Wardrobe Replacement: Why Can't This Just Be A Dress-Up Game?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by turtleDove, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Okay, so - I'm getting to the point where I need to replace...basically 90% of my current wardrobe. Including my underwear and bras. Mostly because it's not a super-great look for my pants to actually be trying their damnedest to be falling off, and nothing else quite fits since I've actually been making some progress on losing weight.

    The problem: I...actually don't really know, with enough certainty to be comfortable actually spending money on things, what I actually want in a wardrobe. Not in terms that can actually help with going out shopping, anyways. I haven't actually done a whole lot of clothes-selection for myself, ever, and I'm not sure what's appropriate to wear since apparently there's a slight disconnect between how I view myself and what my actual age is, and also clothing stores are Weird.

    (I keep being confused by the fact that I'm 30. I could swear I'm not much past 18 yet, but the calendar disagrees.)

    How do I figure this out?
  2. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    I'm in the same boat honestly, what kind of clothes are you looking for, in broad categories. (formal, casual, ((men's, women's - or both/neither)) more "adult" etc.) if you can determine that, then you'll know how to narrow it down into more usable categories.

    The advice i've received from friends i've asked about it, the general response is "Go to a store and try a bunch of stuff on!" Dunno if that's useful for you or not.

    I hope this is useful information for you.
    • Agree x 1
  3. Alexand

    Alexand Rhymes with &

    I've also been in this boat...a good couple of times. (I tend to put off clothes shopping until the very very very last possible moment, what can I say.) So I can try to offer some advice on what's worked for me in the past!
    • This may be just me, but I find it helpful to start a wardrobe with a small handful of "base wardrobe colors", and to only buy clothes for that wardrobe in those colors for a while. This helps you avoid the problem scenario of "I bought this thing I liked but I have nothing to wear it with", and, in general, improves your chances of being able to assemble many different outfits with relatively few pieces. (I'm kind of really into Cohesive Color Palettes for everything in my life, though, which is why I say this may just be a me thing.)
    • But what kinds of base colors should you go with? Besides considering which ones you like, you should really try on some clothes in those different colors to see which ones suit you best. I've learned the hard way that I really, really can't pull off magenta or other bright colors; they make me look washed out. Recently I've learned that copper, which has never been on my radar before, is pretty good for me as an accent color. That kind of thing.
    • (Personal life hack of mine: never buying brown clothes. Always buying black instead. Wearing brown and black together is really hard to pull off, is the thing, so if I were to, say, buy a brown belt, then I'd feel obligated to buy brown shoes to match, because I wouldn't want to wear the brown belt with black shoes...and then I wouldn't want to wear any of my black clothes with the brown belt or shoes...but! If I only own belts in black, and I only own pants in black, and so on, then I can go on just fine only owning black shoes. I assume this would also work the other way around; I just like black better.)
    • (...Now that I think about it, my mom does a similar thing with her own clothes, except that she only has a single base color: navy blue. ...Basically everything she owns is navy blue. That's also an option? I think she does that mostly because she doesn't know how to pair colors, though.)
    • Another thing you can narrow down, besides "what colors do you look good in", is "what cuts do you look good in". Pants come in a number of cuts; shirts come in a number of cuts; shirt sleeves come in a number of cuts...skirts come in a number of lengths, shorts come in a number of lengths...you may want to dedicate some time and some effort to considering which of these Silhouette Options you like best on yourself. For example: I'm self-conscious about my upper arms, so I avoid buying shirts with tight short sleeves, and I think my calves look stumpy in below-the-knee skirts, so I go for at-the-knee or above-the-knee. I like how I look in high-waisted pants, so I don't buy hip-huggers, etc.
    • The question of "what kind of clothes are you looking for" is important -- especially in terms of "what kinds of occasions are you looking to buy these clothes for". ...Actually, this advice is especially relevant to me personally, because I'm the kind of person who'll go after really flashy-glittery-bold-party/club clothes despite never actually going to any parties or clubs. But like, try to visualize the places you'll wear the clothing before you buy the clothing. (If you're good at that kind of thing, I guess? I think clothes shopping in general is easier if you're the kind of person who's good at mental visualization. I'm not, so that's why I do these "base colors" types of workarounds.)
    All of these suggestions so far are geared towards advising you on what not to buy...because I know that, for me, the sheer Possibility Space of different clothes options is the thing that overwhelms me most...but if you walk into a store and just go from rack to rack saying "not this, not this, not this", then you might get kind of discouraged by this approach. But that's why I do nearly all of my clothes shopping online. Online, you can browse through an entire store's catalog of clothes in a tenth of the time you'd spend walking around a physical location, and their online selection's probably bigger anyway, and you can probably filter out things that aren't in your size or in the color you're looking for...and I hate malls, anyway. In-person visits are still important for answering questions like "do I look good in this color" and "do I look good in this cut of clothing", but once you've answered that question for a color/cut you can make all decisions about clothes in that color/cut online from then on. (I do still buy all my shoes in-person, though...my mom's spent my life drilling into my head that shoes are the one thing you can't buy online. Which I guess is fair, because it's hard to tell whether a shoe's gonna be tight in the toes or loose in the heels or squeaky just from a size measurement and an image.)

