Clothes make the (wo)man

In the early weeks of my blogging venture, I found the Yeah Write weekly challenges to be a great way to hone my writing and find new readers. This was one of my early entries.

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I have a secret.

I’m not really into clothes.

Now that I have your attention, I should explain that I am not referring to a penchant for nudism.  Given the choice between clothes and not-clothes, I would definitely pick clothes every time. But I don’t care much about what clothes.

That’s not to say that I don’t dress well. I have been described as “well put-together.” I manage to show up to work looking reasonably professional. But I don’t have a lot of clothes, and when I latch on to something that I feel looks “right” on me, I guarantee you will see a lot of it. I own one purse. I have a couple of pairs of black leather shoes for work that have been chosen because they can be worn with everything (or rather, I WEAR them with everything, regardless…)

black shoesI sometimes think it would be nice to have the kind of job where I was expected to wear a uniform to work, so I wouldn’t have to think about what to wear. In lieu of that, I’ve created my own ersatz uniform that generally consists of plain black pants or a plain black skirt, an equally plain black shirt, and one of an assortment of solid-colour blazers.

One of the (many) nice things about being on leave from work is that I have, for the past two and half months, existed pretty much exclusively in a black t-shirt and a pair of black yoga-capris, until the weather turned cool and I could trade in the capris for my jeans. Actually, never mind the uniform. What I really want is a job to which I can wear jeans and a black t-shirt every day. (Maybe THAT’s why I would like to be able to write for a living.)

Another nice thing about being on leave has been the discovery that, if one faithfully walks and does one’s leg-strengthening exercises daily as prescribed by the nice orthopaedic surgeon, one’s jeans suddenly start to get looser!

So when I screwed up the energy to go and try on clothes today, I found myself hating the process less than I usually hate clothes shopping.  Not that I was inspired by my newfound muscle tone to go sartorially crazy—I hasten to point out that I came home with black pants and a black shirt. But they looked REALLY GOOD. And I suppose the shirt is slightly less plain than many other black shirts I have owned.

But actually, my real secret is this: I would love to be on What Not to Wear. In my heart of hearts, I would give anything to have Clinton and Stacey knock on my door, confiscate my drawer full of faded black t-shirts and tease me about my sensible shoes, and then waft me off to New York to build a whole new wardrobe from scratch. The “Cinderella” transformation story that runs through every episode totally captivates me. My favourite was a reunion episode where a group of program alumnae talked about their lives after being on the show. These women really were transformed by the discovery that they could feel good about their appearance. I don’t think that’s shallow. Actors will tell you that putting on the costume helps you become the character. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that learning how to dress your particular body well is going to make you more confident.

And I bet those New York boutiques have some really nice black pants.

This post has been entered in a weekly writing challenge. Click the button to read other entries, and on Thursday vote for your 5 favourites.


4 thoughts on “Clothes make the (wo)man

  1. Sadly, WNTW is off the air. I used to watch it religiously and learned a lot. If you really want to mix things up (and it sounds like you could), try shopping 5 new stores (online possibly) you would never before have considered. It will def. shake up your style (like Urban Outfitters, Anthropolgie, H & M, Sundance Catalog and Neiman Marcus…on sale.) I am 57 but most people guess me 10 to 15 years younger. I loathe the idea of looking matronly, which many 50-something women tend to start to do…One of my best dresses is a bright red cotton sheath from H & M that I dress up with great accessories.

    1. Oh I do get adventurous from time to time. Part of my issue is a great aversion to spending money on clothes (would rather spend it on DOING things :)!)
      So when I do buy clothes, I tend to gravitate to things that go with what’s already in my closet.

      1. Solution? Vintage/thrift/consignment…you can score some fantastic quality for much less $$$. I’m certainly not advocating buying a pile ‘o random stuff! No one I know is that rich. But if you keep buying and wearing black, time to mix it up a bit!

        1. I don’t wear ONLY black! I have quite an assortment of coloured blazers and sweaters, and one killer red dress. But black is definitely my sartorial comfort food. It runs in the family. If you are a woman in my bloodline, you like black 🙂

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