Thursday, February 24, 2011

"This is not a (wo)man's closet..."

Do you remember that scene from the movie "Fever Pitch" where Lindsey is going through Ben's closet to find something for him to wear when he meets her parents and all she sees are Red Sox shirseys? She tells him, "This is not a man's closet ...You have one pair of dress shoes ... You're like a man-boy-half man, half boy."  Yeah, well that's how I felt recently as I began evaluating my own closet's contents for my work wardrobe -- Rangers, Rangers, Rangers, John Mayer, Dave Barnes, Todd Carey, Rangers, Rangers, Rangers, Relay For Life, Relay For Life, Rangers, Rangers, Iowa State, Texas Tech (odd, I know), HRHS production of "South Pacific," etc. You can probably visualize it. Maybe your closet looks similar.  But probably not -- many of you are much more put together (wardrobe-wise) than I am.

The newspaper industry, at least the one in which I worked for almost nine years was so relaxed. I take that back. I tried dressing up my first year or so on the job, but I was the paper's crime/courts/emergency reporter. It seemed like any day I chose to dress up, I would end up standing in the interstate median in heels, waiting for the state trooper to give me some information and a few quotes. Eventually, I gave up on the skirts and stuck to something much more durable (and comfortable!). I could pull on jeans and a tshirt any day of the week and no one would bat an eye. I got away with a ballcap a few days when I slept late. I probably could have gone in my pajamas a day or two (or twenty), and no one would have noticed.

This is not the case in my new professional role. The official name for my office dress code is "business casual." First of all, who came up with that? What is casual about business? What is business about casual?  I'm confused.  And conflicted.  How do you decide what fits that category? From observing others in my area, it seems non-jeans pants and non-tshirt-shirts are acceptable. Well...that eliminates about ninety percent of my wardrobe. I have a few (stress on "few") pieces I'll be able to rotate for a little while (stress on "little while") before I start repeating things.  With a little help from the goodwill racks, I think I've made my "work closet" just a little deeper. But not much.

Some serious shopping is in order. But who has the money for that? Especially when I'm coming up on possibly the most major purchase of my life so far (a house), paying final bills in my former housing and transitioning from bi-monthly paychecks to monthly paychecks. 

Also, I am not a good shopper of clothes.

First of all, I can't look at something on a rack and decide if it would work on me.  The mannequins are no help either.  Where are Stacy and Clinton when I need them?!?  I take that back; they would make me throw out all of my Rangers and musician tshirts. I don't want a visit from the "What Not to Wear" crew unless one of my trusted friends comes to my house ahead of time and "rescues" my treasured tops.  Please and thanks in advance.

Second, I despise trying things on. Dressing room mirrors and lighting are not flattering.  Or maybe clothes just don't look good on me at all. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure nudity is not an option in my office. Or society. I dread the dressing room, but like many other things in life (taxes, driver's license renewals, puberty and physical exams), it's a necessary evil that must be faced. When I enter a dressing room with an armful of selections, I hope a few of them will work. More often than not, none of them do. They're not cut right, too short, too long, too tight, too loose, etc.  Too tight is probably the worst of them. Not only is it depressing, but have you ever been stuck in a garment? Ugh. Stressful and embarassing, especially if you've gone shopping alone and have to figure out your escape route solo. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has gone through this.

As much as I dread clothes shopping, I am going to have to deal with it. I need to convert my t-shirt-heavy closet into that of a professional woman. Wish me luck. And toss me some advice if you feel so inspired.


  1. I used to not like trying things on... but now I think it's kind of fun. Maybe I've become more girly... but it's better than buying something you think might look good or might fit, and getting it home and not having it fit or looking awful.
    If you have an Ann Taylor Loft close to you, I'd recommend going there. Sometimes they have awesome sales (like extra 40% off stuff that's already on sale, even)... and just a few pieces from there will take you a long way. Also, their pants come in a few different cuts for different body types.


Pin It button on image hover