Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weighting in vain.

Well. I've done it. After sorting through 22 years' worth of free t-shirts and impulse buys, selling those that were in good enough condition and donating the rest, gradually swapping out my H&M basics for name-brand alternatives and peppering my curated collection of timeless staples with one-of-a-kind vintage finds and the odd designer gem, I've finally amassed the perfect wardrobe.

...For someone who weighs about seven pounds less than I do.

Let's talk about buying aspirationally. Everyone does it. No one likes to talk about it, because no one wants to admit that a) they've got a few pounds to lose and b) they've deluded themselves into believing that the best way to deal with said extra pounds is to invest in things they literally cannot use. Buying clothes in the wrong size is completely illogical: even if you manage to lose the weight, chances are that by the time you get there you'll want something else. But does that stop us? I guess I can't speak for any of you, but doesn't stop me.

Granted, my situation isn't exactly typical, in that two years ago I weighed nearly 65 pounds more than I do now. For a long time after I began my lifestyle change (people hate that phrase, but it is what it is), all I bought was "transitional clothing": things I liked, but wouldn't be devastated to say goodbye to once the next few inches came off. Now that I'm within 10 pounds of my original long-term goal weight, I have a reasonably good idea of what my body will look like when I finally get there. I've begun to invest in clothing again. The rub? I'm not there. Not yet, anyway. I've conditioned myself to try things on and, if they fit, buy the next size down, assuming I'll need it soon; I never buy anything I can't physically put on my body, but I definitely purchase with room to shrink. I'm a pathetic fashion cliche: a six with a wardrobe full of fours. But because I refuse to actually walk around in ill-fitting clothing, I end up only wearing about a third of my wardrobe, the unwearable part growing bigger as I grow neither bigger nor smaller.

Allow me to disclaim. I know I don't need to lose the weight. I'm healthy, attractive, physically fit, blah blah blah. Whatever. There's something about setting a goal and reaching it that's incredibly gratifying, and since my goal is reasonable and realistic, I refuse to deny myself that human satisfaction. It's not about the size itself; it's about reaching the hotness potential I know I'm capable of. Yes, I've come a long way, but isn't living your life comparatively just as dangerous as setting high expectations? Isn't it all too easy to be better without being your best?

After a mega-motivated April, I've been hovering at a plateau for a few weeks now, the dreaded swimsuit season looming ever closer. My dad is getting married on the beach over 4th of July weekend, and I'd really like to look like Brigitte Bardot in a bikini. You know, amateur stuff. Time to take the cupcake consumption down a notch, more for the sake of my own confidence than any obscure societal standard of beauty. But here's the more pressing question: do I throw in the tacky starfish-print beach towel and snap up the remainder of my summer wish list (blush-hued leather jacket, crisp white jeans and pink shorts à la Isabel Marant) in my current size, or do I wait a few weeks and see how things go? I'm itching for a seasonal wardrobe update, but I don't want to end up with things I can't wear, regardless of the outcome. Buy later to wear later, or buy now to possibly wear never? The answer should be obvious, shouldn't it? So why do we entertain the notion at the expense of our own pride and pocketbooks?

Have you ever fallen victim to vanity buying? Did it motivate you, or did it end up being a waste of money and a blow to your self-esteem? I'm really interested in the psychology of this, and I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences. Let's just put it out there. Lady to lady (or gentleman. I don't discriminate). This doesn't have to be a lonely dressing room struggle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Off their chests and onto mine.

I was recently approached by Off Our Chests, a collaborative blog and organization that champions the fairly unobjectionable goal of making the world a happier place. Their request? Style an outfit around a piece from their new line of tees and tanks. My response? UH DUH, because a) I stalk their Twitter feed like it's my job and b) when have I ever said no to free swag?

Being the crochety old man that I am, I naturally gravitated toward the tee with the slouchiest, softest-looking fit. My first thought was to pair it with oxfords, suspenders and my favorite high-waisted pleated pants (OLD. MAN. STATUS), but I ultimately opted to glam it up with a sensible pair of sequined culottes and shoulder pads that would put any NFL linebacker to shame.

As a newly minted soldier in the army of happy, I thought I'd give you a brief tutorial on stuff happy people do.

Happy people whip their hair back and forth.

Happy people butcher the slogans on their t-shirts by eclipsing just enough to change the meaning. DON'T HAT ON IT PLZ.

Happy people give totes soror skinny arm.

Please note that this post is devoid of the usual pouty smizing. All smiles for Off Our Chests!

Oh, fine. One sassy face for the road.

Peep their post on me here. Then spend some time poking around their site. Amazeballs. (And 10% of merch proceeds go to We Stop Hate.) What more could one want from one's collaborative blogging experience?

Jacket: Vintage Bergdorf Goodman.
T-shirt: Off Our Chests.
Shorts: Cynthia Rowley.
Shoes: Zara.
Earrings: Nordstrom.
Watch: Michael Kors.