, I would shake my head and feel sorry for them. Didn’t they care about their appearance? Didn’t they know how to pick good clothes and take the time to put them on?

I swore I would never where spandex anywhere but inside of a gym. Has anyone told you never say never? I hope you listened to that advice because I learned first hand that when you say “I never this or I never that” you have about a 99.9 % chance of doing exactly what you said you wouldn’t.

Nowadays, I spend my time shuffling my children from school to sports to social engagements. I have to eek out time to write and go to the gym daily. I never wear anything but spandex from 6:30 in the morning to usually 8:30 at night because I’m always dressed in the hopes of getting in a workout. When I do manage to shower before nighttime and change into jeans or shorts, it always makes me laugh to see someone I know and have them comment about why I’m so dressed up.

Somewhere along the way, I traded in my love affair for expensive clothes for a love affair with life and staying healthy. I’m now that woman in stores, restaurant and schools dropping off their kids, and I bet there’s some young immaculately dressed girl shaking her head at poor, little old me. She’ll learn someday that clothes do not make the woman, the woman makes the clothes!

I still love nice clothes, but I rarely buy them because I simply don’t have much spare time. However, I have discovered a great little workout line called Lululemon. If I’m going to be wearing spandex around day and night, I might as well where the best!

I also realized I’m setting a great example for my kids. They know mommy puts her health first because I work out. I hope someday they do the same.

I’m not the only one that puts health first. I have a good friend who is an amazing runner, and she and some other girls found themselves in sweaty t-shirts all the time because, though they may have time for a ten mile run, they may not always be able to get an immediate shower afterwards. They started a company called The Sweaty Moms Running Club. You can read their amazing story at sweatythenewhot.com. Their t-shirts sport the line What Have You Done Today? Their idea is to find your own personal Everest and challenge yourself.

So now you have my story of how I went from Calvin Klein to spandex and am happier for it. What are you doing in your life that you swore you never would?

Have a great day!

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem

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  1. Julie, I love that you're proudly wearing your Spandex! That's a great way to look at life. :) I've never, until recently, bothered to spend much money on clothes. Growing up, more often than not the only clothes I had were hand-me-downs, so I got very used to not having the best. Lately, though, I've decided that I do care how I present myself to the world (at least some of the time), so I've bought some things I never would have dreamed of buying before. I'll still be in sweats and a t-shirt when I run errands more often than not, but I've got some very nice outfits and dresses to wear for important occasions. It feels good. So I guess, in a way, we're on opposite paths there. I swore I'd never spend $100 on a single piece of clothing...but now, I've spent more than that.

  2. Good for you, Catherine! Don't me wrong, I still very much enjoy dressing up for special occasions, I just don't fret about dressing fantabulously every single day anymore.

  3. I grew up near a military base and swore up and down that I would never married a military guy. I just didn't want to be uprooted every couple of years. Well, I didn't follow my plan, because I fell in love with a guy in the service and ended up married to him. Now I accept the change when it comes.

  4. Hi Julie, I love that you've embraced healthy change! I love that they now put spandex in jeans. It makes me feel so tiny, even when I'm not! LOL

  5. Melody,
    I grew up near a military base as well, Fort Rucker Alabama. I, too, swore I would never marry military because of all the moving around. Instead, I married a lawyer and the first thing he did was move us! Just goes to show you never know!

  6. Lily,
    I love the spandex in jeans as well. My favorite jeans are Citizens. They have just enough stretch to accommodate an active person.

  7. I swore I would never drive a minivan, but after I had kids, I embraced being a mom and bought one. Ugh! Well, my kids are bigger now, and I still love being a mom, but I want to be a mom that drives a nice car with a sunroof. And I do! :)

    I think I also swore I would never eat sushi, and I love it!

  8. For the most part, I enjoy my comfort wear which included my sweatpants and a loose t-shirt. I do enjoy dressing up for special occasions. I think it's more fun because I don't do it everyday. I figure if I'm comfortable and clean it'll put me at ease. When it comes to exercising routinely I like to do the things I enjoy so it's not so much of a chore.


  9. Samantha,
    Ditto on the mini-van. I drive an SUV, complete with sunroof. And I love Sushi.

  10. I too find dressing up more special now. When I do dress up, I tend to get really excited about it.

  11. Hi Julie,

    Living in comfy or workout clothes is one of the best perks of being a writer! But then, so is having the occasional excuse to wear something snazzy--or even sparkly. The best of both worlds!

  12. Deb, you're so right! I love that I can sit at my computer in my spandex and be so comfy!

  13. I've always been a jeans and tee-shirt kind of girl for the most part, although I did get fairly dressed up as teen (but I still wore jeans.) I've rarely ever worn a dress and likely won't. At least, not by choice lol. I love spandex or blue jeans. If you find me in something other than that please don't fall over dead LOL.It's a very rare occasion but it does happen. I wish I could say getting married and having kids did it to me but that's just not the case. I've always been tomboyish lol.My poor mother the epitome of "girly-girl" hated that she had a tomboy for a daughter LOL. She stuck me in ballet, dance, etiquette class and tried to teach me to cook. Let's just say none of it lasted long except for maybe the ballet. It's my secret love affair but we'll keep that under wraps. I have a reputation ya know. =D

    And I agree that's the best part about being a writer is being able to sit in spandex all day and not dress up! lol

  14. Suzie,
    I can see you pirouetting across the dance floor right now!

  15. Hi Julie, love your spandex story:). Hmmm, the thing in my life that I swear I would never do is eat vegetables. When I was a kid I swore that I would never ever eat vegetables, but now since I am a grown up well I guess it's the time I have to endure vegetables and yes they are not that bad actually, aretha_zhen@yahoo.com

  16. I never went out without my makeup. I've now found myself doing that on a regular basis.