Last night after work, I decided to treat myself to a little shopping excursion. With a Visa gift card from my parents (a birthday present) burning a hole in my pocket, and a definite dearth in weather-appropriate garments in my wardrobe, I was feeling optimistic. And then I arrived at the store.
I don’t know when exactly I lost all confidence in my ability to dress myself in a way that could be considered even remotely fashionable. Indeed, I’m not sure I ever had that confidence to begin with; maybe the real problem is that in recent years I’ve just become painfully aware of how hopeless I am when it comes to finding clothes that look good on me and fit together to find a coherent collection and, ultimately, personal style.
Of course I understand that “personal style” is not the end-all, be-all goal when it comes to fashion. But that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I had one. It would just make life so much easier, to have a sense of what kind of things I have in my closet, how they go together, and what to do when they need replacing or upgrading or accessorizing. Instead of having this sense, though, I find myself going to stores in the hope that I’ll have some sort of revelation–maybe I’ll see something I can’t live without, and things will build themselves up from there. You may be surprised to learn that such a scenario has yet to occur.
Last night’s excursion consisted of me wandering around a bit aimlessly, trying to figure out what it was I should be looking for, and having an overwhelming sense of being in over my head. I can put an outfit together, but only for my mind’s narrow conception of the most ideal body type: tall, willowy, etc. When I try on the clothes that would suit that sort of body, I inevitably realize that my form is more solid and athletic than my choices are allowing for. Yesterday’s experience re-confirmed my lack of awareness of the point of intersection between the different factors that make an outfit work: body type, clothing style, and clothing fit. And as I move further and further into adulthood, I find myself having a harder and harder time accepting that this is something I might continue struggling with.
And so, dear reader, rather than offer you any sage advice regarding the finer points of style, I find myself in the position of having to implore you to offer some. Do you feel that this wardrobe-building quandary is something you’ve mastered? How did you develop a sense of how to dress your body? Is my only hope to go back to episodes of What Not to Wear, and hope that I can somehow win my own shopping trip with Stacy and Clinton?
Help me, reader. You’re my only hope.