this label was made for walking

In ALL, PREENING by Stephanie Klein30 Comments

I’ve sat in bed, infomercial-late, unable to sleep. Sometimes it’s the next afternoon, but I’ve moved to the sofa and have managed to nab a bottle of Poland Spring. In either place, I’m usually watching some channel devoted to style. Of course I’m in threadbare sweats, with a seat so worn, it’s almost sheer, and t-shirt that once looked white but now resembles a soft coated wheaten terrier. And there I am listening to a high-profile stylist to the stars or an interview with an au courant designer, while I think nothing of what I’m wearing. I mean, would it kill me to invest in some decent jammies? Something in a pima cotton, perhaps a floral print. Invariably, said designer hems about the difference between style and fashion.

You can wear a garbage bag with style, even if it’s not fashion-forward. Dreads. Doc Martin’s. Seven Jeans. It’s not about the label, they insist, but how it’s all assembled, what’s paired with what, and how you wear it, that makes it, and ultimately you, stylish. I’d like to go on record saying that’s utter turdlets. When I was fat and clothes in normal stores stopped fitting, it was a challenge to fit in… to anything, never mind transforming some geometric printed moomoo into a chichi frock. When I tied one of my father’s button-down shirts on, I was greeted with accolades: "Wow, way to wear a man’s clothes, Moose."

What I’ve noted as of late, without consulting a single tabloid or checking in with the tastemakers of the moment, is that nearly everyone, it seems, owns designer boots and pairs them with a short dress and opaque tights. And it makes me want to live where it’s cooler, so I too can strut it around in thigh high boots, leggings or tights, and some ridiculously short dress, that really, must be sold as a shirt.  You simply cannot pull this look off when it’s 80 degrees out. And what’s more, your boots cannot be stiletto. This isn’t the kind of trend that rents its rooms by the hour. One may be able to–though I am not the one– pull off such a mini and boot match without tights, but my cellulite begs to differ.  Perhaps there’s middle ground, somewhere in Spanx territory, but even then, is there anything worse than seeing a control top line peeking out beneath your dress? Maybe it’s time to shop for a long version of a mini-slip.

Comments

  1. Ugh, unless you become anorexic, skip this look. It only works on the skinniest.

  2. Your writing keeps me coming back and the ideas that are pervasive in me but take hearing them from someone else for me to act. Thank you.

  3. Have you ever been to a mall store that was fashion forward? I mean i'm from California(North) and dred my choice in stores.

  4. one of my most memorable outfit occasions was from this october…it was a warm fall, but had just started to get cooler at nights. i had a date at quality meats and stepped out in a mini, black tights, and tall black boots. the jacket was a thin wool, belted, and was longer than the skirt, so the boots spoke for themselves while the coat was on. i felt like hot stuff that night =)

  5. I live in LA and the dress/tights/boots look has gotten me through the winter, if only because I still refuse to buy skinny jeans. (Or, more accurately, my body refuses to look good in them.)

  6. Would love to see a picture of the 'moose' days. I'm guessing with the man shirt as dress– it was the '80's? Bring it on girl.

  7. I like this look, but unfortunately, even though I'm a size 2 (0 when I'm behaving myself) my calves are not. I'm not talking cankles here… my ankles are quite thin and well defined, but my calves belong to someone twice my size. So the knee high boots (especially if they're not high heels) just aren't for me. It's kind of like torture – there's no diet to fix these babies and the more I exercise, the more muscular they get. I have to stick with heels and good lord nothing with an ankle strap. Pants (preferably bootcut) are my best friend.

  8. I can totally relate to the fashion viewing in stained clothes on the couch. The giant new Vogue is sitting at my feet urging me to be thin from underneath a box of Girl Scout cookies.

  9. When I got divorced, I threw out every ugly piece of underwear/lingerie/jammies in the place. Out went the sweats and the t-shirts. Poof went the comfy-ugly (cugly) clothes. I replenished with everything lovely – sometimes ridiculously decadent – pretty cotton jammies, lots of satin, velvet robes.

    Someone might say if I'd done this before the divorce, perhaps it would have helped the marriage. I say to those people – I was married to a cheap, mean bastard and it would have only caused drama.

    Nonetheless, 8.5 years later, I love all my pretty jammies and play clothes.

    Just sayin.

  10. if you are young and thin, you can look great in wal-mart. i love to buy my yummy mummy(2 kids)daughter's clothes at "forever 21" , it is cheap,cheap. it makes me feel old and depressed, remembering my mini-dresses and tights. i loveee the dress/tights/boots that my daughter wears, she's a size 2. that gene skipped me, but i'm glad she got it.

  11. stephanie, you look darling in your n.y. photos. i was there for new year's eve and miss it. question: approx. how many hits do you get on the blog daily? more or less?
    thanks.

  12. For Christmas this past year, I asked for pretty jammies (specifically, nighties from Anthropologie). Unfortunately, my younger sister misinterpreted this and got me scandalous, racy teddies to sleep in- that was quite a laughable situation on Christmas day (in front of my dad)… but since then I've gotten several Anthropologie nighties and I absolutely LOVE them. They are oh-so sexy in a sweet and elegant (and comfortable) way.

