Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Warning: Wardrobe Prattle Ahead

So you've all seen DrWende in the comments, right? She announced last month that she'll be doing Wardrobe Therapy once she gets settled in St. Paul. It starts Wednesday! I'm so excited!

Here's the deal: Wardrobe Therapy is not designed to get you to spend money on hot trends or prescribe a list of clothing "must haves." It's more Wende asks questions and makes observations, and you think and respond, either at your own blog or over in her comments. Whatever floats your boat--you too can have a mostly untraceable internet persona, and who really cares about your hatred of pencil skirts?

There's a lot of reasons why I'm into this, aside from finding Wende's questions and perspective provocative:

1) I moved from a place that had a daytime high of 65 degrees last week. I moved to a place where that was the nighttime low all week. During the day it was about 92 degrees. Granted, that's about 10 degrees warmer than usual, and the heat really is different here, but I was in TJ Maxx tempted by lovely cheap cashmere, usually an auto-buy for me, but then I hit myself in the head and said, "Self, what are you thinking?"

I have no clue how to dress out here. I moved here partly because I could wear short sleeves year round, but honestly, I'm flailing when it comes time to get dressed. I wore 2 pairs of shorts all summer. I don't own things like cotton sweaters or camisoles/tanktops. Open toed shoes puzzle me.

2) I left most of my clothes in Cleveland, including my professional wardrobe. The only things I shipped out here were my spring and summer clothes. Yes, it's 80-something degrees, but it will get a little colder. I also gave away almost everything-- all my vintage that I bought bought at thrifts because it was appealing or weird, accessories, items that someone should have stopped me from trying to wear in the first place. I have actually started making a formal budget for clothes, but I need to make a shopping list of specific items to buy, not doing my usual random purchases.

3) I like clothes, and my family values being well turned out, but it's like I never got a clue even though I read fashion magazines as a teen and young adult for instruction on how to pose as a girl. The same upbringing that keeps me independent, intellectual and immune from social pressures makes it hard to blend in when necessary. Like most women I have body issues, but honestly I think it's linked more to have a huge amount of social anxiety coupled with a naturally boisterous personality. It's like I just burst forth sometimes, Old Faithful as a quiet female, right after I impersonated the rock in the forest the Feral Care Bear lounged against. Part of it is PTSD from working with the bank bitches, who were fashion bullies. And being a size 16 doesn't help, but honestly--when I was a size 10 I still had a lot of problems dressing myself and finding things I like. These days, I am wearing things I find edgy, but in truth they are not at all edgy. I work with accountants and librarians. The bar is low.

There are some people who read this blog whose thoughts on clothes I'd like to hear:

Tracy H--you're the redheaded bombshell of IT, and you dress like it. I marvel at you--who else would buy herself diamond solitaire earrings at 24 and wear them daily? You always look great, and I'm just wondering about your decision making process.

Genevieve--I know you're busy saving money to move, and you just had a baby. But I know you're trying to not to fall into the schlumpy mommy trap. And honestly, in every picture I've seen lately of you, you're getting prettier.

MFA Jane--Because obsessing about clothes is a nice alternative to obsessing about poetry. Just because you're an academic doesn't mean you are not gorgeous.

Camilla--Because your style was the first thing I noticed about you.

SuperC--You have a severe need for girl chat. And it would be nice to hear from you more!

Anyone else interested? You can post in my comments or mosey over to DrWende's. Internet aliases are also useful!

1 comment:

Lisa S. said...

It's always weird when I see a commenter from one blog (the Apartment Therapies) show up on another I'm reading. Worlds colliding!

I am glad you're writing about this! I have many weird and not-quite-cohesive thoughts on clothing, social pressure, art, gender construction and commerce and welcome a chance to chew on this.