27 Dresses – but nothing to wear

You know what would make my life a whole lot easier than it currently is? Being able to dress myself without having to ask my mum, Erin, Terry, and the entire internet what I should be wearing. I mean, you’d think I’d have learned how to do that by now, wouldn’t you? I am, after all, “a big girl”. I have been wearing clothes all my life. Oh yeah, and I write about fashion for a living. My entire life revolves around looking at clothes. Yet still I struggle. WHY?

My latest sartorial dilemma involves the christening Terry and I are going to at the end of the month. What do you wear to a christening? Now, I’ve only been to one christening in my entire life, so, based on what I can remember of it, my answer would have to be, “A tartan dress with a square collar, white knee socks and buckle shoes. Shiny ones.” But I was about nine at the time, so I somehow don’t think that same outfit is going to work for me this time, hmmm?

And so I turned to the Internet.

“Wear what you would normally wear to church,” was Google’s helpful response. So we’re back to the tartan dress and knee socks, then, because I only ever go to church for weddings, funerals and, now, christenings. Clearly funeral garb is out. Google further informs me that wedding outfits are out too, because they’re too formal – especially given that we’ll be having an informal barbecue after the ceremony. Terry informs me that the green dress I’ve been lusting after for a week now is also out, on account of it costing £100, and only being suitable for those times when I find myself transported back in time to a gentler age, when people got ridiculously dressed up for dinner. Or for when we go to Ascot, which is, oooh, never.

And so I turned to my wardrobe. In it, I found:

  • Nine pairs of jeans
  • 13 black dresses of some description. Oops.
  • About nine or ten other dresses suitable only for weddings, travelling back in time, Ascot, and other super-dressy occasions which I can’t even begin to imagine now. When DID I think I was going to wear that gold prom-dress-that-could-actually-pass-for-an-informal-wedding-dress, I wonder?
  • Three summer dresses that I’ve had for several years, waiting for that elusive sunny day that has never, ever arrived. One is too casual, one can only really be worn when I visit the 1950s, and the third makes me flash my boobs every time I lean forward slightly. Oh, and I hate it.
  • Too many vest tops to count.
  • A large number of sweaters and cardigans, all super-casual
  • NO TROUSERS! I just realised I have absolutely NO TROUSERS! At all. Only dresses and jeans. How did this happen? HOW?
  • Six skirts, all suitable for either the office job I don’t have, or wearing to the beach.
  • Sundry tops left over from the days when I used to go clubbing. (Note: I can’t actually remember the last time I went clubbing.)
  • A bunch of other stuff like shorts, gym clothes, etc.

Of all of this, the only things I wear on a regular basis are the jeans, vests and cardigans.  So yes, I think I have a problem. Actually, I think most of this problem comes from the fact that I work from home and, er, hardly ever go out anywhere. There’s just rarely a need for me to be anything other than totally casual, and I have a hard time finding clothes that fit me properly, too (this is why I don’t own any pairs of trousers) so I’ve been living in jeans for years now.

Looks like I’m spending the weekend having a huge clear out, then…

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  • I just did a big clearout, and it felt great.

    I have a pair of white wide-leg linen trousers that I break out a couple times each summer for such events as formal-esqe dinners, going to the in-laws' boat and other such places where I want to look nice but not stuffy. Pair them with a blouse, a silk scarf and nice flats, and voila! Casual chic!

    July 11, 2008
  • Look at it this way: at least you'll have the right pair of shoes! Work up from there.

    July 11, 2008
  • Over the last year I've somehow carted no less than NINE bin bags full of rarely-worn stuff to the charity shop. The catharsis is like nothing else.

    For my nephew's christening I had to look decent as I was godmother. I ended up getting a reasonable demure green short-sleeved dress from People Tree with a rather nice waist sash. It was floral without being, you know, FLORAL.

    July 11, 2008
  • Stephen


    Am I the only one voting for the third dress? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    July 11, 2008
  • Totally agree about how cathartic it can be to have a huge cleanout. I do this a few times a year, and actually quite enjoy it in a weird kind of way…

    Amanda – yes, I think trousers desperatley need to be added to my wardrobe. Must commence hunt for the Holy Grail of trousers. This could take a while…

    Tracey – a very good point! I'm pretty sure I'll never be at a loss for an appropriate pair of shoes at least!

    Alex – nine bags! That must've felt brilliant. The charity shops round here do really well out of me too, I have to admit. So, really, am providing a public service!

    Stephen – lol!

    July 11, 2008
  • I love cleaning out my closet! For the christening, I would wear a typical Ann Taylor type dress. Something like this: AT Sheath Dress

    July 11, 2008
  • TK


    I would say wear one of the summer dresses with a cardigan. All you need to remember to dress for church is to dress for the season, hit the knees, dont let your chest fall out and cover your arms.

    So anything in your closet like that is fair game.

    July 11, 2008
  • My vote is for your mustard dress (http://www.flickr.com/photos/15849428@N00/1362533312/in/set-72157601961220576/) with a cinched, light-weight cardi (maybe 3/4 sleeve, in grey or tan), non-embellished peep-toes and simple accessories.

    Not too overdone, not too underdone… it's just right!


    July 13, 2008
  • I would prob wear something very 50's-ish or a black shift dress with a sparkly cardigan in a lovely colour(ooh green! or cream!) with matching shoes and clutch. I say black with coloured accessories always works!

    July 17, 2008