Keep trying on your clothes

Frankie_in_zone_7June 26, 2009

I usually have one, or sometimes 2, try-on sessions yearly, usually when I cycle my winter sweaters into current clothing drawers, or pull out summer shorts, and get rid of a few things that way. But, I don't always have the time at the right time, or maybe am just not in a good decision/purge mood.

The other day I bought a new knit top that I thought fit really well. In several years past, I had bought t-shirts at different stores--not expensive--and have a bad (I think) tendency to buy several colors in each when they're inexpensive--an easy way to either save money, or waste it if upon reflection it's not your favorite shirt! So, I just decided to use my new shirt as a benchmark and tried on nearly all my good or semi-good T-shirts and even grunge shirts, and just said, I really only need the ones that fit like this or that--whether it's the changing styles, or low light in the store dressing room, or changes in my shape, I don't quite know, but you know when you just have that aha moment in your head, why am I wearing this (item of clothing), it is just not worth it and don't bother to buy anything else that looks like that! Similarly, I found a good pair of casual cropped pants that finally seemed to fit, and could say, egads, now I can get rid of 2 pairs that I bought several years ago out of desperation.

Remember the game Concentration? With cards, of course, but the TV show had the card squares turn and made a noise, click-click, and the host said something like, matching or not matching, similar but not matching--in much younger days, my girlfriends and I used to imitate both the motions and the words in other situations for fun.

So, newsflash, I am finding it is very helpful to drag out some of my older clothing at more frequent intervals, at the time I make a new purchase, and do this as I go along and go, hmm, outfit A or outfit B--are they both good, serve useful purposes, or does one now replace the other? And that can work better somehow because you've got in your mind then what your "standards" are. It has also given me more conviction to RETURN an item (this is especially important with mail-order purchases, because you are trying it on for the first time and it may not look anything like you expected, and it is so tempting not to go to the trouble of sending something back.) But, if you go click-click, item A or Item B, and the new item does nothing to upgrade or replace, then back it goes.

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This is a great idea. I own so many T shirts, I can't open the dresser drawers because they are so jammed. I should force the drawers open and remove (permanently) at least half the T shirts. Throw them out or donate, then from now on- one comes in and one goes out. Some of the shirts are over 20 years old, a few have sayings on them. I really don't need them. They have no special sentimental value. Again, this is a great idea!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 12:53PM
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During the summer of 2007, I discovered FlyLady, and purged my closets and drawers of everything I could not or would not wear. I finally freed myself from clothes that I had not worn in nearly a decade!

Then, with the help of Missus Smarty Pants, I went out and got a new wardrobe. That was during 2008.

I discovered that Lane Bryant had clothes in my size, and that fit my figure (big hips, tiny waist) so for the first time in my life, I have a pants drawer that is overflowing.

I still occasionally come across new clothing items that go well with something I already have. My drawers are crammed full, with clothes that look great on me. I admit, I went a bit hog wild, after years of having nothing to wear.

Your advice to constantly cull the wardrobe is very useful, even for me. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 8:23PM
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Maryliz, how did that Missus Smarty Pants thing work? What kinds of things did she tell you about what to buy?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Here's how Missus Smarty Pants works: First, you take a quiz to determine your body type. Most people are a little out of balance from top to bottom, even if they're thin. Their hips are big, in relation to their waist. (That is my particular "problem" area.) Or maybe their chest is big, and they don't want to call any more attention to it than necessary. You get the idea. We all have something that makes our figure less than ideal.

Then, in order to balance and minimize that figure "problem," Missus Smarty Pants makes recommendations that work for each figure type. She letters them A, B, C, and so on. You just have to learn what works for your type. Even if you gain or lose weight, you will still be that figure type. (Even when I was a skinny teenager, I still had problems with pants that were too baggy in the waist. I have since learned that it is worthwhile to have a tailor take that baggy waist in for me.) If you happen to be petite or tall, there are further recommendations.

