Tag Archives: clothes

STYLE!!

Remember when High School was partially about developing your identity and style in a safe environment? I don’t think it’s like that anymore. Now you have to come in with a fully formed identity, complete with matching friends, hobbies, and school transcripts. The infamous Chef from South Park used to say, “There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college.” Now it seems more like it’s supposed to be 8th grade, when you still have an largely underdeveloped frontal lobe and it’s still possible to have any criminal records expunged.WiseChef

I would never tell you that I loved my high school years. As a matter of fact, I wanted them to be horrible so that nostalgia would be nearly impossible. Sure, I was involved: band, choir, trips, honors classes, prom… all that stuff. But to me they were just a stepping stone to college, where I could really learn how to do what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now that I’m not doing that thing specifically, I wonder what I could have done differently. Should I have studied Archaeology, like I wanted to in 8th grade, or medicine like I wanted as a child? Should I have gone into Marketing? If there was some way to go back and do it differently, all while keeping the parts of my history that I do love (read: the Hubs and the kidlets, as well as my spiritual journey), I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I will tell you what I liked about my (public) high school experience: I was free to be me, and so were those around me. There was a girl at my school who had the most outlandish clothes and hair– she was punk, through and through. Sure, other people might have stared for a moment, but we all went about our own lives and (as far as I know) she was never taunted or hurt. She even went to the Prom with another girl: they weren’t romantically involved, but it was the principle of the thing. No one minded– it was kind of the ‘thing’ in the late ’90s.

As for me, I would wear a different style every day of the week: grunge, preppy, bohemian… whatever struck me that day. I’ll be honest, though: as a heavy-set, well-endowed girl, there were some items I should not have been wearing. But that’s what high school is for*– learning the social boundaries safely.

(*= I know that’s not all it’s for! It’s for learning what you need for the real world, and I wholeheartedly believe people should be able to be successful in the real world with a HS diploma. The fact that this is no longer the case is for another time.)

College was important because I was not only learning how to perform tasks in a professional career, I was learning to dress for the occasion, as well as many other occasions. Joining a sorority helped a lot: it was not about forcing me into wearing a certain style, but rather about being a reflection of something greater than myself. I really learned how to do make-up in college, a habit I’m reviving for the sake of my daughter. I’m wearing my sorority letters on a T-shirt as I type this now, and I feel well put-together, albeit not particularly fancy. Being involved in Campus Ministry, I also reflected a lot on modesty (definitely not as much as I should have, but hey, it’s a process). I know people get very hung up on what the purpose of modesty of dress is, and I could probably go on for another essay about it, but what it means to me is that I have a goal of feeling confident about myself and if that takes more (or less) fabric than it does for others, that’s how it is.

While I was teaching, I felt a need to be sort of frumpy for the sake of professionalism. As Stacy and Clinton from “What Not to Wear” would tell you, this is ultimately not necessary. I was young and dumb, what can I say? But then came the whirlwind that is life: In the past 10 years, I got married and had 4 kids and 4 teaching jobs. Now that I’ve landed, I look at my closet and I see that I did neglect myself that entire time, despite the mani/pedis, the spa treatments, the haircuts, the diets, and all the living: I neglected my style.

Sadly, “What Not to Wear” no longer exists, although I follow Clinton Kelly  and Stacy London on Twitter (and Clinton follows me back! It’s so very exciting!) and know that they offer fashion advice in other outlets. And I did audition for a maternity special when I was pregnant with Toughie. I choose to take it as a good sign that I was not chosen because that ought to mean I didn’t need it that badly.

So now, as I sit in the quiet of my living room, I ponder my apparent lack of personal style, as well as my parenting style. I find the two closely related: you can tell the professional working mom from the sporty mom from the “just don’t give a crap” mom. (I saw a lot of moms at a school dance the other day– these and many others were on display!)

