Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pulled Together?

Where are the fashion police when you need them?

I am one of those people who can't pull a "look" together to save my life. Even if I take a designer outfit off a store mannequin, on me, it looks like the clothes belong to someone else. I've always had this problem. Clothes tend to wear me rather than the other way around.

The only outfit I have ever been able to "pull together" was my Brownie uniform, and I wore it all the time. It didn't matter to me if I had a Troop meeting or not, I'd wear that uniform, with its orange neck tie and the brown beanie hat, everyday if my mother let me. Oh, I loved that beanie hat. And, dare I admit, I still have the beanie today. It's tucked in the back of my nightstand drawer.

This picture is on my nightstand too. I insisted on wearing my Brownie uniform in this photograph with my baby sister. She's eight years younger than me.

And today is her birthday!

I'm lucky to have such a great youngest sister. She lies about her age so I can lie about mine. And by the way, she dresses way better than I do. She always looks pulled together even when she's shoveling hay at the horse barn or carpooling her four kids to their countless activities or when she's hard at work at the doctor's office. She's terrific and she's never teased me about my Brownie uniform in this picture, which I think was taken around the time of her first birthday.

As I spent the weekend shopping for a few fall clothes and an upcoming wedding, I realized I've worn a uniform of sorts for as long as I can remember. In high school I was thrilled to wear a cheerleading uniform once a week so there was one less outfit I had to worry about. In the business world, back in the day, I wore annonymous black or gray suits to blend in with the male dominated advertising business. In my 30s, I wore dark, 21-inch skirts with jewel-toned blazers and matching silk tee shirts. Then in my 40s, business attire got much more casual and I wore dark jeans, white blouses and high heels nearly every day. Now in my 50s, I'm still wearing jeans and white blouses as my almost daily uniform, but these days, I mostly wear ballet flats or sandals.

This weekend's hunt for a "casual beach outfit" suitable for an upcoming wedding reminded me that I rarely go outside my very basic fashion comfort zone. I searched for something "other than black" and ended up with a chocolate brown outfit-- not terribly daring but a step in the right direction perhaps? Of course the switch to brown meant I need a new pair of shoes, or at least that was my excuse to browse the shoe department.

The sales woman assure me my new brown outfit was "pulled together" and "accessorized properly" but I guarantee, I will be the most dressed-down person at the wedding. I'm always the most, shall we say, "understated" dresser in the room. Whether we're at a college football game or a black-tie dinner, I tend to blend in.

I would never, for example, buy a red dress, not ever. I love red, but not on me. Trendy cloths? Nope, I have never bought those either-- at least not in the last 25 years. The most daring I've ever been in the name of fashion is with shoes. I do love a great pair of high heels and have them in a variety of colors. But those are on my feet--under my jeans-- and mostly out of sight.

The older I get, the less I worry about fashion trends and keeping up with the latest styles. I'm not sure "classic" would be the way my "look" could be described-- unless "classic" somehow translates to basically the same uniform for the past ten years. But it works for me. And besides I do have a new brown outfit so maybe I'll change things up a bit in the coming year.

So if you happen to be at a beach wedding next weekend you'll be able to spot me-- I'll be wearing brown. Come to think of it, maybe brown is my style. After all, my first fashion statement was a Brownie uniform.

What's your style?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna

62 comments:

  1. If I had my wish, I'd wear your style to work everyday. I'm always on the lookout for the perfect white shirt. I love a white shirt over trouser-cut jeans with a fabulous belt and great heels. Unfortunately, my office is a no denim zone.

    What's your perfect white shirt?

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  2. Hi Joanna, You post made me think and yes I also think I have always dressed in that uniform. I think I have no dress sense at all so my uniform is usually blue jeans and black t/shirt. My daughter calls me a hippy, so I tell her when I get old (much older than 56) I am going to wear all purple.

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  3. Great reminder of how proud I was to wear the brownie uniform. That was a long lost memory. So true.

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  4. Oh my gosh, I loved how this was told! And, if we're honest, most of us have felt just like that at one time or other (one decade or other) in our lives!

    It would make you feel 'dressed to the nines' if you could see my daily uniform. I'm tidy, but it's always teeshirts and black shorts until it's freeeeeeeeezing for that week in January - then I wear long sleeve shirts and black pants. And I do mean every.single.day.

    Of course, I retired from the work force to a place where the main industry is agriculture, so I'm dressed up simply because I have shoes on my feet! I'm certain I would have chosen a uniform more like yours were I living in CA.

    That photo of you and your sister is adorable!

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  5. You probably do what most people do - certainly a whole lot of women. They see a pretty dress (for example). They try it on and look in the mirror in the shop and they look at the reflection of the dress - it still looks pretty.

