Thursday, December 29, 2011

None of the above

In case you were waiting with bated breath to know just which holiday outfit I finally selected, the moment is finally here. And the answer is: ...Well, I bet you can guess from the title of this post.

Fearing a lack of qualified photographers at this outfit's
designated venue, I gave it a trial run at home before
traveling to Ohio where it made its debut.
Sometimes all you need is to tell someone about your problem, and the solution presents itself. Only a few minutes after coming out of the closet with my gay apparel dilemma, I remembered a dress that I had bundled away with all of my summer clothes. Sure, it had no sleeves, but it was brilliant, emerald green—the perfect thing to evoke the holiday spirit!

I exhumed it from the bag of tank tops and cutoffs, marveling at the one plus side to polyester: no wrinkles! Having spent almost two months stuffed unceremoniously in a plastic bag, it emerged just as regal as if accompanied by a trumpet fanfare.

It was not hard to choose the appropriate articles to complete this festive ensemble—a pair of off-white tights I had paid dearly for in expectation of later need matched perfectly with my reliable old crocheted shrug (you might remember it from my first outfit of last spring). Lacking a pair of sparkly green boots, I settled for the platform Mary Janes I mentioned last post, and finally broke out the old Christmas tree earrings I made myself several years ago.

Although initially a little hesitant to show so much thigh at church (our first stop before the party), I swathed myself in a full-length wool coat and hoped no one would look at me once I sat down. Two compliments fell upon me once safe at the party, so I concluded the end result was worth the risk.

Next challenge: what to wear for New Year's...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Don we now our gay apparel

Despite whatever you might be thinking, the title of this post is nothing more than an introduction to Christmas clothing, in the words of a famous song.

In the words of another famous song, it is the most wonderful time of the year, when wonderful things happen—things like holiday parties.

There is a dress code for holiday parties, and it consists of three rules:
  1. You must dress in Christmas colors (red, green, white, silver, and gold) or at least incorporate graphic elements with a Christmas theme.
  2. You must on no account wear the same holiday outfit twice in the same holiday season.
  3. You must never wear the same outfit to the same venue two years in a row.
For years now, I have been abiding by these rules, and have never had trouble following them—until this year. A combination of higher personal standards and the addition of an extra holiday party to my December routine have created a unique challenge: How to be Unfashionistically fabulous for three Christmas occasions in one year?

The first occasion was the holiday party at my new place of employment. Being a newbie and not knowing what to expect, my choices for this party were limited. My preference was to wear my Christmas knee socks (which have served me well in two Christmases past) with a white skirt and a new (pre-owned) red top I had gotten in an eBay lot. However, not knowing how my coworkers would react to knee socks with pom poms, I chose something a little less attention-grabbing and wore boots instead. Woulda worn those fuzzy white boots from my last post if I owned them, but on second thought, they're probably even more attention-grabbing than snowflake socks!

The end result was this getup, which turned out to be a little too dressy for the party, but better to look like a fop than a flop—that's what I always say!

So one holiday outfit down; two to go.

The second outfit will make its appearance at the Christmas Eve party of some family friends, as well as, more than likely, a Christmas Eve church service. It must be fun and informal, but still show some style. The snowflake socks are out, as I'm pretty sure I wore them last year. I used up my first-choice outfit at the office party, so now I'll need to explore the darker reaches of my closet to find the raiments I seek.

Some options:
This beautiful jade-green skirt with gold embroidery, matching sash, and gold sweater. My mother bought me this outfit a few years ago, but I've only had one opportunity to wear the skirt, because it's so plush, I have trouble finding occasions formal enough for it. It's probably too formal for the Christmas Eve party, too.

 Along the same lines, but more casual, I could choose this magenta-white-pink-and-green skirt (magenta's close enough to red that it can get away with being worn for Christmas!). The colorful tiers and abundance of ruffles give it a feeling of being less elegant, more fun. Less embassy ball, more Little House on the Prairie. I'd pair it with a green T-shirt, which might not be the warmest option available. I wore this to the party about 5 years ago, but I don't think anyone'd remember.
Another possibility is to go the more sophisticated route and wear pants. The last time I wore pants to the holiday party was...boy, I don't even remember, so it would certainly be novel for me. I've got this new teal ruched-and-lace top (also from an eBay lot) that I haven't worn yet. And paired with my platform Mary Janes, even boring ol' black pants could be fun.
A  final option would be to daringly defy the conventions of Christmas colors and wear... blue! This midnight blue dress (which I just bought at the thrift store for under 5 dollars) is made of velvet, which is opulent enough to give it a fair place at a Christmas party. The blue color could be construed as an allegory for cold and snow. With the right socks, I think I could make this work! Unfortunately, I can't find the right socks.
The third party of Christmas is the family gathering on Christmas day. I'm not sure how it will go this year, but often it consists of my aunt, mother, brother, and various significant others sitting around the coffee table and opening presents, followed by a dinner with the same participants. It is a day for wearing pajamas most of the morning and changing into sweatshirts for the afternoon. I've got the pajamas and sweatshirts covered, but if we have to do any visiting, for example, with my new step-family, my options have run pretty thin. This might be the year one of my holiday outfits has to make an encore.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

They say I'm shoe-nuts

I have a confession to make. I have become a shoe maniac.

