Are you convinced of my aptitude? (Even though I had to re-spell aptitude three times right then?)
My friend and former neighbor Kelly (Hi, Kelly!) suggested a while ago that I share something about how I dress. I found this request very perplexing. I had no idea what to say. It's taken me a while to think about what I think about how I dress. (This is called meta-dressing.) (Little Psychology joke for you, there.)
I finally sat down and made a running list about how I do it. For me. Not sure if this is wrong or right, but it's how I roll. Fasten your cufflinks.
I do my best to be realistic about my body's size and shape. I will never be 5'10". I will never look good in skinny jeans, but I can still wear things that look good on me. I have learned this from watching hours upon hours of TLC's What Not To Wear. Time well spent? Perhaps.
When shopping, I ask for help from the sales people. Most of those folks are clothes junkies and quite good at styling. They've seen your body type a million times before and are happy to point out things that would work for you. I especially do this with jeans. I don't want to try on 50 pairs, so I ask them to recommend 5 or 6. They're good at it. Trust me.
I try on things I don't think I'll like. I try to stay out of ruts with my clothes, so if I'm gathering stuff to try on in a store, I grab something I wouldn't normally pick. Sometimes it turns out that it's the only thing I like.
I try not to buy things just because they are on sale. VERY HARD LESSON TO LEARN. MANY SMACKINGS OF MY FOREHEAD UNTIL I GOT THIS ONE. I try to think of the cost of a clothing item like this: If I buy a great shirt for $40 and I wear it 138 times before I give it away, the cost of each wearing is 28 cents per wearing--cheap! If I buy a sort-of good shirt on sale for for $8 and wear it twice before I realize that I was fooling myself about its goodness and give it away, the cost of each wearing is $4. Not worth it.
I buy cheap jewelry and sunglasses. This comes from many, many years of not having much money. I love my cheap, colorful, practically-disposable jewelry from Target, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, Old Navy, Steve & Barry's. (Although, I have to say that my dear sister-in-law DeDe has given me two darling necklaces from Darlybird that I wear all the time and forever get compliments on.)
I wear dark jeans. It's just a good idea, in my opinion. It looks more slim and more dressed-up.
I can't stop buying red shoes. I wear red shoes all the time, and with almost everything in my closet. I try them on with most things I'm wearing, and I'm often surprised at how much they go with. I suspect this is true of many colors, I just happen to be a sucker for red.
I give away stuff I don't wear anymore. Sometimes this is devastating because I SWEAR I'm going to lose those ten pounds and fit into that dress again, but the problem is that I've been swearing that for three years. Here is one of the greatest of life's truths: If you love something (that doesn't fit), give it away. You'll feel better if the stuff staring back at you in the closet is stuff that fits you.
I don't care about matching. In fact, the older I get, the more I think that matching is boring. We've been matching things since we learned to play Memory in preschool. Snore. I try to think about the color wheel and pick a contrasting color. For example, I have an orange and white t-shirt that I always wore with some gold/brown jewelry. Kind of boring. Then I decided to wear my orange and white t-shirt with a turquoise necklace and earrings. It was pretty cute.
I browse catalogs and see how clothes are styled. I can't afford anything from J.Crew, but I sure do like the way they dress those skinny little models! Seriously, though, I look through catalogs and magazines and take mental notes.
I like interesting coats and jackets. I have a yellow car coat that I bought at Target a couple of years ago. I love it. There was a black one for sale, but a black coat can be so....forgettable. And I want to be unforgettable. Like Nat King Cole.
I use a full length mirror to check things out after I get dressed. I figure that I should probably inspect the whole package, since it's what everybody else is going to see. Many times, I change or adjust something after checking it out. And every now and then, that's when I notice my zipper is down.
I experiment with my closet--colors, patterns, textures. I have a brightly patterned yellow and green skirt that I'd worn a lot with a green top. A few weeks ago, I paired it with a blue and white striped button-up shirt, and, hey, whaddya know? It worked. It was the darndest thing.
I shop anywhere and everywhere, but I would say that an awful lot of my wardrobe has come from the lower-end stores, including Target, Old Navy, and Forever 21. I also love to shop at small businesses; they have so much personality. My favorite spots in Utah were Hip & Humble and Whimsy--great stores with unique finds.
I dress up, even if I'm alone. Other than the occasional day when I end up in my pajamas at 6:00 p.m., I get dressed every day. And, people, I sit in my house alone all day working. I think it makes me feel better about myself, and although they haven't said anything so far, I think the walls in my house really appreciate it.
I don't overdo jewelry. I have this friend Linda who wears 33 pounds of jewelry every day--amazing necklaces (three or four together) and huge earrings, bracelets (again, three or four) and giant cocktail rings--and she looks fantastic. I mean, just fantastic! But I can't pull it off. If I wear a bold necklace, I wear subtle earrings or no earrings at all and vice versa. But, that's just me.
I have fun. As I thought about how I dress myself, it's not unlike how I write or how I decorate my house or how I cook--I always try to go for something fun and interesting. Sure, it's not the most important thing in the world, not even the 5789th important thing in the world, but I have to get dressed everyday--why not make it a fun experience?
OK, I've given my ideas. Please give me yours. Please!