Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Search of a Style

“What’s your style?” my friend KC asked. To which I responded, “I haven’t the slightest idea. I don’t think I have one.” I am working with KC and LR, a couple of neighborhood women, on an interesting new project to give some direction to our wardrobes.

We have a “consultant”, who just happens to be the KC’s multi-talented daughter SC, who lives in Chicago, where she works as a reflexologist, a life coach, a wardrobe consultant, and who is now on Fox News at least once a month talking about personal relationship issues.

SC has agreed to come east to breathe new life into our expiring wardrobes. When the style issue came up, we were meeting over lunch to get our homework assignments. SC has asked each of us to:

– Find pictures of ourselves that we like.
– Find pictures in magazines or on the Internet of clothes we like.
– Write down any statements we heard growing up concerning grooming or clothing choices. For example, KC remembers her mother saying, “All the pretty girls will no longer be pretty at 40,” meaning it was OK not to be so pretty as long as you were smart.
– Make sure we have a well-fitted bra.

I love homework. I came home and immediately started looking for pictures, initially saying I didn’t like any picture ever taken of me. I actually found a handful that I do like.

I flipped through a recent NYT fashion magazine, realizing the only clothes I even remotely identified with were the casual clothes from places like GAP. The high fashion has absolutely no place in my life.

The only thing I remember my mother saying was that I would probably be a late-bloomer like she was, describing the onset of her rather large breasts as happening when she was around 17. My 17th birthday came and went and I realized I apparently missed that gene.

Which leads to the last bit of homework. At 59 I had never been properly fitted for a bra, not until yesterday that is. It was really not the ordeal I had imagined. A very nice girl took measurements and kept bringing me bras to try on. I finally agreed that two of them fit well and were relatively comfortable. I much prefer them to the ones I have recently been wearing.

The three of us 50-somethings are planning a couple of other prep activities before SC hits town in September. We’ll spend some time in Borders flipping through fashion magazines so we have a better idea of what we like. We’ll go to a place like Filene’s and try on clothes for each other to try to figure out in advance what looks good on us and what we like.

SC will spend several hours with each of us, looking at our current wardrobe and asking us questions. She will ultimately give us recommendations for things to get rid of and for future purchases. She will determine our style, finally answering that question that totally eludes me.

In the fall, we’re planning a road trip to Chicago, where SC can take us shopping. I’m already trying to figure out how to compensate this talented young person for spending time with the three of us.

And by the way, she was one of the best babysitters we ever had!


Blogger bulletholes said...

My daughter went with my sister to Nordstroms to get fitted two years ago.
The X mrs. bulletholes calls me.
"Any idea what size our little girl is?
"Tell me"
"GG? My god , whatever happened to EE & F?

Are they pulling my leg, or is this for real?

9:21 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Bulletholes -- Those are letters I will never know as I stick closer to the front of the alphabet...

9:31 AM  
Blogger Lemmonex said...

This sounds like so much fun. I definitely have a personal style...once I settled in to it, I felt more comfortable with me.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

How fun! What a great idea. I went shopping with three very different friends in New York a few weeks ago. I tried to encourage one toward more flattering styles but she liked what she liked and I'm not expert.

As to bulletholes' question, I'm not sure about GG, but G by itself is very real.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Velvet said...

Get this book

I loved it! He had a show too that helped women clean their closets and I don't know what happened to it. You might be able to see it on Bravo's website still. Or You tube.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Kellyann Brown said...

During a dry spell (not that he had many), my fashion designer friend, M,who lives down in SOUTHERN California would go through the closets of the rich and near-famous and tell them what to keep and what to pitch. He said I would not believe the closets of some of these people, they are the size of apartments and had artwork and all sorts of amenities(I told him that wouldn't be hard to be the size of my apartment, I was living in a shoebox then).

When my posse hired a "farsi" teacher (a sister-in-law of one), we each chipped in a per-hour and it actually came out decently for all of us.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lemmonex -- I'm excited at the idea of giving myself a new label!

Kristin -- It will be interesting to see how SC's advice matches up with my expectations.

Velvet -- I've ordered the book. Looks great!

Kelly -- I wish those rich and famous had yard sales. I've never objected to wearing hand-me-downs!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Sounds like fun! Please post pics once you're in "style."

My mother had a dressmaker who copied the latest styles and tailored them to my mother's shape and coloring. Ah for a dressmaker of my own! My current style is whatever is most comfortable; I won't be causing a fashion flap anytime soon ;)

8:07 PM  
Blogger EMDR dreams said...

I'm with Pauline, if it's not comfortable, then I pitch it. I love that things are coming in "tunic" length these days, at 5'10", sometimes those shorter tops cut me off at an unflattering angle!

10:45 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- My style will probably be something like "casual country bumpkin"!

EMDR -- I'm with you and Pauline on comfort. That's my #1 criterion these days!

11:19 PM  
Blogger Ruth D~ said...

Intersting. I'd like to hear more of the comments you absorbed from childhood. And bras . . . never been fitted, and I'm sure that's why I never wear one unless I am out an about. I hate them.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bulletholes--- Munchkin here!!-- Yes they DO go up to G-- even I!! cuz I'm an I! That's when I was prego then breastfeeding. I told my hubby that they EVEN HAD BRAS THAT GO UP TO ZZZ!! You should have seen his eyes!! heehee.

Anyhoo-- looking2live-- JUST TODAY!-- my fashion concious daughter (14) took me shopping, and asked "Well, what do you like to wear?" I told her, anything comfortable. I got a long sleeve shirt for $1.80 that is soooo soft. She really didn't like it, but I said-"I'll wear it at home-- promise!! "
She REALLY wants to go to America's Next Top Model!! And I really think she can do it!! She doesn't get the "fashion" gene from me- but from her grandmother on her Dad's side. I would love for her to get into the biz of going thru people's closets and saying yes or no to outfits. That, it seems, is really her gift. love your blog!!

1:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

RuthD -- I love it that wearing a bra is completely optional. It's so liberating not to be constrained!

8:07 AM  
Blogger bulletholes said...

Munchkin just can't sit still these days.
I? Holy-Moly!
Barbara is tops, doncha think?

5:16 PM  
Blogger lettuce said...

pretty near the start of the alphabet myself, and glad to be able to go bra-less when i want to

this sounds like such fun and interesting!
i hope you'll blog about the results...

9:29 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I, too, am a G- I just about fainted when I was fitted for that. Hopefully, soon I'll go back down to a C. Oh to be near the front of the alphabet- you have NO idea!
I once read that if you looked at a photo of yourself at the age of 13 you may find that you're style is exactly the same. So true for me!
I think I'm kind of Boho Chic (more Boho than chic however)
All the bohemian style clothes out now are exactly what I wore in the 70's. I still love them.
Hmm, I think I'll go shopping.

9:16 AM  

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