So how do you learn to do this? There is a quarterly fee. I think it was about $30 for a full year -- and it was well worth it. I let my membership lapse, but plan to start it back up again someday.

With your membership, you get to go to the website once each week for your personal recommendations. I saved them to my hard drive, so I could go back and look again. Each week, there is a shopping guide to a particular store, but I could easily find similar items at other stores.

So give it a try if you are all curious, and if you want to look a bit more put together and feel more confident. I never used to like clothes shopping until Missus Smarty Pants showed me how.

Just so you know, I have no connection to MSP. This is simply a personal recommendation from a very satisfied customer.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 12:12PM
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That's very interesting. Did you reject any of her recommendations, or did you try them and say, "Hey, this looks like carp on me!", or did just about everything look right?

For me, I know the general shapes that look good on me and the ones that look bad, but whether a particular garment looks good on me depends on the cut, the color, and the fabric. For that, I just need to go shopping and try things on. For the past couple of years, it seems that most stores don't carry a big selection in the actual store; they expect people to order online.

But for that small a fee, it would be worth a try to see what MSP recommends.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 1:46PM
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I was a late bloomer with learning how to dress myself. Before MSP, I knew what colors looked good on me. I have a sense of color, at least. But I did not know how to dress my body. I did not know how the clothes were supposed to drape on my particular body in order to look good. I was not willing to take any risks when buying clothes. I stuck with styles that we just kinda OK. I did not know when something was just not working for me, and to get rid of it.

After going through an eye-opening education from MSP which taught me which styles look best for me, I can walk into a store and immediately head toward something that is worth trying on.

I don't think I have ever had to reject a MSP suggestion. I guess you'd have to actually try MSP to know exactly what I mean when I say that her suggestions are to aim for a classic style, but take risks with low-cost accessories that can be updated every season. MSP lets you know how to invest your fashion dollar wisely in items you'll reach for again and again.

One day, during a flurry of buying clothes, I ended up with a top that was very cute, fit well, had colors that complement my complexion, etc. But later, when I tried on the shirt, and took a careful look at the top AND my face together, I decided that the pattern of the fabric made the shirt seem "too young" for me. So I ended up giving away a brand new shirt, simply because I had not considered my age. (mid-40's) I consider that MY mistake, not MSP's!

The older I get, the more important it is that I aim for that chic timeless look, take my fashion risks in subtle ways, and not try to directly copy the teenagers too much. Some fashions translate well for older women, some don't.

Harriet, you sound like you'd be fine even without MSP. You say you know what styles work for you. As for being made to order online, I don't think there is a way to know for certain that something is going to look good until you actually try it on.

I know what you mean when you say that the stores often do not have the full line of clothing. They want you to order online. When you are striving for proper fit, you might end up sending back something that you ordered online.

I only order online if there is a good return policy, and try to stick to retailers that will give me free return shipping. I have an L.L. Bean credit card, and that gives me free return shipping. If I buy something from Lands' End, I can return it for free at the local Sears store.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 5:20PM
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Those are interesting comments.

What I think is going on in my "keep trying" discovery is not just the idea of frequent "purging", but of keeping one's goal or final result up-front more often. This is not just a clothes thing--it is in relation to, in cleaning up the house, or de-cluttering, to keep asking, how is this all fitting in with the life I want to live, and is there something about what I am having to do now that does not fit that and that I DO control (there being many things we do not control--as in, if you are at the hospital with a child with a chronic illness, you could say, this is not the life I want to live, but you can't fix that part). So as I am cleaning up the kitchen this week, I am also saying, what is going on here that is fitting well with my goal of healthy eating and keeping clutter and clean up down to a reasonable amount, or not--what could I do differently and accomplish more of those aims? Which could also include, less time in kitchen and more time taking a walk!

So the clothing thing is more, try to stay on track with whatever goals you have for fit, price, closet not so stuffed you can't function, etc. So I can see the MSP as one way to stay on target.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 1:04PM
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