Wednesday, June 15, 2011


While I was working out at the Y the other day, I was sucked into a "news" program that told me what I simply had to have for my summer wardrobe. Before I realized what was happening, I found myself mentally rehearsing their tips.

1. Colored jeans
2. Shirt dress
3. Colorful scarf
4. Don't try to wear 1-3 at the same time

Comparing my own wardrobe with their video shots, I couldn't deny what was painfully obvious: I've been living in a fashion vacuum. (Just to make sure the analogy carries, I'm the one in the vacuum. Fashion is what has been completely sucked away.)

No one would describe me as fashionable. But somehow I've retained the notion that I at least get what the trends are, even if I chose not to follow them. Skinny jeans, for example. I know they exist. I know I will never own a pair.

In my particularly fine moments, I imagine that I am really on the cutting edge of the "comfortable-classic yet always hip-hot" kind of fashion. People envy my bold choices of boot cut jeans and colored tees. Every day of the week.

But then I look down at my Keen sandals and the illusion vanishes. These sandals have sweet spirits, okay. And are one of the few shoes that don't hurt my feet. I have plantar fasciitus, people, and wedges and ballet flats just don't cut it.

This realization of my loss of fashion (or inability to ever find it in the first place) has been coming on more quickly since my Houston conference a few weeks ago. I was in one of those career self-help workshops. The motivational speaker talked about making sure our dress and appearance is in line with how we want people to perceive our "brand". At this point I tried to hide my flip-flopped feet under my 10-year old, fraying messenger bag.

Oh, to just be a college student again.

Well, I confronted fashion on Monday at the mall. I needed some dressy shirts to wear to several client meetings I have coming up. Armed in my peasant skirt with a shrieking baby* strapped to my back, I made it to a grand total of 3 stores. If I had any belief that I knew about fashion when I went in, it evaporated when I turned to a rack of stylish ... somethings. I couldn't tell what part of my body these beautiful swaths of fabric were meant to cover. Looking around the store for more clues, I realized that, while I did know where most of the clothes were supposed to fit on me, I had no idea how to wear them. What went with what? Certainly nothing was meant for my boot cuts and Keens. Could any of it work with my dress slacks?

In this dazed state, I retreated to a small rack of embellished tees made out of fancy looking fabric. $50 and 5 fancy tees later (well, as fancy as you can get at $10 a piece), I made it back to the safety of my '99 Corolla.

Toyotas are in style, right?


Megan said...

Very funny. I have been feeling the same way and have been formulating a blog post in my head for the past couple of weeks. It seems hard to find a store in between Forever 21 and Ann Taylor. At least you found 5 shirts!
And yes, a 1999 Corolla is very fashionable. Buying a new car would make your carbon footprint really big.

Dawn said...

Forever 21 should really be called Forever 13. But really, if you are careful you can find fun stuff at Ann Taylor. I think.

Rachel said...

I feel your pain! There seems to be such a disconnect between the cute clothes I see everyone else wearing and the stuff I see when I go shopping. I just don't have the fashion know-how to put an outfit together. Or something.

Margaret said...

Ok, so I always despised people who read fashion magazines, but really admired people who look fashionable - or at least, put-together. I am totally lame in admitting this, but I finally subscribed to a fashion magazine. Admittedly, the VAST majority of the time they're telling me that $100 sunglasses are necessary to "make" an outfit, but they've put me onto a few good things: a $14 hat at Old Navy, a $17 skirt at H&M, and that Forever 21 can be used for accessories and layering pieces, which are beautifully cheap but go a long way towards making my t-shirt and jeans look like I planned it.