Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Not To Wear?

OK, I admit to being a viewer (I don't think I will go so far as to call myself a "fan") of TLC's show "What Not To Wear".  I've learned some things about how clothes fit, and why certain styles look better on certain body types.  I've giggled at some of the hosts' jokes, and been horrified at some outfits.  There are some "reality shows" that focus on getting a laugh by making fun and demeaning whatever regular joe is on.  This one, I would like to think, really is focused on making the women (who is nominated by her friends) feel better about themselves and how they look and dress.  Plus, the show gives them five thousand dollars to spend in New York City on new clothes.  Bonus!

All that to say, I've been looking in my own closet a little more carefully these days.  And I haven't been all that crazy about what I see.  It's been a while since I've really purchased any new clothes, and many of my "work clothes" are showing significant signs of wear.  So when my dad asked me what I needed for Christmas this year, I told him that I could use some new work clothes.  He was amazingly generous, and Christmas Day I found myself confronted with a $300 Visa gift card and a mandate to "spend it all on clothes".

Did I mention I abhor shopping for clothes?

Sigh.  Be careful of what you ask for - you may get it!  My dear, long-suffering and patient husband agreed to assist me in the task ahead.  I knew some of the basics that I needed, like khaki pants, a black skirt, and a new blouse or two.  But beyond that.... yikes!  Much to the surprise of our biologist friend (visiting us for New Year's), she got roped into the experience too.  And we started the day in my closet, looking at what I already had and what I needed to send to the thrift store.  She wasn't as cranky as Clinton and Stacy are, but it was stressful, let me tell you.  (Did I mention I detest shopping for clothes??!?)

So off we went... to the mall.  To the Big Box Clothing Stores that intimidate me in their vastness and befuddle me in their methods of organization.  By the way, did I mention I have a bit of a snarky side, and it really comes out when I'm perusing current fashions?  This personality feature was merely enhanced by the presence of the philosopher and the biologist!  So once we got the snark out of our systems, we settled down to some serious shopping.

Did I mention I'm also a bit of a ... well ... penny pincher?

So I hit the sale racks.  And came to the realization that the "sale racks" should be called the "tacky clothes no one else would buy racks" or the "clothes in completely unwearable sizes either tent-like or barbie-shaped racks".  Nonetheless, I persevered.  Since I had two watchdogs making sure I didn't bolt from the building, I had to try stuff on.  And I had to try on stuff THEY found.  And they cheered when I said "You know, I kinda like this." And that was affirming, so I wanted to hear it again, so I found another suitable garment.  WooHOO!  A breakthough!

Actually, no.  I gave up the ghost after Sears, Belk, and JC Penney and ran away.  Not empty-handed, but nowhere near done with my task.

So my biologist friend went home, and the next weekend we spent the day in Birmingham.  At the Really Big Mall.  No, the REALLY BIG Mall.  The one with the hotel attached to it!  ACK!  There I discovered two things which surprised me greatly - there is actually a boutique store whose clothing I like and can wear (White House / Black Market) and a very snobby store that sells petite clothing that actually fits (Talbots).  Hurrah - more success!

The following week we had a blizzard that shut down my employer for a whole week.  By mid-week, unfortunately, I was stir crazy.  The main roads were safe, and the retailers were back in business.  So I escaped the confines of our house (leaving the philosopher to his philosophical musings) and went up the road to try my luck one last time.  I had about $75 left, and wanted to maximize my value, so I hit Ross, and Marshalls, and TJ Maxx (These should be labeled STORES "With tacky clothes no one wants to pay retail for".  Then I went to Kohls, and Dress Barn - and, miracle of miracles, I was FINISHED!

So, much like What Not To Wear, here is a catalog of what I got with my Christmas money....

1 black skirt
4 pairs of dress pants
1 pair of jeans (thrift store, I admit, but they fit great and look new!)
2 fine gauge v-neck sweaters
2 sweaters with oxford collars
2 cardigans
2 shells
1 camisole
2 dressy tank tops
1 oxford shirt
1 corduroy blazer

So top THAT, What Not To Wear!!!! 

No comments: