View Full Version : OT - Fashionally challenged! Help!

10-26-2006, 01:30 PM
I need some help from my knitting diva friends!!! :heart: I'm in a "fashion crisis". I'm a stay-at-home mom, "thirty-ish", and I guess I figured that jeans and T-shirts were going to be okay to wear forever. Well, I'm feeling more and more like I need some "adult" style as I get older, but I don't even know where to begin to start to find out what is out there. My stuff in my closet is SOOOO outdated (not even the point of being a neat "vintage" look--just plain ugly, and not updateable by adding accessories)...I have stuff in there from like 9 years ago (why I'm hanging onto it, I'll never know!), and I'm about 30 pounds more than I'd like to be, so I guess I figured if I dressed baggy, it would somehow do me a favor (it doesn't). Although I'm 30 pounds heavier than I should be, I'm pretty well proportioned, so I can carry it off a little bit, so I don't know why I'm going with the burlap sack look! I'm tired of being frumpy and feeling like I look disheveled. I mean, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and yeah, we have a very tight budget, but it doesn't mean I have to look like a bag lady, does it? :( Where can I go to get an update or a fashion "makeover"? Are there magazines that are out there to help (any ones in particular?)? What about free websites? I have more "classic" taste and I'm not really into trends, so anything geared along those lines would be really helpful.

10-26-2006, 01:35 PM
ooooooooh you want us to nominate you for TLC's What Not to Wear?

That could be fun but they are kinda meeeeeeeeean! (mostly it seems mean to the people who have NO idea that they are out of style......me?...i know and would probably not take it as badly...lol)

10-26-2006, 01:39 PM
Why dontcha try Ann Taylor? "The Loft" is their discount store... they have NICE, adult clothing... conservative, good quality, stylish, stuff that will remain in style for a while. Or, Talbots is nice, too... Or, The Limited... or Limited Express... Im thinking if you are just "upgrading" fom a 10-yr old wardrobe, you may want to stay away from the "trendier" stores that might scare you! :teehee:

10-26-2006, 01:39 PM
I've thought about what if I went on What Not To Wear, but the comments I could hear them saying about my wardrobe...well, it wouldn't be pretty! :teehee: You're right though--I think if you're aware that you need fashion help, it helps you to manage their criticisms and suggestions better. For me, I do know what kinds of styles of things work on my body type (most of the time), although I don't have a lot of those clothes currently in my closet, and also, sometimes, those types of clothes aren't always in style (like maybe a person looks good with an empire-waisted, bell-sleeved blouse, but those go in and out of style).

10-26-2006, 01:40 PM
you are just "upgrading" fom a 10-yr old wardrobe

It's pretty pathetic, isn't it? :oops: :rofl:

10-26-2006, 01:42 PM
You could just window shop the fancier department stores and see what is on the racks and mannequins, making notes or lists of what you like, then go to the second-hand/thrift type stores to see what you could find in similar styles that you like.

I think a nice crisp white blouse and black pants are always classy and stylish! You could change it up with different scarves or pins. You will always look better in things that fit you well rather than trying to disguise figure faults with bagginess.

Do you know how to sew? Even if you don't, again you could look through current pattern books for things that you like and seem practical and then look elsewhere for similar items.

10-26-2006, 01:43 PM
I like Gap's new store, Forth & Towne. They're stylish, but not trendy. But they're pricey. Like Banana Republic and up prices. Geared towards women in their 30's and up, I think. But I like it even though I'm 23.

Target has some nice stuff that kinda skirts the stylish/trendy border. They've got good basics, though. And they're prices are good. I don't have a WalMart near me, but I've seen some commercials and it looks like their new women's clothing line is similar to Target's. And Kohl's is supposed to be good like that, too.

H&M is a bit on the trendy stuff, but the prices are good.

You know the show "What Not to Wear" on TLC? It was originally a British show, and the British hosts wrote a book called What Not to Wear. I haven't looked through it too much, but if it's like the show, it's got tips to make sure you dress to accentuate your features and stuff like that. B&N has it in the Health section, with the makeup books and stuff like that. They're also a Lucky's Guide to Shopping (or something like that.) I've flipped through this one, and while some of it's basic wardrobe "requirements" are excessive, it has good tips and explains, for instance, why you should have a blazer, and what you can wear it with for which occasions. That's in the same section as "What Not to Wear."

I personally wear a lot of sweaters over t-shirts or camis or button down shirts. Cardigans are good, too, especially if temperature is an issue. Add pants or a skirt or jeans, and boots or sandals or sneakers, and voila! Instant outfit. And since I can change the dressiness of my outfits by wearing jeans or black pants, my weekend wardrobe is similar to my work wardrobe.

The best thing to do might be to walk around in different stores (mall would be great for this) and get an idea of what people are wearing and just look and see which stores look heinous to you and which you might want to come back to. Don't buy, just look, maybe try things on, if you want to get an idea of which styles would be flattering. (I have big hips, big boobs, and a small waist, so I tend to stay away from high-waisted, flowy shirts because I think they make me look fat. I want to accentuate my curves, not hide them behind a shirt.) Flattering clothes make you look better dressed than pricey clothes that are "in" but don't do anything for you.

