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.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Insane in the Membrane - I Remember High School -- Writing Things

So my first two weeks post-weaning are over, and now is the time when my hormones are supposed to level off and I return to the land of the living. Or the land of the not choking down Zoloft and wine and wishing I could go to sleep for three weeks. I have my fingers crossed. Zygote ended up with a double ear infection, so what would have been a trying couple of weeks anyway, have been peppered with baby tantrums and screaming and non-stop whining.

Things not to do when you are feeling like the above: watch the sobfest that is My Sister's Keeper. I really have no idea if this movie is actually good or just Lifetime good, but dying children and family dramas? Not the right day for that kind of stuff.

So I moved on to music. Or more specifically, I moved on to The Smiths and blog trolling. Have I mentioned my love of Fatshionista? It's one of my daily reads, and I love the clothes, and the other topics, and then I found out in the Globe that the blogger lives in the area, and I had one of my 'omg, we should totally be BFFs and you're going to think I'm really funny and we'll hang out and I'll love your clothes' inner monologues.

Anyway, Lesley wrote this great post “Spitting in a wishing well”: On music and adolescence and memory, and it was just the right read at the right time, and I spent some time doodling about all those weird high school memories. Her pull quotes followed by my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.

"There is backstory: when I was sixteen I decided that nearly everyone who went to my high school was terribly boring, not least because no one knew about the music I liked (never mind, for now, that I liked the music I liked to some extent because no one else knew about it) and the music I liked was, at the time, the single most important thing in my life. In retrospect my taste in music was hardly distinguished so much as it was intentionally obscure. At any rate, I went to every all-ages show I could afford — someday I’ll tell you the story of realizing a guy in the mosh pit at a Bad Religion show was in my class, and the devastating dismissal I received when I attempted to chat him up about the show in the hall at school the following day — searching for someplace different to belong. I was too soft and brainy for the punks; I wasn’t angular or awkward enough for the goths. What else was there?"

Right? I was so proud of myself for owning Nirvana's Bleach BEFORE THEY WERE COOL. Can you see me rolling my eyes? And the fact that I got to wear my cool, older boyfriend's Dead Milkmen concert t-shirt was too cool for school. Yeah, that boyfriend? He worked at a record store. You can't get much cooler than that. AND he went to a different school. Editorial note: he was actually a real person, not one of those "I have a girlfriend that lives in Canada" deals. When I went to college, I ran into someone from my high school (and by ran into, I mean, got really drunk with) who said, "What WERE you? I mean, you dressed like a punk. You listened to music. But you were in the smart kid classes." Story of my life.

"One of these friends was a year or two older than me, and she published zines about music. Remember zines? Midnight sojourns at Kinko’s making copies? Casual competition over who could discover the best new music first, and get credit for spreading it around? . . . . .Wednesday nights were open mic nights. I read poetry. Yes. I read high school poetry, embarrassing, trifling, self-righteous, loud. I did! "

Wait for it...I had a zine. Called 'The Sphincter.' Oh God. It was totally going to "be discovered." Kind of like my blog! And this wasn't high school, but in college, at Zopies, I read a really bad poem I wrote titled "Boy in The Yellow Sweater" about a guy that I drooled over, who was a poet with his own zine. And holy shit -- Zopies has a Facebook page! When I got married the first time, my mom threw me a shower and gave me this scrapbook that she made for me with a bunch of my poems that had been published in the school literary magazine. It was really sweet, but I am mortified that my fifteen-year-old self could take herself seriously enough to pen the following opener, "she sits in the silent darkness. Contemplating? Death." The shame.

"I also remember the newfangled girl-fronted music that was cropping up around then, and even today when I hear some of those songs, that forgotten teenager wakes up a little. I remember hearing Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” for the first time in the parking lot of a Miami Subs at 2 o’clock in the morning, the radio DJ announcing it as a new song that was “probably inappropriate” to play during the day. I remember seeing Morrissey for the first time in the video for “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” on 120 Minutes (thus began a long and predictably tragic love affair with Morrissey and The Smiths). That teenager persists, when these songs materialize over the speaker systems in department stores or reworked as television-commercial soundtracks."

120 Minutes! Seeing Babes in Toyland, who still sort of rock my running playlist. And Liz Phair before she got crappy. And How Soon Is Now, and playing these lyrics

There's a club, if you'd like to go
You could meet someone who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home
And you cry
And you want to die

over and over ON A CASSETTE. And then like a hundred years later (also known as, two years ago), DS and I went to see Morrissey at The Bank of America Pavilion and he did 3 songs before cancelling the show and it sucked!

"He was surprisingly happy to see me, and after we exchanged the basics of what we were up to, he said, “Wow, man, I always thought you were so cool in high school.” I was astonished and blew past the compliment to get the hell out of there. I couldn’t imagine that anyone in my class thought of me as “cool”; at school "

This has happened to me on multiple occasions. Given how I would have/would cut a bitch to be cool, it's always a nice surprise, but also a little sad, because really, HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? All that time wasted thinking that everyone thought I sucked. I could have maybe made more friends, been more confident, I don't know, not listen to the Cure so goddamn much.

It was an interesting trip down memory lane. I'm working on a number of different writing exercises where you have to do character studies of yourself at different ages (this lead to a panicked text to my brother asking for the name of our middle school Language Arts teacher, a woman who I could describe in great detail and who gave me an award for 'excellence' and who had a son with a motorcycle and whose name I totally forgot). You see, while I'm having no trouble describing everybody and everything else around me, I'm having a hard time locating myself in the middle of it. And if you can't write yourself, you're kind of fucked as a writer.

I don't know where I'm going with all this, but I had a kick reading Fatshionista today, sort of like the thrill of remembering high school and Sassy when I read How Sassy Changed My Life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Coming Up

1. Books that I am reading.
2. Lost finale (otherwise known as Matthew Fox is still hot, hot, hot)
3. Recap of closet project. New pics are up.