Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Conquering the Slippery Slope to Frumpiness - Fallacy #1: No White or Light Colors Below the Waist

So yesterday I listed the ten ideas that led me to frumpiness.  10 Fallacies that Led Me Down the Slippery Slope to Frumpiness    This is how I am conquering them! 

1)  No white or light colors below the waist. 

After my second child was born, I started having heavier and heavier periods.  To the point of bleeding through clothes, coats and even upholstery.  I developed the habit of checking every time I stood up to see if I had bled through.  Because of this, I eliminated anything light color for pants, skirts, etc.  With irregular periods - the risk was just too high.  Black makes you look thinner anyway, right?

This was SO easily resolved especially after we finally were able to join a group health insurance.  (We raised our family for sixteen years without any health insurance - I can hear you gasp!  It is true.  I'd like to give a personal thank you to the Reagan administration for this lack of access, but I suppose they are all dead by now.)

This is a medical problem and I tried to believe it was only a fashion restriction.  

Get on board with a good ob/gyn and see what your options are.  I spent 2 days in a surgery center and another two weeks off work to solve a problem that had nearly taken over my life.  

As far as fashion goes, I happen to be an inverted triangle shape.  The last thing we want to do is try and make our hips look slimmer!  Black is not slimming for everyone.  Such a load of bull-hooey being sold to women!  Sometimes black just looks dead.  Inverted triangle shaped women look more balanced in darker blouses with lighter pants or skirts.  

My surgery was seven years ago.  Do you know that didn't notice until last summer's closet clean out that I had no light color bottoms?  I think it proves how slippery the slope is to frumpiness.  The first item I tried was a pair of white jeans from Goodwill.  I love them because they filled a gap - working so well with many of my favorite (darker) tops. 

I know by wearing more light color bottoms I have increased my feelings of happiness.  I am dressing my truth and it shows.  This opened up so many new possibilities for me! 

Next:  Fallacy #2  No button down blouses.

Why Did You Give Up? 10 Fallacies That Led Me Down the Slippery Slope to Frumpiness

Why did you give up on the whole fashion industry?  Do you remember things that discouraged you?  When did you decide that you were just too fat, too oddly shaped, too old or too ugly to look great?

I want to share the turning points of the last two decades that culminated my slippery slide to frumpy.    

1)   No white or light colors below the waist.  After my second child was born, I started having heavier and heavier periods.  To the point of bleeding through clothes, coats and even upholstery.  I developed the habit of checking every time I stood up to see if I had bled through.  Because of this, I eliminated anything light color for pants, skirts, etc.  With irregular periods - the risk was just too high.  Black makes you look thinner anyway, right?

2)  No button down blouses.  I love button down blouses but they never fit my shape.  So, it was too risky and too much of a pain to wonder if this or that blouse would pop at the bustline all day.  I eliminated them from my possibilities.   

3)  Farmer jeans.  Well, I live in a very rural area.  A woman who shipped something to me recently on ebay gave feedback that she had to pay an extra surcharge on the shipping because I live in "BFE".  For thirty years, my local choices include JC Penneys, Walmart, Cato or Bluestem Farm and Ranch.  None of them ever fit me right so I ceased to care.  I toughened up like the prairie women before me.  I had to cover my butt on a daily basis.

4)  Whatever bras.  My bra size has changed several times maybe even annually as some experts suggest.  Some of my bras are nice ones.  Some are cheap ones.  I gave up guessing what might fit today and just grabbed the ones on top, which usually were the cheap, too comfortable, ill-fitting ones even when they were new.

5) Nothing constricting for foundation wear:  In the 1970's, knitwear was exploding onto the fashion scene.  I probably weighed 95 lbs throughout high school but my mom insisted I wear girdle type panties, body suits that snapped at the crotch and other monstrosities to make smooth lines under the knits.   I hated it!  They pulled and squished and,dog forbid - you had to pee!  I ditched them as soon as I left home after high school vowing to never wear that stuff again.   

6) Dollar store tights and socks:  Socks, tights and hose don't show or at least not much, right?  You shouldn't have to spend money on them.  Watch the after holiday clearance bins and use those Santa ones under your boots all year long.  Save your holey tights and wear those with your long skirts and boots. 

7)  End of the aisle sweaters:  After holiday clearance racks have an abundance of sweaters, why buy an expensive one?  Pick one up for $4 the next time you're buying groceries at Walmart.

