I have read in plenty of magazines that you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in a high-quality, timeless piece of clothing, whether that be a tailored suit, wool coat, leather bag, amazing shoes, etc. I am currently investing in the idea that maybe, someday, I will be able to buy Starbucks on a regular basis without having to count the change in the cup holder of my car while the other drive-thru patrons wait not-so patiently behind me (people waiting for their daily caffeine fix are not a friendly bunch). It is safe to say I do not have money to buy what would be considered high quality. The nicest clothes I wear to work come from Banana Republic [Outlet] and the Limited (sequestered from that tiny little rack of sale items at the back of the store, or from *gasp* Marshalls). I believe I have perfected the art of buying items that I didn’t spend an entire paycheck on, but not looking like a homeless person when I am sitting at my desk.
My favorite outfits right now involve either black pants (Limited, $20) or a black pencil skirt (Forever 21, $10) paired with a simple, solid-color cotton t-shirt (Old Navy, $5) and a black cardigan (Target, $20). Simple, yes. Colorful, not really, depending on the t-shirt. But throw on some strappy heels and a stellar bag and you, my friend, are ready to head out the door in under $50. Would I want to meet the President wearing this outfit? No. But when I spend my days catering to college kids who, for the most part, can’t be bothered to put on proper pants in the morning (sweatpants should only be worn outside if you are on your way to or from the gym, kids), it gets the job done, literally. My wardrobe primarily consists of black or dark grey, solids, and with subtle pops of color in scarves, undershirts, or bags. This works for me because I am extremely simplistic and need symmetry in every aspect of my life; it also works because the top/bottom combinations are often east to come by (helpful when getting dressed in the dark, as seems to be a frequent occurrence for me), and the result is always neat and professional.
This quick-and-dirty fashion advice is brought to you by the wedding I am obliged to attend next month. I have been doing a lot of Windows shopping (or online clothes browsing on my PC) looking for a dress to wear to this wedding. I thought I hit the mother lode when I came across modcloth.com and lulus.com, both vintage-inspired online stores with oodles of fancy dresses, until I noticed that the majority of my wish list items were sold out. [SIDENOTE: online shopping websites, why do you continue to taunt me with your selection of unobtainable merchandise? Why are these items interspersed with things that are actually available; can’t they have their own section, or at least be moved to the end of the line, hidden on the last page after that horrible puke-colored bag-dress thing that no one wants?] A coworker recommended Neiman Marcus, and for my response to that please see the first paragraph of this post. There are, however, plenty of not-a-chance dresses out there, ones that don’t meet the stringent criteria I have set that will likely make it impossible to find something suitable, and I will probably end up paying to overnight the bag-dress to myself in a fit of exhaustion, desperation and insanity the night before the wedding.
There are many stars that need to be perfectly aligned before the ultimate purchase of The One. First and foremost, it needs to make every part of me look amazing. I mean, I want the insides of my wrists to look amazing in this dress. I need a dress that says, yes, I have been with Boyfriend for 4 ½ years, substantially longer than this sham marriage (hereby known as a mirage) will ever last, yet I’m ok with that because, look at me, I look fucking fabulous.
Star #2: Boyfriend must approve of dress. Boyfriend has been pestered on a nightly basis, as have my mother and Neighbor Friends, to look at row after row of fancy party dresses for The One. And it doesn’t help that Boyfriend is pickier than I am, as he maintains an opinion similar to my grandfather’s when it comes to skirt length and amount of cleavage displayed around his testosterone-riddled friends who like to give slightly-too-long hugs.
Stars #3-through-6: cost (less than $100), color (anything except white, obviously, or black; I would actually love to wear black and publicize the fact that I would rather be at a funeral than this mirage, but unfortunately black is ‘in’ now for bridesmaids dresses, and I definitely don’t want to be mistaken for one of those poor souls), cut (fabulous is the only option; oh, and my boobs can’t pop out the top when I lunge for the bouquet), and, of course, I have to actually like it and want to wear it again.
If anyone out there in cyberland has any suggestions, I am willing and able. Please, don’t let me wear a puke bag to the mirage.
The [star] search is on.