Friday, September 7, 2012

A Reality Check

This post alternatively titled: Mary Tries to Comes to Terms with Practical Fashion.

Readers, my wardrobe overhaul has been consuming my mind lately (packing did not help with that at all, trust me) and I have to come to a conclusion: my ideal wardrobe as I described it in this post and this one just wasn't realistic for me. Well, one part of it in particular. I know, the horror, right? To be precise, I'm talking about the fancy, high-necked and button-up "Victorian" blouses that I talked about. To be honest (and this sounds weird coming out of my mouth, trust me) it was just too fussy. Fancy all the time sounds great, but I don't think I can commit to it. It takes more effort, they're not great for mobility, they feel slightly stuffy, and a whole host of other reasons. (I'm not so self-disciplined that I could make myself deal with those just for some pretty clothes.)

So, what's a girl to do? Currently, my plan is to stock up on Victorian blouses for fancy wear but also on spookily-designed (and mostly black) t-shirts for daily wear. These are my staple nowadays, along with my tights/socks and knee-length fluffy skirts. They're comfortable, cute, versatile, and a much better fit to my lifestyle. I can indulge in fanciness and such on other days, should I chose to, but I don't want to build up a wardrobe of just fancy clothes and not have anything to wear when just running to the market or to class.

I know (or at least hope) that I shouldn't feel bad about this reassessment of my wardrobe needs, but somehow it bugs me. Am I giving up too soon? Am I just taking the easy-way out instead of going for something that I really want? The more I dwell on it, the more easily my answer comes to me: No. No, you're not giving up. This whole wardrobe overhaul was intended to help you reassess your closet and your needs as far as clothing goes, and you're doing just that. You're just being realistic, as hard as that may be to realize.

So, now I suppose I feel a bit better. Being practical and realistic isn't going to be so hard now, is it? And it opens up a whole new world of interesting choices for my wardrobe: printed t-shirts! I don't want to limit myself yet to the designs I'll pick, but in general I want to avoid logo-ed shirts and just stick to ones with a pretty graphic design or saying on them. These kinds of shirts can be found quite easily. Even Hot Topic has cool ones every once in a while, and any online "geek" store has even more. If I chose to design my own shirts, that's also an option, and will fit in quite nicely. Plus, these kinds of shirts are much cheaper than the fancy blouses I previously described, so I'll have more money to toss at lots of ruffly skirts (which I should be doing more of anyway...I really don't have enough skirts for a workable wardrobe.)

My one stipulation for these t-shirts is that I would prefer to limit the ones that have just "clever" words and phrases on them. Even the most clever of t-shirts becomes just silly and annoying if you wear it enough. Of course, this doesn't apply to all t-shirts, I'll just have to use my judgement. Like my t-shirt with the Grim Reaper sitting in a tea cup that is captioned "Death In A Tea Cup" is still cute to me whenever I look at it. Same with my "Despair & Cupcakes" shirt. But I have a feeling I'd grow tired of just wearing a shirt that says "YOU READ MY T-SHIRT, THAT'S ENOUGH SOCIAL INTERACTION FOR THE DAY." No offense meant if you happen to own or really like that shirt, of course. It's just not for me.

However, printed t-shirts are just the beginning. Plain ones in my wardrobe colors will probably be required, but there are also ones with lace overlay, appliques, patterned yokes, beadwork, ruching, bows, and many other design details. Finding those in the colors I love shouldn't be hard, and they'll make an interesting switch from just plain t-shirts without being as fussy as a fancy blouse.

I'm not sure if I'm going to try many DIY efforts with these shirts. I could try to add lace around the sleeves or bottom, or I could try to lower the neckline, but I'm not confident in my sewing skills to do so yet. I already ruined one t-shirt doing it (sadness, I know) and I can't find a replacement. I'll see where my sewing skills are later and perhaps try to alter them then. In non-DIY land (but still personal and customized) I can also get custom-printed t-shirts. I have a few ideas, but I need to borrow an artsy friend to help me really make them come to life.

