When I wear white, I eat spaghetti. Or drink coffee. Or munch on Cheetos. Or write with Sharpies or open cans of motor oil or serve grape juice to passing children or basically do any and everything possible to STAIN THE LIVING BEJEEZUS OUT OF MY CLOTHING. But I wear white anyway because what’s the point of owning it if it doesn’t get worn?
I am trying to apply this philosophy to my fancy and special-occasion garments, too. I mean, that floor-length, shiny, beaded, chocolate brown bridesmaid dress with the spaghetti straps? I’m not completely sure I can pull that off for work. But my my long thrifted taffeta skirt, my drapey vest, and my brooch necklace? Why should those languish just because they’re flashy, or dressy, or stylized, or a wee bit more delicate than my standard boots, jeans, and tee-shirts? As many have said before me, none of my clothes are “too good” for me to wear them. If I own something, it should be fair game. Period.
But how on earth can flashy, dressy, stylized, or delicate items get worked into daily outfits?
Don’t worry about them
I am an EXCELLENT worrier. Just ask Mike. Or Trinknitty. OK, or anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes in my presence. But I do a decent job of living my life despite my worries, and not allowing anxiety to make me a complete shut-in. I do my best to apply this philosophy to clothing, too. If I am so worried about ruining something that I won’t ever wear it, I might as well not own it at all. It’s relegated to closet candy and what the hell good is that? If something gets worn and damaged, it can generally be repaired somehow. If something gets worn and ruined, well, them’s the breaks. I realize that’s some tough love, especially when we might be talking heirloom garments or investment pieces … but you hear me, right? You might as well have set your money on fire if you’ve bought a garment or accessory only to let it gather dust.
Whatever your super-special item may be, make sure it’s the only super-special thing about your outfit. This is particularly important if you’re dressing down a formal garment. Balance is created when you pair that sequined bustier with jeans and a black blazer, or when you wear your gigantic rhinestone bib necklace with a simple tee and black pencil skirt. Make sure there is plenty of casual and commonplace to counteract the jolt of formal and unusual.
Keep rotation light
Although I’m making a goal of utilizing my fancies more often, I’d say one a week is plenty. No matter how dressed down they may be, special, delicate, or formal pieces are BOUND to stand out a little. And I like to stand out, but not every day.
Layer, layer, layer
The more stuff you’ve got on, the more a formal or flashy piece just looks like part of the mix. And even in summer, lightweight layers can help tone down a loud item. A mondo necklace is much less mondo when it’s peeking out from a button-down shirt. A slinky formal dress becomes a sassy skirt when you pile a cowlneck sweater and cozy wrap on top. Those special occasion pieces will be far comfier if they have a wide variety of OTHER pieces to play amongst.
Remember that you’re worth it
Again, none of your clothes are better than you. Who exactly owns whom, I ask you? If you’ve laid down your hard-earned cash for a piece of clothing, it had better earn its keep. It’s something you liked, something that fit your figure and suited your personal style, and it’s something that made you feel good. So allow it to make you feel good more than just once or twice in your lifetime. YOU’RE gorgeous and special, beautiful and luminous. Why not wear the items you own that make you feel that way?
Originally posted 2010-02-09 06:31:00.