Ringside at Fizz’s Genie/Bottle bust-out [pt 3]

Earlier, I described how Ms Fizz and I purged her closet; I then shared the technical and logistical challenges she felt impaired her efforts to be more stylish. Now it was time to dig a little deeper.

Like many people or perhaps just me, my friend Ms Fizz looked at her clothing in aggregate one day and realized her method of event- or desperate-need-based shopping had given her a pretty useless closet. The majority of her so-called wardrobe either didn’t fit, didn’t flatter, or didn’t reflect who she was or how she lived.

So she decided to change. She wasn’t looking to be a head-turning fashion plate or an object of desire; she just wanted to look like she thought about style a bit. And color. Because it’s never a bad thing to go a little Pleasantville on one’s closet, as long as one avoids tossing in random shades of non-black willy and nilly.

Bring on the color!

As we immersed ourselves further into Operation Overhaul, I could tell that Fizz had thought through ALL the factors that contributed to her style stagnation. Despite being one of those tantalizingly private types, she selflessly agreed to go public with her shopping skeletons.

Q: Aside from fit and logistical issues, were there any other barriers that brought your closet to this really sad place that does not at all reflect your fabulously-extroverted, very generous, mega-sparkly personality?”

A: “Being driven by the cheapness factor didn’t help; despite being lucky enough to have some savings to spend on clothes, my default is “Why buy 1 expensive top when I can get 3 cheaper things?” I don’t necessarily buy 3 cheaper things, of course–or if I do I don’t buy the things that would really help update my closet.”

Interior demons discussed? Check. Now for the external influences. I knew Fizz had worked in some pantyhose-n-heels places in the past as well as a setting she describes as “no shirt, no shoes, no problem.” [No, not a strip club: a start-up.]

The latter was hardly a place of style inspiration, but what about her most recent job? Oh right: she was part of an organization with a dress code I’d have to label as “Aggressively Casual.” Less Hiking to the Latte Bar mellow, more I Could Kick Your Ass Without Messing Up My Look. With some Just Rolled Out of Bed, You Wanna Make Something Of It? subsets.

Q: If you were a tree in your workplace, what kind of tree would you be? Talk to me about cultural expectations.”

A: “There are places that don’t really care about the larger social signals clothing can send, and I know some people like that.

“But for me, the downside of working in those types of environments is that they don’t support or encourage doing more than basic self-care. People either don’t use clothing for personal expression or they dial their efforts way back so they fit into the overall culture.

“I’m realizing that I have a tendency to subconsciously absorb what others are doing, then incorporate it into my style or behavior. Between my co-workers and living in a very casual city, my wardrobe went into a death spiral without my really noticing it.

“I mean I didn’t give up entirely, I was trying…but I guess whatever I bought didn’t make enough of a difference.”

As I’d met Fizz for a Reunion Recap and seen her positively strutting down the street in her simple post-alteration cotton separates, I knew SHE knew how it felt to be a bit…intentional…about her visual presentation. And being both frugal and luckier than many these days, she had a nice little nest egg to spend on herself and on the economy.

In my completely unqualified eye she was ready, willing, and able to handle the massive amounts of shopping and relentless partial nudity that accompany a major wardrobe overhaul.

I, on the other hand, was in danger. Having spent most (okay, all) of my Fall/Winter update money, I’d have to violate my Mae Westian nature and actually RESIST temptation as I tromped around helping Ms Fizz find gorgeous things for her gorgeous self. Who knew that spending other people’s money could be so tough?

Next: Part 4 of Ringside at Fizz’s Genie/Bottle bust-out, aka Pictorial Payoff

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