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Friday, May 23, 2008

Whole lotta ugly

This is one of my mom's favorite expressions for describing a day at the mall where everything is just crap. And it perfectly sums up my feelings towards clothes shopping over the past several months -- just a whole lotta ugly out there. :/

I am far from a fashionista, but I still like to dress cute and somewhat contemporary. My style is fairly tailored and maybe a little bit preppy with lots of neutrals and the occasional splash of color thrown in for good measure. Since my style translates well to the office I don't really keep a separate wardrobe for after-hours and weekend fun -- most of what I own easily transitions from work to play. However, I'm in dire need of new summery tops and cardigans for the office and I can't.find.a.darn.thing.

All my usual haunts are failing me - BR, J. Crew, AT, etc. For some reason, everyone is featuring the babydoll and empire waist silhouttes that I am so over. For a pear-shaped girl, that whole volume look is just awful. Terrible. Hideous. It hides everything I like (chest, waist, torso) while drawing massive attention to the parts I'd rather forget about (hips, bum, upper thighs). And yet, there aren't a lot of alternatives in the stores. Sure, I've found a few things here and there, but overall it's slim pickings. I had this same problem last spring, too, but figured I could make due until the following year, when the stores were bound to stock better styles. Um, wrong.

I've even tried to branch out and give stores that I usually breeze right by a chance. I know Miss Diabolina loves it (and lord knows I love the clothes on her), but Forever 21 just isn't doing it for me. I'm not nearly trendy enough for the store. H&M was a similar bust.

I mentioned the trouble I've been having to several co-workers and they echoed my dismay at what the stores are currently offering. While we share a smiliar style, these girls are not only a different body shape than me, but are also considerably thinner, so I feel like we aren't the problem here. Granted, the bouts of cool weather are helping things a bit, but at some point in the near future we're going to be back in the 80s and 90s and my fall/winter sweater collection just isn't going to cut it. Blah!

So dear readers, where do you get your cute and interesting work clothes? Is there some store out there that I'm missing? Or am I going to be forced to learn how to sew to ensure I actually have something to wear to the office this summer? Help!


  1. As a current member of the pregnant club, I have to say current fashion trends are awesome. It's all about the empire waist.

    But sigh - I can see how I might be annoyed if I wasn't pregnant. Have you looked online? There might be a lot more out there. GL!

  2. i wish i could be of help here, m'dear, but:

    1. i don't work in an office, so i'm not in any cute and interesting work clothes.
    2. i just found a number of items i really liked at forever 21 :X
    3. you've already exhausted all of my go-to places.

    good luck, though! don't give up!

  3. I buy a lot of clothes at Express.

  4. Aside from the places you already listed, I go to Nordstrom. I also like Off 5th at the outlets.

    I am snooty, so everything else just looks cheap to me. :P

  5. I've been buying a lot of stuff online, since the online selections have been featuring more slim (read: normal) cut items. Especially J. Crew. I also buy a lot of things at the Limited, since their pants look great and many can be washed and dried at home!
    I also like Banana Republic outlets -- I feel like the stuff they make for the outlets are less trendy and thus feature less empire waist items. There's one in Camarillo and one in Carlsbad... GL!

  6. I can totally understand where you're coming from. I too have problems with clothes and the ones that I really like are WAY out of my price range.

    I suggest giving F21 another shot. I used to HATE that store but the more you walk around, the more you'll be able to find key pieces that will work. It takes time though! I usually take about 10 items into the dressing room and sometimes come out with one things that worked or nothing at all!

    Try H&M again too. The first time I went there I was all, "This is what I was so excited for?" I thought everything was 80's trash. But after wandering around I found a sweater,shirts and dresses that I was able to wear to work. I recommend the store at the Beverly Center - they always seem to have the best selection.

    Also, try Target! I found basic dresses that I always get compliments on. (And people are always shocked when I tell them Target) Oh and Old Navy has good pieces too from time to time.

    If money was not an issue for me, a student/coffee admin, I would go to Nordstrom/Barneys/Fred Segal.


    PS - Diabolina has taught me well.

  7. email me and we'll go shopping ;)
    no plans this weekend.

    oh and if you want more waist concious stuff try anthropologie.
    they aren't doing the volume so much.

    this is the perfect question for a dear diabolina by the way. send me these types of quandaries. i like helping.


  8. leohmanns/marshalls? but those require patience and digging. loehmanns has an online version - alas, you cannot return online purchase in an actual store, but you can ship it back if you don't like.

    gap/old navy?

  9. I'm an Old Navy/Target kinda gal.

  10. i'm not much help, i like urban outfitters and anthropologie, but i am so surprised that Jcrew has nothing *sigh* i wouldn't know i have not shopped for myself in months.

  11. I bet I'm the worst person to offer any advice on this subject because my answer is black - anything black - year round. That's the office side of me. Wait, it's the non-office side too. Whoops. I hope you find some cutesy work appropriate outfits! My only suggestion would be White House Black Market. I am a total fan of their stuff!

  12. New York and Company? I buy stuff there and get compliments from time to time. Other stores have already been mentioned so I'll refrain from repeating. :)

  13. I love H&M because they have lots and lots of black clothes. Besides, it's cheap :) Also, I recently bought a few colorful (shocking!) shirts at Express.

  14. I've gotten empire waist/babydoll pieces altered by a good tailor. You'd never know how they started out.