10-26-2006, 01:53 PM
You know the show "What Not to Wear" on TLC? It was originally a British show, and the British hosts wrote a book called What Not to Wear.

Yes! I have this book at home, actually (Trinny and Susannah are hilarious!!!), and when I see that their show is on, I'll watch. That book has helped me A LOT to understand that well-fit clothing does more to flatter a figure than baggy clothing--a person can actually wear fitted clothes and look great, and, it can be done in colors other than black! :roflhard:

10-26-2006, 02:10 PM
I would just watch WNTW's on TLC...even though they tailor different shows to different people/jobs there are a few things that run through all of them...looking for fit, tailoring to fit, age appropriateness, matching your personality and buying classic, quality pieces. I think that is great advice for anyone and I don't' think I've ever seen anyone on that show that didn't look fabulous in the end no matter what their size or age.

10-26-2006, 03:08 PM
Yes! I have this book at home, actually (Trinny and Susannah are hilarious!!!), and when I see that their show is on, I'll watch.

I like the BBC show, too, though they do get awfully repetitive and can be too way dogmatic -- I hate when they make people cry. Sometimes, though, I just think they're just off the mark... whenever Trini does her dress and pants thing I want to groan. :wall:

I agree with you that it's a great strategy to stick with "timeless" apparel that fits well, and looks good on you. I've got a closetful of suits that I haven't touched since I started working at home, but if I ever do have an office job again, I know I won't need to buy a new wardrobe. More than that, I know that I'll feel just as terrific wearing those outfits years from now as I did when I bought them. (That just goes to show that "timeless" doesn't have to mean boring -- Audrey Hepburn's style was a great example of this.)

I don't think you necessarily need to get a huge overhaul right away. Why not just buy pieces as you find them? I think I'd rather take my time and build up a solid wardrobe than trying to get everyting all at once and possibly making some compromises by doing so.

10-26-2006, 03:13 PM
I don't think you necessarily need to get a huge overhaul right away. Why not just buy pieces as you find them? I think I'd rather take my time and build up a solid wardrobe than trying to get everyting all at once and possibly making some compromises by doing so.

I so agree with this. Plus, if you buy a whole new wardrobe all at once, you might not wear half the stuff. Better to buy pieces as you find them and slowly incorporate them into your daily wear. That way you can get used to it. I used to be a strictly jeans and t-shirt/sweatshirt kind of gal. Now I like dressing nice.

Mama Bear
10-26-2006, 04:01 PM
If you don't mind a little mail, sign up for the Coldwater Creek catalogs. The web site doesn't give you the same "outfit" looks as the paper catalogs. Even if you don't buy from them it will give you some ideas on how to pull an outfit together with different pieces.

Start with a one or two outfits you really love, then slowly add pieces you can switch out with those as you find more and have time to really find your personal style.

Mama Bear

10-26-2006, 04:09 PM
Stine, I have this fear that growing up means I can't wear jeans and t-shirts all the time anymore. :rofl: I have probably half a dozen skirts I bought when I realized all I own is jeans...but I don't wear them. :shrug: I have maybe three nice pairs of pants that I wear to work sometimes, but most of the time I wear scrub pants and t-shirt. I'm pretty much hopeless. :teehee: The co-op job I'm (hopefully) getting this summer won't make me dress nicely, either.

What Not to Wear is hard for me to watch. I have a problem watching things where people get embarrassed and that seems to happen on that show. I don't actually have advice (would you really take fashion advice from a girl who goes to class in pajamas?), I just wanted to ramble.

10-26-2006, 04:14 PM
Cate, all the production folks I work with wear jeans and sneakers pretty much every day. Editorial and marketing usually dress nicer, but all the creative departments (design, art, production--you know, the Mac users :rofl: ) dress down. And my friend is a graphic designer, and I don't think he has to dress up. Sneaky way to wear comfy but nice pants are cords!

10-26-2006, 04:21 PM
Yeah, but cords make that noise when I walk. :help: :teehee:
Hey, I qualify as a Mac user now! Maybe I'll never have to give up my jeans! :cheering:

10-26-2006, 04:42 PM
When you go shopping, it you go somewhere that isn't a department store, there will be sales people to help you out. Explaining to them what you are looking for might be helpful. Even if you explain the situation, but can't clearly define the styles you would like to wear, they should still be able to help you. They know what they sell in their stores, and what goes with what, and should be able to help you put together an outfit or two that will go with some of the things you already have at home.

If you have a couple of pieces in your wardrobe that fit you nicely and you still won't mind wearing for awhile, start by building on those pieces. That way, you can build up your new wardrobe a bit faster than starting everything from scratch.

