jeshyr: Hands crafting a braid, with the words 'Clan Mitchell' (Clan Mitchell - Hands)
[personal profile] jeshyr posting in [community profile] style_salon
For various reasons detailed in the rest of my journal I have basically spent the last 10 years in bed and the only criteria that I've been able to use for clothes has been:

  • Is it trivially easy to get on and off (especially considering any tubes that were at that time attached semi-permanently to my person)?

  • Is it really comfortable to wear while lying in bed?


Because of the aforementioned lying in bed thing, even though there were some options within these guidelines (colour, slogans, etc.) I was either too sick to care about them or didn't have the option because other people were buying my clothes for me.

So now I am suddenly healthier, thanks to Miracles Of Modern Medicine[*] and have the physical energy to sit up (sofa or wheelchair) for a few hours a day and the emotional energy to care about what I am wearing. This is brilliant!

So what's the hitch? Last time I really had the energy to care about style I was nineteen and at college. Now I am thirty five. The style of a 19 year old college student really does not seem so appropriate, but neither does the style of a normative[**] 35 year old because - having missed the intervening years - I do not feel 35 and also I do not have any of the trappings (home ownership, paid work/career, long term romantic partner, etc.) that a normative 35 year old has and could not afford that stuff. Also, normative is usually boring.

I started reading this community with the thought that I did not have any idea of what I wanted in terms of style. Having just read every single post and comment on the entire community, and keeping a cut&paste file as I went along of anything that stood out as particularly me or very very not-me or even just interesting I can tell you that I have quite a lot of preferences, actually! I still have no idea how to bring them together in terms of "a style" for myself, but I am way further along than I thought I was. Thank you!

So, if I could get up now and wear anything, I'd put on black jeans, black ankle-length boots (or sneakers), a dark coloured plain T-shirt or casual men's button-down shirt (probably untucked) and a ridiculously bright waistcoat (unbuttoned) over the top, with a black denim coat over the top. This is almost exactly what my nineteen year old self's "uniform" was at college though (denim jacket, not denim coat, but otherwise identical), so I would like to make it a bit different now, even if only to mark that I am not that person now.

Thus we have preferences. This is very choppy, partly because it was written referring to my cut&paste of community bits and partly because I have no underlying theme or ... drawing-together-thingy of which I am aware.

Things I don't like:

  • I abhor clothes that make me feel uncomfortable - physically or emotionally.

    Physical discomfort includes:
    • Anything made of wool or lace that's touching my skin itches me to death unless it's really unusually soft wool or lace (a wooly jumper over a long-sleeve T-shirt is fine, for example, as are beanies which don't really touch any skin).


    • I also don't like stuff around my neck, so polo-necks, skivvies and scarves are out. Buisiness type shirts are OK but I'll never wear them with the top button done up.


    • Anything that digs in or is otherwise not comfy to wear sitting down, since I am always sitting down if I'm not lying down.


    Emotional discomfort changes more often, but currently includes:
    • Tight clothes that show my body, although I'm reasonably happy to wear tight stuff as a base-layer as long as it's mostly covered by other clothes.

    ... plus various things that seemed to fit better further down the list.


  • I don't like clothes which are high maintenance (exceptions are made for handmade-for-me stuff which I will happily hand-wash, iron, water, fertilise, salt to taste, and otherwise cherish as needed). By "high maintenance" I basically mean anything that can't be thrown through the washing machine and dealt with via a max of 30 seconds of ironing. I barely own anything that needs ironing at all, come to think of it. This is partly preference and partly still related to physical limitations of disability.


  • I hate anything that makes me look "girly" or "feminine". Androgynous clothing and stuff that hides my actual body shape are my comfort zone at the moment. Obviously that may change in the future but I'm not interested in working specifically on changing it because I'm happy with being that way.


  • I refuse to wear make-up or heels, under the "girly" and both varieties of the "uncomfortable" clauses. Also, I feel like I look exceptionally stupid in them (not sure if this is actually true, but it's emotionally real) and as if I'm in the bad sort of forced-into-this drag.


  • I'm not fond of things with hoods attached. At the moment it's a "can't sit back/lie down with this" issue as well, but I've never liked attached hoods on clothes for some reason.


  • I hate the thigh-chafing deal with skirts and dresses and always feel way too exposed wearing them anyway, so I have no incentive to find a way to deal with the problem (I now know there's a bunch of ways I could try if I wanted to, having read the community!).



Things I do like:

  • I like wearing black, grey, khaki or dark blue as a base with one or two brightly coloured things as highlights - bright waistcoats, bright socks mostly hidden under dark jeans, etc.


