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fashion

My Wardrobe Is On Notice – 1 Year Later

A year ago, I wrote a blog for Unchaotic about my year-long process to clean out my wardrobe.  I tied a piece of yarn around every hanger in my closet.  When I wore a garment, I took off the yarn.  At the end of the year, the initial plan was to get rid of everything that still had a piece of yarn on it.  This plan was based on the idea that if I had not worn something in a year, I’m never going to wear it, so I might as well get rid of it.

Initially, I was going to wait until the end of the year before I threw anything out, but as I started putting yarn on my hangers, I saw items that I knew I had not worn in a while and was never going to wear again so by the end of setting up my closet, I had at least 10 items that were already eliminated from my wardrobe.  Some of it went to charity and the rest went in the trash.  I did another similar wardrobe purge in June when I evaluated what I hadn’t worn yet.

On New Year’s Day, I pulled everything out of my closet that still had a piece of yarn on it. There were about 30 things.  I spent a few hours trying each garment on, remembering why I bought it in the first place, and asking why I hadn’t worn it during the last year.

There were two items that I did not wear in the last year that are wardrobe staples – my white oxford shirt and my black pullover sweater.  These are the type of thing that everyone should have in their wardrobe, and the fact that I did not wear them does mean that they do not have value in my wardrobe.  They could stay.

I also realized that owning wrinkle resistant shirts has made me spoiled and so I did not take the time to iron my other shirts, and thus I did not wear my other shirts for a year.  The ones that I thought I would wear if I did my ironing could stay.  I had a few pieces that I didn’t wear because I assumed that they too big after I lost weight.  After trying them on, I saw that they still fit.  They could stay too.

This project brought a personal issue to the surface that a lot of people have – I sweat regardless of the temperature.  This means I’m more likely to stain my clothes.  (It’s also one of the reasons why I didn’t wear my white oxford during the last year.)  I am one of those people who should never own a silk blouse because I will stain it the first time I wear it.  If I wanted to stop this from happening, I could pay a lot of money to have my armpits botoxed, or I can periodically throw out whatever I stain.  I’ll stick with the latter for now.

I’m glad I did this project.  I feel like I decluttered my closet and have a clearer idea of my personal style.  The garments that I decided to keep despite not wearing them for a year still have their strings on them as a reminder that I should consider donating them if I continue to not wear them.

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Unsolicited Advice: Right Size = Right Message

For many years, I have said that I’m a gay man trapped in a woman’s body.  This semester I feel like I’m being beckoned to jump on my fashion soapbox.  I have noticed an ongoing problem in the courtroom: people wearing suits that are too small.  I’ve seen this problem across the board, from law  students to judges, in men and women equally.  At first I thought it was just me, until I shared my observations with two judges.  They both responded with an astounding, “Yes!”

Ernest Peixotto
Image by Smithsonian Institution via Flickr

A person that dresses according to the needs of the body that they have, as opposed to the body that they wish they had or used to have, they exude a stronger sense of confidence.  When a person is presenting their case in court, they need to appear strong, solid, and trustworthy.  If the person cannot see and accept the truth about their own size, how can they be trusted to speak the  truth about the case at hand?

Tim Gunn said it best when he said that you should consider, “silhouette, proportion, and fit” when selecting your clothes.  Some clothes are little more forgiving.  For example, jeans – if they are  touch to snug when you first put them on, they’ll loosen in up a few hours.  A suit, however, has no give.  If you think it’s too tight, it’s too tight.

Most people who are wearing the wrong size suit, are only off by one size, like a woman who is a size 8 and squeezes herself into a size 6.  I want to share some of the visual give aways that you’re wearing the wrong size suit.  I have seen all of these fashion problems in the law school or at the court this semester.

Let’s start with the jacket.  The shoulder seams should sit on the end of the shoulder.  The arms should fit comfortably in the sleeves.  If the upper arm is too tight, there will be bunching, which gives you the “sausage arm” look.  Buttoning the jacket should not take an effort or require you to suck in your stomach.  You never want the judge to be afraid that a button might fly off your suit and hit her in the face.

Like the jacket, there should not be any bunching in the pants or skirt.  When a man’s pants are too tight, he risks having bunching in the crotch area.  Women are likely to have bunching through the thighs if they’re wearing pants and in the midsection if they’re wearing skirts.  The length of the skirt should also be such that you don’t have to pull on your hem when you stand up.

Beyond wearing the proper size suit, I support people using fashion to display their personality.  When deviating from the norm in a formal business environment, such a court room, it must be done impeccably.  One of my classmates walked into his final mock trial today rocking a pair of suspenders and a fedora with his suit.  He looked fantastic!  Other fashion signature pieces could be a bow tie, a necktie on a woman, cuff links, a paisley pocket square, a brooch, or an untraditional hairstyle.  Just be sure that what you’re wearing does not distract the court or detract from your message.

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