    What they should and so often don't do is to look at the WHOLE reflection - them WEARING the dress - what do THEY look like.

    Incidentally, that's why people should always go clothes shopping appropriately dressed - fancy dresses etc, wear heels, makeup and the right underwear for what you want to buy.

    I would never go to buy a suit wearing trainers - I'm good at imagining what things look like in different circumstances, but not THAT good! :)

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  6. I have to say I am so much like you. I had stopped shopping now. I wear a uniform - pants and blouse and long light shawl. All in one color - brown! Just different tones.

    And I have a younger sister too (and from what I see, same age difference) that can pull it together and look stunning, anywhere, anytime.

    Joanna, I hope I don't sound phony, but that picture is you. A quite beauty.

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  7. Happy birthday to your sister! My uniform is actually a uniform. I'm lucky that I have to wear scrubs to work. It requires very little thinking. When I'm not working I can usually be found in jeans. I could use the fashion police too!

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  8. AHHHH!!!! I love this one! I can so relate!! Since I no longer have to wear "office clothing" (for 17 years I've been free of it!!) my style is Yooper style! And if that doesn't explain it, let me say, I admire Whoopi Goldberg's choice of outfits! She and I would get along quite well in that area!

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  9. Nice post and Happy Birthday to your sister!

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  10. Happy Birthday to your younger sister. I love the photo of the two of you. So cute!

    When I was a teenager I was all about fashion. Now that I'm past the forty mark, I'm all about whatever is most comfortable. If I'm at home, I'm almost certain to be wearing shorts, even in the middle of winter.

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  11. LOL, dressing hip when I worked in a Salon, was the only way I could get by, (I shopped with the gals from the Salon) Bright Pink hair didn't always go well with certain outfits =/
    Black matched so much better with everything. Light pink hair didn't go well with much either.. big difference from BRIGHT HOT pink to light almost soft pink. Now working in an office, my hair is black and my clothing is ALWAYS black.

    It's safer.. LOL

    I don't even care if I'm not put together anymore.. 40 is here and all I want is comfort. heh heh

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  12. Brown is the new black! Right? Ha ha, I don't know either, I just want clothes that will hide the flab left behind from pregnancy. :)
    You know what might really jazz up your dress without being too over the top? Leopard print high heels! Whaddaya think?

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  13. I don't think I have any style these days. I tried to shop this weekend and couldn't find anything to purchase. I don't wear trendy clothes anymore because at 38 I think they look ridiculous. I think I'll just hide out at home where it doesn't matter.

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  14. I used to be a flashy dresser. I had a red suit along with a yellow and a St. Patricks green one. Now I pick less vibrant colors and choose comfort over style. It takes a lot of work to carry off those "look at me" colors and I'm not doing it anymore. I don't know if I am liberated or lazy. I liked that woman in red and but I like this one too. Her feet don't hurt.

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  15. I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles to look put together. I just found your blog and your post fit just what I was feeling as I looked in the mirror today. I'm painting and look a mess! Most of the time black is my go to color, but I'm trying to branch out. I live in England and they have some of the cutest clothes out this fall.

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  16. I love the photo of the two of you and Happy Birthday to your sister. I love brown. I am sure you will look very nice. I think a lot of times understated is more classy. I never wear red either. In most cases the accessories make the outfit in my opinion.

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  17. I wore a uniform during my entire school years. Catholic grade school and high school.

    Then, I went to hairdressing school, in 1973... more uniforms. I worked as a stylist when everyone wore a uniform. I can't imagine wearing street clothes to do hair! I'd have gone home with stains on everything every day.

    When the trend did start towards wearing regular clothes, I wore a smock over them.

    Now I'm a waitress. And I wear a uniform.

    At least I don't have to stress over what to wear every day!

    Happy Birthday to your sister!

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  18. That photograph is a special memory of you and your sister. And the brownie uniform tells a special story. How appropriate that now you pick out a brown(ie) suit. It sounds like the 8 year old brownie subconsciously had something to do with your latest purchase.

    My style is anything comfortable. At my age, I'm past impressing people and fitting in with the "style" of the day. If I like it and it fits, I wear it.

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  19. First, I really enjoy your blog! This is my first time commenting. Great post and the picture of you and your sister is adorable. I have to laugh because each year when I go to my husband's Christmas party, another friend and I ask each other the inevitable, what are you wearing? and after 25 years, we both respond, "my usual uniform." That's sad, I'm still wearing the same type of thing after 25 years! My everyday uniform is jeans and a v-neck knit shirt. I change it up by wearing different colors.

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  20. Wearing brown next weekend sounds fine, as long isn't your uniform - or as long as you don't sneak on your beanie cap! Ha!

    My style is just comfortable. Lounge clothes are my signature! hehe!

