Fashion, Crimes Against

27 Oct

I used to be someone else.  A subscriber to Vogue, a discerning and frequent shopper, a collector of eccentric shoes, and yes, of course, a devotee to Pat Fields via Carrie Bradshaw.  I used to carefully consider additions to my closet, viewing each new piece as a resource – tools to be carefully calibrated.  I mean, I won “Best Dressed” at my 8th grade graduation.  I also won “Best Hair.”  I used to have it going on.

At present, my wardrobe can best be described as nudity-preventing.  That is the function it has come to serve.  It contains some nice pieces from “before” – pre move-to-chicago-jobless-vagabond-pregnancy-baby.  The pieces that I have added “after” are an amalgamation of clearance rack finds from Target and Old Navy, some hastily-grabbed bad decisions from Forever 21, and a healthy collection of things-I’ll-maybe-never-wear/needs-a-few-tweeks-with-my-sewing-machine thrift store finds.   Oh, and a rainbow assortment of American Apparel tees and sweatshirts, purchased once a year as generous Christmas gifts from my parents.  I’m not looking great, guys.  My daily uniform is typically some version of jeans, tee-shirt, sweatshirt, Toms, and my signature scarf – a blue beach cover-up that I got in Mexico when I was in 5th grade.  I looked in the mirror the other day and realized that Justin Bieber, that little shit, has co-opted my look.  I realized later that he also looks better than I do.

I also notice, as I look in the mirror, that those tee-shirts just don’t quite fit like they used to.  There is an………… area of concern.  It’s right in the middle of my body and it looks like it needs a bra for support.  I’ve always been a solid gal – never one to say no to cheese or a beer, but I think this excess is child-bearing related.  I’ve made my peace with my new shape (or the augmented version of my old shape).  I get a fair amount of exercise and I eat a decently healthy diet (full disclosure – I am drinking coffee with a can of left-over reddiwip as a sidecar).  But my clothing has come to no such resolution.  As I assess my body in these clothes, it becomes clear to me that nobody is happy with the arrangement.  My clothes, stretched to capacity, are starting to abandon their posts while my body makes frantic moves for the exits.  In every direction, flesh is trying to escape – up the back of my pants, out the bottom of my shirts.  My cup runneth over.  Even my gangly wrists and ankles are struggling for freedom.  It’s time for a change.

Other catalysts include:

  • A TSA agent asking if I was going camping while searching through my luggage packed to attend a friend’s wedding
  • Frequent closet crisis’ which culminate in depressed resignation and the wearing of a sweatshirt on a date

So I’ve decided to take myself shopping.  I’ve chosen a day (friday), arranged childcare, and made a list of some must-find pieces (ex:  shirt without stain).  In preparation, I have been doing some research in the hopes of getting on board with what the kids are wearing these days.  I have made the following discoveries:

  • Anything looks pretty good if you’re thin
  • Anything looks positively chic if you’re thin and rich.
  • Anything goes together if you’ve got long hair and sunglasses
  • Men are not wearing socks anymore, women are wearing them with sandals
  • It is never winter anywhere
  • Casually roll up your pants
  • Everyone in the fashion industry wants you to have a tailored white shirt
  • No actual people wear tailored white shirts
  • I never should have thrown away all of those long flowing skirts from my high school days
  • Ditto my ruffle-y peasant blouses and silk (suppress the throw-up)shirts
  • Extreme haircuts make jean-jumpers okay
  • Advanced style is my new favorite blog
So, basically, I’m as confused as where I started.  I do have a sense of current trends in shape and color and I’ve always had a good eye for prints.  Armed with this and a week’s steady visual diet of The Sartorialist’s archives, I will board the redline on friday morning with a latte and the redeye sudoku puzzle whilst Ida spends the day with her Gigi, eating candy and making messes.  I plant to hit (in this carefully considered order):  Topshop, Zara, and H&M, with possible stops after as specific needs arise/time allows.  I am also planning to relish the opportunity to people-watch downtown.
Now I know that there are real things happening in the world right now.  As I posted on facebook soliciting recommendations for fashion blogs a couple of days ago, several friends were posting on the terrible things happening at Occupy Oakland.  I know that fashion doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.  Except that it does a little bit.  I’m not trying to say that my little shopping trip is important (I’m not even arguing that it’s entirely responsible), but I am saying that fashion is in the mix of things we think about.  We’re going to think about it at least a little bit (some of us are going to think about it a lot).  If we engage with it, it can become like anything else – like food, or architecture, or transportation – it can serve as an outlet – an opportunity – for art and joy.  It can be fun.  It can be provocative.  It can be smart.
I’m not sure about you, but I feel like I just can’t pass up another opportunity to be thoughtful and creative in my life.  I can’t pass up a chance to flourish, which is how I see this little project I’m undertaking.
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6 Responses to “Fashion, Crimes Against”

  1. Beth Lucas October 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    It’s like you’ve taken my current thoughts on fashion and whipped them into utterly comprehensible paragraphs. This winter will be my first one in Michigan since 2005. I’ve spent the last 6 years living in the south, gaining weight, and having babies — my wardrobe is woefully inadequate for Michigan winter. I think a drawer full of sweatshirts might actually be a step *up*….

  2. lizjoyntsandberg October 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    What a nice thing to say, Beth! Thanks! I wish you were here so we could re-vamp our wardrobes in solidarity! And eat pizza for lunch (which I totally plan to do solo 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes.

  3. Bonnie Morales October 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    I also feel like you have somehow reached inside my brain and made it into a lovely little package. What’s wrong with us? I remember wondering how those poor souls on What Not to Wear got so pathetic — and now I could actually be on that show.

    Anyways, just wanted to stop and let you know I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND thank you for being you 🙂

    • lizjoyntsandberg October 28, 2011 at 1:59 am #

      I WISH I could be on What Not to Wear! Instead I must supervise myself in this project. And I’m the one who got myself into this mess in the first place. Oh dear. For what it’s worth, I always think you like very stylish and hip, Bonnie.

      • lizjoyntsandberg October 28, 2011 at 2:00 am #

        Opps, I meant “look” – you look very stylish and hip 🙂

  4. Jane November 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    ha- I like your fashion discoveries. . .so true. I also am doing a little revamping this fall myself! how do I keep up with the kids without looking like a kid and still feeling like myself? and how do I dress comfortably for body work and nannying without wearing yoga-mom clothes everyday? these are my questions for the season . . . 🙂

    and I agree, I think fashion is a great creative outlet for me that I’ve learned not to feel guilty about!

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