Stylin’ it up (or not)

Yesterday, my inability to get dressed reached a disastrous peak, resulting in an entire futon covered in clothes that I will probably never wear, my running around the house in a pair of tights, a pair of shoes, and a vest (and that’s it), and a few realizations. Before I tell you about my realizations, please enjoy a glimpse into my morning:

Turtle: Oh. My.
Me (panicking because of her tone… did the cat, who we thought was all better, throw up everywhere?): What?!
Her: You really did explode all over the study.

Point being: I really did cover the ENTIRE FUTON in clothes. Stacked clothes.  It’s impressive, you guys.

Anyway, I gained some general insight into my life in the process. Realization number one: I have a lot of clothes that I just don’t need.  And that don’t fit me or aren’t appropriate for pretty much any situation I need clothes for.

Number two: my style, in its natural, unselfconscious-state, seems to be much dykier than my conscious state often allows it to be. While maybe the dresses that I have do look pretty on me, I feel ridiculous in them.  I feel like I’m playing dress up; I feel sort of silly and floofy and like I’m “faking it,” and at any moment someone will be like, “You! You’re not a real grownup! Go sit at the kids table with your frilly sleeves.” But put on a button down shirt with a sweater over it? Nice.

For example, this dress does look pretty on me! But I felt ridiculous in it. REE-DICULOUS.

But! Look how cute I look in my little vest thing here! So cute! Also, so comfortable.

Number three: I need new clothes. Because apparently it’s not comfortable or really appropriate to wear my wedding suit for every semi- or formal event I go to.  Hence the vague panic last night.  Part of the challenge, though, is that I don’t know what I want, and I don’t know what I need it for.  I could find something I like… but is it for an interview? For hanging out with friends? Can I really justify that purchase?

I feel like I showed up late to the game that all the other kids learned the rules to a lot time ago.  It seems like everyone else can just get dressed and – shazam! – they look good.  And they make it look comfortable and easy.  I, on the other hand, spend an hour and half throwing clothes around the room and end up wearing the only outfit I had in the first place.

my best wedding outfit: shirt untucked, pants rolled up, CHACOS. And the best friend who occasionally helps me clothe myself via Google Chat. Thanks, friend.

I feel stuck.  Where do you get your clothes? Does anyone else have an impossible time getting dressed on a regular basis? And, um, does anyone want to go clothes shopping with me?


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14 responses to “Stylin’ it up (or not)

  1. Anne

    I routinely have issues getting dressed for work. Everything is too short, too tight or generally too small. I’m tall! I’m constantly terrified of my pants shrinking in the dryer. None of my sweaters is long enough to cover my waistband. It’s awful. And I categorically refuse to wear skirts to work. Buffalo Exchange in Somerville is great for green clothes shopping.

    • Oooh Buffalo Exchange, yeah! I had one shirt I loved… and it DID shrink in the dryer! Being a grownup is (still) hard. I have had good luck at thrift stores though, especially when I’m “just browsing”, so maybe some browsing is in order.

  2. Melissa

    Christopher and Banks either at the mall or online is where I shop, may not be what you’re looking for tho. Find someplace with clothes you like, buy yourself a few dressy outfits that you can hang up in your closet ALL READY MATCHED! put socks, hose, tights, whatever with them an know beforehand which shoes go with it. All you really need is 1 pr black dress shoes and 1 pr brown shoes. 🙂 You’ll do fine, Gigi is your grandma after all!

    • Oh I’ve never heard of Christopher and Banks! Will have to look into it.

      I like this idea of pre-matching. And yes, I DO need one pair of brown shoes! Right now I have my gray wedding shoes and sneakers. I will channel Gigi.

      (Side note: My dad has been watching old videos from his childhood, I’m hoping to see some soon! I hear good & interesting things.)

  3. Erin

    I can relate 100% to feeling overwhelmed by an underwhelming wardrobe. For me, it wasn’t an issue of sexuality though. It was more my mom never cared about that stuff so while I could spout off Tennyson at request, I could not put together a decent outfit until my late 20s. Allow yourself the time to find your style and don’t let this journey stress you out, cause like all self-discovery projects the more you stress the more you hold yourself back. 🙂 Think of getting dressed like writing a blog post. Look around for inspiration on the interwebs or magazines you read. A lot of the time I start with an accessory bought on Etsy and see what I can find to wear to go with it. I’m also a habitual and unashamed mimic. Good luck!

