Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Clothes Off My Back (2)

"New employee orientation" was today, as I've been bumped from part time book slinger, to full time book slinger, and all the ensuing health benefits have to be summarily signed up for in a four hour seminar. Though my attention might have flagged during this meeting, I wanted to look sharp as a tack in dress if not in spirit!

Which is why I chose this Lady Arrow, late 70's/early 80's number (Goodwill, $2.15) along with a Merona blazer (Half price Goodwill, so however much it weighs times, what, $1.85? Ie practically nothing?), and a plain black skirt (also Goodwill, $3.99), with the replacement boots from the last clothes post (you sly, comfortable things, you).

As you would expect from a company that immediately brings to mind the word pair "Arrow" and "collar", the Lady Arrow shirt features the most prim, the most neat, the most nattily pointed collar in my wardrobe. I felt a little Hildy Johnson, and very happy with the overall "smartness" of the ensemble. Well put together. Ready to take on my next assignment as a girl reporter or office steno in the 1930's. If you look closely, the shirt is covered in tiny, burnt sienna charms in regimental stripe patterns, à la Louis Vuitton-- try and spot them all in the picture on the upper left. Ladder, binoculars, boot, hat, lamp... I LOVE this whimsical pattern.

The shirt, as the base of the outfit, brings up a problem I often faced when buying 70's tops. I'm six feet tall and, for my frame, a small waisted, small bosomed girl with normal hips. Oversized, flowy blouses just do not work without a large chest. What was that doggerel Lisa Simpson used to say, "we must we must we must, we must increase our bust"? I have no desire to increase my bust, but belting shirts with a larger than normal allowance for bazooms can result in a weird, pepper pot kind of shape that is all kinds of unflattering, wasp waist or no. AND ALL SEVENTIES BLOUSES ARE LIKE THIS. I don't know if there was a specific prejudice against lesser endowed sisters of America in that age of liberation or what; I do know that I have this hilarious mental image of all seventies women being completely potato shaped. Because you'd think it to look at this silhouette.

Yet! I can't pass up a truly fabulous button up shirt. I have or have had dozens and dozens of cheery, brightly patterned shirts with perfectly normal proportions in sleeve and length, and then this pickle barrel width. In college, I would throw a fitted sweater or a black tank top or a vest over the shirt and pair it, peeking from the overgarments, with a skirt and tights. Tank tops are probably the most effective for this Peter Pan, jumper look without the shapelessness of a full-on jumper. As I've come to a post-summer dilemma of all my black tank tops being either too large or washed to that icky greyish black from overuse, and no sale tank tops to choose from (winter is, after all, upon us), I've found the next best thing is the blazer. The black of the blazer takes away the "busy" feeling of all the pattern, focusing on a highlight of neck, wrist, and shirttail, so that the pattern becomes a detail rather than an overwhelming part of the ensemble.
So! With the temperatures here staying in the lower twenties and thirties, it's only a matter of time before more long sleeved shirts become the focus of my wardrobe... we'll keep you posted with those developments as they occur. :)


  1. Debonaire Exquisite! ::in my best French accent::



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