Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fashionably Wasted on Me

Sometimes I think I need my own personal Tim Gunn to make me over.  I realize that even as a plus size person of somewhat limited means (as far as clothes shopping goes) I'm still not dressing that well. On the other hand, I suspect that even with a full makeover only so much would be accomplished. That's because I have come to believe there is a certain intangible at work here. You cant buy it, you cant learn it, you either have it or you don't.

I have a friend who looks good in everything I have ever seen her in. Its not an issue of new or old, designer or Kmart, its just something about the wearer that projects "I'm cool and I know it." wear Anything that might look odd on other people looks cool or even edgy on her. She epitomizes the great Will Smith quote from Men in Black "The difference between me and you is that I make this look good."  And yet I know she agonizes over what to the grocery store. It just doesn't show.

I lack the intangible whatever it is that allows me to pull this sort of thing off. If I wear 2 different earrings, it doesn't look edgy it looks like I didn't check the mirror this morning.  I have a cute tank top that is plain in front and has a lacy butterfly pattern up the back, On me it just looks like I put it on backwards. I won't even go into the effect of Asymmetrical tops or skirts. They look like I totally don't know how to dress myself. Yet classic looks just leave me looking dowdy, not classic.

My work wardrobe doesn't help. We wear uniform polo shirts that must be tucked into uniform pants, dividing the body right where no plus sized woman wishes to be divided. Add the thick leather belt and I look like a pillow tied tight in the middle. So I do look better in my off hours, mainly because one could hardly look worse. I usually opt for an untucked shirt or tunic, with shorts or slacks, or a sundress. The calves don't look bad, and I have some cleavage, so its everything in between that needs camouflaging. I opt for blue a lot to bring out my blue eyes, my best feature. 

But I lack the ability to project a sense of style. I truly believe one is either born with it or deprived for life.  My friend has it, my daughter has it, I lack it. Clothes on me are just clothes, and no matter how hard I try they will never be a fashion statement. I'm not really upset or saddened by this, just aware.

But if Tim Gunn ever wants to do the fashion version of Restaurant Impossible, I'm game.


  1. Wouldn't it be great if we all had Tim in our closet in the morning helping us "make it work"? I absolutely think you can, too learn it. That's what Tim is for. I know what you mean though. I have a friend (I always tell her she's my style guru) that looks fabulous ALWAYS. When I know I'm going somewhere with her, it's a given that I will spend at least an hour in my closet trying everything on before rejecting it and coming up with something passable because she will always, hands down look better. She just has great personal style and I agree, that is something that you just have or don't. But wardrobe sense can be learned. I look at all those stupid rag mags just to see how people put things together and I try variations on that.

  2. You are right, and I also look at the magazines, as well as taking the advice of the 13 year old fashion guru, who at least is usually pretty good on the what not to wear. Uniform work clothes for women are atrocious. Most of them are designed for men, and they think that designing for women means providing their sizes and wider color choices, with no attention paid to the fact that things just fit differantly on woment than men. A couple of years ago they finally gave us jean fit pants that gather at the waist, which fit a little better, but we still have to tuck the shirts in. I swear I look 20 lbs heavier in my uniform. When we have to wear our button front dress shirts its really bad. I have seen lots of other women complain about the same thing with uniforms. It isnt just the workplace either. A few year ago the boy scouts redesigned the shirts and pants for both the boys and leaders. They put huge cargo pockets all over everything, including the fronts of the shirts. Now that might work fine for the guys, but the last thing i want is cargo pockets on my cleavage. Fortunately I still owned an older scout shirt that I could keep using. jected. Lots of ladies obFinally this year they announced new ladies shirts with flat pockets...So its a chronic problem, but its especially bad with the work clothes, because its what I spend most of the day in. One of the reasons I enjoy my 2 weeks in the middle ages at Pennsic is because the clothing choices are simpler.

    And I have this secret terror that I would go into one of Tim's books as "My greatest failure"