Saturday, June 03, 2006

confidences of a clothes horse

A lot of clothing designers devote their lives to making women look dumpy, slutty, or foolish. Perhaps it is not their intent but on the rack and on the body, the clothes say things like:

"I am built like a box."
"I seem to have misplaced my waist."
"I am a giraffe"
"Check out my boobs!"
"If I sit down these pants will split."
"I don't eat."
"I wish I was a streetwalker"
"I wish I was an Ikette"
"I wish I was a Diva."
"I really like sailboats/cats/puppies/ducks/flowers/whales/wolves/unicorns
"Hey, check out the giant flower/bow/beaded thingy on my ass/chest/shoulder/stomach/hip?"

Which is great if that's the look you're going for. Sometimes it is. (?!) The best of the fantasy clothes are in the junior's section of the department store. I love shopping in the junior's section. While the clothes are for the most part poorly made, they are an adventure. Color, sequins, metallics, stretchy fabrics, crazy patterns, asymmetric hemlines and necklines, beading - you name it. And you can get away with it when you are young. You are experimenting. You can get away with anything.

When I shopped as a young woman, somedays, there was a "why not" element to it. A stretchy gold knit top with rhinestones paired with a pink ballet tutu with purple flowers embroidered on it? Why not. Black velvet catsuit with a red and gold shiny vest? Why not. Stretch leopard print pants and glittery hello kitty t-shirt? Why not. The trick was finding an occassion to wear it. And when I couldn't I would just hop around in them at home. They were cheap and it was halloween, prom, ballet class, and a hollywood movie set all rolled into one. Good times.

But now I have reached an age at which junior's department occassions are few and far between in my day to day.

I have reached an age at which sometimes I need clothes that fit well and are flattering while also saying: "I am professional, responsible, and capable - respect me." I need boring, appropriate clothes that look good.

No easy task. Especially as a department store clearance shopper.
I realize that we come in all shapes and sizes and style preferences vary but gosh golly sometimes I envy the men with their simple suits are uniforms convention.

As a gal slowly trying to get on the job interview trail the phrase "Business casual" drives me crazy. I hope gauchos are acceptable as business casual because I have three pairs of them. (What can I say, I'm gaucho wild.) I also hope that dusty purple leather shoes are acceptable as business casual.

But what I really want is to find a store where I can buy a really great white button down shirt for $20 or less. Y'know the kind of white shirt that made Lauren Hutton's tan look browner and her teeth whiter.


Lever said...

Uh... the business look... I know you're at the presentation-for-interview stage but it's when you're deemed more professional because you wear a suit for work that just sucks.

Once upon a time I was paid to read the business & technology newspapers as part of my job - wearing a white shirt was hell - and the starchy collars whilst sitting at a hot sunlit desk all day doing design - why?

Now the business look only comes out on very rare ocassions. TFFT :)

Good luck with it all - I wonder if it'll be easier to get a job than a wardrobe? ;)

MomVee said...

Have you tried Old Navy for the shirt? Or the boys' section at a department store? Boys' sizes go up to 20 sometimes.

I'm with you about the junior's department. I see that leggings are back, and I loved them passionately 20 years ago, but I think I have to give them a pass this time.

Jay said...

Fashion is a fickle thing, but if it means that velvet cat suits are a thing of the past, then it's not all bad!

What's an ikette, anyway/

searchingforMrDarcy said...

Let me know if shopping in the boys section actually allows you to buy a shirt that would actually fit over breasts and allow one to lift their arms?

fishlamp said...

I kinda see what you mean... I walked into the Vans store a few months ago (because I love their stuff), but ended up not buying anything because I don't have the occasions to wear clothes like that anymore.

ergo said...

lever: The day to day suit thing sounds pretty miserable.
When it came to formal dances in school I always thought the getting of a dress was a bigger deal than the getting of a date. But in the work world, things might be different.

momvee: I'll check with both. Thanks. ... Leggings are back? OMG. OMG. I just talked myself into retiring the kelly green ones that make me look like an X-mas elf.

jay: *chuckle* I suppose the rest of the world is relieved to see the cat suit go. Speaking for me I am meditating on a shiny pink haltered version.

The Ikettes were the backup singers (and dancers?) for Tina Turner way back in the day when she was with Ike Turner. (a sad part of her history. The Ikettes were a glorious part of the show)

sfmd: I will do. Or avoid lifting my arms at all costs.

fishlamp: I now go into the junior's clothing stores for the entertainment value more than anything.

Kat E said...

Ergo, at least you probably still *fit* into the junior sizes, even if you have nowhere to wear the stuff. I'm trying to rediscover my fashion identity after 2 years of office wear. Just because I'm working at home doesn't mean I'm going for sweats and housecoats :)

ergo said...

kat e: I think I am a size eleven in junior sizes.
Let me know where you end up fashion wise. It's gotta be better than the misery that is the working woman's uniform.