    But, uh, that's just my own strategy, I guess. I hope that helps, though!
    • Agree x 1
  4. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Okay, this has helped some!

    I think I'm probably looking for mostly casual, with a few formal items so that I'm not needing to make a mad dash to the store if I need to dress up for dinner when on vacation or if I need to go to a wedding or a funeral or something. Theoretically, I should try and get a wardrobe that would be good for work, but I'm not entirely sure how plausible it is that I'll ever be in a workplace again.

    I sort of want to go with 'both' for gender options? I would like to explore whether I'm more comfortable presenting as femme or masc, certainly, and clothes are a good place to start with. I'm not sure how well this meshes with "mostly casual", especially since my preferred aesthetic is "bright colours and floral patterns and basically all of the pretty parts of the 50s and 40s" for femme clothes and my preferred dress/skirt length is "approximately knee length for summer, no shorter than calf-length for winter" which suddenly makes my preference for pants and dislike for all the skirts I have right now make a lot more sense - none of the long skirts are heavy enough for winter weather, really, and the one that looks like a good winter skirt is a length that absolutely requires leggings paired with it if my legs aren't going to freeze off. Pants are a problem in their own right, because I am short and anything that isn't capri-length tends to be just long enough that I need to roll the cuffs or hem them so that I'm not walking all over them, and capri-length pants tend to be a bit hit-or-miss on if they'll be ankle-length or calf-length.

    Colours that look good on me are blues and greens, preferably in the jewel tone range but anything not actively in the pastels range is probably okay; as long as it's a bright colour, it seems to be okay, because I have a yellow sweater that looks good on me and that I like - but a more mustard-y yellow dress I was looking at got veto'd because it washed me out. I've got a very short waist, so I prefer cuts that are meant to sit at my hips - I don't like the look or feel of pants that start halfway up my abdomen and high-waisted skirts result in a constant fight with my clothing so that it doesn't look like I'm wearing a mini-skirt or a tube-dress. (This may just be bad luck with skirts, I don't know.) I would really, really like pockets in my clothes, but that's more of a familiar lament.

