…part 1.5, she said sheepishly.

Of course, between thought and action, I need to put planning. How am I going to do this?

1. What do I have? What’s sitting in my closet? Does it fit and flatter me? (If not, why is it even in there?) Do I wear it often enough to justify keeping it there? (If not, shall I store it or simply give it away?) What’s in storage and can it be worn?

2. What do I need? Having weeded out the old, what gaps need filling? What are my new wardrobe basics? I already know that I don’t need as much workwear as I thought I would, but it’s nice to have in case something comes up. At the same time, my personal style isn’t really jeans-oriented. I’ve discovered a penchant for semi-casual sharpness. I’ve got to build comfort into that sharpness, because I definitely can’t revert to pyjamas every time I have a flare.

3. Color. I think the first step toward rebuilding will be, for me, deciding on a core palette and sticking to it. I look good in true white and black. If I get basics in those shades, I can accent in colors. The stronger the better; pastels and ices seldom work. My grays need to match. Maybe once I’m totally rebuilt and my body hasn’t changed too radically, say, in a year, I can start building browns and golds back in. Maybe. To be honest, it’s so much easier for me not to have to fuss. I’ll probably keep the existing browns that fit and resolve not to replace them.

4. Price, style, and quality. My budget is, admittedly, low. I take a lot of fashion bloggers’ advice and translate it down: instead of looking in $POSHSTORE, I find the equivalent. I need to do this without sacrificing quality. Inexpensive, not cheap. I’ll be wearing my clothes until they fall apart or become inappropriate. That’s the most budget-friendly tactic of all! So I’ve got to choose well, when I do choose. I might like it today, but I have to love it tomorrow, and a month from now, and a year from now. Classics over trends. It has to suit me before it suits fashion-at-large, and classics are classics for good reason.

I do this with my mother all the time, actually. I’ve been teaching her how to choose well instead of choosing what’s there. She has a harder time because her body is harder to fit into ready-to-wear. I help her pick pieces that will mix and match, that she can wear for a long time (or at least twice). Right now, we’re working on an informal-cocktail look that’ll translate to a work environment with just a change of shoes and a blazer on top. Know what she’s coming to realize? That she is truly beautiful. That she doesn’t have to hide. And watching it happen is incredible.

Now I need to do it for myself, and soon. I’ll ask Darling to help, since he’s strong (heavy lifting!) and smart about these things. I could go it alone, but if I can enlist help, why not? With a disabling illness, one learns to embrace “it takes a village” and interdependence. I do not need him. I want him. In so many ways, this is true. That he’s a man who gets fashion is just icing. 😀

{ the real part 2 right this way at some point }

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5 thoughts on “…part 1.5, she said sheepishly.

  1. Pingback: Reconsidering my closet (part 1) « Amazing Things

  2. I have an irritatingly limited wardrobe now, m’self, due to gimpyleg issues. The short version: unless I find sandals that almost-perfectly replicate my orthotics, I now MUST wear socks or hose at all times (and I’ve been no-sock-chick for half my life – I would wear socks to go bowling and hose on particularly formal occasions when there was no way to get away with going without). Only a few manufacturers can be bothered to make hose for a woman who is tall, size 28ish in the hips, and has large feet. And many of them fall apart fast. 😦

    My solution for about 60% of the clothes I wear now is: black orthotic-friendly shoes, cheapie nylon socks in queen-plus, black pants (for me, Lane Bryant 24 Blue, though I might actually need to drop down to 22 Blue much to my surprise), and either jacket + shell or twin sweater set. Twinset plus black pants seems to be a default look among the female portion of the people I work with and for, and it is very seldom *wrong* as a look regardless of overall formality of the office.

    I don’t always have as good of luck with their pants because of the hips two sizes above waist problem, but you might want to give Lands End a try because they can custom inseam pants (and will even do it in “girls sizes” for the uniform-style twill pants, if that is what gets you closer to the fit you need). The layered knit pieces and sweater sets are tremendously popular among my colleagues, get no complaints from the Mister Suit who is our department manager, and feel not all that different from a really comfy t-shirt. Also an observation that clothes bought at Target for my girls have pilled or fallen apart but the shirts bought from LE are still delightfully soft and bright and have held their shape and style well. 🙂

    • See, that is just not fair. People come in such wonderful varieties that we should have fun dressing them all! Something as simple as hose is surely not so arduous a design prospect for a majestic woman like you. (And I do think of you that way, like someone who can sweep into a room and Make Things Happen.)

      I am tempted to get a good black pant from Lands End, especially with the custom parts. If I’m spending, I want to be spending on something important. I tend to gravitate more toward cardigans over long-sleeve tees, but then I am very fond of blouses and other tuckables. I like the look of a tucked shirt. It lends me a bit of adultness I don’t otherwise have.

      So, Lands End for quality and really soft shirts. Good to know and thank you for the tip. I wish I had a few to give in return. [is always fretful]

  3. Most hose makers do not understand the simultaneous concept of tall and wide-hipped. I could get things that properly fit my hips if I were about 4 inches shorter, or could get things appropriate to my height if my hips had about a foot less to their circumference. (And even plain socks are a challenge because most women’s socks are designed to fit sizes 4-9 or 4-10 and I wear 11W.) And pantyhose is not exactly a durable good for most women, which is merely annoying when one is of a size and shape that allows for trotting out to the nearest all-night grocery and spending $5 or less (or sometimes even managing to get the $1 pairs at discount stores). I can’t do that.

    When I stop being OMG BROKE (I have a few thousand in student aid that needs to clear pending and will have *some* left over once I clear up past due bills and put down payment on tuition and uniforms for kidlets), I think I’m going to order some actual tights from We Love Colors, which I’ve heard good things about and which look AWESOME. And continue to explore my options for orthotic-friendly shoes. I’ve had to get rid of about 2/3 of the shoes I own and Lands End is apparently for the moment not making the maryjanes that fit my orthotics particularly well. *grr* The good news is that since I *got* the orthotics I don’t wear my shoes out quite as fast as I used to. 🙂 Also going to explore the possibility of the invisible just-covers-the-feet socks so I can go mostly bare-legged again.

    Meanwhile I’ve been advising another friend on where to look for a swimsuit that can accommodate a 34DDD bra size. (LE again, and also decentexposures.com which is pricey but will custom-fit anyone with any bra size and will also do things like latex-free elastic if someone needs that.) And getting a kick out of this because in a recent Sims neighborhood I was running, my simself was the town makeover artist. It’s fun 🙂

    • Those hosemakers are silly (being charitable there). Also missing out on a decent market.

      I have heard good things about We Love Colors as well! 😀 Glad that the orthotics are working out for you. And yeah, I’d miss going bare-legged if I always needed socks of some kind. [stops to think] …mostly I only wear socks in boots nowadays.

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