My Fashion Sense

February 1, 2009 at 5:36 pm (Memoir) (, , , )

shopping2I read recently about a forty-year-old Hollywood agent who worked during the 1940’s. His wardrobe consisted of suits in two colors, blue and gray, and three hundred shirts all the same; same make, same style, same color – white, I assume. His wardrobe was identical wherever he had a house. He never had to think about what to wear. I envy him.

I’ve never been able to dress myself. Don’t misunderstand – like every child I mastered the basics. I can zip zippers, fasten buttons, tie my shoes. What escapes me is the coordination. What goes with what? What to wear with what? How to look good and still be comfortable. All my sisters, I have five, seem to have picked up this skill – but not me! The last outfit I remember really loving to wear – it was comfortable and made me feel magnificently beautiful, was a lined white lace dress I owned when I was seven. A fancy, dancy, twirlly dress! lace-dress1

I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan in the 1960s. What was in fashion were mother/daughter outfits and dressing sisters all alike. We were poor. My mother and her friends would make my two older sisters and me identical dresses and include a matching shirt for my baby brother. I wore my sister’s hand-me-downs and therefore, could wear the same dress for years and years and years. (It felt like I did!)

I was a wild child. A tomboy. I didn’t care what I wore as long as it was comfortable. I would have my mom braid my hair in one long braid down the back and sleep like that for days until next bath day. As a child, I bathed once a week and in my teens I bathed twice a week. So my long hair was often in snarls. I wanted it long, fought to keep it long. Well into my teens I would wear an outfit for two days in a row – if it were still clean. I stopped when I was thirteen and overheard a classmate, a boy I had a major crush on, whisper in disgust  “didn’t she wear that yesterday.”

This is when I started reading fashion magazines. It didn’t help. After twenty years of reading these types of magazines I still don’t have a clue about what to wear. All their well-intentioned advice has not helped. Does this make me a hopeless case?

Then again, I don’t and have never looked like those models. I am not a small breasted, skinny girl or a middle-income professional woman. I am fat and tall and poor. I shop more often at WalMart than at Neiman Marcus. I am looking for quality at an inexpensive price and not finding it.

What I find are clothes that never seem to fit. Long shirtsleeves have a habit of being 3/4 length unless I buy shirts that are too large. Pants are never long enough and always leave my ankles feeling exposed. Bras never fit right. I’m tired of feeling ugly and uncomfortable no matter how much money I spend. I want to look professional and be comfortable. I want people to notice me and not my lack of fashion sense.

I want a simple wardrobe. One that is wash & wear and requires minimum care. I want to be able to let kids crawl on me without worrying about my clothes. I don’t own an iron though if I have to I can and will iron. I hate when I buy something and it shrinks the first time I wash it or the buttons and threads unravel. Therefore, I have learned to do basic mending. My youngest half-sister and stepmother can sew a marvel of an outfit from nothing. Oh, to be that talented!

I want a simple wardrobe: black pants, colorful tops, a jacket, some flats, some sandals. I want to be like that Hollywood agent. I want to be able to walk into my closet and not have to think about what to wear. I want to walk out of my closet looking professional and feeling comfortable.

gigi (not necessarily)



  1. chartroose said,

    Hey, this blog is great, Gigi! I’m going to add you to my blogroll and bloglines feeds.

    Now for the 10 favorite things… meme, I’m assigning you the letter “R.” I don’t know why; it just kind of came to me. Enjoy!

    Oh, and I don’t have any fashion sense either. It seems like a total waste of energy, ya’ know?

  2. gigi said,

    Thanks chartroose,

    I already have this week’s blop post planned out, check back next week for my input on the Ravishing “R”.

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