10 things no one ever thinks to tell you about dressing yourself

  1. Fashion and style are not the same thing. Fashion is disposable; it changes with the season. Style can endure for years.
  2. There is no such thing as the One True Look. The style you pick is surprisingly irrelevant in most cases, as long as you pick one of the appropriate formality level, and you look like you're making an effort.
  3. If you go shopping for clothes and nothing fits you, there's nothing wrong with you. There's something wrong with the clothes. Different brands have different 'fit models' with different shapes, and all of them play insane head games with the size numbers. Change brands and/or stores.
  4. The maximum amount of makeup you are allowed to wear to a social function varies directly with the average number of drinks per person over the course of the night, and inversely with the amount of time you think you'll spend crying.
    • Unlimited makeup may be worn to any event presided over by a drag queen.
    • If Lady Gaga is involved, latex prosthetics are also appropriate.
    • If anyone ever takes you to task for not wearing makeup to a funeral, you have my permission to blow your nose on their most expensive, least-cleanable article of clothing.
  5. Go look at an online bra catalog. See how low the model is wearing her bra band? That is where it's supposed to go. Go up a cup size and down a band size. Your back will thank you.
    • There's a good chance this will take you off the end of the cheap, easily-found bra sizes. Sorry.
  6. You are not required to wear anything under pantyhose, tights, or leggings. It is, however, absolutely mandatory to wear something over them. Leggings are not a substitute for pants. Leggings are a substitute for tights. Tights are also not a substitute for pants. I'm looking at you, Lindsay Lohan.
    • If you aren't sure whether that top is long enough to wear with leggings, go watch some Star Trek. If your shirt is any shorter than Uhura's uniform, you need real pants.
  7. While we're at it, the way you keep high-waisted support hose from rolling down on you is to haul it all the way up and stuff the top edge under your bra band. You're welcome.
    • If you're wearing a garment that you absolutely cannot get a bra under, you need to rethink the appropriateness of the high-waisted support hose.
  8. Stop trying to dress to "minimize flaws". It will drive you bonkers. Figure out what you like best about yourself and work out how to put a big flashing neon sign on that instead. It's much easier to point at one thing really hard than to try to keep seventeen others out of view -- military strategists and stage magicians have known this forever.
  9. If all of your underpants spontaneously convert themselves into thongs whether you like it or not, you may need a smaller size. All the shifting about occurs because there's too much extra material sliding around while you walk, and idle fabric swatches, like idle hands, are the devil's playthings. You might try actual butt floss while you're at it. Contrary to what you might think, the thinner the back is, the less likely it is to feel like a wedgie.
  10. Never buy an outfit you don't love. You won't wear it, and if you do, it'll go badly. Presentation is at least 50% of any look. If you look like you feel uncomfortable or unsure or awkward in something, it won't be flattering no matter how expensive it was. There's a reason that the only people who can pull off faux-leopard fur coats are the ones with the sorts of personalities that make you think they kind of belong in faux-leopard fur coats.


  1. Addendum to no. 3: NOBODY BUT YOU CARES WHAT SIZE YOU ARE. Nobody goes around asking what size jeans you're wearing, so if you don't tell them, they won't know. Also, sizes are just arbitrary numbers, not (a) a way to compete in the smallest-size-you-can-squeeze-into olympics, (b) a judgement of any kind about your weight/shape/anything, or (c) intended to make you feel bad about your weight/shape/anything. Please to be wearing the size that ACTUALLY FITS you, not the size you ~~think~ you can, kthx. Muffin top looks bad on everyone, and too-tight clothing can be bad for circulation.

    Re: no. 6: What are your feelings on jeggings? Are they an acceptable substitute for pants? Also, where do yoga/sweat-pants fall on the "acceptable to wear in public" scale?


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