Fashion--or Lack Thereof

My messy closet. The couple bright t-shirts? Bought them on the shopping trip described below. Because everything is bright this season. And these were the only three I could stomach. May 2013.

I really don’t like shopping. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes unavoidable.

And recently, I needed new work clothes.

I went to five stores, not including multiple department stores and boutiques at the Houston Galleria. Misery. After two days of effort, I walked away with three t-shirts. (And although I wish t-shirts could pass as work clothing for me, they don’t.)

So I complained on Twitter, as one does. In response, Will Pora asked me what I considered worthwhile, wearable, good clothing. After all, what I found unworkable would be someone else’s fashion nirvana.

Here goes:

  • Comfort. I won’t suffer for fashion. If I can’t wear it all day without fussing or feeling constructed, I pass.
  • Clean and classic. I like clothing with clean lines and classic shapes. I prefer fabrics that have weight and structure. Hippie and grunge styles just don’t work for me.
  • Simple. Clothes must be easy to get into—wrestling arms and head into fabric isn’t fun. An item should clearly indicate how one wears it—no puzzles allowed. And if it takes too many steps or layers of extras to make an outfit work, I won’t wear it.
  • Solid colors. I lean towards solid hues. Or one main color and an accent color. And minimal to no patterns. Busy fabrics overwhelm my pale coloring. Also, they get dated quickly. (See below.)
  • Timeless (or nearly so). I’m not into trendy. I want clothes I can wear for years—if not decades. I have some clothes from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that still garner compliments. Timelessness is especially critical for pricier fashion.
  • Suited. Through many painful adolescent-years of trial and error, I learned that clothing cute on someone else may not suit my shape. I do well with fitted on the top and more unstructured or full on the bottom. Always.

What’s your idea of good clothing?

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Reader Comments (6)

I agree with your analysis. I have a few rules of my own for workwear:

No cleavage, no jeans, no shorts, and I want sleeves. My office is air-conditioned to slightly above freezing; bare arms may be fashionable, but I can't focus when I'm cold.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

all of that, plus no clothes that are dry clean only (outerwear and special occasion clothing are exempt). ain't nobody got time for that.

May 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

When I was at the office I would wear business casual. I discovered no ironing pants and shirts and was overjoyed.

I was then sent to a home office and I went to all out on t-shirts and jeans. Though comfy to wear not always appropriate. So now I am slowly (very slowly as I hate shopping) looking for alternatives.

I also have a joyful problem in that I am beginning to find my clothes too baggy and loose to wear anymore. I aim to wait until the difference is too noticeable before investing too much in a smaller size.

May 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Pora

Good work, Will! Excited to hear a new wardrobe may be in your future for such a fantastic reason!

Melissa: I'm with you on the dry cleaning. Hate that! Yet most clothes appropriate for work, for me, require it. Sigh.

Rebecca: Nothing annoys me more than offices (and restaurants!) that over-air condition. Seriously: If it were as cold outside as it is inside some of these places, everyone would ask to turn on the heat. In the summer in Houston, I have to actually bring a scarf or wrap at all times, just in case. In the summer!

May 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

Echoing the comfort factor. I'm on my feet all day, so my shoes MUST be durable and comfortable. Years ago I discovered Dansko clogs, now it's the only shoes I wear.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Kim, those do sound comfy! For me, I'll know I've made it when I can wear my gym clothes to work in all contexts. Alas, I'm not quite there yet.

June 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterLeslie Farnsworth

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