The New Cheese: Ballad of a wardrobe moron

I am accessory idiot. I admit this freely, but not without shame. I am a mature, educated, professional woman. I should be able to dress myself to impress (or at least not embarrass). However, I am severely deficient in any fashion sense or style. I can stare at a rack of accessories like a monkey doing a math problem and bring myself to near tears knowing that I will never appear to the advantage and picture of professional confidence that I see in so many of my colleagues in the world. I watch videos of remarkably clever ways to use scarves (that have nothing to do with 50 shades of anything). Even with all the tutorials in the world, I still manage to look like a homeless person who is a cross between the hangman’s victim and an overflowing laundry hamper.

I have gazed with envious eyes at my peers, friends, and (yes) rivals who seem to have that gift for putting together just the right outfit and look that says “See the confident, competent, professional/social, attractive individual… ME!” Instead, I always feel like my appearance say, “Look at me… I just got back from a lynching by Claire’s Boutique!”

It is not that I’m completely tasteless. I hope not, anyhow. I have picked out and assisted in wardrobe choices of others for their important event appearances to very positive outcome, but when I focus my skills upon my own person… Oh the humanity! It is a train wreck, truly. I’ve watched longingly the shows on various networks where fashion experts take some poor unfortunate soul and make them over to maximize their assets and camouflage the less than optimal facets of their figures with, of course, a few thousand dollars as a shopping budget.

Hell, they can keep their money if they would just take me and my aged, hoarder-like wardrobe in hand. Actually they could take the majority of it in hand and quickly transfer it to the trash or donation bin. In fact, if I remove the outdated, holey, and worn through, I’m left with the outfit in which I came into this world … not a pretty picture. Certainly, it is not suitable for business meetings… well, at least not my chosen field of business and none of the meetings I’ve been attending.

In addition to this, I’ve never had the gift that some women (and men) have of looking professional with long hair. You know what I am talking about… untidy bun of hair (not artistically messy), untamed wildness that looks like I just crawled out of bed no matter what I do, or hastily pulled back into a ponytail. My hair will defy any apparatus and all products. It will insist on expressing itself in what appears to be a collection of overgrown vines in the wilderness or a feral human analog. Mainly due to this unsightly and inconvenient characteristic, I keep my hair short. Very short. While there have been other contributing factors to the choice of my boyish hairdo (see The Breakfast Club), I find that I have a much better chance of appearing professional if my hair requires little to no effort on my part. As my hair does not currently lend itself to ornamentation and combined with my stature could appear a bit masculine, I try to enhance my femininity with appropriate jewelry and facial adornment (of the cosmetic variety, not piercings). My makeup tends to be subdued and natural, because the 80’s are over and were not particularly flattering when I was actually living through them. I try to enhance what I was given without appearing to be auditioning for Ringling Brothers. Jewelry is another of those strange issues for me, however. I cannot seem to become proficient in utilizing the various accoutrement of the bling bling.

I am of a rather large framework. I have been told that means that I should scale my accessories accordingly, but I honestly cannot seem to look at the outcome and not see a gypsy fortune teller in the sideshow. Everything looks too big, too gaudy… just too. I have, over the years picked up some beautiful pieces, but I’ve never been able to use them successfully in an ensemble. I get a brilliant idea for a look and assemble it with all the appropriate pieces. Upon looking in the mirror, I generally dismantle the whole caboodle in horror because I cannot bring myself to be seen in public. Another drawback of my stature is that I have to take particular care not to appear too massive or intimidating. Power suits that look phenomenal and so elegant on my more petite sisters in the business world can make me appear like an amazon warrior in a badly staged version of Victor/Victoria. Seriously, I have to be very cautious in the use of too much black or other intense colors. I want to get appropriate attention, not make everyone scurry in terror or hide under their desks.

Never are all my deficiencies so evident to me as when I must prepare for a meeting where there may be a lot of eyes on me, where I may be held in representation for my program and staff as a whole, or when I am trying to make an outstanding first impression. I agonize over the right choices and generally the night before any such event, it will appear to all intents and purposes that my closet has vomited… repeatedly… all over my bedroom. My strategy over the years has been to choose at least three different outfits. Why? You ask. Well, that would be because in the light of the day, the fashion statement decided upon before retiring may not feel like the right statement. So, I give myself three options. I have been, if not thoroughly successful at least not a complete failure.

So, I continue to agonize over my lack of savvy dress sense, but at least I’ve not been naked without my homework anywhere but my nightmares. In the meantime, if any of the hosts of those makeover shows happen to stumble on my blog, please feel free to save me from myself.

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