8) Free t-shirts:  Everyone wears them, everyone seems to love them.  Cool people who volunteer or have hobbies are always wearing one advertising their latest conquest.  Collect them and make them work for your summer casual wardrobe.

9)  Old rules are good rules:  No long sleeves under short sleeves.  The goal is always to make your hips appear smaller.  No exposed cleavage.  Your jewelry must match.  Certain colors work together - stay in color families.  No teenager stuff.  No cutesey stuff.   No cheap stuff.  Coordinate your closet.  Buy items together that you intend to wear together.  Vintage means old; it means out of style. Never wear cheap jewelry.  Save your new stuff for special occasions.  Round tummies can't wear belts.  Dress for the position you hope to be in one day, not the one you are in currently.  You must have the best watch you can afford.  If you haven't worn it in a year, you probably never will.  Every woman has to have a LBD.  Invest in a black suit.  Never put anything away that has been worn without washing it.  Sleeveless is for summer.  Short sleeves are for summer.  Long sleeves are for winter.

10)  Find solutions and camaraderie in the stores that cater to the slippery slope crowd.  At a certain point in life (which remarkably coincides with my increased earning power),  I surrendered to the marketing gurus of the American fashion culture for mature women.  I was overwhelmed and confused and swiped my credit card month after month at stores such as Kohls, Gordmans and J C Penney.  70% off sale was my cue.  At least I would retain some control over my wardrobe by not purchasing at full price.  The rest was WAY out of control.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Upcycled Child's Dress

This project involves a beautiful dress my granddaughter received for Christmas last year.  She wore it once when she was about eight months old.  Her great-grandma bought it for her at Kohl's.

Cute!  But one of those outfits that only fits for a very short while!  So I got to looking at it while it was hanging here in our storage closet.  The skirt is beautiful - crinkly with ribbon embroidery.......hmmmm...

I took it apart, saving the skirt, the sleeves and the tie around the waist.  Then I struggled to find a fabric that wasn't too cutsey (wedding looking) for the new bodice.  Saturday I bought a new sweater dress for myself at JC Penney on the clearance rack.  It had a huge cowl neck on it which I promptly cut off and rehemmed into a banded neckline.  The leftover piece of sweater neck ended up laying next to this red skirt on the cutting table.  Aha! 

This is the best photo I could get - she is very, very busy! 

This is her running over to see herself on the digital camera screen - except the camera hasn't exactly taken the picture yet.....

She also has on a pair of leggins I made her recently from the sleeves of this thrifted $1 sweater......

Now the socks, I can't explain - except its really, really cold here and we are all wearing lots of layers even in the house! 

And, in case you thought I do all of this design work by myself......

Closet Clearing

I finished up a little more closet clearing in January.  I was enthusiastic about tackling my last few drawers after reading Brittany's blog http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2010/12/victorias-secret-bras-dont-even-fit.html.  One of her suggestions was about checking your bra size every year or so especially if you have gained or lost weight.

I had been feeling annoyed with my bras and thought it was because I needed to buy new ones.  After reading her blog I went and actually looked at the tags and found I have a collection of three different sizes in my drawer.  Two of those sizes have the nagging fit problems she has posted on her site.  It was great to identify the problem.  I sorted and purged even more!  I did decide to keep all three sizes because most of the bras were nearly new.  But I put the wrong size ones in clear plastic bags in the back of the drawer in case I have another weight change. 

Speaking of drawers.....I don't know if everyone else already has found this trick.  I discovered it by accident last fall.  I stack my t-shirts and sweaters in drawers.  I try not to hang any of my knits even if they have the little ribbons to hold them up on the hanger.  I cut those out so the don't peep out while I'm wearing the garment.  Then I fold the garment onto a shelf or into a drawer to let the fabric weave rest between wearings. 

The problem was that I wore either only the top few things in the stack or I would pull one out from the bottom and they all tumble onto their side.  So, I thought.....what if I kept them on their sides?

They fit so much better in the drawer and I can easily see what I have in each color range.  This simple trick has allowed me to combine some new layering ideas quickly.  And it lets me see that I need more pink and probably can skip a few blues at my next thrifting day. 

Of course, you still need to keep some things on hangers but anything that won't get all wrinkly works well like this.  I have even changed my knit skirts and dresses to this type of storage system!  So, am I the last person to figure this out?  How do you store your knits?