I've never really considered myself a fashionable person. Cute, but not quite fashionable. In high school I kind of did my own thing. As far as I remember I didn't really dress like my friends. Maybe I did, and I just think I was "original". I did, however, wear make up at that point. (1999)
In college I started toning it down a bit. The fantastic thing about college clothing was living with 5 other girls!!! The cutest outfits I wore were rarely owned or purchased by me. The bad thing about that was the [lack of] clothing shock when I got married! I never really recovered from that.
Right before Matt came home from his mission, I remember going shopping with my sister in VA at Kohls. It was the first time I'd heard of that store. Anyway, I bought myself some orange plaid capris. When Matt saw them, he told me that they looked like pajamas and that it was almost embarrassing to be out with me while I was wearing those. Ouch! haha. I got rid of them pretty quickly, and honestly, I think that was the beginning of the end of colorful clothes. (Looking at an old pic of them, they were pretty ugly, so don't judge Matt too harshly. I was trying to be fashionable, but just didn't know how, so I basically just gave up the notion.) Oh, and once he mentioned that I looked better without make up and I stopped wearing that! I figured it was cheaper and easier, so I was on board!!
In the last few years, I've ended up going with the most very basic of basics. Solid, fitted knit shirts from Target or Walmart. Kahki capris and shorts. I'm talking basic. The only dress/skirt purchases I've made in the past 10 years were during pregnancies. And when I bought those I got nice and stretchy dresses so I could wear them when I was not pregnant!
When I went to Phantom in Feb. with my friend Kirstin, I realized that I didn't have one decent shirt. Not one. After that I bought a few shirts from Target (all the same shirt in different colors!) and slacks from Old Navy to tide me over.
It wasn't until a week before our scheduled family pictures that I realized that even those weren't quite cute enough to be professionally photographed and documented for posterity's sake. So, as part of a trade for piano, I asked my friend Kary (who loves fashion and helps mainly frumpy mothers find a style) to teach me to shop.
Being from rural Snowflake where we don't even have a Walmart, I've never really known how to shop. I didn't know where to shop. I honestly don't think I've ever known what size I am. I couldn't ever find pants that fit both my waist and legs. I've always felt like the women's section was too "old lady" and the juniors/miss section has just gotten uglier and uglier every year (um, maybe that's a sign that I'm not a 'junior" any more and that I'm out of touch with the young kids now a days. hahahaha.)
2 days before our pictures we went shopping for 3.5 hours straight. We hit 6 stores. She had lists of things I needed. We were in and out. No messing around. Most importantly, I found out what size I am, what sections and stores to shop, and general ideas of what looks good on me. Pencil skirts. Wedge shoes if I want some height. Skirts just below or in the middle of my knee or to my ankle, but nothing mid-calf. I'm generally a size 4 petite in pants and a small in tops. It's nice to be able to go into a store and grab a wad of clothes and have the majority of them fit properly! Oh, and I found that when you shop a little higher quality than Old Navy, Target, and Walmart, pants actually fit me properly! We got me make up, jewelry, shoes, dressier shirts and pants and skirts. I felt like I was channeling my maternal great-grandmother when I bought my hot pink skirt.
So, in the past 2 1/2 weeks I've purchased:
2 black capris, black pants, dark brown dressy shorts, hot pink pencil skirt, black pencil skirt, purple dress, a patterned skirt, 8 or so shirts, black wedge sandals, light brown strappy wedge sandals, 5 necklace/earring combos (from the dollar store till I figure out what kind of jewelry I actually like), 2 eye shadows, mascara, lip gloss. Am I missing anything? It feels like it...
These aren't great pictures. I had Matt quickly snap them when I got home from shopping so I could see what photographed ok. I wasn't smiling in any of them, so I cut off my head! =) I've been trying to photograph my other clothes, but Matt's been working tons and I don't have a tri-pod, so I've been pretty unsuccessful. My shirts are where all the pattern is lest you think I got all solids...
I didn't feel like I'd quite gotten what I wanted for pictures, but I felt more confident in my ability to shop, so the next day I went out by myself. I felt like a contestant on What Not to Wear, trying to follow rules and find things that were out of my comfort zone but cute. I found this shirt and I felt happy enough with how it worked with the clothes I got for Matt and the boys. Paired with a cute necklace and dressier capris it makes a pretty cute outfit.
Our pictures got rained out and rescheduled for August. But that was fine. I felt like our outfits needed a little fine tuning anyway. I went shopping again. For a person who hasn't done much shopping at all in my life, I have been a shopping maniac the last few weeks!! I actually want to go again tomorrow to find a few more casual, yet cute tops that I can wear on a daily basis.
I have to admit, I am kind of liking wearing a little make up again (mascara and very subtle eye shadow and lip gloss), and I've really enjoyed (*gasp*) shopping. It's fun looking cute. I hope I don't start enjoying it too much!! Being a plain Jane has definitely been kind on the pocket book.