Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Quest for Style

This blog is going be about all the crafty-type stuff I engage in when time allows, with a focus on my attempts to create a wearable wardrobe using a bare-bones basic sewing machine and limited seamstress skills.

I will be the first to admit I'm not very well dressed. For one thing, I live in Hilo, HI, and dressing up isn't very necessary here. For another, I don't have anything to wear.

I was doing okay in the what-to-wear department during the 8 years we lived on Maui and I snatched up lots of bargains from the sale rack at Blue Ginger. But not only did I get sick of wearing similar rayon dresses every day (comfortable and climate-appropriate as they were), eventually those dresses wore out.

I knew what to wear a decade ago, when I lived in New York City. I'd figured out my own style there, both casual at-home stuff and business wear. Granted, there wasn't anything particularly exciting or "fashion forward" about it -- and perhaps relied more on denim than was necessary -- but I could get up in the morning and ponder the day's schedule and know I had an appropriate outfit in the closet, whether I was facing a dull meeting in a corporate office somewhere, or heading for whatever dive a friends' band was playing in that night. (Whether or not I could fit into any particular outfit was always a concern, but at least the clothing situation -- in theory -- had been figured out.)

But nine years in Hawaii -- and the onset of middle age -- have erased those accomplishments. It's too warm and humid here for my old stand-by of jeans and a leather jacket. Plus I'm almost 50 now, and can only fit into a size 10 on my skinniest days.

My goal is to dress in a style that suits my age, bodyshape, personality, and -- most important -- a damp tropical climate. The likelihood those factors will ever converge in anything resembling a fashion trend is beyond remote. Plus, clothes shopping options in Hilo are limited unless you have an unhealthy fondness for aloha attire. Yes, we have a (small) Macy's, and few boutiques, but they just don't have clothes that suit my taste, budget, or lifestyle very well. And I haven't seen anything that interests me online, with the exception of some gorgeous Nicole Miller evening dresses at that I drooled over but have no use for whatsoever.

With birthday number 50 looming, I am determined to figure out what my personal style is in middle age, and to accumulate a wardrobe that celebrates it. Even if I have to make it myself.

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