Before you figure out what to buy, you need to sort out a few things. Your size (I don’t think anyone really knows their own size, do they?), your style (who are you, really?), and your requirements (what you do all day will determine what you need your clothes to do for you).
I am smaller on top than I am on the bottom by a full size. Sometimes two, depending on the manufacturer of the clothes and the proximity to the holidays. The closer to mass consumption of gravy sandwiches and entire pumpkin pies, the larger I am on the bottom, FOR SOME STRANGE REASON. Whatever your shape, that shouldn’t stop you from dressing how you want, you just need to know what fits, what flatters, and what you fancy (what? I ran out of ‘f’ words). Because we’re not interested in wasting money on ill-fitting clothes, but we do want to make a change, as painful as it is, it’s important to try things on.
Aside beef – what is the deal with changeroom lighting? Do they specially design those lightbulbs to make us look hideous? Because I’m almost positive I wasn’t green with weird face shadows and 30 extra ass-pounds before I stepped foot into the changeroom. Do stores not realize that we’d probably buy a whole lot more if we looked good while trying their clothes on? NATURAL LIGHT, PEOPLE. IT’LL DO WONDERS TO YOUR SALES.
Anyway, as horrific as it may be, we have to actually buy things that fit. However, never forget about the option to have things tailored. Over Christmas, I asked for and received several pairs of work pants. I have a very odd length of legs – way too short for regular length, a little too long for petites. I also have a much smaller waist than my butt and thighs, so I have to buy about two sizes larger than my waist would likely dictate, just to be able to pull them up. SO! The solution? Right across from my office is a seamstress and tailor, so I had them taken up and in. It cost less than $10 per pair and now, for the first time in my life, I have pants that fit properly. This also cuts down on the dreaded changeroom time. Once you’ve figured out your approximate size by trying on a few pairs or pants, you don’t really need to try on every single pair, especially if they’re a style you’ve owned before and are confident you’ll like.
Your style – what do you want to tell the world about you with your clothes? Are you prim and proper? Are you bohemian? Are you ghetto fabulous? Personally, I like to think of myself as office-hippie. I like relaxed fitting, eclectic styles, with a sheen of professionalism. Just a touch, though, because the hippie in me loves to throw things together and just hope they work. To find your look, scan magazines (ahahahahah…it’s 2012; by magazines, I mean the internet), pick a few outfits you love, and use them as inspiration.
For example, a board I did on Polyvore:
Now, the items I used in my board are all high end, the least expensive being the $73 belt. The total for this ensemble, as shown (which is my interpretation of what Elizabeth Olsen is wearing, not the actual items she’s shown with in her picture) is $2,577. No joke.
But here we are with an affordable outfit, inspired by this incredibly unaffordable outfit:
Total for this version? $221.86 CAD. BUT that’s full price, and I bet I could find items on sale racks for even less.
And finally, when figuring out WHAT to buy, you first need to figure out what you NEED. Are you a SAHM? Or do you work from home? Do you work in downtown Toronto (or insert your nearby Big City)? What are your working conditions? Your dress code? Is jeans and sneakers an appropriate daily uniform, or does your life dictate more of a suit and tie wardrobe?
IMPORTANT – No matter what your lifestyle, you can always look good. Looking nice and pulled together comes in any style, in any size, in any budget, and can, and will, work for anyone. I PROMISE.