Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fashion folly

I admit it, I slipped into new mum fashion land. My wardrobe mainly consisted of tshirts, jeans and baggy shorts.

The truth is I had been there for a long while before I was pregnant, too. I spent so much time in a uniform at work that when the weekend finally rolled around I just wanted to be comfortable. I would go into a cheap chain store a couple of times a year and buy a few new tshirts, or replace my jeans when they became too worn, and that was it.

Having so much time off work this year really brought my wardrobe woes into stark relief. It came to a head when I took Baby to a play centre, and was by far the worst dressed person there. I didn't receive any dirty looks but I was thoroughly ignored.  (In my defence, I had just been to Bunnings Hardware and lugged dirty bags of sand, and the clientele of the centre that day all seemed to be members of the popped collars and pearls brigade. But still...)

So I cleaned out my wardrobe.  I waited until Baby was asleep then tried on every single item of clothing that I owned. I made two piles: flattering, and non flattering. It didn't matter if it was gym gear or a silk dress, if it didn't fit well, or was too worn or stained, it was out. This left me with about three shirts, a dress, my new jeans and a pair of shorts. Since it takes a full day for clothes to dry in this humidity, this was clearly not going to be sufficient!

Having all my clothes laid out also allowed me to take stock of my clothing habits. Although I favour a clean cut, slightly preppy look, this was not reflected in my clothes. I also noticed that I am far more likely to wear out a tshirt than stain or tear it - clearly I could look after my clothes, and the overall shabby look was coming from the cheap fabric, not my garment care.

It only took a couple of hours at the shops to restock my wardrobe. Although it was almost an automatic response to head to the same cheap chain stores and repeat my previous folly, I resisted. The clothes I bought were not expensive in the Gucci / Prada / Ralph sense of the word, but they were not cheap and nasty, either.

I chose a lovely linen shirt that will improve and soften with washing, which is lucky, as I'm sure Baby will take advantage. I also picked out a nice silk shirt. Although this one is hand wash, it is amazingly cool in the tropical heat and actually quite easy to launder - I've already done it twice (thanks Baby!) I added a couple more cotton, collared shirts and a new cotton dress. I tried to pick out clothes that were less casual than a tshirt, but didn't scream "repurposed work wear" and I think I mostly succeeded.

Since the cleanout, I have already noticed the change in people's attitude when they meet me. I didn't change my demeanour in any way, I just changed my clothes. I now get more smiles, more doors opened and more polite responses from shop keepers. I went back to the play centre and people approached me just to chat. A cleaner, neater type of person struck up a conversation with me at Baby Rhyme Time. This could all be a gross coincidence, but I doubt it. I now feel that I portray externally the way I feel inside, and it's a very comfortable feeling. I recommend it!


  1. I would love to do this! Big problem - I am afraid that everything would be in the "unflattering" category, leaving me naked, which falls directly in the "extremely unflattering" category.

    There's a good chance that I could end up curled up naked on the floor weeping.

  2. When my youngest was maybe a year old, I took a good hard look in the mirror one day and declared, "Frumpy!" I've been fighting frumpy ever since, and felt better almost immediately.

  3. It's hard when you clean out everything, then realise you have nothing much left, and there's nothing you like in the shops! I also get emotionally attached to clothes. Oh, that hideous large Hawaiian shirt? My uncle gave it to me right off his back as a present the second he heard I was engaged!

    Can't chuck that out. Et cetera...

  4. I did this once I was able to (sort of) fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. Wow, I realized that I had a lot of JUNK. I donated 1/2 of what I owned!