Livin’ it up when I’m goin’ down

So as I may have mentioned, my office moved recently, and in the new building is a shiny shiny elevator that I ride up nine floors every day. The whole way, I look at my reflection and have about 25 seconds (depending on how many people get on or off) to quietly assess my state of dress for the day. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of miss the ignorant bliss of the old non-shiny elevators of yore, where I could feign coiffed and outfitted perfection in my head.

But this elevator has made me one of those people, you guys. One of those people who photographs themselves on a daily basis and PUTS IT ON THE INTERNET. Ugh, I promise you anything you’re thinking in mockery about this has already been thunk in my head. And maybe said aloud in the mirror. Here is the thing, though. I just turned 34 last Saturday (as you might have heard), and feel more like myself than, well, ever, if I’m being honest. I’ve always been someone who has very definite opinions about what I like and don’t like, but somehow carrying that over into how I present myself has been a slow process. This is where the elevator comes in.

I am not a high roller when it comes to clothes purchasing (because, you know, no monies), but have never really seen this as a hindrance to wardrobe assemblage, because I love to shop consignment stores. Totally unique pieces, low prices, funky crazy finds—I love all of it. Except that sometimes what happens is that slowly my drawers are taken over with pieces that I bought because they were only $5, so surely I could make that weird hem/bad fit/circulation-killing waistband work! Only, then I started feeling like getting dressed required an hour’s worth of preparation and liberal use of safety pins and duct tape.

People, I am 34. No more clothes held together by duct tape.

Recently I found an interesting blog called The Working Closet, where the basic premise she has developed is that you should go through your closet and be ruthlessly discriminating about what you own. If something doesn’t make you feel good when you put it on, get rid of it. (This is the best post ever, and gets right to the heart of it.) Something about that makes me think yesssss inside, so I have decided that once there is not a baby with a ridiculously early bedtime sleeping in my room, I plan to implement that very system and weed out the bad to make room for the good.

In the meantime, I’m trying to be better about what I wear (where better = thinking about it for more than 30 seconds in the dark in the morning, which, I’ll be honest, is only happening about three of the five days of the week, but we’re talking baby steps here) because I’ve come to realize that it really does effect how I feel about myself during the day. I mean, if I’m digging the way I feel in my skin now that I’m in my 30s groove, I also want to dig the way I dress that skin up to go out on the town. (Slash … to work. Because that’s about the only place I go these days.)

So, I’m starting here with posting slightly warped, fuzzy-focused elevator pictures, because, like I said: baby steps. And my goal is not to turn this into a fashion blog (because BAAAAhahahahaha) or even to graduate to taking a daily picture of myself, but really just to use this as a motivator to keep on seeking my own style until I feel like it jives with the me I’m slowly figuring out I am. Which is a super convoluted it’s-past-my-bedtime-and-I-got-up-at-5:30 way of saying: LET’S DO THIS.

One thing I am not particularly skilled at is accessorizing. I know several women who are accessory NINJAS, and while some things just don’t work for me, I have begun to eyeball the scarf section in stores and have favorited one or 30 new pairs of earrings on Etsy. Here I am applauding myself for wearing a cardigan. That is about as accessorized as I get right now. Unless you count my glasses, which I actually use for seeing. Accessories, we have some work to do.

Red pants—do you know about these? They will put a pep in your step every time you put them on. I also have a pair of neon melon pants, which I will elevator-gram, no doubt, and slap up here on this website like the attention grubber I have clearly become. Also, polka dots. They may be overtaking my stripe obsession.

Please ignore my ridiculous face in this photo, as I was hamming it up with a co-worker, whom I have graciously cropped out of the picture, as she did not agree to these wardrobe-revealing web shenanigans. I love this skirt and can wear it with eleventy of my shirts, but I have to iron it every single time I wear it, which means I only wear it once a year. Also, I need new shoes (more on that later).

Right before I went back to work after maternity leave I partook in a little outlet shopping spree, and one of my rules that day was BUY COLOR. I don’t know if it was because 90% of my maternity wardrobe was grey, navy and black or what, but my palette was starting to bum me out. Also, those shoes? Bought a millllllion years ago at some place for cheap, and I wore them until they literally fell apart on my feet last week. You guys, they fastened with velcro. Velcro. (This is the reason I am doing this post. Now do you see?)