Of course, to this collection of t-shirts and knee-length skirts would be added vests, jackets, corsets, cardigans, bustles, boleros, over skirts, and other items of clothing to vary things up. While some might think that a casual t-shirt looks odd when paired with a fancy skirt and cover-up, I think with the right balance it can be quite becoming. Take the example below: It has a relatively fancy skirt and bolero combination with added Hot Topic t-shirt (A Misfits band shirt, actually, though the logo is on the upper back and therefore covered by the bolero.) The use of pretty but plain-er shoes, non-ornate tights, and more casual hair accessory keeps the outfit balanced. Or, the second example above, where the lace print of the t-shirt is tied in to the lace of the skirt.

So, followers, have you ever had a change of heart or needed a reality check when trying to plan your closet? How did you resolve it?

Note: This post was prewritten and scheduled, as I knew I'd be busy. I'm currently on my way to get "settled" in my dorm room in Scotland and to get ready for a whole host of Orientation activities. I'll be sure to respond to any and all comments when I have a spare moment. I hope you all are having a great weekend!


  1. I really like your polyvore sets, they are always very pretty and I'd love to wear most of them.
    I tried to rebuild my wardrobe but I kinda failed and more or less tripled it over the last 2 years XD I now have a work wardrobe (pretty plain jeans, shirts, simple stuff), assorted gothy stuff(I really had a weakness for fluffy raschel lace ridden goth dresses for while), a bit of lolita, stuff that's just plain 'tussig' (somewhere between tacky and girly, does someone know a better translation?) and random stuff that was cheap and somewhat flattering ... I had many in between states the last couple of years. I now have my heart set in the more aristocratic direction, I hope it lasts this time =).
    For me the biggest 'pretty vs. practical' thing is shoes. I love heeled shoes, but I commute via public transport and through the crappiest pavements in town... so I always need a pair of comfy flats every season, even if they bore me to death.

    1. Shoe solution: Use a large-ish bag/purse, pop your heels in there, wear flats, go to destination, put on heels, flats go into purse. I do that for work. :)
      (Also, size of purse proportional to size of shoes/feet. Have big feet, need bigger bag.)

    2. *laugh* I have a huuuge purse already and it's almost full (without shoes), I could possibly leave the country any time.
      I have emergency flip flops in there in summer, since they take up almost no room.
      I have 'driving' shoes in my car, but most of the time changing doesn't seem worth it.

  2. I absolutely adore those first two outfits! Great taste.

    Much love: If you fancy a follow or a nosey. xx

  3. Greetings! I just discovered/started reading your blog last week. I've recently decided upon incorporating more black into my wardrobe (okay, as in almost all black or grey) and here you are, revamping your closet, too. I've always been a plain dresser; mostly solid colours, no frills, etc. So for me the challenge will be to look for lace and other different textures (maybe even some ruffles...)

  4. Wardrobe overhaulings sure are quite the work. I went from awkward overweight pre-teen to a quite extreme metalhead dude with boobs look, and, alas, when I turned 18 found my long lost femmenine side (yay!). Still, it isn't easy. My weigh is always an issue, since I recently found that I've had thyroid issues for a while, so not all of my clothes fit all the time. Also there is the comfort issue, because even though I would love to, I'm not going to university in Demonia heels and velvet dresses every day, less when I love walking from university and it's an hour long walk.
    But you know what irks me the most about nice, girly and fancy clothing? That for some reason designers seem to think that women don't need pockets, I REALLY HATE THAT!!!!
    So... closing this comment about nothing xD it is important to take into account that we are not alternative models prancing around gothic chapels and such all the time, I believe it is important to have wardrobe for those days when you want to tone it down a bit and that will suit our regular people lifestyle. I sure keep some hippie looking black pants for those days when (as a friend says) I feel like going to university in my pjs.

    As always, loving the blog (:

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