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  21. I worked at home for many years before becoming unemployed -- so yoga panta and a t-shirt is my favorite style.

    Now, that I'm unemployed, I don't spend the $$ on fashion....unless a mortgage is fashionable, then that's my style.

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  22. To me there is nothing like basic black with bling or pearls. Can dress it up or down. I have so many black outfit "looks" and goes great with my blonde and purple hair.... xoxo

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  23. My style is sweatpants and a tank top. I pull it off nicely, I think.

    P.S. that picture is the most adorable thing I've seen all day. True, it's only 9:10am here, but I can pretty much guarantee it will still be the most adorable thing at 9:10pm.

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  24. Is it the date that makes them special? Because my daughter´s birthday is today too! :)
    Happy Birthday to your sister. She sounds like a person you admire.

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  25. To the baby sis? Happy Day and happy life to come.

    You and I were so seperated at birth...

    I get the whole clothes thing so very completely.

    And, you need to remember that some classic looks never go out of style. I think you're probably classic. And, always think of Coco Channel...she wore the same thing all the time. Would you say she didn't get it? Yeah...she got it. So do you.

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  26. I wear jeans, t shirts and sneakers every day... Love dressing down! It's definitely my style!

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  27. happy birthday to your sister! i am a jeans guy...thats my uniform of choice...nice snap as well! cute. have fun at the wedding!

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  28. Happy Birthday to your baby sister!

    I totally don't have style. Every now and then I find an outfit that I feel great in or I get compliments on so when I wear it the next time I'm more confident.
    I think though, I just dont have a desire to shop for clothes and I dont enjoy spending money on them so my 'style' just hasn't had a chance to come out. (I'll tell ya what though, because of that I never ever wear tennis shoes unless I'm working out. I think it's because I'm so close to not having ANY style that I know if I can at least wear shoes that look decent I'll look a bit better.)

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  29. Okay, first? I still have my Brownie beanie, too.

    Second? Happy birthday to your baby sis, no matter how old she claims to be.

    Third? Oh, MAN I wish I had a style. I think mine is best described as middle-aged frumpy... which is NOT, I might add, how I feel AT ALL.

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  30. Happy birthday to your sister. I used to work in a clothing store, so style was good then, then business suits and now pretty laid back, jeans and tshirts. And on those occasional days I have a huge mumu I wear because of comfort. Not flattering! but so comfortable. When my one girlfriend comes I hide them because she has thrown them out before. I love her to pieces, but this one I am keeping. I am sure the brown will look beautiful. take care.

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  31. I love clothes. I learned how to put together an outfit about 3 years ago. I have a Banana Republic kind of style. :)

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  32. I think my style is beach hippy chic ; -)

    But when I go "out" my 20 year old daughter puts something together for me.

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  33. well your posts/writings certainly are not understated. They are great.
    Of course that beanie is not an accessory. It's a memory.
    Maybe you could dress up as a brownie for halloween?

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  34. I went through a fashionista stage when my parents were footing the bill for my clothes. As soon as I left home I realised that money, and predominantly comfort, were more likely to sway my buying choices. For quite a while I went with an almost hippie look of pretty flowing skirts and casual tops. Nowadays I'm a black trousers/coloured top kind of a girl, usually worn with a cotton tee because man made fabric tends to rapidly turn me into a sweating glue heap (I'm lucky like that).

    I could probably do your beach wedding by hooking out the hippie skirts again ... but then maybe I'd just look like an ageing hippie!

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  35. Jeans. T shirts. Walking shoes that look like sneakers.

    Ahhh.

    Love the Brownie uniform. I wore mine proudly, too.

    When my daughter was a Brownie, she had a lot more choices.

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  36. Wow! Joanna, I love this post! I started wearing brown a couple of years ago and I like the dark, rich color! It makes me feel warm.
    I'm sure you'll be stunning and gorgeous! Hey, you could probably find a Girl Scout uniform on eBay and you could wear it for Halloween or every day if you wanted to!

    I like to think of you as a Girl Scout. My sister was one but I wasn't one. :(
    Happy Birthday wishes to your baby sister! Big hugs for you both!

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  37. Sorry, s/b Brownie outfit. I wasn't one of those either.
    Hugs!!

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  38. You reminded me of the times when I never would get out of my sky blue shirt and navy blue pants which was my school uniform. I remember being very proud of it and thought that that was the best attire a man could ever wear!

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  39. my style's a lot like yours, I so know what you mean by 'pulled together'...that's a lot of work and some people seem to have the knack of it.