    Half the problem I have with clothes shopping is that "walk around and try stuff on" runs into the problem where I'm gravitating towards the clothes that look nice but are being marketed towards people still in high school or just starting college for the first time, because I haven't yet shifted gears to figure out what an age-appropriate style is (and most of the clothing stores don't seem to be catering to someone who isn't in high school but also isn't trying to build a work wardrobe). The other half is that all the clothes on the market right now seem to be of a make that requires four or five layers so that you don't freeze, but also it looks and feels like crap if you actually layer like that, and a lot of the more adult clothes are day-to-night stuff that's heavily emphasizing the 'night' part.
    My preference for 50s and 40s female outfits is almost definitely because at least those don't require me to try and figure out how to look comfortable and possibly professional in something that feels like it ought to be club-wear. If I could just go for making all my own clothes, I would; it'd guarantee that I get fabric that's warm and soft. But I don't have the spoons for trying to tackle "replace All the clothes", I'm limiting myself to making maybe one item to add to the new wardrobe if I get spoons and materials.
  5. chthonicfatigue

    chthonicfatigue Bitten by a radioactive trickster god

    Honestly, though, 'age-appropriate' style is one of the biggest lies the fashion industry will tell you, and it's purely so you buy more clothes throughout your lifetime. Honest. I've seen grannies wearing rainbow knee socks and Barbie-pink flashes in their hair and look absolutely fucking awesomely elegant.

    I studied fashion and 90% of trend prediction etc is 'how can we trick people into thinking their old clothes are no longer desirable'.

    Edited for advice: one of the things I love most is a nice soft thermal base layer, which can be worn under short sleeved tees for a casual look or long sleeved shirts to hide it entirely. It deals with the problem of scratchiness and/or sheerness of some fabrics, and they are light enough that it won't make you overheat. 100% the most useful advice I can give is make sure you like the clothes you get. Not what you're supposed to be wearing, or what someone else says you suit. Peacock a little! Wear (hah) individuality like armour.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    • Agree x 3
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  6. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    Im in a similar situation wrt wardrobe necessities and occasions, but i do like shopping. My basic (pretty feminine) wardrobe items are:
    • One pair of "office"/social pants in a neutral color.
    • One blazer jacket, in the same neutral color.
    • One knee-length social skirt, in the same neutral color.
    • Two social shirts or blouses, in different colors that go well with your neutral, can be an all-over print.
    • A social dress, if you feel like it.
    This is going to be your basic serious business/dress up kit.
    As for casuals:
    • At least two pairs of jeans of different cuts, or finishes. My favorites are skinny and straight cut; straight cut is the safest bet to be flattering on most body types, but if you like bootcut or bellbottoms, enjoy the current 70s revival.
    • One fun skirt. Printed, colorful, short, jeans... whatever.
    • Two pairs of shorts, if you get the weather for shorts in the summer. I have more than two because tropical country, but idk how it is in the US.
    • A good amount of T-shirts, blouses, more casual shirts, tops in general. People notice more if you repeat tops than if you repeat bottoms.
    • Appropriate outerwear. For me that is one coat and some sweatshirts and cardigans but... probably more for you.
    • A couple of casual dresses, if you are into it.
    You should absolutely tailor things if you find issue with lengths, and should try, as said earlier, to keep to a neutral color and a few hues.
    And you know that blazer up there? It's a magical secret trick to make young clothes seem more mature. T-shirt, hoodie, jeans and sneakers seems too college kid going out? Switch the hoodie for the blazer and bam, you have casual chic! Too hot for a blazer? Use that formal shirt open with the sleeves rolled up - masculine solid colors are particularly good for that. For the rest of it - age-appropriate clothing is basically a bunch of bullshit, esp if you don't work in a traditional setting. If it bothers you enough you can make a few changes in styling and have things you like go back to being perfectly age-appropriate
    • Like x 2
  7. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    Since youmentioned dress up games, what about playing with some with clothes you think look nice? then go to a store and see if you can find similar items and try them on to see if you think they look nice On You. Which is another bit of advice, go and just try things on you think you like, it doesn´t cost anything. I would however recommend you try to make sure you have at least one outfit to make with each item.
    If you need them put together a few outfits of "work clothes" that won´t upset anyone, following the guide witchnights mentioned. If you find you don´t like that particular style for yourself though, by all means make the rest of your wardrobe be something else.

