Friday, May 28, 2010

One Month's Worth of Outfits: Did I Learn Anything?

I started this little project on April 27 and took my last photo yesterday. It has been interesting, to say the least.

I still have too many clothes, and/or I don't need any more clothes. Over the past few years, I have slowly (veeeery slowly) come to the realization that buying clothes is a wee bit addictive for me. If I am feeling down, I reward myself with a new dress. If I'm feeling like a fat sloth, I buy something that makes me look better (even though I probably have a bunch of 'you look nice' clothes already). If I feel old, I need to buy something that makes me look cute and hip. If I get a bonus, I "deserve" new clothes. And so on. There is something about buying something new that makes me feel like I have some fresh armor and can face the world.

Once I started being aware of this, I started culling the wardrobe. Throwing things away, making money at consignment shops like Poor Little Rich Girl and /Buffalo Exchange, and giving things to friends.

Still, in one month's worth of outfits, I only repeated sweaters TWICE. That's redonk. I still am confronted with this:

And this:

And this:

Did I mention that we (4 people) live in a 1200 square foot apartment? In the city? If I can't find anything to wear in this stash, the problem is not the clothes.

I pretty much know how to dress myself. I have watched enough episodes of What Not To Wear to know what works for my body. Fitting the smallest part with wrap dresses and belted pieces generally works best. Things that are not structured end up looking frumpy. I should painfully avoid anything that uses the word "flowy" as a descriptor.

I have an easier time with dresses because it's easier to fit my waist. Pants continue to elude me. When I look at the pictures from the last month, the pants outfits are always the ones that I like the least. I am still caught somewhere in the tweenie world between regular and plus sizes, and it shows. Either my pants are too big or I have the terror crotch.

I really need to find a tailor. See above.

I still struggle with figuring out what my "style" as an adult is. My friend, APL, had a great comment on my denim skirt picture that noted, "I'm ultimately always just trying to recreate some great outfit I had in college. Fifteen years ago." I feel the same way a lot. While there are a multitude of outfits that I am mortified ever made it to the light of day (knee socks? black oxfords and socks with a dress?) in college and in the post-college years, I felt that I at least had a style that was my own. Most of my clothes right now are "work appropriate" and they come from stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic, so essentially, I look like everyone else. I don't know if this is necessarily a bad thing, but considering I spent most of my youth striving to look soooooo "alternative" (can you catch the eyes rolling back in my skull?), it just feels weird sometimes.

I still have trouble accessorizing. I link to Already Pretty a lot because I love her shoes and jewelry, and through that site, I discovered Kendi Everyday. Both of these women have amazing style, and they can pull together clothes with the cutest accessories and bags. For example, I LOVE this outfit, and everything in it is stuff I can buy at places around her, but the way she pulled it together with the belt and the hair and shoes is just ADORBS!

Still, I'm learning. My work buddy, LT, is the jewelry goddess and she's teaching me about what I should and shouldn't wear with certain outfits. I channeled her when I bought this necklace, and I really liked the way the whole outfit turned out. My mom bought me that dress for my birthday a few years ago, and I thought it was too old looking, but um, maybe I am approaching 'too old.' Another woman I worked with said, "Did it make you so happy pulling that outfit on this morning? The necklace and the dress?" And yes, it did. It all came together and that was cool. I'll be reorganizing my jewelry to try and recreate that feeling.

File under: duh. You save a lot of money when you have a shopping ban. I pride myself on never buying anything full price and my thrifting and TJMaxxing skillz, but that adds up, and you end up with a closet full of cheap stuff. I spent only $26 on clothes in the past month and a half. I bought this dress which may have been a mistake style-wise, and an empire-waisted shirt at Buffalo Exchange for $6 because it fit perfectly. I have been tempted, but I keep reminding myself that it won't be the last great deal and I most likely don't need it (see Lesson One).

I am trying to commit to a second month of the ban, and will be extending that to books and shoes, as and their daily deals is going to be the death of me.

I am not fat. No shit, right? I can objectively look at those pictures and see a pretty normal sized person. This does not mean that I don't look at myself in that "oh, gross" sort of way more often than not, but seeing me in pictures just reaffirms that most of this stuff, as usual, is in my head.

That being said, I donated my entire lot of "when I lose the weight" clothes to Goodwill and some consignment jobs. I don't need a reminder of what I'm not. I need to be good with what I am.

I am prone to fits of conspicuous consumerism. I said more times than I care to repeat, "I bet these clothes would look a lot better if I had a nicer camera and better lighting." Not taking every picture in my bathroom might have helped with that too.

I can be really dumb sometimes. I'm in pretty good shape because of all this training for the half marathon. I don't think I lost any real weight, but some things are fitting looser. I spent half the day that I wore this outfit, fiddling with the pants and trying to keep them up, wondering if there was some kind of invention that would help keep them from ending up beneath my belly roll. Most people would refer to that invention as a belt.

The little things, like taking pictures of yourself in cute clothes, can sometimes be the mood booster you need. That, and Sam Summer.

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