I’m still trying to figure it out, and I do hope I’m not alone in the “trial-and-error” phase. So I’m looking for a little help:

1) This Facebook page. If anyone were ever inclined to buy me something, they might want to consult this page. The shoes, the purses, the jackets. Nearly everything posted there makes me happy in a shallow, fun way. And I am totally ok with that.

2) Another Facebook page for Young Moms (sorry, folks– private group! No linkage!). I know a couple of the other members personally and feel we agree on a lot. That’s comforting.  (I used to live on Cafemom.com, but it’s like an online version of “Mean Girls.” No, thank you.)

3)Buzzfeed. Because why not.  EffortlesslyCool

(Gee, thanks Buzzfeed! I knew I liked you!)

Here’s to developing a real sense of style.

There’s not just ‘clean’ and ‘dirty.’ There are many subtle levels…

(Man, I’ve gotta learn how to make .gif files! I wanted that line as said by Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters 2” to post here. Couldn’t even find a YouTube video of that scene.)

I’m not a fan of washing clothes after wearing them once. 

Don’t get me wrong…. underwear and socks, obvi. But most clothes are not dirty or smelly at the end of the day. You can wear them a total of twice before they go in the hamper. Pants maybe get spared once or twice more. Jeans manufacturers recommend you wash their product as seldom as possible, even going so far as to suggest that you stick ’em in the freezer if they do get smelly. I’m not going that far. I don’t want icy pants.

I guess what bugs me is that, since I live in an apartment complex, I do not have in-home access to laundry facilities. There’s a laundry room on the other side of the complex, and since the Polar Express ahem, Vortex showed up, as well as the ALL THE SNOW, I am quite reluctant to leave the warmth and traction of my home for the snow and ice outside. But children were concerned, and they complain so seldom that I had to heed the call. (We doled out new chores at the beginning of the year; Pint Size Genius took responsibility for watching the hampers to make sure none of them got too full.)

So I made sure I sorted out what I had to wash– which is easy, since I have the boys sort their own clothes with a 3-section hamper– and bagged it up to take down to the laundry room. There aren’t a whole lot of options once I’m there: hot, cold, warm; normal, permanent press, delicate. I do appreciate that they switched to a swipe-card system so that I don’t have to go to the laundromat for quarters just to leave and wash clothes elsewhere. All the wash cycles are about a half-hour, the dryer always a full hour. That means it takes about 2 hours to do wash, including the time it takes to walk or drive back and forth from the apartment to the laundry room. 

Three loads I washed and dried. I dragged them all back to my place. I folded shirts and paired up socks. (Aside: is it a ‘mom thing’ to know what clothes go together? The Hubs insists that he cannot remember for the life of him what goes with what.) I stacked the clean clothes, sorted by kid, onto Pint Size Genius’ bed. And then I thought to myself, “Self– I’d better check out a drawer or two to make sure there aren’t dirty clothes in there.” So I went into a dresser (I’ll protect the identity of the kid whose dresser I opened). The T-shirt drawer was full of balled-up shirts (well… I guess that’s one way to indicate which shirts you wore, kid…). 

But when I picked up a shirt to re-fold it, I found stains on it. Why did you think it was clean enough to put back in the drawer, kid???? So I looked through all the shirts. Only three needed to go in the hamper. That wasn’t so bad. Then I found the underwear on the floor. The kids were most vocally complaining about a short supply of underwear. How am I going to keep you in underwear if you don’t put them in the right place to be collected and washed?!?! 

*le sigh* Where did I go wrong?

It’s an uphill climb, really. It took a long time to get them putting any clothes in the hamper. I felt like I won the lottery when they started putting dark clothes with dark and light clothes with light in their own sections of the hamper. So I guess it’s really not that bad.

The kids have been home quite a bit since Winter took a huge dump–of snow– in our area. The Regulator informed me that they would all stay in their pajamas to save me a little laundry. Kinda sweet, right?

Image

 

Hey, there’s a thought….

Here’s to keeping it clean, folks.