Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I have no sense of fashion. My wardrobe consists of a couple pairs of well-worn jeans and shorts and half-a-dozen knit cotton shirts. Footwear? Sneakers, farm boots, or, weather permitting, flip-flops. My body type: M, for Mature. Personal style: Frumpy.

It's not that I've never dreamed of being glamorous, or at least a tad more "put together" looking - it's just that glamorous doesn't quite fit my lifestyle or my budget. Consider my job description: I make peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, clean toilets, explain trigonometric functions to math students, and fold laundry. Manicured nails, cashmere sweaters, Prada, and "accessories" just don't come with the territory.

Important to me when it comes to clothing are things like - Is it comfortable? Is it functional? Is it wash-and-wear/easy to care for? Can I wear this with jeans/a T-shirt? Will it cling to my middle, exposing my built-in pool floatie to the entire world? Can I chase a small child around the house or crawl across the floor in this? Will wearing this make me feel like I'm wearing someone else's clothes? Is it obvious now that I need some fashion advice?!

Here's the situation: A friend recently gifted me with a couple of nice jackets. You know...sport-coat looking thingys. (I'm so un-fashion savvy that I'm not even sure what this particular garment is called.) Anyway, I now possess a lovely tan/camel jacket, a spiffy red jacket, a lineny-looking jacket, and a navy blazer. However, I have absolutely nothing that seems appropriate to wear with any of these awesome additions to my wardrobe.

Mrs. Mary, my benefactor, assures me the tan jacket would look fantastic with jeans. Okay, I can do jeans. I'm guessing a long-sleeved T or a turtleneck could complete the ensemble, no? But I'm thinking there are probably two or three basic wardrobe additions I could make which would enable me to create several comfortable, snazzy outfits. A pair of black slacks? A simple skirt? Maybe a semi-fitted black dress to wear under the tan or red jacket? Then there is the question of shoes, and accessories - groan. I definitely need help....

So, I'm asking for your fashion advice, Dear Reader. Here's your challenge: I have the above-mentioned jackets, and really don't want to leave them hanging in the closet un-used. What few basic pieces do you recommend to go with them? What about shoes? Remember: think cheap, comfortable, and easy-to-care for when you're brainstorming ideas for outfits.

Post your fashion suggestions as a comment here at the blog or on Facebook. Be sure to be fairly descriptive: remember, I have NO fashion sense and need rather specific suggestions and advice. Who knows...if I get really inspired and can actually follow through on some of your ideas, I may post "make-over" pictures. (Next question: anyone know how to photo-shop pictures?)


Ashley Ramsey said...

I have one pair of "dressy" jeans. They are a dark wash boot cut jean- very flattering. I got them on sale for 20 bucks and have gotten every penny out of them. I wear them with jackets like the ones you're talking about. I can even pair them with some heels to really dress them up. I love the dressy jean because I can wear them to a nice place to eat or church without worrying that I'll be over or under dressed.

I also think a casual camel pump (or wedge heel) is wonderful. You can wear camel with blue or black or brown and your dressy jeans ;)

Susanne Pritzel said...

You can wear the brown dress that you bought for the wedding with the tan jacket. Add a scarf in fall colors and boots, or as Ashley mentioned a casual pump.I love the idea of the dressy jeans. They are called trouser jeans.

tracy said...

Many years and pounds ago I actually went to the office to work - instead of working in my kitchen, so I had to look professional. Anyone who knows me knows I have zero fashion sense, so I learned a few rules over the years. It's been a while, but here are the couple I always followed.

1. Black. I think this has been mentioned before. Black skirt, pants, whatever. I had a good black skirt that I wore at least once a week. Wear a different top each time, and no one knows how often you repeat it.
2. Only one bright or showy piece at a time. Unless I had a specific outfit that I bought where the top and bottom had a pattern/color scheme that matched, I NEVER tried to mix patterns or bright colors on my own. Neutral skirt and a patterned/bright color top - or vice versa. Or like color everything, but add scarf or shoes to stand out. I have awesome fabric patterned shoes that I bought for Niki's wedding - wore them with a light blue suit. All the same color blue ... but the shoes were the pop. I so wish I could wear that suit now. :(
3. Neutral shoes. Black pair, brown pair, navy pair, beige pair. If you have those, then you'll match everything in your closet. Flats are back in, I think. There are super cute ones at Target.

Niki said...

I agree with all of the above comments, and will also suggest a pair of sassy red shoes to go with the red blazer. Wear a black dress or black slacks and a white top under it and you'll look great!

Suzanne said...

I sooo want to post some fabulous fashion advice, but alas, frumpy and cheap is my chic. Blazers, I've had a few, a few too many. My hot flashes do not allow me to wear blazers or cute seasonal sweaters or turtlenecks, too much sweat. With a full closet, I can honestly say that for at least 2 months, I have worn the same pair of shorts, jeans, and black skirt with the same 5 knit tops every day with pink flip flops or black pumps depending on the occasion. I am still wearing the same slip every Sunday that Grandmother West gave me in 1995. I suppose that was TMI. The Backwoods Barbie in me wishes I had some flash and curves in the right places, but I accept the reality that I have more in common with Edith Bunker.

The Westmorelands said...

i totally agree with the dressy/trouser jeans comments! (like these, for example: http://www.target.com/s?keywords=denim+trouser&searchNodeID=1038576|1287991011&ref=sr_bx_1_1&x=0&y=0) dark-wash jeans look dressier, i think. fortunately for all of us, flat shoes are in, so you can have a pair of cute/dressy shoes that are still comfortable and practical. i also think that a white, button down collared shirt would probably look good under these jackets. or another print/color button down. i find that button-downs tend to stay pretty much in style AND they hide that "extra fluff" around the mid-section. not as clingy as cotton knits. (i've been wearing a lot of button-downs these last four years!) oh, and i saw your comment from sheila on fb -- "remember modesty before matching." i would say you want to remember modesty AND matching! :)