August 08, 2011

Fashion Pshmashion

I recently read this awesome post about a fellow homeschooling mama's decision to get dreadlocks, and it made me think about my own fashion sense (or lack thereof). 

I have exactly zero interest in fashion.

I could blame this on the fact that I'm a curvy girl and it is annoyingly difficult to find clothes that fit well.  But I don't think that's it.  I just see clothing as utilitarian--as a basic canvas or backdrop with faces and hair and accessories (earrings!) as the focal points.  That's why Living the Simple Life author Elaine St. James's idea of creating a personal "uniform" appeals to me.  I read her book about 10 years ago, and it changed how I shop for clothes.

She decided that she was tired of the endless choices in clothing stores.  Like many women, she bought separates here and there and ended up with a closet full of clothes--and nothing to wear.  So she decided to take some time to come up with her own personalized uniform.  She thought about what her favorite colors are, what silhouettes she likes the best, what materials she prefers.  And she uses those parameters to limit her new clothing choices. 

I loved this idea and decided to do my own wardrobe sleuthing.  Here's what I came up with:

1. I have a lot of shirt-related rules.  I'm very picky about prints.  Shrinky Dink is slowly helping me overcome my print phobia, but mostly I choose solids.
2.  I am also particular about sleeves.  Long sleeves make me feel claustrophobic, but I have man arms so I need some sleevage.  I like a good short sleeve--no elastic or cap sleeves for me.  
3. I prefer v-necks because they make me look less squatty.    
4. My favorite colors to wear are purple, blue, salmon, and brown. 
5. I look best in empire or A-line shirts and dresses.
6. I will never compromise on comfort--period.
7. I like the touch (the feel) of cotton.
8. I don't do dry cleaning or hand washing.  I just say no to high maintenance clothes.

Some of you might find these rules limiting, but I find them a relief.  They narrow down my options, giving me more time to focus on the part of shopping that I enjoy--finding great deals!

My daily uniform now consists of a colorful v-neck t-shirt (fall/winter/spring) or tank top (summer) with jeans or capri pants (a cellulite-camouflaging alternative to shorts), and Crocs, Simple Shoes, mules, or flip flops.  Earrings are a must.  (I really like colorful beaded earrings!)  And I wear colorful scarves in the cooler months.  I like having a couple cute and functional purses too.  (But in typical OCD fashion, they must be the PERFECT purses, meeting all my purse-related requirements!)

Because I am drawn to simplicity and order, I also limit the amount of clothing I have.  I have about 20 shirts (including tank tops) and 5 pairs of season-specific bottoms at any given time.  I have 8 pairs of shoes, 2 nightgowns, 1 coat, 2 jackets, 2 winter hats, and 1 summer hat.  I LOVE having a limited wardrobe.  It makes getting dressed so simple!      
Are we now all in agreement that I'm nuts?  Good.

Now that you know all about my weird sensible clothing policy, I want to hear about yours.  Do you have a daily uniform?  What do you look for when you shop for clothes?  Got any clothing rules?

P.S. Click here to make your own Southpark avatar!


  1. 1-8 are my rules too! Especially the thing about prints.

    I don't do sleeveless or tanks ever. I rarely wear earrings.

    If I'm going somewhere in the summer it is usually a scoop-neck or v-neck shirt and denim capris. I don't do shorts. That requires to making sure I shaved my thighs properly and shows off my cellulite and a great big spider vein behind my knee that's been there since I was a teen. I even had cellulite when I was an anorexic beanpole!

    Winter-time (leaving the house)is jeans and a shirt... short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves and long sleeves are all ok. Sometimes a pullover sweater, but usually I feel choked or too hot.
    Sometimes I wear a jacket or a coat, but it just seems like a lot of trouble to go from the car to the building or whatever and then have to take it off.

    I don't do crocs. I have 2 pairs of tennis shoes, a pair of flip-flops, and about 6 or 8 pairs of dress shoes that I haven't worn in yrs. I like Granny boots, but nobody wears granny boots - so I never wore the pair I had.

    My at home everyday uniform has become an oversize T-shirt and pj bottoms, capri pants, or my oversized comfy sweats. Depending on the time of the year and whether or not its a PJ day.

    My closet is full of clothes I've outgrown. So, at the moment my options are dwindling until I'm able to do some shopping.

  2. Your clothing rules sound similar to mine, but I wear a lot of black.
    I wear men's Ts around the house and for hiking/camping/etc..Moosejaw is a favorite (partly because of the ridiculous name and logo).
    I do not do poofy/floral/ruffled. It makes me look like a cheap sofa.
    I don't wear heels anymore. I have flat, wide *barefoot* feet and have come to terms with it.

  3. I think the uniform is quite brilliant. Guess mine consists of soft tailored t-shirts/tanks, comfy pants in all lengths, wedge slides, and converse. Cardigans and hoodies when the weather is cool. And I definitely prefer natural fabrics except wool. Nothing itchy!!! Makeup is optional and light. Can't stand being able to feel it. Jewelry is light, and usually a little quirky. I prefer jewelry that means something, like the earrings you and Tree Guy made with my kid's birthstones.

  4. Jen, I only started wearing tank tops last year. It took me 35 years to feel comfortable enough to show my upper arms! And even then, it was only because it's so dang hot down here in the south. I think you should wear granny boots. They could become your signature! You're a bit of a maverick anyway, right? :P

    Samantha, I totally forgot about the no poof rule! I don't like frills either. They make me look like Nellie on Little House on the Prairie! :)

    I too have cavegirl feet. I can't wear heels. I never wear pantyhose either. I love cushiony flip flops. And the Simple shoes I mentioned are cushiony and wide in the regular width. I just discovered those this year. LOVE them. I only wear Crocs in the winter. I have the kind without holes. I know they're ugly, but they're comfy!

  5. North Face Base Camp flip flops. Best thing ever!

  6. They look comfy! Do you get the women's? Are they good width-wise? True to size?

  7. Marti-er, Shrinky Dink, I really like your style. It's casual but a little funky too. It fits you perfectly.

  8. I hate that they only come in whole sizes. Definitely don't go down a half size. Tried that and it was like some freaky foot bondage thing.
    If you're a half size, go up and you should be fine (since we both have peasant feet). ;)

  9. Ha! Funny you should call me a Maverick. Up until a few years ago you would have described me as meek and submissive. Should I wear the granny boots with the PJ's or the sweats?