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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Try It: Resale Shopping and My Self Image

My friend Alex knows how to shop and she knows style. She has a great blog called duffydossier and I am often entertained and excited by the amazing finds she makes while shopping retail. I also love the styles she shares on her Instagram feed. Did I say entertained? I mean envious.

I'm envious of all those talented women who manage to put together delightful ensembles with accessories that make the outfit pop, innovative combinations of belts and purses, cute jackets...and the most elusive of all fashion choices: vintage.

I don't know how to wear vintage. When I shop vintage all I can think of is "Is this cool? Or just old?" and "When I wear this, I'll look like I'm in costume."

I'm not an especially stylish person. Since my freelance business has really solidified, this is how I often dress for work:

My PJs PowerSuit

I'm just kidding. I get dressed for work. Most days. But to be honest, when I do get dressed it's in clothes like these:

My 'uniform'
Every once in awhile I get into a "I should dress better kick." I rush into a store and start looking for fashionable, fancy clothes. But I hate spending a lot of money on clothes because I will my kids will just spill something on them.  I picked up this jacket at a department store recently and it was under $20. That was pretty cool! 

But Alex's posts really inspired me to explore consignment and resale shopping and try something new.  So we set a date and met at WearWoof, a consignment shop that shares proceeds with local non-profits supporting animals in the region. When we arrived, I asked Alex for advice on how she shops. "I check seams, check for stains, and check for wear," she said. "Otherwise, I try on anything I like."

I tried to follow her advice and dragged a few items into the dressing room. I loved an orange sweater that fit perfectly, so I bought it. And I didn't love a long-sleeve sweater that was way too tight. I did love a black dress and bought it, and found a belt for it.

And two new pairs of tights. And a really, really cute blue beanie slouchy hat thingie. But none of it was what you'd call vintage.

And after a long talk with Alex afterward, I decided: I don't care! I like comfortable clothes. I don't like dressing up a lot. I usually say "I have no time for accessories" but really I don't have an interest in them. If I have a lot of necklaces or pieces to assemble for an outfit I get nervous and unhappy. Too many choices freak me out! I have a somewhat scattered mind and reducing my clothing options is totally in-line with other creative types like Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama who have minimized non-vital decisions. 

So next time I see, do not be insulted if it looks like I've barely paid any attention to my appearance before meeting up. It's not a sign that I don't value our time together. It most likely means I've been giving a lot of thought to your project, your needs, your life and very little thought to what shirt or pants go with whatever socks I put on that day.

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