Thursday, August 26, 2010

Style, or lack thereof

(This is the first in a short series of posts in which I aim to focus my thoughts towards creating a useful tool in order to be more conscious of my clothing selections, making them both useful and meaningful to my lifestyle.)

Recently I discovered that my closet contained many things of which little is useful. A transition from living and working in a rural area to life in the city has left me ill-prepared, in the fashion sense. My years of business-casual separates for the office don't quite *suit up* today. The few acceptable items now on hangers in my closet are seasonal and very quickly facing the end of that season. So the time has arrived to dump it all on the floor, or a chair, or a bag bound for the thrift shop, and start over.

I don't expect overnight transformations. That would bring a new chaos of mismatched separates. There must be a way to do this in a well thought out progression. The obvious method is to do a style book, or collection of clippings. And focusing on basic necessary pieces that compliment each other. Does that sound right?

It certainly is more challenging to fashion a wardrobe around chance finds at secondhand stores than it is to take out a credit card at the more desirable shops. Certainly, I could have a limited number of pieces that would do double duty and fit my character if I would shop at higher end stores. I could buy an entire matchable wardrobe with one swipe of plastic. There are two three problems with that. The first being substantial monetary output, and my aversion to it. The second is that ethically, I don't want to continuously waste resources for new clothing when good secondhand items are available. Third, and actually the one REAL reason, I don't like to shop.

My viewpoint on clothing has now evolved away from just looking for items that are in excellent condition to items that really define who I am. This makes it a little more difficult as I've got images in my head of who I was some years ago, but not of who I am now :( Can I go back to being youthful and adventurous without looking like a fool? I admire all the young women who can wear short, straight skirts. But time has a way of excluding me from that group ;) I have a photo of myself in a very short skirt, taken back in the 70's...

This brings in the sewing aspect. I could give you dozens of reasons why I haven't made as much for Self-Stitched September as I had planned, but the truth is I am feeling a bit lost in regards to style. Would my preferred A-line skirts look too outdated? Would a pair of looser, wool trousers, combined with a button-down shirt and vest be out of place in the office? Or is just that 1970's rebel still hiding inside, refusing to "conform" to today's standards? ;)

Coming soon - a style book.


Maria said...

I, totally and unequivocally, lack style! I admit it and I embrace it. If I need something suitable for an occasion and I have to buy something, I bring a friend or my daughter....because I will get it wrong and I HATE to shop and I HATE to spend money! God Blessed me with a daughter who has a sense of style like no other....So she is a great help to me. God forbid she goes off to school in two years....I'll probably get fired!! LOL!!!

(PS, I'm a farmer at heart - I think that is where the problem lies!) :)

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Maria,
Lucky you to have a style-sensible daughter! Shop with her while you can! ;)

Simply Authentic said...

Ha--I can feel your pain as I've transitioned between rural and urban life, relaxed and conservative employment for the last ten years. What's good in one world is rarely as appropriate in the other. I'm not gonna lie I love dressing the part, but I'm also with you in that I'd prefer second hand and thrift store finds. (I also had/have a complete love for the show What Not to Wear and it helped me realize how to dress different body types.) Clothes should allow your personality to shine thru, should be comfortable, and yet convey the right message of professionalism for your position. What suits one type of job and clientele may not suit another. My wardrobe is a mix of second hand finds from back home in Oregon (where thrift stores and good finds are much more in abundance!), JCPenny and (sigh) Target work wear, and the occassional cast off from friends. I pretty much overheat in pants so love skirts and dresses cut right for my body while still being appropriate always. My husband supports my love of pencil skirts but gets annoyed by my belief that a fitted cardigan is a nice addition to any and every outfit. ;) If you were interested, the British version of What Not to Wear put out three books--maybe your library would have a copy?

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Very well stated.

"...allow your personality to shine thru..." Exactly! That's what I keep coming up against.

I'll be looking for the books, thanks!