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  40. I don't know how I happen to always look a bit ghastly in our videos...because I'm the friend all of my friends call to take them shopping. I love dressing people, force them to keep trying on, and tell them the truth if something makes them look squatty or larger. Maybe my calling is to dress others...not myself. Hey...want to go shopping? LOL Holly at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com

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  41. Good way to bring it all together wear a brown outfit for a wedding and you know you are good in brown. That is a wonderful photo of you in your brownie outfit with your little sister.

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  42. happy birthday to your sister! I love the picture of the two of you!

    I have absolutely no fashion sense; I'm the most comfortable in jeans/tee-shirt or jeans/sweatshirt depending on the season

    thankfully we don't have much of a social life that I have to dress up more, but when we do, I stress so much about what to wear

    enjoying the cooler weather here :)

    betty

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  43. I used to love to go shopping and by great outfits, but as I get older I've realized many of those outfits just hung in my closet and didn't get worn but once or twice, so I've cut way back. How we get more practical the older we get!

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  44. Oh how very funny. I too have a sis eight years to my junior and loved my Brownie ensemble. I think it makes a great fashion statement. Besides ya gotta' love brown, it goes with everything.

    Have a fashionably fun day!!!

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  45. I know how you feel! All my clothes fit funny. My pants are either too big or too small and shirts fit awkward sometimes too!!

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  46. I love that you insisted on your Brownie uniform for the picture, very interesting! It is wonderful to have such a great sister, you are blessed.
    Brown is a good color, could be the new "Black", ha!

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  47. I still think jeans and heels are pretty hot, so if that's what you're wearing that's got you thinking your style is kinda bland, well, don't! Try a different type of top, perhaps, but that's a good start! Also, brown's really trendy right now, so it may not be a bold color change, but I'd definitely call it a step in the right direction!

    Personally, my style is pretty mom-sy, what with 4 kids and quite the same body that I used to have, but I'm very much a heels and jeans and/or jeans and cute top kinda girl. And I love red!

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  48. I have no style unless you count jeans/t-shirts or sweats/sweat shirt as a style. As a single, retired person I think I can wear what ever is comfy.

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  49. The Brownies these days wear vests, not the classic uniform, at least the troops in our area. I find that very disappointing. I am also going to a beach wedding in a couple of weeks and am having a bit of trouble pulling together the right outfit. The wedding colors are brown and blue, so perhaps I could borrow yours when you're done. ha ha

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  50. At 65, my style is whatever the hell I feel like on a particular day...but it is never, never high heels.

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  51. You two girls are the cutest! That uniform looks dashing on you.

    I am so very pulled together today - for a change. ;)

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  52. I hate to say I am rather brown myself. But this year I bought myself a red coat and some brighter accessories. . . .

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  53. I love clothes! I can't get enough of them. I've always used them as a way of expressing myself. I am not a snob about labels. I prefer a great deal and I thrill at telling people how little I paid for something.

    Lately, it has been difficult for me because I weigh more than I ever have and I have all these clothes that don't fit, which is a huge impetus for getting back in shape.

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  54. Great photo of you and the birthday girl. Hey, I have to confess that I love clothes. I love shopping for them and I love taking my friends shopping for clothes too! I don't know what you would call my style - smart casual I suppose. But it sounds to me as if you do understand clothes - you know what works for you and you go with it. Sounds great!

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  55. My style is jeans and a t.
    Not glamorous, but whatever. Add some orange uggs and it looks cute. ;)

    Happy Birthday to your sister!


    And if I had that uniform with an ORANGE necktie I'd of worn it round-the-clock too!

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  56. Yes, I'm in a 'uniform' every day. I don't really follow trends, but like to be aware of what's in or out of fashion, as a guide I guess. Getting closer to fifty, I'm going through a transitional phase of working out what looks best with shhh ... more wrinkles and pockets of fat, which I really don't mind - the extra fat that is. Do I need more colour, less colour, more jewellery, less jewellery, tighter, looser, shorter, longer, lower, higher, etc.

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  57. Awww, I love that picture - so sweet and look how adorable you are!!! I like brown, so you know, that works! As for style, I need the fashion police too or the "What Not to Wear" folks would explode in my closet. I don't have a sense of fashion. Never have. If it fits, I'm happy. Lol.

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  58. Ohh!!! And I forgot to add - Happy Birthday to your sister!!! I love that she cheats about her age. Hehe

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  59. Happy Birthday to your younger sister!!

    I too use to love bright and have since favored black, brown, grey, white... colors that don't scream or dance just simply blend in.

    I'm sure you will look beautiful at the wedding. xoxo

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  60. My style? I have many, considering all the modeling I do. But when I dress to be comfortable, I always end up looking like a hippie. But with my closet, I can be a belly dancer, biker chick, punk rocker, business woman, ballroom dancer, or whatever in about ten minutes.

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  61. I am a t-shirt and jeans girl, I always go with the comfy look :)

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