Happy first Friday of March, dear friends, and welcome to the Open Mic! If you’re new here, on Fridays we get together here for some chat. (Sometimes there’s a guest artist instead.) The topic varies from week to week, but everyone is welcome to participate in the comments.
Let’s talk clothes today, because I have a ridiculous new hat and am happy about it. It is handmade by a local designer and it reminds me of old paintings like Girl with a Pearl Earring, in which you admire the overall effect and then wrinkle up your face and ask yourself, “Wait… what is she wearing on her head, anyway?”
I used to think my interest in fashion was frivolous, and it’s true that it can be (when I think of all the money I spent at LA sample sales, trying vainly to be trendy!). But I don’t think it’s only that. Some people truly don’t care about clothes; Erik, for example, would be (I believe) very happy to follow the Steve Jobs style of dressing. I wouldn’t.
I think even if I were the only person left on the planet, I’d still enjoy adorning myself from time to time. There’s something very deeply, instinctively pleasing about it. It’s the same reason I like to arrange pinecones in lines, or stack oranges (and pomelos, and limes, and kumquats) atop one another. I suspect it has something to do with bringing order to a chaotic world, or in the case of self-ornamentation, distinguishing myself as an individual and not just a mass of cells like any other living organism.
I want to hear about how clothes affect you (even if they don’t). Tell me about how you dress yourself. Do you have favorite articles of clothing, power outfits, items you long for but can’t afford? Are there cherished sartorial memories from your past? Or would you, too, gladly dress yourself daily in a uniform in order to never shop again?
Your hat is adorable! I’d say indoors I LOVE my terry cloth robe. It’s like a big was cushy hug. Outside, I trend towards jeans & tees. I am a lover of fun, sassy, quirky or witty lil tees (small or extra small please). In the winter though, I am a fashion nononono I haven’t figured out how to be both warm and cute lol… Warm wins, I often look like a toddler in a snowsuit… Hawt, huh? lol
Ooh, a good robe is a friend indeed. I haven’t had one I’ve liked in a long time, but I remember the huge purple fleece one I had in high school. I usually end up in jeans and tees too, though I’m always wanted to wear something nicer. I try to do skirts and dresses if I’m going anyplace, because I like how I look in them.
I always wonder how you people in colder climates manage to look good even when it’s freezing. I’m sure I’d be with you in the toddler-in-snowsuit look!
A little of both, Lisa. A uniform of sorts: in winter, cords and turtlenecks, in summer slacks and tees or blouses. But I also enjoy dressing up to go out. Though now that I think about it, it is just a dressier version of the above. I do remember some favorite clothes from my younger days, like the first outfit I actually paid for myself with babysitting money I had saved. I am not a clothes horse, and never have been, but do like to feel good in my clothes, even at home. And I am a sucker for bright new colors, usually buying at least one new item each season, just because I love the color.
I’ve been trying to get more bright clothes too. There was a long time when I only wore black because it’s slimming. Those days have been gone for a while, but still, for someone who so adores colors and prints and textures, my clothes don’t live up to my preference!
I know what you mean about a uniform of sorts. For a few seasons in… college? grad school? I just about lived in skirts and black camis or tanks.
I’m just starting to get into fashion. It’s exciting and interesting after not buying anything for so long. Still trying to absorb it and make sense of it.
Oh, how exciting, Katie! It is a lot to absorb, isn’t it? These days I find big stores overwhelming (almost distressing), but I like small, carefully edited boutiques — or the collective energy of a secondhand store. Are you making more of your own clothes now, or buying them?
We’ve touched on this before, but the TLC program *What Not to Wear* helped me a lot as far as figuring out what looks becoming on me. (I wish I could get the money back I’ve spent on clothing that I fell in love with but that did absolutely nothing for me!!) Also wish I had known all this when I was younger…shopping would have been so much more enjoyable. Have fun Katie!
I like that show too, though I think it’s less tolerant of quirky dressing than it could be. Ah well, they do give solid advice. 🙂 And as the saying goes, it’s useful to know what the rules are, so you can choose to break them!
I’ve always wanted to dress with a certain tasteful style. Whether I’ve achieved that or not is anyones guess. 🙂 I think that comes from a pride in my appearance that my mother gave me and an utter rejection of the sloppiness that a lot of men in the UK settle for. (Shabby-chic is okay – it’s a style,isn’t it ? ) When I had a career in full flow I loved dressing in smart Italian style suits and crisp shirts. In fact, I discovered during my last full-time proper job a couple of years ago when I was really just filling in and cruising I was known as “Alan the Shirt” behind my back. I thought it was funny. Now I wear jeans and colourful shirts and I’ve taken to hats in my later years. I abhor the drab designs made for men of all ages though as needs must I have my share.
A few years ago we were in Sienna and clustered around a concrete totem in the middle of a small square were about 8 Italian older men, probably all in their late 60’s early 70’s,tanned and healthy, catching up with each others gossip – and all dressed in a sharp blazer, cool shirt and tie, clean pressed jeans (every one !) and fine Italian shoes. It’s a great picture. What style !
Aww, are men in the UK sloppy too? I had hoped that was only an American problem. 😦 I love your memory of the sharp Italian men! Can’t wait to get to Italy and see the fashion there for myself. 🙂 I’ve tried on a lot of designer clothes (secondhand mostly!) and I’ve noticed that the Italian ones often seem to fit me better, perhaps because they actually account for what Vicky Bliss (one of my favorite fictional characters) calls “a female-shaped female.”
One thing I envy very much in men’s clothing is that they take account of more measurements (like waist and length in trousers, or shirts having a neck size as well as… whatever else they do for sizing on men’s shirts). They’re starting to do this a bit more with some women’s clothing brands, but mostly it’s just one number and you get what you get. Ugh.
I feel like I could write a novelette on my relationship with clothes, but I’ll keep it shortish. I’ve been through all sorts of clothes-wearing phases. There was the year I loved to mix pink with red, a couple of years when I only wore high heels, even high heel sneakers, except at work, and when i was traveling and living in London for a couple of years in the 90s I didn’t think much about clothes at all as I was saving to travel, but I still managed to buy a pair of spice girl sneakers!
I actually find it difficult to shop though and a lot of my clothes, although my wardrobe is quite small, are impulse buys. I own some very beautiful dresses that I don’t wear enough and wish I would wear more . And I have a coat hanging on my wall, that was given to me by an elderly friend many years ago, that I can’t bring myself to wear anymore because of the fur collar, but I can’t part with it either.
I’d read your novelette! I could write one myself! Ooh… I had high heeled sneakers once too. Now I shudder to think of them, but at the time they seemed an excellent idea.
I have a hard time shopping too. Everything always seems poorly made and badly fitting, or else expensive, or all three! I think I have perfectionist standards but a laid-back lifestyle, and when they clash (which is often) I get frustrated.