I have never been a “fashion” person, but I must admit that I began watching the tv show, What Not to Wear, after I left the Marine Corps back in 2007. I was seriously one of those people who wasn’t quite sure what I should be wearing to work after having worn a (quite wonderful) uniform to work for four years. I also wasn’t used to wearing makeup (and didn’t desire to wear it either) and my hair abilities consisted of a sock bun. Just Google it…one of the least desirable hairstyles in the world and yet, it’s so funny when there’s photos of celebrities wearing them. They aren’t comfortable and trying to keep that sock from showing is a bit of a bitch. Maybe not everyone has that problem, but I have thin hair, so getting a good sock bun for me has ALWAYS been a challenge.
While What Not to Wear gave me some wonderful ideas on how to dress myself as a professional, I still didn’t take all those tips I learned from watching to heart. I replaced my camis with my “work uniform”, which mostly consisted of gray trouser pants, short heels (the same pair in brown and black that I still own today), and one of several New York and Co. button down shirts (seriously, I had a couple solid colors and at least three different striped shirts). As time has gone out, I realized it was a bit silly to have so many of the same exact shirt and only kept three of the shirts that I liked the best and that were the most versatile.
I was very excited on Tuesday to have found Stacy London’s book. I have admired her fashion sense and her personality on What Not to Wear. Seriously, some people come on the show looking like hobos. No offense to the homeless; there’s a difference between not having the resources to clothe oneself (and I am very glad there are a number of agencies filling in this gap to help anyone who has ever experienced homelessness) and people who just can’t get off the couch to put on something other than their pajama bottoms.
Seriously, it irks me to no end when I go into Walmart and there are people in their 40’s (MARRIED COUPLES) walking around in their pajamas. It’s bad enough that college students go to lectures dressed this way, but people who pay a mortgage should have more common sense. I just want to slap those people. That’s the Marine in me…just so you know. Marines are taught there is a way to dress and as annoying as it might be when you are 19, I am very proud that the Corps teaches people to go out in clothes that aren’t shredded, distasteful, look like lingerie, or like they just crawled out of bed. If you want to go out in your pjs, fine. But do it only if you are going through the drive-through. I won’t mind then because I won’t see you pull up your pants and reveal what god awful slippers (or Crocs) you happen to have on your feet.
I really love how Stacy’s book goes into depth about her personal struggles. I think all too often, our society presents this image that if you’re famous, life is one big happy dream and a big fat paycheck to go with it. One of the things I hadn’t expected to learn is how she suffered from psoriasis. I have met people who have it and originally, it caught me off guard because I know how much it sucks to suffer from a skin condition. I have dealt with tinea versicolor since 8th grade and it’s so embarrassing. It kicked in for me a short while after my family moved from southern California to Rhode Island and it gets particularly bad in the winter and summer time.
I spent a lot of time during particularly bad episodes wearing long sleeves to cover up the skin discoloration that tinea versicolor causes. During the early years, my neck, stomach, back and arms down to my wrist were affected. Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, it has gotten milder. Unfortunately, I didn’t take as many photographs of myself during this time in my life because I felt that the tinea made me look ugly. Seriously, whenever I would be tan and my tinea would discolor my skin, I’d look like a baby deer with how the white spots would freckle my olive skin. Thankfully, tinea is not contagious although I have had doctors in the past try and tell me it is. I should have seen a dermatologist during my teens about it instead of a regular doctor; I will tell you know that I have seen a dermatologist that there are some times that it really pays off to see a specialist. I probably could have saved myself a lot of heartache in my teen years about this awkwardness if I had gotten it under control earlier.
I really let my concerns over tinea affect my high school dating life…seriously, how do you explain to a guy why you’re speckled? I do notice distinct difference in my photos from when I likely was suffering a tinea episode and when one was over. I went from seriously pale to golden tan. The last time I had a horrible outbreak was back in 2011. I don’t know what it is but something about the climate in Rhode Island doesn’t like me. I lived in Florida for a year after high school and yet the humidity there never caused a flare up but it happens me to anytime I spend a significant amount of time in Rhode Island. I was back there for my NCIS internship and we had a tropical storm come through. Within 3 or so days after the tropical storm was done, my tinea flared up with a passion. I tried using the regular anti fungal skin creams normally recommended to me to help out with it this year (yeah, I know…I let myself suffer for almost two years) I saw a dermatologist and related my problems to her.
When I was a kid, the doctor wouldn’t prescribe the oral medication designed to help with tinea because it can cause liver problems, but I practically begged the doctor that this is what I wanted…liver problems be damned! I didn’t care and all it required was a blood test to check that everything was functioning well before I was allowed to be put on the meds. I did that in conjunction with a prescription topical cream and my skin is back to being normal. Thank God! And to help with the spots, I have spent a lot of this summer getting sun and helping my skin regain its pigment.
So, I know that was a long tangent, but it’s great when you can find an inspirational book that reminds me that you aren’t the only one with problems. I know we all have something about us that makes us imperfect, but it takes a surprising amount of courage to admit.
Since I have been trying to redo my style for years now (and from time to time, I have to keep my tinea in mind), Stacy’s book was something I needed to consider. She gives great advice for all ages and body types.
As I am ending my last year in my 20’s (and no, I am not going to be the type who is always celebrating her 29th birthday….or 25th, for those who really can’t face the fact that they are aging), I have other body woes that are creeping up on me. Since I had my daughter, my body requires more diligence to stay in shape. Sadly, junk food doesn’t love me as much as it used to…boo. I do like clean eating, but this girl lives on chocolate, too. Now, I have to abide by the “moderation” motto. If I eat really healthy, my body leans out in a matter of 2-3 weeks and if I eat unhealthy for a few days, it seriously looks like I packed on 5lbs even if it’s only more like 1. I also have to embrace makeup…it’s just the working girl’s problem and my skin is oddly dry and acne prone with just the slightest bit of stress. I knew my mom had acne in her 20’s and 30’s, too, but I was hoping it might skip me. No such luck.
So now I am embracing new things to camouflage what I don’t like and embrace my new hips courtesy of motherhood. Dresses surprisingly look great on me….that never happened when my hips were skinny, but now that I am more “guitar shaped”, I can rock almost any dress as long as the size is right (petite in design).
While years ago, camis (and not camisole tops…camouflage fatigues) were the main thing in my wardrobe, I am trying a little each time I shop, to round out my wardrobe. I have a lovely black thigh length trench coat with 3/4 length sleeves I got a few years back, an Eddie Bauer leather jacket as a gift for myself when I lost the baby weight from having my daughter, and things like two really nice Ann Taylor Loft dresses I got on sale through e-Bay (new with tags, might I add).
I also embrace the fact that my budget is almost non-existent right now, so places like ThredUP (an online consignment store) where you can buy things “new with tags” and “barely worn” for really cheap is nice. So far, I’ve gotten two new pairs of Ann Taylor Loft jeans and a pair from Banana Republic. I am still a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl like I was in high school, but I have relinquished (mostly) my love affair for hoodie sweatshirts. That happened back when I was pregnant with my daughter. Now I only have 2 hoodies instead of the probably 10 I used to; it was hard to give them up but I donated them since they were still in great shape.
I may hold onto clothes forever, but I take pretty good care of my stuff. Which explains why my Nine West boots that I bought in 2008 still look great. I also caved in late last year and bought a sexy pair of purple stiletto heels. I figure if I got a butt that can compare to Pippa Middleton’s, I might as well take advantage of it. I never realized how much better my butt looks when I wear high heels. And I love how heels make my jeans look just a little girly.
Here’s to new wardrobe changes and check out my closet…