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May 23, 2016

Style Makeover: Epic Fail Edition

A couple of months ago, my fellow Good Life blogger Jillian Owens (aka The ReFashionista) wrote a piece about how bland the clothing choices tend to be around here. It’s not that people don’t look nice – most do – but it’s that they all look the same. It got me to thinking about my own style. While I don’t tend to wear the same trendy “uniform” as everyone else, I don’t have a lot of variety in my wardrobe… apparently.

Either I find something I like and wear it FOREVER…

brown easter dress

… or I find something I like and wear it FOR EVERYTHING.

red dress

And then of course, there’s this:

black and cream dress

No, that’s not a bad camera angle; I’ve chubbed up a bit in the last few years (mostly due to lack of willpower when it comes to my now-husband’s AMAZING cooking). I’m trying to slim back down a little, but for the moment, most of my wardrobe is uncomfortably snug (and I’ll be honest, there is more than one pair of pants I can’t button).

So, time for a style makeover, say I! Time to take some chances, get out of my comfort zone, reenergize my life! (Well, that might be a bit dramatic, but feeling better about how I look can only be a GOOD thing, right?) A fresh style that doesn’t require sucking in my stomach all day sounds nice. Off to Goodwill I go!

Why Goodwill? Several reasons:

  1. Clothes are inexpensive, so you can get a lot of bang for your buck.
  2. If you try something new and end up not loving it in the long run, you haven’t spent a ton and can always just donate it back.
  3. If you’re like me, you HATE the idea of buying new clothes in that larger size when you’re just SURE they’ll be too big… you know, any day now. Gently used, inexpensive but good quality pieces make for a less painful investment.
  4. You can find items in pretty much any conceivable style, for any weather or occasion, all in one place.

So, I thought, easy-peasy. I’ll peruse the racks with an eye toward the unique, the stylish, and the flattering. I’ll walk out with several new ensembles that will breathe new life into my daily look.

Yeah. About that.

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it?” Turns out that applies to clothes shopping, too. An hour later, after three trips to the dressing room with armfuls of fun pieces, I walked out empty handed. Depressed, discouraged, and a little panicked. Later, as I sat on my couch drinking a beer (okay, so maybe that extra gut is not ALL thanks to my husband’s cooking), I started to realize where I went wrong.

  1. I pulled things in the size I used to be, instead of just admitting that a size larger would probably have a better chance of fitting well.
  2. I only tried on things I REALLY liked, which meant I ended up in the dressing room with the same kind of stuff I already own. That wasn’t my intent – I really WAS trying to look for things that aren’t my usual style – but I gravitated to the safe and familiar: stretchy fabrics (read: cling to belly like Saran Wrap), slim-cut sheaths (which gave me a shape not unlike that of a snake digesting a whole rodent), and a LOT of earth tones.
  3. I didn’t give myself enough time. My weekend was busy and I ended up at my local store about an hour before closing time, which meant I felt rushed and couldn’t really get a good look at everything on offer.
  4. I went alone. The truth is, I hate clothes shopping. The only time I’ve ever found anything I actually wanted to buy has been when I’m shopping with a buddy, who will keep me motivated, give an honest opinion of how things look, and push me to try things I might ordinarily leave on the rack.

So now what? Do I admit defeat, abandon my quest for a new style and continue wearing my ill-fitting “uniform” for the foreseeable future? No way. Jillian inspired me, and my first attempt yielded a lot of insight. Next weekend, I have a Goodwill-ing date with my sister, who loves clothes shopping, has far more interesting taste than I, and will hand me fantastic finds with a breezy “just TRUST me and try it on, will ya?”

I have hope.