Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What To Wear?

I used to love dressing in the sixties and seventies. Of course, the clothes then were fabulous, and I had the kind of social life that required a lot of fabulous clothes.  And I was a size four... 

But at some point, I just got too busy to care anymore. And I didn’t like the way I looked in anything.  I yo-yo’d between sizes ten and fourteen, depending on my stress level, and finding something I wanted  to wear was just a chore. So I started wearing my variation of a uniform, which consisted of black pants or jeans, a black tee shirt or sweater, and a black fitted jacket (if needed.)

My low point, or wake-up call, depending on how you want to look at it, came three years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was one of the lucky ones. The cancer was found early and I recovered quickly with breast intact, after a lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation.

But there is something to be said for being given a second chance at life. Let’s just say I came away from the experience with a more humble and grateful attitude for what I have. Suddenly, my frumpy, size fourteen body was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I appreciated it, and I wanted to take care of it.

Over the past three years, I’ve slowly regained my confidence, and my sanity. I eat healthier, exercise regularly, and relax and enjoy life a lot more. As a result, my weight has stabilized at size ten. I feel better and look better. And, as an extra added bonus, I’m beginning to love clothes again.

However, my lifestyle doesn’t require many sequined party dresses these days, so I’m inclined to think of my wardrobe from a more practical standpoint.  I buy fewer things, but of better quality. Oh, occasionally I’ll get something kind of nutty, like the Betsey Johnson bag with flowers and skulls on it, but for the most part, I still stick to black mixed with other neutrals and pops of color from accessories.

What works for me? If I could have only fourteen articles of clothing (not counting shoes, underwear, and accessories) this is what they would be…
  1. little black dress, sleeveless, fitted, mid knee
  2. pair of black Capri pants - the kind that have just a little stretch, a flat front with a side zipper, and that hit just at the ankle bone.
  3. pair of light tan Capri pants - just like above.
  4. pair of black jeans. (jeans require PERFECT fit)
  5. pair of dark blue jeans.
  6. black pencil skirt - mid knee length, fitted but not overly tight.
  7. black fitted jacket, lined, not too boxy, not too heavy weight, so it can be worn indoors.
  8. long-sleeved white cotton shirt
  9. denim shirt
  10. black tee shirt, short sleeved, with a little stretch
  11. Black sleeveless tank top, not too revealing, with a little stretch
  12. Black sweater, not too heavy. I have a really nice one from Eileen Fisher that’s a little longer in the back.
  13. great all-weather trench coat. I like a trench in tan or taupe.
  14. black leather jacket

These are, of course, just the basics…the pieces I build from. But I find that, if I have these fourteen things, and they’re in good condition, and they fit really well, I can always find something to wear. Yes, it’s a lot of black. But as I said, I can get color from accessories…tee shirts, scarves, bags, shoes, jewelry, etc.

The key is to have things that fits perfectly, in styles that are classic but current. I can justify spending more for core wardrobe pieces because I wear them a lot. I fill in with less expensive tops and fun accessories from Target, and cute, more trendy things from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

Anyway, that’s what works for me now in the wardrobe department. What works for you?

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