It's interesting where offhand remarks will lead you.
While driving Nile and Dee home after my last dinner bash, the subject of improving one's wardrobe came up. I guess Nile had been down about career prospects when Dee suggested that he might want to start with his wardrobe. After devouring several style books, he was born again, a man with a mission: to improve others like him.
Guess who said they'd offer to be a guinea pig, in light of recent dating blunders...
So it was with a mixture of bemusement and fear I hopped in the car with Nile and Dee the other weekend. Understand that I've been a conservative, relaxed dresser most of my life, happy with loose shirts and jeans. Sure, I owned a pink sweater during the height of Miami Vice, flannel during the grunge era, etc, but never dragged them out much. Fear of clothing shrink often led to buying clothes that didn't reduce in size, making me look bloated.
We headed out to the scene of his conversion, Orfus Rd. Located near Yorkdale Mall, Orfus is a place where you can experiment for very little, making it ideal for those on a tight budget. I'd only driven down Orfus a couple of times - once to explore, once to play laser tag (which I suck at, but was a lot of fun and a good workout). It's where insane drivers come out to play, struggling to find parking spots and avoid fender-benders. Given how much I love driving in our humble burbs, I hadn't set my sights on going out there again unless others were along.
I guess a couple of things were already working in my favour - my pea coat and what Amy likes to call my "bowling shoes". One thing I had to do - untuck my shirt. This was going to be a no-no. Later discovered Amy's been waiting to tell me the same thing, but didn't want to hurt my feelings. Trust me sis, they ain't gonna be hurt.
I let the style judges pick out stuff they thought would work on me. I wasn't too helpful at first, as I couldn't figure out what exactly I needed. In the back of my mind,I knew a couple of things:
1) For pants, I could still rely on good quality/low cost pairs from the States (good ol' Haggar)
2) Nothing "clingy", given my body shape
I didn't have to fear much, other than wacky sizing. First successful stop was a place called Target (no connection to Tar-zhay), where Nile stocked up on his last run.
Cue the runway model.
Tried a number of shirts, most being too tight or roomy. Bought one, which I almost got for $4 until the cashier realized which rack it came from ($10). Lesson: don't look so puzzled when the price is lower than you expected.
Next: Le Chateau, a chain I had never looked in before. We had an unprintable name for it in high school - let's just say it was a centre that referred to torches. Was surprised to find some half-decent shirts buried at the back of the store. The salesperson didn't seem to mind going through several ceiling-high racks to look for sizes.
How wacky was sizing? I bought an XXXL shirt that was much smaller than a huge XL. My co-conspirators kept handing me shirts to take into the dressing room. Ended up buying two.
Net result of the day: three shirts, $40, brave new frontier.