Another thing that might be helpful would be to take a friend shopping with you, especially if it is a friend whose clothing and fashion sense you like. Friends tend to be a bit more honest about how an item fits or how the colour looks on you than a sales person might be.

Good luck with your new wardrobe and let us know how things turn out!

10-26-2006, 05:59 PM
Do you have a friend whose fashion you admire? Why not ask them to go shopping with you? I consider myself pretty fashionable (well, I do!), and I'd love for any of my friends to take me with them shopping to help them choose their clothes. You can still wear nice jeans with a nice fit, a nice top, and fashionable boots with low heels and it will look very adult. Always wearing sneakers, maybe not, but sometimes some up-to-the-minute sneakers look good, too.

10-26-2006, 09:47 PM
Some hints:

1. High-waist trousers don't make your waist look smaller; they make your bum look bigger. Try a style that hits below your waist just a bit.

2. Tapered-leg trousers don't make your legs look slimmer; they also make your bum look bigger. Try a boot-cut or wide-leg trouser or jean; boot-cut means it's as wide at the foot as it is at the knee.

3. Try some of the longer, more tailored T-shirts that are out there these days. (Hooray for covered midriffs!) Old Navy has some good ones.

4. If you can fit your fist in a short-sleeve without stretching the fabric, that's a no. Less fabric (without being skin-tight) means slimmer-looking.

Jan in CA
10-26-2006, 09:55 PM
I'm almost 54 and jeans and T's are a staple of my wardrobe... :oo: :teehee:

10-26-2006, 10:07 PM
You can make jeans and a shirt look good, as long as you get the right kinds, and pair it with a sexy shoe (like a kitten heeled boot would be comfy for a busy mom)

What Not To Wear has a website where you can browse through the past shows outfits.

For a budget your best bet is to hit sales. Places like Ann Talor Loft, The Limited , BR all have really good sales at the end of the season. Other places are Old Navy, Target, Marshalls/TJ Maxx, H&M. Forever 21 and Delias have great accessories. You'd be surprised. You can also get basic tees with a little flair on sale at Express and Gap. Keep a watch on like the BR websites for sales, and Delias has a good one too.

You'd probably want to start with a pair of sexy jeans, dark, boot cut. Then add a pant and a skirt you'll wear. Or khakis, but cute ones. A crisp blouse, shirt, and a sweater and you're all set. I'd try to stick with either all brown or black if you're on a budget. You have to have a great shoe and bag. Flats are in now, so a black flat would be great. They are all over. Target is having lots of sales on them now.

10-26-2006, 10:36 PM
Do you have a friend whose fashion you admire?

Oh yes...I do, but she spends WAY too much money on clothes! :teehee: And she gets her hair colored and highlighted professionally (me? I'm stuck with "the box"!), and it looks great, but I just can't justify being a stay-at-home mom, spending so much money on myself, while my husband is pulling all the financial weight of the household on his shoulders. Maybe it sounds kind of "middle ages" of me to say that, but I don't want to make an unnecessary burden for him (although I think he'd love the results!), and I just generally feel guilty about spending so much money on myself. My friend is also ten years younger than me, so of course, anything looks great on her, right? :rofl: You guys have offered such great advice. I think I will just try to buy maybe one thing here or there, classic styled to fit my body type, and just build on that. :hug: Mama Bear, I hadn't heard of that company before, and when I went to their website, I really liked their clothes--just what I've been looking for! I'll have to check out the stores you guys mentioned, too. When it comes to jewelry, I have no problem with accessorizing and knowing what compliments what, but for whatever reason, with clothes, I'm some kind of fashion disaster, especially with my shoes! nikic, I'm a confessed "purse-o-phile", so I don't have a problem with finding the right bag and I shouldn't be enabled or encouraged to get more (and I can just knit what I want, right? :teehee: ) Thanks everybody for being so helpful and being so great!!!! :heart:

10-27-2006, 07:05 AM
What you need is to dress for your body shape.

Its hard - you need an honest friend to tell you what they think of you, your body shape, and you need to be able to take what they say and use it. Not be offended by it.

I did a quick search (not looked deeply at it) and found this: http://www.dressmenow.com/shape.htm

Trinny and Susannah are great - the UK show of what not to wear has now been handed over to Micha Paris and Louise something or other since Trinny & Susannah have defected to ITV in the UK. They have a new show where they do over couples.

There is a What Not To Wear book available too which is very good IMO.

I have learned some basics from the show: I've got a heavy bum - so wear bootleg trousers / jeans that come just below my waist.

Skirts need to be on the knee for me, in an A line or slight A line shape; Pencil skirts are long gone in the past for me =(

I have a big belly so I try to create a waistline with shaped tops rather than straight down ones. I have big boobage so I wear V or scoop necked tops. If I put a round neck or polo on it looks, in the words of Trinny & Susannah, like someone glued a giant loaf of bread to my chest.

Big Girl Knits gives some small tips too and is worth a read.

10-27-2006, 04:57 PM
I like Talbot's. But wait for the sales!