  • I like metallic silver (or similarly coloured metals) and copper, but not gold or brass for metal accessories.


  • This guy's denim coat makes me drool with lust, and so does his very similar khaki coat. Where does one find long coats like this??


  • I really really love mandarin-collared shirts, although they're scarily hard to find. My favourite-ever shirt was an op-shop soft black cotton mandarin-collared shirt.


  • I like wearing things which are not meant to be "top layer" as a top layer - for example a long sleeved men's shirt that's too big for me in heavyweight cotton makes a nifty lightweight coat once I've taken up the sleeves.



I'm also time-limited in that I only get about 2 hours a day out of bed, so I'm not wanting to wear anything I can't quickly skim out of or convert into a comfortable-in-bed outfit for the rest of the day.


In terms of wardrobe development, it's important to note that the op shops (goodwill, second-hand clothes, whatever your country calls them) around here are significantly too chock full of stuff to be able to fit a wheelchair around them so they are effectively out of my reach. eBay I can do though (although it's not nearly as much fun). I am also able to sew (or get somebody to help) enough to alter things fairly significantly to suit myself.



What three appearance-related things are most "me"?

* My plain and simple black analog watch and plain silver chain necklace.

* A mostly-black backpack or messenger bag. Currently I have one of the 3ELove messenger bags which is plain and simple although I've created more pockets by sewing large $2-shop pencil cases in strategic spots inside and out.

* My funky bright waistcoats.


Cheers,
Ricky

[*] "Miracles Of Modern Medicine" in this case being a cool drug called Midodrine, for the curious.

[**] "Normative" being a very cool word meaning "statistically average" which is a way of saying "regular" or "common-type" without any of the baggage of the word "normal". I love that!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-10 11:06 am (UTC)
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
I still have no idea how to bring them together in terms of "a style" for myself

But it sounds from this as if you have a very distinct style!

You've got a sort of base uniform -- t-shirts, trousers or jeans, all dark, plain colours, unfussy and visually "clean", comfortable fabrics (have you discovered bamboo fabric? I like it a lot).

Then on top of that you're adding flashes of bright colour, silver or copper, or a dramatic coat or shirt.

That is a style. Unless I'm doin it rong.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-11 02:56 pm (UTC)
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
From: [personal profile] rydra_wong
the only thing I could think of was "things that are not tracksuits" because I AM SO SICK OF TRACKSUITS.

In my experience, yoga trousers can be excellent for sitting or lying around in -- they're generally stretchy and in comfortable fabrics, with no fastenings to dig in, and obviously lots of freedom of movement. And they are not tracksuits! *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-12 01:49 am (UTC)
damned_colonial: Convicts in Sydney, being spoken to by a guard/soldier (Default)
From: [personal profile] damned_colonial
Translation: fashionable track pants, usually with a boot cut leg (i.e. slightly flared) and wide comfy elastic waistband. Speaking as a white middle class melbournian, I am prepared to wear back yoga pants in public in the inner suburbs, eg. to the shops, where I would not wear any other form of tracksuit.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-07-10 06:50 pm (UTC)
pinesandmaples: (theme: two)
From: [personal profile] pinesandmaples
I have some thoughts on adding both color and androgynous stuff to your wardrobe!

  • I don't know how you feel about belts, but using brightly colored neckties as belts is really ace. I run them through my belt loops and just overlap the two ends instead of tying them. It's a fun way to wear neckties without wearing them around your neck.

  • The above can also be used for scarves, if you see a scarf you must have.

  • How do you feel about printed t-shirts? T-shirts under a half-buttoned men's shirt are always awesome. I like getting a peek at the designs on t-shirts but the half-buttoned shirt (usually the bottom 3 or 4 buttons) makes things look a lot sharper.
  • (no subject)

    Date: 2010-07-10 07:44 pm (UTC)
    finch: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] finch
    The jacket examples you linked to are pretty sharp. Google turns up a bunch of responses for "long denim coats" that might work for you, especially since you're up for alterations.

    I agree with [personal profile] rydra_wong that it sounds like you do have a style. If you're comfortable with that, you don't have to change it up. (I love waistcoats, but I don't have a body type that can wear them!) If you want something a little more dressed-up, an untucked, top-button-unbuttoned button-down with a waistcoat looks pretty sharp with jeans.

    If you're really looking for A Style, you might check out some of the more casual steampunk looks that are getting airplay now. Waistcoats and creatively-worn semi-formal clothes plus copper accessories would get you far in that style.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2010-07-14 01:56 pm (UTC)
    finch: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] finch
    Awesome!

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