Saturday, February 7, 2009

About my Style. . .

Well, in a nutshell, I don't think I have one. But I want one. How embarrassing.

Today at Target I did the unimaginable. I bought myself a pair of sweatpants, a pair of khakis, and four t-shirts. I about had a panic attack at the register thinking of spending money on clothing for myself when I knew exactly what bills I could have paid instead. I mean, it was Target, and it wasn't that much money, and had it been clothes for one of the kids I wouldn't have batted an eye. But it was for me, and I never do that. These days. But the sweatpants I was wearing when I bought the new ones had a seat that was about to give out. Not that my butt's bigger or anything. (and it's getting smaller, thank you very much.)

Seriously? It's cold here now. And I realized with some degree of shock and confusion that I don't own a single pair of long pants. Only capris from the thrift store (and I'm not complaining, because L.A. thrift stores are the gold mine of the west coast. Let somebody else pay for designer clothes and then get bored with them when they're still perfectly fine. Suits me!) Oh, and that pair of almost bottom-less sweatpants, which I love.

How did this happen?

I'm not really good at clothes. I don't really know how to pick them out, or what looks good on me. Very rarely have I had clothing that I really feel confident in, even when I had a smokin' hot bod, for a mom-type. I want to, I just don't have the skill to know what to buy, and I don't have the patience or the time to go search them out, a piece here and a piece there.

Today when I bought my khakis, I did try them on, which I hardly ever do. Lyndsay was with me, (which is the main reason these purchases even made it through to the cashier. She's a big fan of me doing things for myself, bless her heart.)

"Did you like them?" she asked when I came out of the dressing room.

"Sure. They're pants."

"But did they fit well?"

"I guess. They're just pants."

She was already puzzled enough that I wasn't trying on the t-shirts. Apparently to her, t-shirts have to fit just right, whatever that means. It's not a formal gown, it's a t-shirt.

"Aren't you going to try on the black pants?" (the sweatpants)


"Why not?"

"Because they're just sweatpants. I mean, I know I'm not S, and I'm not L, so what's left? M. What's left to discover?"

She got a good laugh. But she has no hips and no cellulite, and legs that go on forever, so I let her live in her fantasy. If you remember, she tries on a size 0 and it's still too baggy. Puh-lease! Where do you go from there?

I think it all began when I was a child, when I got random hand-me-downs from various older relatives whom I'd never before met. Aunt's sisters, maybe? I don't know. I did the best I could, and then in high school I started buying my own clothing. Do you know how many times I was stopped and asked if I was a teacher? And I was young for my grade!

I used to watch women around me: my favorite teacher, Mrs. Holt in 7th and 8th grades; my Seminary teacher, Patrese Burke; my piano teacher, Carol Jean Stoker (who was a grandmother, but I liked her style!) I watched women around me whom I wanted to emulate for various reasons, and I admit, I started to dress like them. I painted my nails the same colors they used. I wanted a freshwater pearl bracelet because they had one. I wanted those peek-a-boo shoes that Mrs. Holt had, and dress pants with a belt and a blouse. Carol Jean always wore these silky skirts with coordinated sweaters, so I was on the lookout for those at TJ Maxx. I didn't copy my style from my peers (I felt terribly silly and out of sorts when I tried, though I did have my share of acid washed skin tight jeans--with zippers at the bottom-- and baggy sweaters.) I was born on the lookout for who I wanted to become and I tried to dress the part. Don't you think that's weird that a 17 year old girl is trying to look like her 50? something year old piano teacher? It just dawned on me a few weeks ago that I did that, and that that might be weird.

Oh great. Something else to add to the list. What a nerd.

So, now here I am fashionably clueless. I do my best to fake it, but I don't know that I'm really fooling anyone. And living where I live, it's easier to both get away with anything, and to really stand out as being the clueless one. Oy vey.

But hey. Today I am sporting very nice black lounge pants, with contrasting topstitching and a string tie at the waist. The fabric has a smooth sheen and drapes nicely. And they're machine washable, to boot. With that, I am wearing a slightly fitted, fuchsia V-neck tee with short sleeves and a nice, longer length. I think it makes my breasts look awesome, the worn-out working girls they are, and I'm even feeling a little skinnier in clothes that don't have holes in them.

So until What Not to Wear does an intervention on me, I sure am comfortable, and maybe even a little cute. And I'll keep trying.


Abby said...

