So, last time we talked, I was getting you a cup of tea and trying to apply Fruedian psychoanalytic theory to my fashion sense. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Let’s get back to it.
I was perusing the internet looking at clothes, as is sometimes my wont when work is slow or I need a break, and I suddenly thought to myself: “If I could wear no colors but heathered black, charcoal, gray, navy blue, maroon, white, and dark green and no pattern but stripes, I’d be happy with my clothes.” It took a second for that thought to tip over the brain cliff and fall to its natural conclusion. Why didn’t I just… do that? Just buy those colors? And no pattern but stripes? I used to joke with people that if I’m not careful I would just end up buying the same grey shirt 20 times. I usually joke to diffuse pain or cover up discomfort, and that one was pretty obviously me trying to tell the world that I really wanted to buy a certain very small variety of clothes and have a “uniform” that I could just wear slight variations of all the time, but had this self-imposed
When I was in Girl Scouts, right around 4th grade, our group leaders did this skin tone analysis where they classified each of us as a “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn,” or “Winter.” This was probably for their own amusement, but we were willing to sit quietly and be classified. The point was that certain clothing and make-up colors would compliment certain skin types and others wouldn’t. They were kind of surprised that I seemed to be a “blonde Winter,” or whatever. The only thing I took away from that classification was that I was supposed to look better in darker colors like maroon and navy.
Thereafter, throughout most of my childhood/teenage years, about 80% of my clothes were either navy, maroon, or black. That mostly changed after high school (as I described in my last post), as did my body (I lost a ton of weight between ages 18 and 23). Part of it likely had to do with starting to be able to compare myself with other girls without the automatic self-flagellation of “Oh-my-god-I-am-so-much-fatter-than-them.” I didn’t think about it before because thinking about anything that had to do with my physical being was pretty painful. Ah, to be a teenager again. So, slowly, instead of doing my own “blonde Winter” thing with my navy blues and dark reds, I started thinking, “Hey, these girls in all these colors! I want to dress like them!” Lighter greens, orange, light blue, red, etc. started creeping into my drawers (ha) and closets.
What makes it somewhat hard to not gravitate towards those colors is that I genuinely like them! I am almost ready to post about what my new room looks like and you’ll see… My bed is kind of an explosion of bright colors. I love looking at pictures, art, and real-life landscapes with bright colors of all kinds. They do make me happy. But, whenever I buy them to put on my body, they mostly end up collecting wrinkles in my dresser or shoved in the back of the closet. It’s why I tend to gravitate towards those brighter colors in my “fancy” dress, because I know I don’t have to put them in constant rotation. Small doses.
Another frequent inner desire of mine, which I’m less shy about, is my desire to be able to buy men’s clothes and wear them without looking silly. Why silly? Well, I am quite a small person; despite being larger than a size 2, I am also just barely 5’4″ and have shortish arms, small hands, and small feet. Wearing the average dude’s clothes makes me look like a five-year-old or just sloppy. I also argued recently with a couple of my male friends, after expressing my desire for men’s clothing, because they claimed that, as a woman, I should take advantage of the variety of clothes I can wear. But, you know what? Screw that, it’s not what I want. I dislike the majority of skirts and fancy blouses, and I’m very picky about dresses. Why wear that stuff if I don’t want to? I also think I might have misspoken my desire somewhat; what I probably want is not to actually wear men’s clothes, to get the clean, slightly slouchy, and easy-going look that I associated with good men’s clothes. I’m not into tailored so much, or buttoned-up. “Easy-going” could definitely be the one (hyphenated) word summary for what I’m aiming for. I like soft, but clean.
Maybe pictures would be easier to “get”?
So, all of these are going to be tops or dresses since, like I said, I’m pretty satisfied with my jeans/corduroys and the couple of skirts I’m going to hang onto. I had no trouble finding, fairly quickly, a ton of striped tops and tunics in white, grey, navy, and black. For fall, I’m fairly certain I’ll pick up the blue and white stripey sweater tunic. Another good “men’s inspired” staple for fall is a parka. The one all the way on the left is more of an ideal ($250 is over 1/3 of my rent), but I’ve found plenty of cheaper options in muted colors and navy from places like Old Navy and Eddie Bauer. A lot of my style choices are “over-sized,” but I’m trying not to look like a bag lady or like I’m trying to cover up my body. It’s an ok little body, so I don’t want to completely conceal it under a fabric tent! A parka is good because even when tailored it can give that look of being oversized.
I’m also looking into some soft, basic t-shirts, but here, again, I have to make sure they fit well or I’m just going to end up looking sloppy or baggy. I actually like the idea of wearing a men’s small, so I bought a couple to try out. This definitely didn’t work, in this case, but I might consider trying an extra small. Designers of clothes – not all ladies like frou frou shit all over their t-shirts! J Crew at least gets this, but their t-shirts haven’t fit me well in the past, and tend to be prohibitively expensive. I also like the clean lines of the sweaters above. The reddish-pink of the far left one is not my jam, but the look of the shirt is what I’m going for (and I love the zipper in the back). The middle sweater’s green is a bit bright, but, again, simple, clean. The far right sweater I actually love as-is. Polka dots are about as girly as I’m willing to go.
So, that’s my fantasy shopping list for the moment! The majority is from Gap, J Crew, Old Navy, and Urban Outfitters, with some other randoms in between. For some more things I’ve had my eye on, and links to a few of the above, see this Pinterest board I’ve been slowly, pickily adding to. It’s more of a “wish list,” since I never have a lot of money to spend on clothes at any one time.
Part 3 will probably include some of my current closet favorites that I’ll be working off of/incorporating into new stuff. I haven’t been completely off the track this whole time! I also just recently purchased a few new things (including one of the stripey dresses above), so we’ll take a look at those as well. Tune in next time for the “Better Sweater Bureau” or “Don’t Red on Me.”