Kind of a boring outfit, but the reason I include it is because the shoes on my feet in this picture, which are lovely pale pink ballet flats with black piping, nearly crippled me with blisters. I knew I was in trouble when I had to limp from the parking garage into the building first thing in the morning. Be ye not so stupid. The first rule of the Real Person’s fashion should always be: Do not wear shoes that make your feet bleed.

I love this hat and almost always get complimented on it when I wear it. You better believe that if I have it on, though, that there is 100% chance of dirty hair under there. Also, maxi skirts/dresses 4evah. No one can see your velcroed shoes!

You can’t see it, but this shirt is polka dotted, further confirming that stripes, while they’ll never lose the #1 spot in my life, are being slowly matched in number by dots on my garments. Also, there is my face. Hello face!

So like I said, nothing earth-shattering is happening in these pictures. I do not expect to be called by the top executive of NYC’s fashion week for my groundbreaking work in … pants. But I can confidently say that I also do not expect to be called by What Not To Wear. (Although? That would be bananas. $5000 shopping spree? I would probably spend an easy third of it just on new bras. Much, I’m sure, to Clinton and Stacy’s chagrin.)

And I suppose I don’t really have a point to all this except to tell you that here is a way I am hoping to channel creativity and express myself, in a more intentional way than I have in the past. Maybe these will serve as some sort of before pictures? Or maybe I won’t ever talk about this again, and revert to denim jumpers and gaucho pants. Who knows? Being 34 means you don’t have to explain yourself. Even to the people who have the unfortunate experience of riding the elevator with you as you take a picture of your own mirrored reflection beside them.

8 comments

1 Dorothy { 09.12.12 at 8:56 am }

I love this. I’m still working on finding my style. But at least I don’t have the overwhelming desir to wear t-shirts everyday -progress. My favorite pair of pants are pink capris my mom found at Goodwill. Nothing brightens my mood like pink capris!

And a few weeks ago, I painted my nails blue. I felt so daring.

I think you look awesome. I’m taking notes.

2 Aunt Rachel { 09.12.12 at 8:59 am }

Haha! even before I read your What Not to Wear comment, I was gonna say that this post has dashed your dreams of being on the show. Too bad, that $5000 could have been yours… 😉

3 Allen { 09.12.12 at 10:14 am }

A good bra can make a potato sack flattering. I’d say start there when you do win the lottery.

4 Kate { 09.12.12 at 3:07 pm }

Can we talk about the FABULOUS GOLD BAG?

5 Racher { 09.12.12 at 7:43 pm }

Yes! It’s silver! And a diaper bag! But still totally fabulous, fo sho!

6 Leigh Ann Laney { 09.13.12 at 7:18 am }

GUUUUURRRRLLL, I am totally feeling this post! I feel more than myself at this age than ever! Also, I am on a total fashion bandwagon as well. Cause, ya know…I have a job!!! OMG!!! WOO HOO!! And while I have tried (and failed) at the colored pants (I think when you are 5’9 and have…”birthing hips”…it seems a bit much) I can (I think) rock the oversized accessories. In fact, I feel naked without all my bling, including scarves!! Oh..the scarves….I can’t get enough. I buy them, I DIY them…I can’t stop! In fact, for my interview I had to actually tell myself to tone down the jewelry. I figure I will slowly add my bling and scarves over time as to not shock all the conservative librarians :) Keep posting the elevator pics!!

7 Ashlyn { 09.14.12 at 8:07 am }

I love this. I struggle with accessorizing, too…and just generally looking cute, I think. I do love me a scarf, maybe a big pair of earrings here and there, but that’s about as far as I go. I’ve tried to add a big belt (or a skinny belt…or a shiny belt…or anything around my midsection) and I always end up feeling foolish all day long. So I’ll be following this new foray with much interest!

8 Elizabeth { 09.26.12 at 8:14 pm }

First let me say, I concur with all the other posters-this is a great post. But what I really wanted to say is that I LOVE your style, both on your body and in your house! And, the fact that you do it on the cheap is so admirable! I try to look grown up and hip or have a decorated funky house and basically I end up wasting money ’cause I can’t quite pull it off. So, in short, what I am saying is please come decorate my house and, while you are here, get me dressed.

Leave a Comment