Thursday, December 02, 2010

This Year's Girl

This is me, late 2010.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start paying more attention to how I looked. In part, Lanesplitter kicked off this new campaign. I'd forgotten how much I liked skirts, and hadn't realized how few pairs of pants I have. A few pounds from now, I'll have half a dozen new pairs to wear, but for the moment I'm stuck with what fits and hasn't worn out over three winters of me wearing them while saying that I needed to get into shape.

The bigger motivator was our office move. On the first day in the new building, I wore a comfortable, work-appropriate pair of trousers and a light blue cardigan. The trousers have been my favorite, not because of how they look, but because they're machine washable. They're starting to fade at the seams, and they only hold their shape for one wearing now. The cardigan has been a disappointment since the day I bought it, but it was easy to find in my closet. Some seasons of Banana Republic cardis are great, some are just passable. This one was the latter. The hem, even though it's ribbed, rolls up on itself everywhere except at the button bands, which makes for an odd fold right at the center front of the garment, like an arrow pointing down to the worn seams in the crotch of my bland slacks.

Dressed in this nondescript outfit, I made my way into the building and to my new desk. Our new offices are sleek, full of frosted glass and muted grey fabrics. Everything is new, everything is uniform, and everything is clean. More on that later. The important thing to note is that, unlike our old offices, the ceiling tiles aren't water-stained, and the mismatched desks aren't held together with Scotch tape. It looks professional.

My new aisle-mates were moving in as well. One of them is a woman a few years older than I am. She is always dressed perfectly in lovely dresses, coordinating jewelry and stylish boots or, on Fridays, in a sweater and dark-wash denim. She is the epitome of "Office Style, 2010". She'd just finished losing a good deal of weight right before I met her, so most of what she has is less than a year old. I'd see her around the old office and think about how sharp she looked, how maybe I should step it up a notch, too. But then, every morning, I'd reach for one of the same three pairs of pants and figure out what to throw on top of them that would get me out the door looking decent.

I stepped across the aisle to chat with her. Even on moving day, she was in a graphic print wrap dress, the neckline of which showed off the multi-strand beaded necklace she was wearing. She looked like she belonged in that new office, in the Herman Miller chair. I was suddenly aware of how unflattering my own ensemble was. "Oh my God, I hate what I'm wearing."

"Why? There's nothing wrong with it."

"Well, there's nothing right with it either. It's just...blah."

I spent the rest of the day uncomfortable. If it hadn't been our first day in the new building, I would have feigned illness and gone home. That's how bad I suddenly felt about how I looked.

When I got home, I threw the pants and the cardigan in the laundry and piled a couple of wet towels on them. I didn't want to be tempted to salvage them just yet. I then went into my closet and took a hard look at what I still had. I had skirts that might have worked if I had the right tops, and I had dresses that I didn't wear because I thought they weren't warm enough, or I thought they made my back look fat, or I thought that I "just didn't wear dresses to work." I took some things out and tried them on.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, and I found some things that I didn't even remember I had. A couple of sweaters and some tights, and I'd be in business. I went to Old Navy and picked up a few things, moved a couple of pieces to the front of my closet, and started the new week with a new attitude. I've taken pictures each day, but today's outfit is the first one I really liked.

This dress is three years old, bought at Nordstrom. I think it's one of their house brands. Here's what I don't understand about sizing. It's a petite large. I am not large. What the Hell, clothiers? Way to make people feel broader in the beam than they already do. The cardigan's from H&M, bought earlier this season. You can't see them, because I don't have a long enough mirror with enough light, but I'm wearing a great pair of black tights from Target, and mid-heel Clarks pumps. I loved wearing this outfit all day.

I got this haircut a few weeks ago, and I love it. I'm resisting getting it cut again because I'm afraid it won't be replicable. Most days I don't have time to blow it out in this style, so I've taken to using a curling iron with a great big barrel. It's more work than I'm used to putting in when I get ready in the morning, but I love it so much that it's worth it.

I'm calling this and future what-I-wore posts WTHAYW (What the Hell are you wearing?). Taking pictures of the outfits is helping me to see what I like, what I don't like, and what something actually looks like as opposed to what it looks like to me when I look in the mirror.

What does this have to do with the the Zeitgeist? Like I said, this is me. Right now. And I like me right now. When I scroll back through old posts in a few months and in a few years, I want to this one to remind me that this is who I am. What did people look like in 2010? Here you go.

1 comment:

Jo said...

Makes me glad my aisle-mate is a man in his 30s who wears khakis and sweaters every day...