As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, I’m also all too aware of the criticism that surrounds being just that. The minimalism craze isn’t lost on me. I pore over YouTube channels like Jenny Mustard and MuchelleB, partially congratulating myself on having read and employed the teachings of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, while also reinforcing my steely resolve against the notion that “people only shop aimlessly when they’re unhappy.”
To the contrary, in response to the new “so-called” “Trump” “administration,” I pared down considerably, dressing for the past few months as if I’m going to a business-casual funeral. Because to some extent I feel like I am.
Additionally, I’m scheduled to close on a new house in July, and all dollars and cents that would normally go toward my shopping habit are now being funneled into a savings account for my down payment. My trip to Peru I had planned for my birthday is postponed, can’t open any new credit lines, you know the drill.
Without the revolving door of new clothes being bought and sold from my closet, I’ve had a sludgy sort of realization – I’m never really excited about 90% of my wardrobe. Furthermore, the pieces I am excited about – a pair of Street-to-Studio pants from Lululemon, an old pair of white linen culottes from Loft, a black jumpsuit that doubles as a pinafore – give me zero leads in terms of where to go from here.
I mean, the commonality is that they’re monochrome, but for various reasons – one of which being Ana Wintour’s vocal disdain for head-to-toe black – I know that’s not a stable foundation for a pleasing wardrobe. Not for me, anyway.
Speaking to my close friend Leslie – as I do all day most days on g-chat – we agreed wholeheartedly on the fact that our pieces of clothing feel either too old or too young for us right now. I’m turning 30 in April, she turned 30 last August.
We also, entirely independently, bought the same pairs of Madewell high-waisted jeans a few months back thinking, at least in my case, “This will cinch me in in the places I need it most.”
They are hellishly uncomfortable, somehow too big and too small at the same time, and they make my belly – which I work hard on keeping trim and firm to the best of my abilities – into a convex spoon shape. I can accept many things. Being a 29-year-old with a FUPA is not one of them.
So is it just the age where we are? Is 30 the ultimate limbo for self-representation in fashion? Will I ultimately emerge from my stretch-denim cocoon as a sophisticated, silk-draped 30-something? Is this when I start buying everything at Cuyana? Or am I destined to slowly spiral from athletic leggings to elastic waistbands and ultimately just muumuus because the sensation of fabric digging into my skin gives me anxiety?
More likely I’ll just end up with everything being black, but I hope not.
It probably seems frivolous, but I actually think about fashion a lot. I think I about my personal style, how to express myself in my clothes. It’s something I usually enjoy. But I often find myself in search of something that makes perfect sense to me, only to find that no one makes it. For example, a pair of straight-leg jeans with a mid-rise, a nice old fashioned GAP style rinse in a soft but substantial, un-stretchy fabric – like you’d expect someone on stage in STOMP might have worn in the late 1990s.
Or a decently fitting T-shirt for a small-chested woman. No, not a V-neck. A crew neck that doesn’t ride up when I use my arms, that doesn’t wrinkle when I sit down, that doesn’t shrink like hell in the wash, that doesn’t pill…I know, unreasonable expectations.
So whether it’s my disdain for my own wardrobe, or my disdain for the fact that I can’t find what I like anywhere, maybe they’re right after all. Maybe I am unhappy, and that’s why I shop. But it’s not aimless. While I recognize the contributions of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly to our collective fashion sense, finding clothes that fit, that flatter, that make you feel good about yourself, shouldn’t be the exhausting and ultimately unfulfilling process that it is.
And if you feel like I feel, what’s the secret to un-slumping? Because it’s about to be Summer in central Texas – and head-to-toe black isn’t going to cut it, no matter how much I want it to.