Ringside at Fizz’s Genie/Bottle bust-out [pt 2]

In an earlier post, I discussed how Ms Fizz asked me to provide moral support and brutal honesty as she examined the innards of her wayward closet.

Unfortunately for Ms Fizz, I love nothing more than bossing people around—sure beats working!—but have no one in my life to boss. By the time she’d finished trying on EVERYTHING I SAID EVERYTHING she had to wear, we realized that her choices were “move to nudist colony,” “continue to dress like Lady Chatterley’s lover,” or “shop for cool-weather clothes.”

Seriously, even a tiny-wardrobed European (that mythical creature) would be hard-pressed to live with what made the cut. I mean yes, some woman can rock a black satin skirt on a near-daily basis; once it lost a few inches off the hem it was definitely a keeper, no doubt. But it and the few other stragglers weren’t doing much for Ms Fizz’s closet gestalt.

Just to clarify, this purge was not a “OMG those jeans are so last season you can’t possibly be seen in them!!!!!” type of undertaking. This was a salvage operation, and we knew we might come up with little worth saving; after all, only 4 or so years had passed since I’d surveyed my own closet and found a raft of poorly-constructed items, a predominance of unflattering shapes, a sea of black, and, to prove my open-mindedness, some token “cheerful” tops in colors and/or patterns that didn’t suit.

I had already walked a mile in her tatty moccasins, and knew changing the status quo was a real resource-suck. With that in mind, I figured a little positive reinforcement couldn’t hurt.

Q: Remember when I had my wardrobe intervention? Your closet is in much better shape than mine was then. For one thing, you don’t have hand-me-downs that look crappy on you…and instead of JUST black, you have a fair amount of one of your best neutrals, brown.

More importantly, you’ve got at least a handful of flattering, highly-flexible items. How did THAT happen?”

A: “Anything that’s in the ‘keep’ pile was bought last year after watching Tim Gunn and deciding to make a conscious effort to buy for shape, quality, AND flattering color. Which is why there’s not much staying!”

So: a near-empty closet and piles of donation- or dumpster-bound clothes all around. Freeing? Overwhelming? Some of each, please? I decided I’d better offer that shoulder.

Q: Let’s cut you some slack. You’re a petite, your sister’s a petite, your mom is a plus-petite—fit is an extra challenge for all of you, right?”

A: “My mom has it worse as a plus-petite, but yes—if I want to look remotely this century, there are only a couple of lines I can buy from. Assuming you can even find a Petites Department, it’s rare for one to inspire you to up your game–even if you’re 90, they’ll send you screaming back to jeans, sweatshirts, and T shirts.

“Which, coincidentally, is what I wore all through high school and college.

“But then so did everyone else my age, because my town only had one place to buy clothes!”

I will say that I know a fair number of invisipals who manage to look damn good despite having only have one place to shop. Of course they are often cheating on their town with eBay or online retailers, which may explain it. And often they are just a hell of a lot more creative and patient, which I SUPPOSE could also explain it.

Assuming one leaves budget out of it for a minute, though, Ms Fizz and I have a plethora of local shopping options—high-end consignment, resale shops, major chains, vintage-only temples, boutiques. So why is dressing like Ms Average Pulled-Together Adult Woman (give or take a few stylistic flourishes) so difficult for us?

Q: Are we just really bad at this? Compared to other people, we have so many places to shop around here—I can’t believe I have to order basics online and/or get stuff altered. Sometimes I think fondly of the days when I didn’t spend any time, effort, or money on clothes and just aspired to look like I didn’t get dressed in the dark. The dark of someone else’s closet.”

A: “Well, sure, technically I have choices. But I’ve complained about the Petites issue, and I admit I don’t like shopping online. And you know what? Some of the local boutiques seem to specialize in unreasonable fabrics and unforgiving fits.

“Plus while makeover shows have helped a lot, I still don’t know all that much about dressing my body, especially since it’s NOT the body I had 20 years ago. Or 5 years ago, since how something looks can change even if you stay same weight or size. I’ve done too tight AND too loose, so apparently I’m still learning how to do the downplay/highlight thing.”

All that context was useful before we started shopping, but there was something I had to know. I mean granted I was FREQUENTLY wearing paint-stained yoga pants to the grocery store several years ago, but back then it seemed to me like Fizz dressed pretty well: womanly, casual-but-chic, fun.

She hadn’t gone through the whole pregnancy/post-partum thing that can throw a lot of women for a loop, so what the hell had happened to her?

Next: Part 3 of Ringside at Fizz’s Genie/Bottle bust-out, aka getting our Oprah on

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3 Responses

  1. When, when? When do we get to read part 3?

  2. YEA ENTHUSIASM

    Thanks for asking, Ms Poster-of-Amazing-Vintage-Delectables!

    I’m actually getting ready to roll out part 3, with the picture-laden part 4 soon after. There may even been a moral-of-the-story part 5, ha.

    Why yes, I AM long-winded!

  3. Loving these posts. By way of additional enthusiasm.

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