Monday, February 19, 2007

Fashion Project

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to my YMCA running friend Diana that I don't shop for clothes very often. She offered to help me pick out a few items and even look through my closet and toss out "unacceptable" items. I couldn't refuse such a generous offer, so we started today because both of us had President's Day off work.

Every woman will have a bias towards their fashion preferences, but I think Diana's taste is pretty good. She is a middle school teacher (and has lots of horror stories about dealing with students and their parents) and dresses nicely, and also dresses her fiance Travis well. She also thinks I should try different shaped glasses and modify my haircut just a tad... nothing too radical of course.

Before we started I got a brief overview of the theory of fashion: nothing too trendy or you'll have to monitor your wardrobe frequently, good jeans versus bad jeans (I didn't realize there was such a distinction), shoes, and so forth. She was shocked and appalled I sometimes wore shorts to work, even though it is common in the software industry and also here in Florida. My mind wandered to my friend Francesca, also a fashion diva, and I thought of how tough it must have been working at such a sartorially challenged environment as our previous employer. ;)

Diana went through all my shirts, pants, sweaters, and shorts. She spend about 5 seconds looking at each item before putting it back in the closet or piling it up in a heap for donation. She had an eagle eye for my clothes, and was basically correct every time she said something looked old. I'm a person who tends to horde clothes and I had a lot of stuff I hadn't worn in years. She accurately predicted the age of many items just on their appearance! Small stain? Donate. Collar stretched? Donate. Slightly faded? Donate. Looks old? Donate. Fabric showed signs of pilling? Donate. Sleeves stretched or worn? Donate. She did mention that many items she tossed out were OK but since I could afford new clothes, I should replace them.

My closest must have looked like a tomb of horrors to her!

In the end she recommended I replace about half of my clothes. The hardest hit items were my sweaters and sweatshirts, partly because I don't need to wear them as much here, and also because many were 5 to 8 years old (which again she unerringly noted). She also forbid me to wear jean shorts.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
Diana recommends I donate these clothes.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
Diana's comment: "This color is good for you, but it looks old, so donate it".
As it happens, I remember this shirt from high school... 20 years ago. This is one of the two oldest items of clothing I had. I kept the other one but she forbid me from wearing it.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
Diana visibly blanched upon seeing this shirt. "KARL! This shirt must be 15 years old and it is PASTEL!! That went out in the early 90's! Donate!!!". And of course, she was nearly right about the age.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
Diana's comment: "Maps go on the wall, never wear them. This shirt would be OK if you were retired and living in Key West".

Ouch! ;)

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
My four or five denim shirts were especially derided. Diana's comment: "No no no and no! No denim shirts!!"

After all that, we headed off to the nearby mall to visit Express for Men and Gap, for some shopping. We'll have to travel further to get to a Banana Republic or Structure. I'll post about the shopping trip in a followup...

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