My turquoise blouse has become a Smock of Shame…It tells me that I’m cheap, that I very possibly have no taste, that I’ve all but given up on being an attractive, reasonably well-dressed person. By this time next year I’m going to be in kitten sweatshirts. (p.33)
Welcome, Valued Customer
by Emily Chenoweth
Spent: Exposing Our Complicated Relationship With Shopping
edited by Kerry Cohen
Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2014
I hate clothes. No, this is not about me coming out as a nudist. I wear clothes. I just don’t like them. I’ve yet to find anything that is 100% comfortable or fun or that makes me feel pretty.
There is so much wrong about my wardrobe. Firstly, tags annoy me. I cut off all tags the minute I get new clothes home and then everything goes straight into the washer. I prefer v-necks to scoop necks but only one t-shirt in my closet is a v-neck. Right now, none of my pants fit. I’ve lost weight recently and I am in-between sizes plus I’m unemployed and have no money for new clothes. I’m pretty much wearing the same thing day after day because I see so few people. Plus, way too much of my wardrobe is black, bland and depressing.
I can’t remember the last time I experimented with colour. Okay I lie. Yes, I can remember. I was thirteen and in love with nail polish – greens, pinks, reds, violets, blues. I could afford nail polish. In High school, I tended not to wear colourful clothes because they got you noticed and I didn’t want to be noticed. Painting my fingernails was just enough colour for me. This phase didn’t last long. My nails were always bitten to the quick and the colour soon chipped off. I had better things to do (read) than to be constantly applying nail polish.
I hardly ever shop because I have no money and no taste and no desire. When I do shop, nothing ever fits. It’s a never-ending loop of frustration. I want to feel comfortable in my skin (comfortable not necessarily pretty) but I can’t even remember when I felt attractive.
That is, when I felt attractive for myself not when someone told me or showed me that they felt me to be attractive.
My ex loved for me to wear my white jeans and fluffy white sweater. I don’t wear white anymore. White clothes stain too easily and I always feel washed-out in white. This was his fantasy, not mine.
My youngest sister could never find the clothes she wanted so she sewed her own. Her mother, my step-mother, also sewed.
Then came home-ec and more modern sewing machines that wouldn’t let me control the speed. I made impractical outfits – baby doll pajamas, a stripped pantsuit and a cape. I only ever wore the pajamas and I’ll admit that I wore them for years. They were impractical because the year we sewed them we had to model what we made (something we only found out once our patterns were selected and begun).
I can still sew. I mostly do repairs by hand – I can fix a seam or sew a button back on. That is why I have a button jar and a small sewing kit.
I do covet certain items.
I would love to try on Susan Sarandon’s 1996 copper Oscar dress. I think I would look good in copper.
I wanted a pair of Candies for the longest time. As a teenager, I could not afford such impractical shoes and no one was ever going to buy them for me.
Plus, a dress from Betsey Johnson. She designs nothing in my size but I’ve always admired her fun, quirky style.
And a charm bracelet (or at the least, the type of life that the tiny, little charms represented). I wanted parents who would buy me a Sweet Sixteen charm or a book or Big Ben. I wanted parents who understood and believed in my dreams.
I don’t hate clothes. I just don’t get what they represent and I still don’t have a style of my own. I’m not sure I want to spend any more of my time on my clothes but I do want to feel comfortable in them.
Anybody interested in being my personal style guru. ;-)
Today’s post inspired by:
Spent: Exposing Our Complicated Relationship With Shopping
Edited by Kerry Cohen
Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2014
Women in Clothes
Edited by Shelia Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others
N.Y., Blue Rider Press, 2014
Previous Solitary Spinster posts.
It’s been a week, a very, very long week. It seems like there’s been ten days squeezed into the seven. I am exhausted and want to go find a cave to crawl in.
Actually, I completely know what cave I want but it is in Banff and I am here. :-(
It is a very spacious cave; I can stand up in it and have lots of room for furniture and guests. I would have tons of room for books and would not need a stupid, annoying computer.
My computer got sick this week. It caught a virus on my birthday and I had to spend four days babying it and had to spent money I did not budget for on making it well.
Stupid, stupid people who create stupid, stupid malware should be denied the internet altogether.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
Then, on Friday morning, at work, I discover a very big (hand sized: fingertip to wrist) hole in my black work pants. Thankfully, on the inside seam so no one else noticed it but now I am down to two pairs of work pants!!
I am an awful shopper. I completely understand this woman’s (Caitlin of Broadside) point of view. All I can reiterate is “here, here.” I HATE shopping. I would rather mountain climb (and I have a fear of heights).
I do not know how to shop. I have no clue of what to buy for work. By default, all my work pants are black and I have 5 work tops and three sweaters. I so need a more professional wardrobe.
I have no idea how to define a work wardrobe. Somebody needs to nominate me for What Not to Wear. Actually, please don’t – the last thing I need right now is to have a complete emotional meltdown on television!
This is my favourite shirt. I love the colour. I love the style. I hardly ever wear it because I am afraid I will damage it.
Sad. Sad. Sad.
I am a big woman; big busted and plus sized. No I won’t be using the F word here, even though it is accurate.
I have been changing my eating and exercise habits over the last twenty years. I walk five days out of seven on average. I eat healthier. What did it get me?
I have gone down two sizes over twenty years and am about to hit the brick wall of menopause where all the facts say to beware of gaining weight.
I am tired of clothes that constrict and annoy. I am tired of being judged as lazy because I can’t control how I look.
Tired. Tired. Tired.
Wish me luck as I try to figure out how to nurse my computer back to health because though she is no longer sick, the poor thing is still feeling wonky.
:-0 big sigh…
I 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!
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)