    Another thing: pantsare 100% optional.* if you are like me and can´t stand them, by all means just get skirts. the same goes for T-shirts or any other standard garment. Which rings me to, get one set of comfy clothes. This meaning clothes You feel comfy in, even if it happens to not be jeans and T-shirt or soft pants and T-shirt. something you can answer the door and fetch the mail in.

    In conclusion, outside of a few items you might need for social reasons, don´t buy things you don´t like looking at yourself in the mirror in.

    (*sadly if you´re amab you might need some, it depends on you circumstances)
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  8. vuatson

    vuatson [delurks]

    My only advice is to get at least one pair of non-faded well-fitting black jeans. Those things are versatile as hell, I’ve even worn them to a job interview before because it’s impossible to find slacks that actually fit me.

    Also every Goodwill I’ve ever been to has had a good selection of skirts, so that’s a decent place to look for those.
    • Agree x 1
  9. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    I'm afab, I just...don't like my legs being cold. Which probably means I need to get more leggings that I'm comfortable with wearing, if I want to have any skirts in my winter wardrobe. (I currently have a single pair of leggings. This is...not really enough to make wearing skirts really viable, without doing laundry a lot more often than I want to.)

    Managing to get male-coded clothes that fit is going to be tricky, I think, because I do have one of those body types where I'm just significantly more likely to be gendered as female unless I'm aggressively working to pass as male. (Pudgy, with what would be an hourglass figure if I had much of a waist; I'm taking after my mom, as I get older, and she's got a very Venus of Willendorf shape.)
  10. Acey

    Acey optimism and bad vision

    If it helps, men's jeans are sized based on specific measurements (waist, hip, and inseam) and thus might actually be easier for you to find than women's ones (especially because the women's fashion industry seems to hate both short people and chubby people). I mean, YMMV on the easiness, but there is the advantage that once you know your measurements you can (IIRC) basically just always buy the same measurements, which is WAY easier than having to try on like three separate sizes of the same model of jeans and praying that one of them fits (my usual experience when jeans shopping). Hell, I'm genuinely considering taking those measurements for myself simply because I have trouble finding jeans that fit me.

    I'm not sure how much of a help that actually is, but it's info to keep in mind? Good luck!
    • Informative x 1
  11. Acey

    Acey optimism and bad vision

    Also, seconding everyone who says the whole "you're TOO OLD to wear this!!!!!!!!11" thing is bullshit. Like...I'm almost 25. I dye my hair fun pretty colors, galaxy prints are God's gift to us, and I will shop at Hot Topic until the day I die. Nothin' wrong with that, and frankly if anyone tells you your outfits aren't """age-appropriate""" they can go fuck themselves.
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  12. witchknights

    witchknights 27 Bold Enchanter Defends The Fearful

    Yeah, one of my college professors dyes her hair non-natural colors all the time and wears either 80s goth or superhero prints at all times and she's like, fifty and has three million PhDs.
    • Winner x 5
  13. Acey

    Acey optimism and bad vision

    Life goals honestly.
    • Agree x 3
  14. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    I atually havea similar bodytype. Fir winter skirts, I find combinging high boots with them helpful and getting longer skirts. I wear no pants whatsoever, and leggings + boots keep me warm just fine. You could also get ankle length skirts and literally just wear comfortable pants under tham if you like.
    If you don´t want to do that, pants might be your best option though.
    I think getting jeans that are fairly straigh and won´t show the shape of your legs super strongly will help genderwise. I also found a jacket cut for men made me look quite masc at least outdoors.
    • Like x 1
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  15. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    I try to dress vaguely professionally because I'm fat and fat women get judged more for being casual, which is counter to my goal of everyone getting out of my way and letting me do my job. My go-tos are knee length skirts with knee-high boots for fall through late spring - I have a couple black skirts that fit the description as well as a purple one, as well as dresses. Those skirts go with shells or blouses and then cardigans or shrugs, for me. I also tend to go for themed patterns and color palettes for ease of mix and match.

    I actually also tend to go for the same couple of silhouettes, too, to give a fairly consistent impression.
    • Like x 1
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