Thursday, August 27, 2009

in the closet

This is a totally self-indulgent post. After reading all about body image issues and the ensuing personal stories, I feel kind of selfish about posting an Outfit Success.

But I'm gonna.

Ever have one of those moments when you aren't sure about what to wear, because you're in a hurry, because you need to get the kids to school and your training kit together so that you can run after work, and you're rushing because you still don't have your makeup on and you are standing there in your closet wearing underwear, and your hair is dripping and you just don't know where to start?

No? Well, that's me maybe once a week: standing there in a closet full of great ideas, with no braincells to put it all together.

As I explained to Moi once, I tend to buy things in outfits. This way I know what each thing goes with. For example, I will always put X shirt with X pants because I bought them together. If I buy single pieces, I get easily confused and I don't know if it goes, I don't know if it works, I turn into a headless chicken. I know. It's like I need Garanimals for grown ups.

There's really a lot of answers to this quandry:

1) Buy everything as outfits . . . except I can't always afford a whole wardrobe, and sometimes I like single pieces. And sometimes I shop at Anthropologie - where there is no outfit, only a whole lot of really quirky, expensive, and cool single pieces.

2) Color code my closet, or just shop at White House/Black Market, where you can never, ever go wrong with anything you put together in their store. White/Black eliminates all fashion risk because black and white always go together, or with jeans.

3) Take a fashion risk. This is hard, because sometimes I stretch and it goes wrong. It goes very wrong, and I get to live with it all day. But then, every so often I have a fashion triumph, when it works.

4) Phone a friend, which I have been known to do. But not always an option when I'm in said closet in a bad way . . .

5) Keep a style book and plan ahead - like Moi does. More on this later.

This morning I'd missed my early morning run, slept in, I was running late, needed to pack a whole bunch of crap, and was basically throwing a tiny tantrum because I didn't want to wear any of my matchy-matchy outfits.

The fashion ghost whispered in my ear - start with one thing you know you want to wear, and work from there.

Languishing in a corner is a simple silk taffeta mini that jCrew has been selling all summer long. It's silver, it's shiny. I fully admit I am a magpie. I once had an opportunity to shop at a jCrew outlet store, but I only had 10 minutes. Not one to miss out on a bargain, I bought 4 pieces at slashed prices. I shop there online often, I thought I knew what I was getting into. When I saw the silver taffeta mini on sale for $30 I snatched it up, along with a little purple cardigan (really, what can go wrong with a purple cardigan and a silver skirt?). I had this catalog image in my head when I did:

That looks awesome, doesn't it? Casual, effortless, but a little glamorous. That's totally me!

Wow, even though her shirt is untucked, she looks fab. Messy and chic. I want that!

Mine looks more like this, in real life:
It's pretty shapeless on the rack, and it's pretty shapeless on the ass. It's a bag. It's like a wide belt. It's like a pair of shorts with no crotch. Elastic waistband means it's effortless to put on, but it's really casual, not fitted. When I first tried it on, I was bitterly disappointed. I thought it looked more like this.
...except less fabulous. But I want to wear it, dammit, I paid $30 for that skirt! I look fab even with no clothes on, how can I be flummoxed by a stupid skirt?! Moi said I should keep it. Silver is neutral, it goes with everything. Surely something can be found...

I grabbed the skirt and then pawed through the closet for something that would not reveal the skirt's main flaw (a bad bad bad waistline), and I landed on this, a slightly risky purchase from jCrew this summer:
I bought it based on this catalog photo (I mean, look at this -- wouldn't you?):
Doesn't she look amazing with that top with her vintage jeans? I bought the top myself to go with a pair of shredded jeans and heels and have worn it that way since day 1. Chic, casual, approachable, etc. This top looks sorta like this on me, if I had a much longer waist. Sigh.

Yes, this post is so far all about how I am a victim of jCrew's marketing, more than fashion snark, isn't it?
Snarker, snark thyself.

I took a risk this morning: I paired the Giraffe with the Hippopotamus, and then a nice pair of sandals, like these

. . . except mine are all silver and not #350 pounds and not Giuseppe Zanotti. Then I let one of my daughters choose accessories. She does pretty good, she picked pearls.

I'll be darned. It totally works. Hmm . . . Maybe jCrew is like Garanimals for grown-ups.

So, the moral of the story is: If you compulsively purchase a very pretty garbage bag from jCrew, be sure to pair it with something that is not fitted and has no waist, and you too will look chic, effortless, and put-together, and no-one has to know the story of your inner turmoil and closet panic.

Unless you blog about it.


moi said...

Actually, in spite of my look book? My style is mostly, as I explained to a friend of mine just the other night, based on the concept of taking a handful of spaghetti, throwing it at the wall, and seeing what sticks.

You are to be applauded for keeping the shiny bag and making it work. Now, I'm off to figure out how to get my paws on knock offs of those Zanottis . . .

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

In the course of researching this post, I too have discovered a certain, er, lust for Zanotti. I had no idea.

My knock-offs were $30 from Dillards last season, but I've worn the crap out of them. I'm gettin' my $30 bucks worth, I tell you.

Boxer said...

the picture of the garbage sack made me spit my drink out.

some of the best things I've worn were random acts of fashion. Of course I emailed pictures of jewelry to Moi last month for her advise on what NOT to wear. Who knew too many gold cuff bracelets were bad? Ahahahahah

moi said...

"Random acts of fashion" That's brilliant! Usually, I'm big thumbs up when it comes to piling on the bling. But goodness, that was a LOT of gold. Bless your MIL.

21stCenturyMom said...

We need a picture of you in said outfit.

I'm sure it looked great but I want evidence, please!