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.