    • “while I could spout off Tennyson at request, I could not put together a decent outfit until my late 20s.”

      That makes me feel a LOT better. Thank you. You’re right, getting dressed IS like writing a blog post… and my experience on Wednesday was like one of those spam comments. I’ll work on it 🙂

  4. Lina

    Uhhmmm. Clothing swap! Are we not the same height? Yes. Enough said. Clothing swap is on.

    On the grown up note: We seem to have a similar problem with finding “grown up clothes”. My friend Anne has to continually rein me in (now from across the country). Of course, that means that when I find something office-appropriate (note that I am currently in my office wearing the same shirt I wore when I ran in this morning from JP), I immediately have to buy 4 of [whatever it is] in different colors.

    All that said, if the clothing swap doesn’t work out, we should probably try clothes shopping together. For 8 of the same thing, in four different colors: one for you, and one for me.

  5. Ha, my problem is that at any given time, I own about 4 shirts that fit and are appropriate for the season. So I wear those, plus a few t-shirts with the same cardigan sweater, in rotation for the entire fall/winter. And since I *hate* spending money on new clothes (not that I hate shopping–I quite enjoy shopping if someone else is paying, but my mom seems to think I’m a “grown-up” now and doesn’t send random Kohl’s gift cards anymore), I buy cheap clothes that typically don’t last more than a year or two. And I’m picky, so finding new clothes that I like, that fit right (I’m funny-shaped, but aren’t we all in one way or another?), and that are cheap is a constant challenge. And this means that like Lina, when I find something I like, I buy a few in different colors. But this only expands my wardrobe so much cuz I can’t quite bring myself to wear the same shirt in different colors three days in a row. All of which is to say that pretty much every day, I stare at my closet, which is full of clothes that don’t fit and holey t-shirts from high school, and whine “I don’t have any clothes!” So I feel your pain.

    • Oh, that’s part of my problem, too! As soon as I find I’ve settled into the clothes I have for the season, the season changes! Yeah, this sounds a lot like me. Good luck! I’ll find the deep and insightful answer and share it. And then we’ll both be well dressed. And also rich, because while we’re fantasizing, why not?

  6. Kristine

    I have absolutely zero sense of style. Like you, I feel totally silly in grown-up clothes. Like everyone will be able to tell that I have no clue what I’m doing. If I could live every single day in sweaters and jeans I totally would. Maybe change it up to a t-shirt and jeans in the summer. My wardrobe is pretty underwhelming. In fact, I really only one one pair of shoes suitable for work. One pair!

    It’s not that I don’t like shopping, it’s that I don’t know how to shop. So I gravitate toward the same boring things. Oh well.

    It’s good to know I am not alone!

  7. You are in obvious need of some quality time with If you visited before, but not for a while, there’s a lot more on the site now than a year ago.

  8. i want to shop with you! 🙂

    And I think you should embrace the clothes you feel most comfortable in regardless of where they fall on the dyke spectrum. Just go for it.
    I always feel the most uncomfortable in the outfits I try the hardest to put together….

    I also LOVE my hair super short, but sometimes hesitate b/c of the aforementioned dyke spectrum.

    Also my favorite tip for finding cute super cheap button front shirts (like your wedding shirt) is to find small mens shirts at a thrift store and then take them to a tailor (also known as your dry cleaner). Make sure they fit in the shoulders/sleeve, as those alterations are more expensive, and have the body taken in to fit you.


    ps. I’m cutting my hair off today. 🙂

  9. Lethe

    My clothes shopping strategy is:
    1. thrift stores – just wander around every so often and you will usually find at least one great thing (it’s easier to take risks on new clothes / styles that are new for me if it’s not gonna cost very damn much! also, this is the easiest way to get QUALITY pieces made of nice materials that will last a long time, but for cheap.)
    2. judicious use of H&M for suits and other work clothes
    3. splurging – or really, investing – on the items that i will wear a LOT: particularly shoes and coats. in boston you wanna love your coat(s) because you’re, uh, gonna be wearing them every damn day for a long time. 😉

    when i lived in boston i particularly liked Boomerangs in JP, The Garment District in Cambridge, and the various Planet Aid locations before they closed (don’t know if they ever reopened anywhere)…

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