Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Comfortable, Flattering, Cheap: Pick Two

I got the idea for this post when I read Patience Crabstick’s post Building a Professional Wardrobe Part 1: What Doesn’t Work. She was a SAHM for 19 years after graduating from college, and then wore scrubs every day when she re-entered the workforce. When she became an analyst, she had no professional clothes, because if there’s one thing mothers do well, it’s neglecting to buy clothes for ourselves unless it’s absolutely necessary. And sometimes even then we moms manage to scrape by without buying enough clothes for ourselves. The kids always need something! 

It’s hard to shop when you feel you have to buy everything at once and money is an issue (money is always an issue for me). I do best when I accumulate pieces over time. This means I have to weed out some of the items I thought would work (or that my mom, my own personal shopper, found at a thrift store) but ended up not being comfortable or flattering. I almost added “or don’t work with my wardrobe,” but let’s face it, if it’s comfortable AND flattering, I WILL make it work in my wardrobe. It’s amazing how often I talk myself into letting clothes take up my precious closet space when they aren’t either one! 

However, it’s easy to understand why we keep things that are only one or the other. When something looks amazing on me and doesn’t cost too much, HECK YEAH, I buy it! Then wear it once and never again, because ugh, it didn’t feel good on, how soon can I get rid of this? Unless I wait long enough to forget how much I disliked it...wear it again, take it off as soon as possible… lather, rinse, repeat. 

For things that are are comfortable but not flattering, it often takes a moment of revelation to make me toss them. My husband takes his life in his hands if he suggests that those pants might be a little saggy--”I DON’T CARE, I’M WEARING THEM ANYWAY,” I have been known to snarl. I like to have a lot of clothes. I am not like the people who wear a variation of the same clothes every day--a capsule wardrobe, or “uniform” if you will. I respect their choices, I even envy them, but I wore a school uniform for 12 years as a kid and I don’t want to wear the same clothes every day. Yet I am also cheap (I believe I mentioned that) and will wear things that were a good deal if they feel all right on my body even if they make me look like a heap of discarded rags. So yeah, sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror, or see a photo which I can’t excuse as just a bad angle, and shudder. About twice a year I purge my closet, filling bags to donate to the local resale shop, and wonder why THAT made the last 20 cuts.  

I meant to discuss my current wardrobe issue, which is the opposite of Patience’s dilemma--needing to create a more casual work wardrobe, but I see I’ve rambled on enough that I would rather save that for another post. Readers (male or female), what wardrobe changes have you had to make when you made changes in your lifestyle? 



  1. Thanks for the shout out! I agree that it's really hard to wear something that isn't comfortable, even if it looks great. There's pressure to suffer for beauty--I suspect my sister thinks I'm kind of lame because I insist on comfortable shoes. I wore a uniform to school too but I loved it. It was nice not to have to think about what to wear.

  2. Comfortable shoes are a must!

    I hated the uniform I wore as a student, but I love it that my kids have to wear them. It makes getting ready for school s much easier.

  3. I love clothes, but I have a bad tendency to buy similar things over and over. Like seriously, I have so many black sweaters/ tops/ tees that it is insane. But they are all slightly varied, which makes me justify it. "Well, I don't have a tunic-length V-neck...so maybe I should buy it." It's a problem.