The style challenged

by Ginger on April 21, 2010

in I'm a Disaster

You know what I need? I need a stylist. I need a personal shopper, or a fashion guru or…someone to tell me what the hell to put on my body. Because I SUCK at having any kind of style.

I went shopping on Sunday for stuff to wear now that it’s getting a little warmer (and then Southern California laughed at me as it’s raining and 55 right now. But still…). I have pretty much no warm weather clothes that fit me, and jeans just aren’t going to cut it on 78 degree days, so off I went on my merry shopping way.

Of course, shopping for clothes is an exercise in frustration even if I had style because I don’t know how to fit clothes on my post partum body. That pregnancy & c-section did a number on my middle, which is where I hold all my weight anyway, so I end up completely hating myself after a few minutes of trying on most clothes. I end up with this horrible combination of tight in the belly then loose (where that lovely little pouch shelf lives), then fitting weird in the crotch, then tight across the hips but loose in the butt. And tops? Forget button down anything–even before nursing pushed me into an E cup, I was built so that buttons on those shirts always gaped, and now it’s even worse. Of course, super thin t-shirt material is out–if I didn’t have bumps and bulges all over then the lovely bits to my nursing bras would make them a no-no anyway. And super flowy tops just serve to make me look heavier than I already am. So I need this apparently rare combination of slightly flowy while still having some form-fitting shape, but not around my mid-section, and let’s not forget that it needs to be somewhat easy to get up and down for nursing and/or pumping on a daily basis (which basically cuts out most dresses too, thankyouverymuch, unless I plan on stripping naked 3 times a day).  And yes, part of the solution to all of THIS is to just get myself back in shape, but that’s another post for another day.

But even if all that weren’t a problem. Even if I had the body I want RIGHT NOW? I still have no idea how to put outfits together. I’m serious. I have 2 pairs of pants for work that I pair with the same 5 rotating tops, and the same 1 (yes 1) pair of shoes. No jewelry, not because I don’t want it, but because I don’t know what to put with what without looking ridiculous. On the weekends, I wear the same 1 pair of jeans with the same 3 or so rotating tops. Here I vary my shoes between 1 pair of Converse, a few flip-flops or, when I’m dressing a little nicer, that same pair of shoes from the work week. It’s not that I’m opposed to spending money on myself–nay, I would LOVE to spend some money on myself in this manner–but instead that I’m opposed to spending money on myself when I’m BORING MYSELF with my wardrobe.

I would kill to be on one of those makeover shows–I’ve even looked into submitting MYSELF to What Not To Wear, figuring I could handle the national embarrassment if it meant that someone would tell me how to dress myself and look put together. I mean, I don’t look sloppy walking around (most days)–I can pull off boring business casual with the best of them–but what I wear says absolutely nothing about me other than maybe “does not make an effort”.  And I’d love to be one of those people who have wardrobes that offer a little glimpse into who they are–little flashes of personality you know? Rather than this boring, bland, vanilla wardrobe that I’m currently stuck with. Because while I may not be the biggest party girl, or the most outgoing, or whatever, I do still have personality and believe it or not, some sense of the pretty, and damnit why can’t I have a wardrobe that matches?

Lisa April 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

Girl, I hear ya. I’m always saying I need Clinton in my life.

I got some shirts (honestly, I think they were from Wal-Mart) that have a clear snap between buttons over the boob area. I thought that was the most genius idea. Keep in mind that I am not busty AT ALL, so it might not really be that helpful, but it looks like a good idea. They’re just those clear plastic snaps, sewn into the placket so it stays together and nice and flat over the boobs.

Maybe a combo of having the shirts tailored to fit you exactly and backup snaps? Or flowy tops with something more structured on top, like a blazer, to give you some shape?

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Those snaps sound like a good idea. I always end up going the ghetto fabulous route of safety pins, which then just looks tacky all day. I could probably just get some of those added to any button down shirts I find…

Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF April 21, 2010 at 10:31 am

Some days I feel like “oh! I can totally put together a cute outfit! Let my just thumb through my instyle.” And sometimes I feel like putting on jeans and a t shirt is asking A LOT. I was just reading a stylists advice on how jewelry adds style to any outfit.. use it as a statement piece. Which just served to remind met hat not only do I not know how to accessorize, but I forgot to even wear my wedding ring today. Oy.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Oh, accessorizing! It seems like a perfect way to add personality to a basic wardrobe, in theory. And yet, all I ever end up wearing is my wedding ring (I try not to take it off because I WILL forget it). Maybe on date night I’ll add a pair of earrings. And yet I always love all the accessories I see in stores–I just don’t know what to DO with them!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks April 21, 2010 at 10:39 am

I have watched What Not to Wear on and off for years. And you know what? Just by watching the show and knowing my body has enabled me to pick up a lot of great information. One of the best pieces of advice they give is size yourself based on the biggest part of your body and tailor the rest.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I think part of the problem (right now) is that I don’t quite know this body yet. I mean, I wasn’t great with buying clothes before the kid, but now it’s like I’ve got to completely relearn my own skin.

Mama Lungo April 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

I swear we share a brain and postpartum body! (figuratively) Want to be BFF’s? I have done all of that, including looking into submitting myself to What Not to Wear and asking my husband to submit me. I have2 pair of black work pants that fit good and one pair of gray that fit okay and they get rotated with a handful of tops and cardigans that camouflage the post baby body (c-section, too, twice!) and work with pumping/nursing. I need serious help.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Total BFFs! 🙂
I actually emailed my husband today asking if he thought I was bad enough to possibly make it on WNTW, since they’re actually looking for applicants in my area. He was nice and said no, but I sure could use the help!

carrie meadows April 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I have been going through something similar. My body isn’t the same (c-section here, too), but my mental state is also different. I am older, and I feel older, AND I have a kid, so I want to look like a woman. But not matronly, dowdy, frumpy… I love bright color, but every time I bought a brightly colored piece, I realized that 1) it hardly went with anything, and 2) it looked really youthful (not in a good way). My current strategy is to buy everything in shades of neutral or black, so I have a lot of heather grey, charcoal, white, creme, beige. And I have just 3 or 4 colorful items in my closet (solid colors), like tops or cardigans. So everything can be worn with everything, in layers. If I need more color, it comes from the earrings. I still don’t look like a magazine layout, but it’s working, and I feel better about being able to put together an outfit. A friend of mine owns a boutique, and while the clothes are very pricey, she has great styling ideas on her site. See the “Outfitting” link:
http://www.kickpleat.com/GroupPage.aspx?groupid=51

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Yes, thank you! I am not 21 and I am also not 51–and it sure seems sometimes like those are the only two options. I want to look grown up, but not old. I want to look stylish, but not twelve. In my area, too, there is a lot of trophy wife going on, so some of the clothing veers to the…tight and spendy, two things that I’m so not into!

carrie meadows April 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

Oh,yeah, so not into ANYTHING tight, especially up top.

Her April 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Tailoring is surprisingly inexpensive. I got this from the library: The Style Strategy: A Less-Is-More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart

It really helped me think about what I was wearing and how to boost up what I have already by getting some basics. The writing isn’t incredible, but there was a lot to think about.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I know I should just find a tailor. I don’t have an off-the-rack body (and never really have if I’m honest), and the money invested to make me feel good in my clothes would be well worth it. Maybe I should make that my goal for the month, to find a tailor I like and get some stuff I already have fitted…

Brooke April 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’m just about to go shopping and feel pretty much the same way you do. And the clothes I do have? They have baby puke stains on them.

Ginger April 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Yeah, I may be open to buying clothes, but with the baby puke issue, I’m not open to spending a lot on individual pieces!

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