Not-so-casual Friday

I finally did laundry for the first time in a month, which is alarming on so many levels. How did I accumulate so many items of clothing that I can go a month without washing anything and still have stuff to wear? And how am I fitting everything in my itty-bitty college room?

Most college students take “My clothes are dirty” as an excuse to wear old t-shirts and sweatpants. Given that I have to maintain a semi-professional appearance all the time for my work, though, for me it means more dresses and “nice clothes” than usual. When my casual jeans got too dirty to keep wearing, I went as long as I could wearing dresses and skirts, but Friday I had to pull out my nice jeans, which require heels because I still have not had them altered. Heels on a normal college day! People were judging so hard.

The challenge became finding a top that was casual enough to not look ridiculous on campus but nice enough to wear with heels. So, I went for nice but basic: just a turtleneck sweater in a rich color. I even threw on that snakeskin belt I got for Christmas and had no idea how to wear, which is exciting — now that I’ve worn it with an outfit other than the one the saleswoman put together for me, I might be able to actually wear it on a sort-of-regular basis.

Do you ever think to yourself, “WHERE DID ALL OF THESE CLOTHES COME FROM?” I know it’s totally #firstworldproblems, but really. It’s embarrassing. I’d love some advice on how to execute a closet purge so I can have more space and feel better about myself. Cheers.

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In support of T-shirts

I’ve been reading fashion blogs for nearly a year now, and I think I can safely say that I have never seen a T-shirt. I’m not talking about $30 Banana Republic “T-shirts,” or even $8 Old Navy “T-shirts” — those, to me, are just shirts, and they’re worn all the time. The basic T-shirt, however, gets no love. People wear them to sleep or to the gym, but never in real-life situations. I realize most bloggers I read are adults with jobs, and you can’t wear T-shirts to work, but really?  You guys never just get up and throw on a T-shirt and jeans to go to the store?

I’m a college student, so I’m surrounded by T-shirts every day. There’s always some group handing them out on campus, sorority members seem to get new ones every week, and the bookstore sells them so inexpensively that anyone with some measure of school spirit has one in at least four colors. Admittedly, most people do wear them lazily, with athletic shorts and baseball caps and things that I don’t think belong in classrooms. I know we read and like fashion blogs because we like fashion, and T-shirts aren’t fashionable. But I don’t think it’s necessary to stigmatize T-shirts as sloppy, lazy wear, either. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to make one your outfit for the day, as long as you put some effort into it.

The easy thing is to put the shirt on with sweats or jeans, grab your nearest flip flops, do whatever is necessary to kind of tame your hair and run off to class.

But it’s so easy to make a few small, easy changes and make the look a ton neater! Check out what I did today:


Roll up the sleeves and pull up the hem so the shirt actually looks like it fits right. Add a tank top underneath to pick up one of the colors in the shirt. Wear flats instead of your flip flops. BRUSH YOUR HAIR.

I know it’s still not fashionable, and I know it’s not something most of you would put on your blog for a day. But it’s something I can still pull off in college, and I think it’s fine. I honestly welcome your thoughts on this topic. Let me know where you stand on T-shirts.

(Unrelated, but the shirt is a concert T-shirt from Train’s summer tour. I had the pleasure of seeing them (and Maroon 5!) at two different tour stops, and they were wonderful both times. It’s kind of a weird shirt, but Train has been my favorite band since junior high, and it was exciting to find a non-black concert T, so I’m rolling with it. Cheers.)

Mission: Dress like a grown-up.

As much as I try to dress somewhat  fashionably or decently or whatever, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m dressing like a teenager. I wear t’s and Chucks, flouncy skirts, Forever 21 galore. I like the way I dress, but I’m starting a real internship this summer; I need to dress in a way that will make people take me seriously. I’m young, and I’m petite, and I’m tired of being called “adorable.” So, time to dress like a real person.

To help me out in this endeavor, I went to the library and checked out some books by Nina Garcia. I’ll be honest here — I really have no idea who she is. Some wonderful person told me that I should read her book The One Hundred, so I did. I read two others, too: The Little Black Book of Style and The Style Strategy. I didn’t like Style Strategy — some snobby part of me thinks that a style book should not require actual reading but rather be made up of bullet points and pictures — but the other two were fairly genius. She  has a great personality, an interesting personal story and a very accessible set of tips and tricks — even someone fashion-illiterate as me understood it all. Sure, some of it was not so practical for me — can’t afford Pucci or Christian Louboutin, Nina, sorry — but I’d recommend the books nonetheless. At some point I’ll probably do a more thorough post about The One Hundred, but for now I’m keeping focused on my mission.

Her books were all a little different, but they each repeated the list of “classic must-haves”:

  • Classic high-heeled pump
  • Ballet Flats
  • Trench Coat
  • Classic white shirt
  • Little Black Dress
  • Cashmere cardigan or turtleneck
  • A great bag
  • Denim

“The One Hundred” had a ton of different items, including the ones above, but there were a few I think I can easily work into my wardrobe (read: ones I can afford). I’m listing them alphabetically, just as she did.

  • Animal print flats
  • Ankle booties
  • Bangles
  • Blazer
  • Boyfriend cardigan
  • Denim Jacket
  • Hoop earrings
  • White sundress
  • Pearl necklace
  • Metallic sandals
  • Sailor Stripes
  • Wrap dress

So this, I guess, is my shopping list. There are a few other things that I’ve found around the various blogs I’ve been reading — for example, Jean at Extra Petite, who is probably one of my heroes, writes that her go-to is a ruffled blouse and a pencil skirt, so I’m going to look for some of those — and I would love suggestions from any of you, because I’m always impressed by how all of you look. I notice that a lot of you shop at LOFT, Gap, H &M, Banana Republic, etc., so I’m going to give those places a shot (though I’ll always be a Forever 21 addict!).

What do you guys think? What else do I need to do, what do I need to buy, where do I need to shop, to look like someone who has a job (and is good at it)?

Accepted!

I got an exciting e-mail today: I’ve been approved for membership in the IFB, or the Independent Fashion Bloggers! I applied right after I started this blog because I know a lot of blogging is building up a network of other blogger friends, but I thought I would get rejected — I have less than a week’s worth of posts to my name, and none of it is very good. But I’m in! I got the e-mail in class and had to stifle a happy dance.

I’m probably being delusional here, but I’m hoping this acceptance might bring me a few followers, or at least readers. Are you there, readers? I would love to hear from you!

If you’re a blogger who just found my blog, I would love any advice you have as I continue working out my basic blog style. Are my entries too long? Too wordy? Cheesy? Formal? Too much me, too little style?

How do you feel about the pictures? I know they’re terrible, but that can’t be helped — this is a secret project in my everyday life, so I’m dependent on whatever I can get with my auto-timer or the one friend who’s in on the secret. My camera is basic and my dorm is a less-than-glamorous setting, but I do what I can. Does it bother you to not have my face in the pictures or can you live with that? If I post a picture of a pair of shoes, would you rather I talk about the shoes before or after the picture?

I’m very much a beginning blogger, and even more of a beginning fashion blogger, so if you have ideas, send them my way! I will, of course, return the favor and look at your blog, too.

Cheers!