Outsourcing my fashion sense

I’m not particularly interested in keeping up with fashion.  In exactly the opposite of stereotypical feminine behavior, I find shopping for clothes to be time-consuming, frustrating, and bad for my self-esteem.  Unfortunately, I do care a bit about looking good, or at least looking normal.  I’ve been the weird one my whole life, and I’ve learned that I can disguise that a little by wearing the right clothes.

Which puts me in a bit of a conundrum: I could put a lot of effort into trying to look fashionable, or I could stay in my literal comfort zone and wear what’s comfortable.  Things have come to a bit of a head recently, as time and motherhood made my wardrobe rather out-of-date.

Wandering Scientist’s recent post on style as a skill is relevant here:

I’ve recently had an epiphany on the style front. I’ve realized that if this is something I want, I’m going to have to invest either some time or money in developing this skill.

Time or money.

Well, I didn’t want to invest time, and certainly time is not something I have in abundance, so money it was.  I signed up for Stitch Fix, which takes a bunch of information on my preferences and sends me a box of clothes, which I can choose to keep or send back.  The “invest money” aspect is that all the clothes are billed at full retail price, rather than coming with the discounts I could find if I were to go out shopping myself.

Thus far, I’ve kept just a few of the pieces they’ve sent.  Only stuff I really like and that really fits.  I was content, but wasn’t totally sure if it was worth it until this past weekend, when we attended a party hosted by my husband’s relatives.

You see, my husband’s large extended family includes a number of women of approximately my generation.  They always seem to have it together in the way that people who have always been popular always do.  Big houses, adorable children, casually gorgeous style.  This time, most of them were wearing variations of the same outfit: skinny jeans, strappy sandals, and a flowy top.  And guess what?  I’d put together a Stitch Fix-based outfit for the day, and it was… skinny jeans, strappy sandals, and a flowy top.

That may not sound terribly remarkable, but to feel attractive and comfortable while being dressed like the in-crowd was a huge deal for me.  What’s more, the skinny jeans and cute bow-tie shirt I was wearing were both things I wouldn’t have picked out for myself in a store.  Outsourcing my fashion sense to a paid professional worked!

How about you, readers?  When do you choose to invest money instead of time?  Do you like shopping for clothes?

(P.S.  I promise this post isn’t an ad for Stitch Fix; I’m not getting anything out of linking to them.  Just a genuine “hey, this thing worked for me.”)

Turns out it’s hard to buy a boy a pink shirt

Quite a while back, I wrote about the importance of pink shirts.  Actually, that post is about how I don’t want “gender equality” to mean “girls can be like boys, but not vice versa.”  Pink shirts for boys are just one of the more obvious examples; still, it became important to me that Little Boy have one.  He’s too young to care about his wardrobe—why not offer him a wide selection?

It should’ve been so easy.  Walk into store.  Buy pink shirt.  Dress baby.  But it turned out to be a lot harder than that.

In the store, I got whacked in the face with my own ingrained gender biases.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy my Little Boy a ruffly purple shirt or a sweater with pink sparkles.  I don’t like that, I thought.  And it’s true, I don’t tend to wear sparkly ruffly things myself.  But if my child were a girl, would I have bought it?  How much was my conception of “boy” getting in the way of me purchasing some cute stuff for my kid?

It wasn’t entirely my fault.  A plain ol’ pink T-shirt, it turns out, is a surprisingly rare commodity.  The toddler boys’ section of the department store is filled with staples—T-shirts, jeans, thermals—in a good set of basic colors.  Toddler girls, on the other hand, get to choose from the aforementioned sparkly ruffly things.  “Basics” don’t seem to be a part of girls’ clothing.

After putting it off for far too long, I ordered a couple of shirts for Little Boy from Primary.com, a website promising basic children’s clothing in a variety of colors.  I still had to order from the “girls” section of the website—as if 18-month-old children didn’t all have the same body type!  And the girls’ clothes, of course, run small, so we had to order a size up.

On Monday, Little Boy wore one of his new shirts, in a pleasant lavender, to daycare.  The other new shirt is a jewel-toned pink.  They’re not the most outrageous colors in his dresser drawer; that honor belongs to the blinding plaids given by a well-meaning relative.  Nevertheless, I found myself rather unreasonably nervous.  Would anyone notice?  Would anyone care?

If anyone did notice, they didn’t care.