02 June 2010

A Malaise of the Closet

I've been struggling with something recently, Fabulous Readers.

I've been struggling with getting dressed.

This morning, for example, I spent a hour trying to get dressed. An hour! And I ended up in.... jeans and a T-shirt.

today's outfit, jeans, tee, Fluevog sandals
Purple striped T-shirt, Martin + Osa, thrifted
Jeans, Victoria's Secret, remixed
Shoes, John Fluevog "Choice Hi," remixed

Cute jeans and a T-shirt, yes, and there's nothing wrong with jeans and a T-shirt, per se, but still - after an hour of effort, the best I could salvage from my (not unfull) closet was jeans and a bloody tee.

I don't know what happened to my fashion mojo, where it went, or how to get it back. Every single thing in my wardrobe seems unappealing, even though I know I picked each item with care and consideration.

Part of it's my body and my image of it. I've been slack about going to the gym, for no good reason at all. I know I should love my body Just The Way It Is - but I don't. It's not that I'm unhappy with my size, it's that I'm unhappy with my shape. And texture. A month or so away from the gym means a slightly broader waist, looser upper arms, and a general lack of nice, firm muscle tone. They're small differences, but they loom large.

Martin + Osa tee, Victoria's Secret jeans

Another part of it's summer. There are a lot of things I love about summer. I love the long, lazy evenings when the light never seems to fade. I love the heat that seeps into my bones and the bright sunlight. I love gardening (check out my spiffy new shade garden behind me! I put that in this past weekend). I love cooking dinner on the grill every night for a week straight. I love tall, fizzy cocktails. I love pies made from fruit that was on the tree that morning.

I don't love summer clothes. At all.

I can't layer in summer, for one. If you're lucky, you can get away with a camisole under a tank in summer, or a light jacket over a dress. Much more than that, and you braise gently in your own clothes (particularly if, like mine, your house isn't air conditioned). Yuck. I didn't realize how much I'd come to depend on the ability to stack layer upon layer of texture, color and pattern to create visual interest, until I couldn't do it without courting heatstroke.

I also just don't like summer clothing. Floaty, barely-there dresses don't flatter or even contain my figure. Light, unstructured fabrics are cool and comfortable, but usually make me look dumpy. Strapless dresses are a nightmare at my bra size. I love my curvy rear, but the pair of shorts that'll fit it gracefully, without gapping at the back waist, cutting in at the leg openings, or bunching up in the crotch has yet to be sewn.

silver necklaces, Jenn Feldman Glass pendant
 Tangle of silver necklaces, including a pendant from Jenn Feldman Glass (remixed), tiny crescent moon pendant Fabulous Husband bought me because it reminded him of my tattoo (remixed), and the amethyst ring I wore while he and I were engaged.
photos: Fabulous Husband

Am I whining a little (a lot)? You bet. Am I aware of how bratty, overprivileged, and ridiculous my complaint is - not even that I have no clothes to wear, but that I have a whole lot of clothes and simply don't want to wear them? Absolutely.

Does that in any way mitigate my frustration at my inability to present a coherent image with which I'm happy to the world, or my distress in finding no enjoyment in the process of getting dressed, only aggravation?

Not at all.

Have you ever gotten to a point where getting dressed felt like drudgery? How did you get through it? Better yet, how did you get out of it?


  1. Oh my word do I ever know what you're talking about!
    I used to live in BC - where it is cool and rainy for much of the summer and cold and rainy for the better part of the year.
    I lived in fun graphic tees layered over colorful tanks, with cool cardigans over that, and playful skirts with awesome tights or socks underneath. I love layering!
    And now I live in Hawaii, where it is mostly hot and summery year-round.
    I can't layer without boiling to death in my clothes! :(
    I'm slowly discovering a new style that works with me (I have a similar body-type to your own) - floaty-er skirts over thin tights or leggings, paired with t-shirts that are cut longer. And of course, flip-flops for casual (everyone wears them with everything, here).
    It's a slow journey for me - but I'm learning.

  2. I'm a similar body type to you, very curvy. My summer outfits are dresses (that you can wear a bra with) with capri length thin leggings underneath.

  3. Wow, that is such a bummer. I grew up in a majorly hot climate, so I have the opposite problem. Where I'm from: shirt, shorts, shoes - GO! I loved that lifestyle. Here I'm always having to wear what seems like extra, until I get outside, and find out that even extra is not enough.

    I suppose the only advice I can give is that shirts with interesting details are a good avenue. Even jersey tops these days come with lots of fun puckering, pleats, and applique, and when combined with a flattering low scoop or V-neckline, these can be gorgeous on a woman who is curvy up top. Also, structured short pants do exist. They are as difficult to find as well-fitting long pants, but well worth it. I like a sturdy twill or canvas, in Burmuda short or just below the knee capri length.

    Good luck on finding your inspiration!

  4. I struggle with summer clothes every year. My pale, bony arms look like sticks, my collarbone sticks out, inviting strangers to make comments about my weight. I just hate dressing for summer, and more than anything, I hate it because I hate being so conscious about the way I look. I feel like I should know better than that; that I should love my body and be proud of it, with all of its imperfections. Usually by the time I have gotten used to summer clothes and the difficulties they pose, it is close to autumn, and then I'm just happy I can layer again. And did I mention that I love summer? Oh, the irony!

  5. I love summer dressing - I actually find I fall into a rut more often in winter. Like today, for instance! Like you, I spent about an hour trying to decide what to wear, and ended up in pants and a sweater. Mojo is severely missing today. The cold makes me want to walk around in a thermal blanket and not bother with clothes!

  6. like "impossible color" i have more of a problem with winter dressing.

    im perfectly happy in a wafty little dress or a tank and shorts during the summer - probably from years of life guarding where fashion is not exactly encouraged. but i have a hard time caring and not wanting to walk around like a blanket monster in the wintertime.


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