The What Should I Wear?!! Edition

One of my pet worries is about getting dressed for occasions. I lack an interest in fashion as the industry sells it. Yes I like clothes, yes I like it when my hair looks how I want it and hell yes, do I like shoes! Thing is, these likes do not translate into a good sense of what other people consider appropriate for any given event.

Problem is I know this, so I end up spending a good hour dithering over what on earth to wear. I’ll get to the point where I’m happy with how I’m dressed and then I’ll get to where I’m going and oops, everyone else is more/less casual/revealing/sparkly than me. It’s particularly bad with mainstream clubnights and fancy dress houseparties. With the clubnights for example, I went out in London wearing a black lacy minidress and heels and every other woman in the club was wearing jeans, flats and skimpy tops! And has anyone else noticed how appropriate clubwear varies with location? In the black minidress in Liverpool I would’ve been under-dressed and my 3 inch heels not ankle-breaking high enough. Arghhhh!

Another example is the Jitsu post-grading meal I’ve mentioned previously. I struggle with hemlines, I really do. It isn’t helped by my bootylicious bum that means skirts end up shorter in the back than intended. The black floaty dress, though not so low in the neck as to be flashing bra, put slightly more cleavage on display than was the group standard tat night and it resulted in unwanted attention. I guess it might have been okay if the skirt wasn’t also just shy of knicker flashing. Which is a shame because this dress? Is gorgeous. The handkerchief hem moves wonderfully about my proudly child-bearing hips and the vertical soft ruching over the boobs draws to them without being overpowering, disproving the notion that texture over large boobs is a no-no.

That fashion changes so quickly also makes for difficulties. What would have been on trend six months ago is now wonderfully passé and I haven’t cared enough to notice. I tried reading women’s mags and since I forget every so often why I despise them so much, I’ll end up buying one occasionally. I then find that either eveything’s out of my price range (“Highstreet” is expensive!) or I think it looks ridiculous. The birds’ nest bun is one I can’t stand, let alone work out how to do it to my hair in the first place, and the Liverpool trend for going out in the day with rollers in? I mean, what?

Maybe it would be okay if I went out more often, like every week or something. I’m sure I’d pick up the knack eventually. But eh, I can’t be bothered with getting hammered every weekend any more. That thing where people past the age of 23 tell you they got old and can’t stay out til 4 am and get up for work at 9 the next day? Is trufax. And if I’m going to go out for the fun of it? I want to be someplace where I actually like the music. I like my dingy goth and rock clubs. I find the people more pleasant and less likely to do things like grope sexually assault you in public. I know how to dress for these places and I feel comfortable doing it.

A night out on the mainstream town however does not start in the joy of working out what to wear. It starts with two hours of faffing and dithering and despairing and at least 5 outfit changes as I play the put in on, take it off game. On a bad day I’ll end up distraught about my jubbly belly and the lack of tops that let me hide my upper arms that are fat old lady bingo wings in the making. There has been more than one stereotypical conversation with my partner about how I have nothing to wear and how ‘I hate my body’, and that’s really sad. Reading fat-acceptance stuff on the internet helps but there are days where my brain insists they are. all. wrong. and nothing can make it better, especially not my partner telling me he loves me just the way I am. I go out and have fun in the end, and I can’t think of a night out that’s been completely spoiled by a crisis of self-confidence beforehand, but it would be nice not to have the issue in the first place. I would like it too if I could develop a better sense of what to wear so that I don’t end up feeling like the proverbial sore thumb but I’m not going to hold my breath.

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2 thoughts on “The What Should I Wear?!! Edition

  1. Somewhere on Tumblr I saw a lovely post about how when women “complain about having nothing to wear” it’s really because there are such narrow margins (and such consequences for deviating from them) for any given scenario in which her breasts/bits need to be covered. (I have since lost it – oh well.) But, yes, there are a thousand permutations of season/setting/temperature/time of day/situation/surrounding people/fanciness that everyone has to navigate around, before even touching the multidimensional concepts of comfort/stylishness/trendiness/flatteringness/matchingness. The post was mostly about how you need plain black trousers, ideally hemmed to a length to wear with heels and another pair in another length to wear with flats. Well, obviously as a result you need heels that go with black trousers and flats that go with black trousers, but that you’ll probably want them in brown or another neutral to go with your non-black trousers, so the most basic Trouser-Shoes permutations for a working woman are

    2 pairs black trousers (2 lengths)
    2 pairs neutral trousers (2 lengths)
    1 pair neutral flats
    1 pair neutral heels
    1 pair black flats
    1 pair black heels.

    Whereupon you now have half a closet full of shit, but that will only really take you through four days of outfits, which are only appropriate for work, and only in the Business-Casual sense, i.e. okay for lab but probably not for an interview, and definitely not for going out after, and not great if you’re going to try to impress someone or flirt, and you’ll be fucked if it rains or a wormhole opens and sucks you through into Narnian winter, fuck.

    This comment got away from me.

    • Awww, I would have loved to read that Tumblr post because hells yes with the narrow limitations. I am SO GLAD I do not work somewhere where you have to wear dress shirts, skirts and heels. I count myself lucky now that Dorothy Perkins size 16 short-length jeans fit me perfectly. It meant I was able to try on several styles of demin and walk away with FOUR pairs that fit. FOUR PAIRS! After 20 mins! In one shop rather than a whole 6 hours traipsing round every damn place in town! 😀

      A knee-length pair of shorts, black stretchy skinny jeans, light grey skinny jeans and a straight-cut blue pair. On top of my high-heel length smart jeans and my comfy everyday bootcut ones (also Dotty P’s), it means I can actually rotate jeans for the first time in my life rather than possessing only one pair that I had to wear for a week and wear a skirt on laundry day. I still don’t own a pair of smart work trousers. I haven’t since I left sixth form. I don’t own a smart blazer either. And I won’t need to for another 9 months when I start job hunting. Not looking forward to that search…

      Also, what is this ‘neutral’ you speak of? All my shoes bar a pair of green suede wedges are black. They go with everything. 😛

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