Monday, October 24, 2005

Trying Too Hard to Not Try

I hate fashion. I like clothes, enjoy dressing to the best of my rather limited ability and budget, but hate having what people think I should wear shoved in my face. I always feel that I am not well put together. I am a dress girl. One piece, no thought involved, just put on a pair of shoes that match (or are close enough) and you're set to go for the day. Dresses are onesies for grown-ups, sans the crotch snaps. Seperates kill me. I cannot match two pieces together. I have a few skirts and maybe two or possibly three blouses that are fit for work, and putting them together in a way that matches and is attractive is like algebra-I just can't do it.

I was never good at clothes, and for the longest time didn't really care. I wore jeans and t-shirts and treated clothes as a practical necessity, not ornamentation. Even when clothes were supposed to matter (school, middle and high), to me they really didn't. Then I got my first job and went on a limited brand-name shopping spree. I bought the first pair of Nike's I ever owned at the age of 17. That was it; I was working part time and making minimum wage, so the Nike's broke me, but dammit, I owned a pair of Nike's. Then I graduated to expensive underthings; my next paycheck I blew, completely and utterly, at Victoria's Secret. $97: three sets of bras and panties. Next check I once again purchased shoes. I couldn't buy gas; I had to go home for lunch, but I had nice shoes and some really nice underpants. My lack of fashion sense (or care, even) followed me through my later teen years and into my early twenties. I worked jobs that provided uniforms, I stayed home a lot. I continued my obsession with shoes and underclothes, but never really became interested in real clothes.

I certainly knew (and still know) what I don't like. One Easter my Aunt thoughtfully provided Jen, Teresa and myself with color coordinated outfits; sweater vests that were horrid, in Easter colored pastels that were verging on neon: pink, blue and yellow, with skirts that matched. We were all horrified; there was much belligerent discussion. "I'm not wearing that, I don't care who bought it", and so on. In the end, not wanting to hurt any feelings, I snipped a hole in the sweater vest with a pair of scissors and waited for Easter. On that fateful Sunday morning, freshly showered and under orders to get dressed, I plastered a woeful look on my face and took the offending outfit to my mother. "I can't wear this, mom," I said with a sigh. "The vest has a hole in it, see?" I heaved another sigh and let my shoulders sag; I was the very picture of clothing-oriented grief. "I'm so disappointed, I really wanted to wear it. Will you tell Aunt Rachel for me?" I got away with it that day, but the guilt, both from my Aunt and my own conscience, was too much to handle.

My current fashion don'ts (and these are my personal dislikes, remember, not advice; I would never presume to offer advice, on this or really any other subject): Ug boots. Hate 'em. No good reason, but I just can't stand them. Straight-legged jeans - I'm a bit full through the thigh-hip area, and if I wear anything other than boot cut pants I resemble an apple on a stick, or something. I try to walk a fine line between boot cut pants and flare legs. Flare legs say "teenager" to me; boot cut can be for anyone. I am at an age now where I am terrified of dressing too young. I don't like to wear flats, unless the shoes in questions are flip-flops or sneakers. I hate, hate, hate pantyhose. I would rather wear stockings any day, but I hate the thigh-highs with the elastic-they roll down in a most unattractive manner. I'm sure people have seen that granny with her knee highs rolled down to her ankles (who did that - some actress, on some show, you know what I'm talking about). Anyway, it's like that, only rolled up at my knee, puddling and pinching fat and generally looking rather icky.

I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Or boxer shorts. Sweatpants are great, too. If I'm not at work I put no effort whatsoever into my appearance. I have a checklist: is it clean? If it is clean, I move on: does it match? at least a little? do the colors involved start with the same letter of the alphabet? Because sometimes, that's good enough. This is probably not entirely true, I'm certain there are occasions where I pay more attention to what I wear than most other times, but it's a bummy-kind of dress up. A higher class of grunge, you could call it. Example: if I get invited to join someone on a trip to Wal-Mart, after I have already changed into my nightclothes, I will say something like, "Ooo, hold on, let me go put on my good pajamas". To further complicate matters, I don't actually own any pajamas in the most literal sense of the word. I possess a moderate-to-large sized wardrobe of casual separates (maybe I'm better with separates than I thought, as long as I don't have to wear them in a professional setting) that serve as my pajamas. They are not labeled, but I have designated them in my mind as good pajamas and bad pajamas. The bad pajamas are for sleeping or traipsing around the house, only. They are usually stained from something or another; myself and my inability to not spill things all over, not paying attention to where I'm sitting and getting all dirty, paying attention to where I'm sitting and not caring even though I know I'll get all dirty, etc.. The good pajamas are really only marginally better than the bad ones, but usually more comfortable and/or attractive. I don't segregate the pajamas - I don't believe in that. The good and bad mingle, sort of folded, in a basket on top of my drawers. The bad ones probably skulk around in there, threatening to rub some of their dirt off on the good ones, who live in fear. There's so much drama in my life I've even extended it to my pajama basket. Sad.

I miss having a job with a uniform. Uniforms make life so much easier. Again, you have the question system to determine wear-worthiness. Is it clean? If so, does it need ironing? Does it actually need ironing, or a quick turn in the dryer? And then there's the dirty line of questioning. Is is dirty? How dirty? Spray with perfume and put in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet dirty, or by all rights should be thrown away dirty? And you always have back-up, so you never have to worry about it. Unless your back-up is dirty, and that's when you call in sick. Because calling in dirty would make people talk. :-)
That's enough ranting for now, although I'm fairly certain I could go on and on. I would call my style, or lack thereof, eccentric thrifty(?). I try to be creative. I don't mind looking a little retro. I'm not scared. So think of me, Sundays at noon, when I'll be at the Goodwill Thrift store for 99-cent Sunday. Trying, but not too hard. The clothes don't make the woman, right? I will leave it to my sparkling personality to overcome any fashion crimes that I may inadvertently commit. I'm shooting for, "Wow, she looks horrible, but she sure is nice". Awww. Thanks.


Teresa said...

You're so amazing! Write a book! I'll buy it! I really do love reading anything you write, so blog often, k?

Anonymous said...

A glorious find. A heady concoction of beauty, eloquence and style. Trying to find the words to describe yours is dificult. Thanks for taking the time to express what you call blather. Aptitude, talent, and the inclination you possess. One can be born a genius, some can become them, you are truly one..