Thursday, April 30, 2009

What to Wear, What to Wear

Stop me if you've heard this one before:

I realized, shortly after losing my job, that almost every article of clothing I owned was intended for: a) wearing to work, or b) wearing to the nicer clubs/bars I used to frequent.  What does that mean?  Because my idea of "business casual" is something like JUST DON'T DO IT IT MAKES YOU LOOK FRUMPY, my work clothes were pencil-skirts, dry-clean only sweaters, or gauzy silk blouses, straight out of "The Secretary."

I dressed like a secretary from a Cary Grant movie.

I rarely wore pants, because I preferred to wear skirts (mostly because I have a ridiculously long inseam, so I always had to buy pants with a 36" inseam and get them tailored).  For the above-mentioned reasons, my weekly dry-cleaning bills were in the $50-80 range.  No joke.  

Obviously, once unemployed, you want all your clothes to be machine-washable, or nearly all of them.  It's cheaper, and it's not like you don't have the time to wash them.  To top it off, almost all of my clothes were wintery.  Summer and spring clothes wear out much faster, my sister and I have decided, because you HAVE to wash them between wearings.  Once the weather began its transition from freeze-your-buns-off cold to make-you-sweat hot, I realized that I was wearing the same 3 things over and over again.

I decided that I needed to buy some clothes, so I did.  I hit The Gap, but their clothes didn't look like $50/item clothes, and there was nothing on the sale rack that appealed to me.  On I moved to Banana Republic, which, once upon a time, was like Cheers for me.  Everyone there knew me.  Again, nothing appealed to me, except, of course, for some beautiful silk sheath dresses that are absolutely useless in my current role of stay-at-home-mom-(without-the-kids).

XXI, a cheap cheap clothing store where I sometimes find garments that look like a million bucks, also came up empty.  Macy's, Dillard's, nada.  I take that back, I found a shirt at Macy's, but I couldn't bring myself to spend $80 on it, and it was slightly too big.  I hit Anthropologie, and finally caved, buying a sweater on super-sale and a surplice t-shirt.  Both were more than I'd hoped to spend on clothes ($40 and $50, respectively), but I was getting frustrated at this point.  I was so desperate, I even went into Arden B., for crying out loud!

One of the complicating factors in my clothes-buying experience is the fact that almost everything I want to buy is either black or white.  I don't like hot pink, bubble-gum blue, or true reds.  They make me look weird, and I always feel like a teenager from a bad 80s movie when I wear them.  A bright salmon, I can wear.  Cerulean blue, no problem (the shirt in the pic is the one I bought, but in cerulean, actually).  The people at Banana Republic used to tease me about the fact that I only bought balck/white clothes.  At work, I could branch out, wearing a black skirt, say, with a soft pink shirt.

I'm also kind of obsessive when it comes to how clothes are cut.  Give me three-quarter length sleeves over cap sleeves, any day.  My arms are by no means skinny, and have become less so, oddly enough, since I quit working.  I guess heaving all those computers around for my boss did something for my upper-arms.

So after searching for 3 hours, I came away with two shirts.  Looks like the hunt will have to continue, since I will soon need more casual clothes if a potential job in an industrial manufacturing facility pans out.

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