Nothing says “I don’t tan” better than wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants to the beach. One might as well look good!
I think I’ve got this. I finally know how to get dressed to go places. My fashionista angst from last year has ended in triumph! Sort of.
Of course, it’s so much easier to dress for the shore in the summertime, because summer and the Jersey shore are made for each other. Wintertime is much more difficult to shop for here, but I don’t have to worry about that for 4 more months, right?
There really is no “dressing up” down the shore, so fashionistas must settle for “dressing down” fashionably and well. This is actually a very good thing! It’s a way to communicate an attitude of being permanently on vacation, even when one still has to work for a living.
It’s too easy to get lazy about the local aesthetic, so Pinky Policy is NO cut off shorts, logo tees or cheap rubber flip flops, unless one is working in the yard. Also, preppy styles are for fashion backup only: For instance, polo shirts are only allowed on Casual Fridays at the office, when one is boating, or when one is too bewildered to take a chance on anything else, which I notice still happens with me a lot.
Of course like most, I don’t have much spending cash these days. Bunny is taking most of mine: Private college tuition AND her city apartment rent, even when shared and even with her 50% scholarship, takes a big bite out of the wallet. It leaves me with barely enough cash to keep me in beauty serums, vitamins and hormones, so any item of clothing I buy has to be cheap, cheap cheap. TJMax and clearance catalogues to the rescue!
First, the essentials. The linen-pants-big-shirt ensemble will take one anywhere. So does the basic shift dress, and the classic white pants. I already had several shift dresses for work, so first on the list for summer was the pants. White ones. GAH! Was I serious? I was never a fan of white pants. They get dirty and typically only last one season. For some reason the following year they look yellow no matter how many times they get laundered. I compromise by choosing ivory or off-white whenever I can, and when I do buy white, it’s cheap and bleach-able.
STYLE TIP: I bought the gauze pants to the upper left and they’re great. Unfortunately the top won’t work if you’re short, even in a petite size.
I’ve conceded that white jeans are a must for summertime. They feel dressier than blue jeans, though the whole concept of “dress jeans” distresses me because it’s an oxymoron: You don’t wear jeans to dress up, dummy. There are so few opportunites to dress these days, why waste them?
Still, I bought a pair, by Michael Kors, one of my favorite designers because his clothes come in petite sizes. These fit me perfectly, they were on clearance, and they’re juuust a little bit off-white, so they’ll age better than most.
STYLE TIP: Unlike the model to the upper right, I don’t wear high heels with white jeans. Here one wears expensive and/or embellished versions of “flip flops.”
So let’s see where are we at . . . White linen pants, gauze pants, drawstring pants, white “big” pants – I’m not sure what else to call them but big – These pants fill my closet, all very versatile, look great, and unlike dresses, skirts and shorts they don’t require self-tanner. In fact white pretty much requires that one NOT wear self-tanner. Yay! Lose the sash, and I can wear these pants just about anywhere. Now that I’ve got the safe options covered I can move on to actual fashion. Shopping is fun again! Or, is it?
MMMMM not yet, not really.
Style icon: Victoria Beckham
Shirts and blouses are very frustrating to me. For most women it seems, jeans and pants are the banes of their shopping existence, but my bane is shirts and blouses. They tend to make me look blobby. It’s my shortish torso and all the boobage that are so very hard to work with. Victoria Beckham copes with her petite and inverted triangle body shape by remaining freakishly thin and favoring deep v-neck tops. My lifestyle doesn’t allow for that.
STYLE TIP: Find a famous fashionista who shares your body type, and copy her look to the best of your ability and in accordance with your own life style. She can afford a stylist.
Consequently, if I am to look elegant and appropriate, I must purchase stretchy petite sizes that don’t look cheap, matronly or clownish, preferably in subdued patterns to hide what my bra doesn’t adequately cover. Furthermore they must be absolutely free of embellishments like sequins, glitter and bows. Shirts that meet my criteria are almost impossible to find on sale.
And pardon me a moment while I vent: What IS it with the goddamn HORIZONTAL STRIPES? So they’re “nautical,” so what? What woman in her right mind buys them? Maybe model-like thin girls with flat chests and narrow shoulders? There are perhaps 15 of them in my state, which is why the outlet stores are glutted with horizontal striped clothing nobody wants.
STYLE TIP: Don’t buy horizontal stripes.
Sigh. Anyway. I finally bought a few things from J. Jill, and just as I predicted last year it made me feel old. I am not their target baby boomer market, but they do have plain basics in petite sizes. The trick is finding them on clearance. Unfortunately the shirt to the left is not on clearance.
Then, there’s the tunic. Soft Surroundings, one of my favorite catalogues, has a perfect array of tops for those who rely on tunics to look and feel put-together. Unfortunately I have to be careful with tunic styles as they tend to make me look pregnant. Paired with some skinny pants, however, I might be able to pull off the looks below. Maybe this autumn, when they go on clearance, I can get a few for next year:
That’s what I did with one of last year’s toppers; i.e., crossed my fingers and waited a year. It goes so well with what I have already, and since I was patient I was able to get it for a song:
These toppers are great for my body type, in that they’re long and meant to be worn open. They lengthen and thin out my torso, and cover the boobs. Add some pants with a little flare and a pair of statement shoes and I’m balanced out. For now at least, long thin open sweaters are making up for my inability to find decent tops on sale. Plain t-shirts appear to be the best I can do for now. So let’s forget about tops and talk about SHOES, shall we? They probably deserve a post of their own.