All this clearing out has had me thinking in some strange ways.
See, I’ve been starting on my closets and drawers. Going through and finally tossing out some of that stuff that I’ve been keeping around just for when I’m painting (eight tee-shirts covered in paint and glue splotches? really, self?), or things that I loved so much that I really intended to fix when they got holes or lost a button…that kind of thing.
And after surveying what is largely just a sea of black, punctuated with the occasional white and/or odd green item here or there, I’m realizing something:
I suck at this whole getting dressed thing.
No, really. I mean it. Suck.
For years now, I’ve had a kind of a self-imposed uniform. It’s there, above. Black jeans (I have five of the same pair), black button-up shirt (or black, v-neck, 3/4 sleeve tee-shirt, also black), and either clunky mary janes (casual) or bootlike heels (dress-up). If I have to be all corporate for something, swap the jeans for a short-ish black skirt and maybe a shawl of some kind (hand-knit, or one of the paisley ones from India). Dress up = add some silver jewelry. At home = remove the pants and hope no neighbors come to call. Or add a long, frumpy skirt.
99% of the time, that’s it.
To be fair, it worked for Steve Jobs. And it makes getting dressed easy. And doing laundry easy. (No pesky sorting.) And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that being Quaker didn’t have something to do with it. That whole simplicity/modesty thing. (This, from the girl who routinely admits to being pantsless on purpose.)
Thing is, though, there’s actually another reason for my decided lack of variation.
I have no idea how to do anything different.
I’ve tried. And I always kind of look like perhaps a blind, crazy bag lady picked my outfit for the day. People hand me change. This is just not a skill I possess. At least with the “uniform” I look reasonably presentable.
Recently, I had dinner with a high school friend and his wife.
(Well, actually, it’s been almost a year ago. Time flies as you get older.)
At one point, I mentioned how different he looked, but his smile was still the same. He said, you look exactly the same…you even dress the same.
And since I’m not, in fact, anywhere near being in high school anymore (the fact of which my knees are happy to remind me after an hour at the gym), I’m thinking this may, finally, need my attention. I almost hate admitting it, since girls are, traditionally, supposed to be good at this stuff, and I’m full of resounding Fail.
Problem is: I have no idea where to start.
So I’m calling on you folks for help. I figure you’re all probably better at this than I am.
(Actually, I know you’re all better at this than I am. You’d have to be.)
What resources would you recommend to start building an actual, workable wardrobe that doesn’t make me look like a frumpy gothchick throwback?
I’ve got several challenges:
- I’m shaped funny. I have tiny little legs and bewbs of doom, so those cute little things with fitted waists don’t ever work for me. Of course, that’s the style I’m drawn to, despite the fact that that style makes me look like a sausage in a too-tight casing.
- I’m on a severe budget. This means no hundred-or-more dollar pieces. Unless/until I’m working outside the house, there’s just not much of an excuse for it anyway. I’d rather save the money and use it to do Fun Things than get all fashion-victim-ish. It just doesn’t excite me like it does some people.
- I have limited closet/drawer space. Our house is small, which I love. But it means that unless something is multi-functional, there’s not much room for it.
- That whole Quaker thing: flashy stuff makes me uncomfortable. No bling, thankyouverymuch. Simpler, the better.
So if you’ve got ideas, I’m open to them. After flipping open the drawers last week and seeing a sea of perfectly identical black shirts and pants, I’m more open than I was before, in fact.