Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On being a fashion victim...

And by "victim," I mean victim - not aficionado, not fanatic, not devotee, and not really even enthusiast. Enthusiastic would not be one of the words I use to describe my relationship with fashion. My own personal style, in the past few years, has been mostly black - black skirts, black shirts with jeans, black tunics with jeans, black tanks with jeans. The lower rack in my closet looks like Denim Day at The Gap. The upper rack, like it belongs to a mortician's daughter. I had a brief flirtation with color when my hair was platinum blonde. But I think the bleach soaked through to my brain and made me do silly things, like wear all pink, so I could flip through photos later and wonder why that blonde girl is dressed like a box of Valentine's day candy hearts.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not all function and no form. I like a well-cut pair of jeans (so much, in fact, when I find a pair I like, I stock up). I will spend a lot of money on a shirt that fits well, looks good, and is comfortable. Other than that, I don't care who makes it when, where, and why. I do look for designer labels, but only because some of them are really well-made, not so I can answer "who are you wearing?" with "Prada" or "Marc Jacobs."

The victim part is my fault. I get set in my ways and want to be able to replace the black summer weight Liz Claiborne cardigan I bought two years ago that now has a hole in the sleeve with an identical cardigan, except Liz decided that she was going to focus on old lady golf clothing in pastels this year. I need a new pair of jeans, maybe two or three pair, because every pair of the EIGHT IDENTICAL Gap specials I own has some damage - paint, rip, wear, tear, bleach. I found out this morning that Gap no longer carries My Favorite Jean in My Size. I. Am. So. Vexed.

What to do? If you knew what it takes to find a good pair of wearable, comfortable, dependable jeans, you'd bring me a happy pill right now. As I mentioned in a previous post, I even gave a pair of boys' jeans a shot last week. They were OK, but just OK. The last time I set forth on this journey, it took me a year and eight months to find the right pair, wearing the XLs that I was four-to-six sizes too small for the whole while. Picture me: shuffling through malls and TJ Maxxes, through outlets and department stores, holding up the waistband of my baggy fatgirl pants with one hand and flipping through racks and racks of denim with the other. Not a pretty sight.

Thinking it might be time to change things (and by "things," I mean my wardrobe) up, I started reading some fashion blogs to see what might work for my new look. Will it be this? Or this? It won't be this because messy Boho has never been my thang. But maybe it could be my New Thang?

What I do like: The vintage-inspired pieces in Alvin Valley's Spring '07 collection. Especially this. And this.
I've always loved Diane Von Furstenberg , but I'm not sure I could pull this off. I would, however, try the bright tights-plus-tunic.
Then there's Graham & Spencer, Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, and Nanette Lepore. If only they made dresses out of the same fabric as the t-shirts I sleep in. Stretchy. With drawstrings. And pockets.

Ideas are welcome, as long as they don't involved the words "fitted," "eighties-retro," "fluorescent," or "tube sock."


  1. Kelly,
    I cannot stand when anyone stops making 'my' jeans (or my anything for that matter). When that happens to me I just gird my loins, head into the gap (or sometimes banana) and take every style in two different sizes into the dressing room. It is a sucky process but I usually end up with at least ONE pair that I like.

    I also think you are on the right track with those links. I especially like the tunic over bright tights and also the kors top. Personally, I am very into the cropped-sweater-over-dress-over-pants-with-sandals-and-one-BIG-ring-look right now...

    Good luck with the search. It will be fun to see what you do end up with.

  2. Les! You do know what it takes! I'm hoping my search won't take me a year-plus this time. Someone told me to try the Levi's store at the new outlets for jeans. I'm going to go there this weekend and will let you know what happens...

  3. Levis and Banana work great for me and that's about it. But then again, I have a serious (genetic) tush and no waist to deal with. I'm an hourglass figure on crack.

    Personally, I love Ann Taylor and Victoria Secret. The latter is less hooker than you'd think...

  4. Go to Saks and get some Joe's Jeans. They are amazing. Pricey, but you will never want to take them off.

  5. ditto on Joe's. but eventually they will stretch out to the point that you'll have a plumber's crack every time you sit down. James jeans are another fave. And Citizens. As for fun and affordable, there's some great stuff out at Target like Patrick Robinson's collection. And I don't know where to find Bitten yet, but SJP said on Oprah last week that not a single item in her collection costs more than $20 and it's all super cute. On the splurge side, I LOVE Burning Torch but usually have to wait for a clearance. Happy shopping!

  6. I definitely do not want the plumber's crack! We're going to hit the outlets this weekend, which will cover Banana, Ann Taylor, AND Levis. If my search turns up nothing, I will begin considering style options for stretch cotton pajama pants (my other favorite Gap item of clothing).

  7. Yes, I feel your pain on the jeans. I went jeans shopping with my friend in DC, and I think we tried on 15 pairs and found that every single one of them made us look like we had some sort of horrible disfigurement. And these were jeans from reliable stores like Levis and the Gap. My favorite jeans now have a whole right in the crotch, so I've got to find some new ones. Let us know what you come up with this weekend.


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