ANTHM by doni

Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Doni Landy

I looked at the contract in front of me. This was it. The moment I had been waiting for and, finally, it was here. I had read the documents over and over again during the previous weeks, making sure I dotted every “i” and crossed every “t.” I researched. I weighed my options. I considered the pros and, of course, the cons. And, after a few sleepless nights, I made a decision: I would buy Elle Squared.

I scanned the crisp white paper in front of me one more time for good measure and picked up my pen. With a deliberateness I never knew before but always existed inside me, I watched my signature sprawl out before me in black ink, my hand pushing my fear to the side as I looked on with excitement.

The next day, I placed my first order for fall. Earlier that morning, I scanned my closet, looking for the perfect ensemble. I ran my hands through the shirts that hung in front of me and decided on a piece from Love Sam. Moving my eyes to the stack of jeans folded neatly on a shelf, a pair of distressed Joe’s jeans instantly demanded my attention, as if personally calling my name and letting me know, “Hey, I’m here for you.”

They were.

Only hours ago, all I had was a vision. Now suddenly, I had become a visionary. But, even at that moment, I was still humble enough to know that as much as clothes shape a woman, a woman shapes her clothes. What a woman wears affects much more than how the world sees her. What she wears affects how she sees herself.

When I signed the contract to purchase Elle Squared, I was home, at my dining table, dressed in sweatpants and a tee. I was comfortable, not only because I was wearing what I was but also because I was in the comfort of my home where I feel protected.

Dressing as the owner of Elle Squared and preparing for the first of many buying trips to New York City’s designer showrooms, I knew that the outfit I picked that morning would be as much a reflection of the clothing as it was of me. The pieces I chose needed to do double duty – they needed to show my individual sense of style to the world but more than that, needed to reflect how I was feeling inside. And, no matter how put together I was, if I didn’t feel confident first, no piece of clothing could convey that for me. As my grandma always said, “Wear your clothes. Don’t let your clothes wear you.”

We have all been in situations where we just had that “on” day, where we looked together, even if the dress we were wearing was old, or the sweater we were wearing was pilled. And then those days when we wore that designer dress and heels but couldn’t quite pull it off. Though we would like to blame the clothing, deep down we knew we couldn’t fully place the blame there.

Fear lives in everyone, including me. What defines us, what sets us apart, is our ability to overcome fear and push forward in spite of it. Doing so may require a lot of forethought or it may mean jumping in with our eyes closed, taking a chance. It may mean faking it until we make it – wearing a dress, a pair of pants, and a bag to show the world and ourselves how we want to feel and who we aspire to be. The best part is the world doesn’t have to know that we are not quite there yet. We must only believe that we will get there.

I slipped on a pair of booties, grabbed my Larettamia bag, put a spray of Lavish in my hair, and gave myself a last look in the mirror. I smiled, knowing I wore it well.

“I can do this,” I thought. “I am doing this.” And I headed to the city, leaving my fears behind me.

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25


Doni Feinberg Landy, Esq. is a mom, entrepreneur, store owner, lawyer, blogger, talent manager/agent, bag lady, and jewelry junkie.