Ya know..for the most part, I've always liked how you've dressed. It's always been crisp, ya know? You may not see it that way, but I sure always have. But ya know..there's also never anything wrong with going *new* clothing shopping for yourself every once in a while. Every girl deserves to have nice new clothes. So yay! I'm glad you were able to go do that for yourself. me a favor and strut down the hallway..maybe even in front of Adam (and don't forget to shake your butt for him)..and feel *good* about how you look..because *PLEASE* could never be a fatty!

Love you, silly!

Annette Lyon said...

I'm so glad you spent something on yourself!

I'm pathetic in the style department. I've gotten more compliments on my wardrobe in the last two years than ever before--but that's because I'm "storing" my mom's wardrobe while they're on a mission. And SHE has style and taste.

I generally don't enjoy going places with my sisters--they're serious fashionistas, and I inevitably look like a dork in comparison if up to my own devices.

Josi said...

I'm so right there with you! I very rarely feel I look 'right' and I think hand me downs as a kid is part of that--they fit someone else, not me, and it looked that way. Ironically, however, I still love thrift shops because I'd rather feel non-confident in my $5 jeans than the ones I spent $45 on. And one of my favorite shirts of all time came from a thrift shop in San Diego--so I totally hear ya on the California thrift shops and I'm glad you got some things for yourself. It is nice to feel good about how you look.

Unknown said...

I know exactly how you feel. I have the HARDEST time buying myself anything. I always feel so guilty. I have made purchases only to return to the store moments later to return them. Oh, and I used to have a book from that show What Not to Wear. Maybe you should look it up on eBay or something.

Wonder Woman said...

I wish I could stage an intervention for you with Stacey and Clinton!! You'd be great. They'd love your cute little body. ;)

Good for you, getting a few things for yourself. I was just at Target the other day and found some boots for $8.24 and a sweater for $5. I love that place. It's hard to go wrong with style (or pricce!) when you shop at Target, especially the clearance racks. (The only place I look.)

Shawna said...

This is funny, and I can relate.

I gave up trying to keep up with the latest styles more years ago than I can count, first out of a lack of style, then out of a lack of money. :0) Now, it's from a lack of energy, too.

I feel too guilty when I could spend the money on bills or my family. Someday in the future when I have more "me" time I'll work harder at it. Until then, I just want to be clean and comfy.

Hanley Family said...

Absolutely love thrift stores! Get the best little finds there and they all seem like treasures. :)

And I'm fashionably clueless, too. Just to prove it, I'm sitting here in my thrift store maternity pants and my husband's shirt. They are comfier than maternity shirts and what else matters?

Melissa Angert {All Things Chic} said...

i can totally relate to this!
in january i "splurged" at old navy and bought two mom-outfits -- yoga pants with matching tops. i wanted to have some comfy things that i could wear in public ;-) with my coupons and store credit, it probably cost $30, but i felt so guilty spending money on new clothes for myself!
i'm soooooo glad i did, though! i wear them constantly! maybe i'll even do yoga in them! (well, lets not go nuts ;-)

Misty said...

I can relate to this... I really had to work on this and still do.. Good for you, doing something for you. That's something a lot of us just discard when motherhood enters the picture!

Amanda Noelle said...

Well Jenna, I love fashion and would be glad to shop with you if you come to town or vice versa. That's always been my specialty. But I think you have a nice style. Heck I used to borrow or steal your clothes all the time when you were in high school. And it's definitely good and healthy to splurge on yourself once in awhile. love you.

Luisa Perkins said...

I've always thought you looked wonderful in everything. I'm glad you spent a little money on yourself!

Angela said...

What?! No picture of your cute new lounge pants and t-shirt slightly fitted!! I seriously laughed out loud when you said the comment about your "breasts"!

You are darling, you shouldn't ever worry! We can hit Target again when I come out next!

Sarah said...

I'll nominate you for What Not To Wear! Not because I think you lack style, but because you deserve it! I've secretly wished someone would nominate me, but alas, Stacy & Clinton have not come knocking on my door!

Julie Wright said...

I love the thrift store. I am a thrift store junkie! I wish I'd known about these things when I was a teen. Of course as a teen, my style was soooooo bad as to be the reason no one ever wanted to talk to me. I don't blame them. :) But for the record I know exactly how you feel. I rARELY FEEL CONFIDENT IN ANY CLOTHING. ack caplocks. Actually rarely do i feel confident. Sigh.