    Also, I would love to wear the look you describe, but for some reason I'm pickiest about boots. Its impossible to find ones I love.

  13. How one wears it has more to do with attitude and how one hold one self mentally and physically…it doesn't need to be the in thing to look beautiful…but then I have never been a slave to fashion.

  14. How one wears it has more to do with attitude and how one hold one self mentally and physically…it doesn't need to be the in thing to look beautiful…but then I have never been a slave to fashion.

  15. @beth: I've got those calves too – invest in a great pair of high-heeled stretch boots (some online stores even tailor to calve-measurements) and they'll look incredibly slim. It has been my passport to skirtsville.

    I too threw out the old sweats last year, and got me some decent Calvin Klein pj-bottoms. Even though I didn't really _need_ new pretty ones as sweats would have worked just fine, but it felt like a real treat to pamper myself a bit and invest in stuff I wear more often than the odd coctail dress. For the European chicks: Massimo Dutti has great nightwear as well.

  16. Ugh. About the "way to wear men's clothes, Moose" comment. It reminded me of the time I was working my chubby 7th grade butt down the hallway (feeling good about how I felt in my wide-legged big girl jeans) and this awwwwful girl says to me, "Way to work the baggy look. Doesn't hide a thing." She's also the girl who spread a rumor that I gave out bjs to all the guys just because I liked Blow Pops. Seriously. I was fat, guys wouldn't talk to me, and I just wanted sugar. I saw her at the mall when I was in college and she had the worst case of acne and looked miserable…that's me smiling.

  17. Docs are my Manolos. Can't have too many of them, can't live without them, and I really don't particularly care what people think – style or lack thereof…

  18. Stephanie – very fun post. I just bought a pair of tall boots and have been spending the last two weeks crying that I'm anatomically incorrect. Realistically I have an hourglass figure, but as far as winter skirts/dresses are concerned, everything is either pencil skirt (not for those with hips and legs) or wrap dresses in super-clingy jersey material. I adore the cotton A-line dress/skirt days of summer. But what to do until then?

    Beth – Completely hear you here. Genetics, soccer and dancing have given me super athletic calves. Regular boots are too small, and plus sized boots are way too big (the shaft is 18" or something like that). After trying several brands and giving up, I actually just bought my first pair of tall boots from Eddie Bauer (just type in "calf" and it will bring you to the extended calf boots). The shaft is around 16" (a lot more reasonable) and they actually fit. I have always found that stretch boots do to big calves what stretch pants do to big legs… make them look kinda sausagey.

    Sorry for that digression, Stephanie!

  19. you can totally rock the look in 80 degree austin! i do it here in miami, with a lightweight knit sleeveless or short sleeve dress, sans tights, and some suede slouch boots. i always get fall and winter fashion envy when i can't wear tights and cable knits in december in miami.

  20. I hear you about the stretch boots, I had a pair in college. I just feel that, if I'm going to drop hundreds of dollars on an investment like boots, I'd like them to be made out of some kind of naturally occurring material rather than the ballistics grade plastic those things are usually constructed from. I'm going to be one sorry chica when the jeans/ballet flats combo goes out of style. I must have about a dozen pairs of ballet flats in assorted colors/patterns. It's my go-to for looking put together but still casual.

  21. I think some trends you just have to wait out. Personally, I'm currently waiting out puff sleeves.

  22. Around the office here, we ladies wear high-heel boots regularly. Kind of like winter wear in TX.

    Your hair looked so pretty in NYC. Did you color it again? The color and texture looked so pretty. ;)

    PS – two agents declined my book proposal this week! Agh! Looking forward to more of your wise advice on the process.

  23. I bought a pair of boots recently from DUO (I think it's http://www.duoboots.co.uk) and you can choose the calf size! They're brilliant, my first pair that really fit!

    And now I'm inspired to buy some new night wear :o)

  24. Stretch boots made of plastic? Mine are made of leather, but with a stretchy elastic bit on the side… look perfect. I also know a great shoe-repairer (don't know the correct term) who'll add the stretchy bit to your pair, so you can still have your designer stuff but a little customized. I've heard great things about Duoboots as well.

  25. I remember the days of shopping in "The Fat Store" thinking, why does everything have to look like a tent? And why do they make one thing in 50 different colors? Couldn't there be even TWO styles? Luckily, those days have past and now shopping is a little easier, but unfortunately the style seems to be underwear as outerwear. Three cheers to the wrap dress for rescuing my fanny and thighs from the public eye!!

    Am a first time visitor and will definitely be back! …. Lisa

  26. I remember the days of shopping in "The Fat Store" thinking, why does everything have to look like a tent? And why do they make one thing in 50 different colors? Couldn't there be even TWO styles? Luckily, those days have past and now shopping is a little easier, but unfortunately the style seems to be underwear as outerwear. Three cheers to the wrap dress for rescuing my fanny and thighs from the public eye!!

    Am a first time visitor and will definitely be back! …. Lisa

  27. Re: threadbare loungewear no longer..
    Get online and order some Chadsworth and Haig doeskin pajamas (just very soft un-wrinkly cotton) And while you're at it, get yourself a bathrobe with the terry lining. Serious aaaahh. And get something for Phil too, great mens robes.

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