I've been thinking a bit about personal style recently, for several reasons. While "exploring" Google Reader, I discovered a blog called Already Pretty, run by Sally McGraw, which is about style and body image. I also have been going out to clubs and bars more often, which necessitates a different wardrobe (not because someone TOLD me that, just because going out changes what I want to wear). I'm starting to make very different fashion decisions these days, to the point where I think I need to clear out a significant portion of my wardrobe.
What do I typically wear? Like most people, I love being comfortable. I'm usually wearing boot-cut jeans (moved on from flares about two years ago), a tank top or T-shirt, and some kind of cardigan or zip-up sweatshirt. My go-to cardigans are pretty boring, black and navy, and look a little schlubby, especially because I'm a large person and I stretch them out after the first wear post-wash. My favorite zip-up is great, but I usually accidentally zip it up all the way, hiding whatever shirt I have underneath. All of these cardis/zip-ups are neutrals/blacks, thus requiring very little coordination.
A great deal of my tank-tops are blindingly bright and quite boring (Old Navy). While the style is fine, very basic and flexible, the colors are not. They're not not neutral (lime green?!), and are difficult to use with layering. Meanwhile, the neutral colors, which I love, are so often used with layering, I often don't get a chance to wear them on their own.
Another problem? My current body image insecurity revolves around my arms. It's been difficult for me to practice self-love on everything, so I allow myself this insecurity for now. It's not going to stop me from going sleeveless all the time. After all, it's about to get warm out (we hope? It's the end of May and I had to wear a winter coat this weekend), and if it's hot, I'm going sleeveless, damnit. I'm going sleeveless at my brother's wedding, I went sleeveless at the club this weekend, and I'm going sleeveless whenever I damn well feel like it.
But again, it's my current insecurity, so I avoid it when it's not necessary. I got a super cute cardigan from the Gap that's been perfect for, well, everything. It's a ridiculously light shade of seagreen/blue, with cute beading details on the tops of the shoulders. The sleeves aren't too long, and the cut is slim enough that it doesn't add bulk (nor it is tight). I've been wearing it with blacks and neutrals, and it's great for going out because it covers my arms without causing me to combust.
So I want to keep a black basic or two, but need more of these seasonal, stylish cardis. I also need to extend my wardrobe to have some light, summery shirts with sleeves (short or otherwise). I have some T-shirts that are cute (more Old Navy basics), but they're boring, they're a bit tight (in general, and in the sleeves), and they don't flatter my figure. I've got a great bust, and while I'm not always looking to draw attention to my boobs, I don't like necklines that hover halfway between boobs-a-poppin' and super modest. I also hate suffocating crew-necks; one of my favorite long-sleeved shirts is from H&M, and while it's technically a crew-neck, the neck is wide enough to give me some breathing room.
Either way, I need to keep investing in neutral basics, while also getting some adorable stand-alones. I've got a great shirt from Anne Taylor Loft (with a similar neckline as the H&M shirt), as well as a couple from Old Navy. I don't consider them basics, in that I can and do often wear them on their own, sans cardi, and never layer them.
I've got a seriously long torso, unrelated to the size of my stomach, and need to invest in more shirts (basic or otherwise) that are long enough for me to feel comfortable wearing them with jeans. I have some shirts that I can't wear comfortably with jeans; they ride up too easily (WHYYY, I hate that!) or just aren't long enough in the first place. I'm not big on skirts, so that's really a no-no for me at the moment. While I don't think that it's always flattering on me, I can usually work empire waist/billowy stomach type shirts; why don't I have more?
As I said, I'm not big on skirts. I can't wear pencil skirts, since they make my ass look fetish-y huge, and I can't move my legs in them. I don't always want to wear something A-line either, though, so if I'm not in the mood for something A-line/billowy, I can't wear a skirt. Length can also be a pain for me; I've got relatively short legs (again, see long torso), so even when I err on the side of short, I'm often stuck with a skirt with a cut meant to be worn shorter. I dislike capris because somehow, they all seem to hate my ass, which also goes for shorts. I stick with jeans pretty often, even in summer, especially since I work in a lab and often go to the animal facility (no shorts/skirts).
Shoes are a source of shame for me. I have a terrible time in heels, to the point where I'm regretting buying these BEAUTIFUL shoes for my brother's wedding because I'm sure I won't last 30 minutes in them. I wear the flattest shoes I can find on a regular basis, running them into the ground before buying new ones and braving blisters. I tried practicing this weekend by wearing a pair of 3 inch stilettos to a club, and I actually managed to stay standing/dancing from about 8:30 until 11:30. But then it was breaks every 15-20 minutes. More practice needed.
So I need to clean out my closet. I've got some clothing I'm holding onto for sentimental reasons, or because I don't have another opportunity to wear it. I've got other pieces of clothing I wear every so often, like some old layering tanks I hold onto for when I need clothes to wear to the laundromat, or when I need a red shirt for some reason (stop-light party maybe?). I've got shoes I SWEAR I'll wear again.
I need to get rid of the stuff I'm not wearing regularly. I need to get rid of some shoes. I need to replace these items with a variety of comfortable flats and low heels, as well as some new basics, and new stand alones. And then I need to start planning my outfits. Yes, I have some low heels I could wear to work! Why didn't I wear them today? No idea. Gotta change that.
I'm going shopping this week for some clothes I can wear out, that are more stylish than my workday duds. Hopefully I'll pick up some cheapish pieces for everyday wear!