There was a time when I had a pair of shoes for every purpose: a pair for work, a pair for school,  a pair for dress up, and a pair for messy outdoor activities. When one of these pairs wore out, I'd replace it. Simple.

Nowadays, I look for new purposes just so I can have more shoes. I have dress shoes for wearing with pants, and dress shoes for wearing with skirts. I have dress shoes for looking professional and dress shoes for looking playful. I have low-heeled dress shoes for when my feet hurt and when my pants are too short. I have a pair of tennis shoes and am looking for another pair with thicker soles to wear with longer pants. I have work shoes for work. I have hiking boots and snow boots and high-heeled fashion boots. I am currently in the market for some low-heeled fashion boots, since they seem to be big this year and are quite practical. I have sandals for every purpose that I have enclosed shoes for. I do stick to neutral tones because they match everything, but I have one for each purpose in each of brown and black, and a few in grey for good measure. And if I had my druthers (and infinite money and storage space), I'd have all my shoes in a wild array of colors as well.

Every time I visit Facebook, I see an ad in my sidebar for a different site that offers you a personalized selection of shoes for 40$ a pair. And I keep clicking. Even though I rarely feel like spending 40 dollars on a single item, I keep signing up for these shoe clubs so I can drool over their selection.

Shoes this year are awesome. Aside from the prevalence of stilettos, which I object to more on safety principles than on any deep-seated aesthetic sensibility, I am enchanted with the trends. They've taken the cute 40s-inspired shoes of the early 2000's, crossed them with the glamour of the 80's, and come up with some pretty nifty picks (nifty being a term lifted from the 50's). I also see that the Ughs are finally taking a backseat to actually-functional snow boots that coincidentally look cute, too.

However, much as I want to own about half of all the shoes on the market, practical considerations say I can't have my druthers. So I will do second best and collect my favorite shoes here in a kind of personal gratification exhibit.

Some of them are so ridiculous (like the green glittery boots) that I could never wear them. Others have potential.

And if anyone wants to buy me some shoes for Christmas, I wear an 8½. Nine if half-sizes aren't available.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sock Talk

It's been a while (like, since Monday!) since I wore an Unfashionista-worthy outfit, and I figured today – dreary and rainy – would be the perfect day to get dressed up, get out, and get some errands done.

As I looked through my skirt collection, it became apparent that I am once again tired of all my clothes—a problem which I may try to rectify once I can start using a real closet again instead of a couple of storage totes (I have upgraded from the plastic bags, so at least there's a small improvement). But I did my best to think positive and find something wearable amidst my uninspiring collection.

I selected the black tiered skirt that I've really only worn twice, and I decided the perfect complement to turn this somewhat unflattering article would be my black-and-white-striped knee-high socks. I got them in a set which I bought for the plain black pair that came with them, and I wear them whenever I'm going for an edgy, over-the-top, or slightly punk look.

What would be better to enhance a punk look than my zipper-toed Airwalk wedges? (You can tell they're punk by the fact that they have stars on the inside.)

I didn't have much that I could wear on top that wouldn't look silly with an all black-and-white lower half, so I went with the one white shirt I have that isn't stained yellow, already in the laundry, or a big bulky sweater that I don't like: my ever-stylish white blouse by Express (don't worry--I got it for a steal at Gabriel Brothers).

To top it all off, I clipped my hair up in the back in a messy pile that I hoped looked effortless (even though it took me 6 tries) and popped in some heart-shaped earrings. They looked a little weathered, which was the best punky option my earring collection could yield.

I wore this to the mall, where I was convinced people were studiously ignoring my ensemble. However, on the way back, I struck Unfashion gold.

The mall security guard who I think is cute but never notices me told me hello and complimented me on my socks as I passed. Then, while I was gazing happily at the fish tanks across the way, a girl turned to me and announced (to the whole mall, I think—she was loud), "Your socks are cute!"

I'm glad I got those reactions or I would have probably lost all confidence to ever try to look edgy again.