Tag Archives: fashionistas

My Personal Style

I didn’t think I had a personal style, until I invented one for myself. I’ve never been a Victim of Fashion or a Fashionista. Maybe an Unfashionista, but that’s about it.

Ever since college, jeans have been my uniform. (Except when I worked at a Frisch’s and had to wear a real uniform, or when I worked in an office and had to dress like a Respectable Business Lady, or now that I work at home and wear nightshirts or flannel pjs all day. Come to think of it, I really only have two pairs of jeans now. But I digress. Whenever I go out, unless it’s to a funeral, I wear jeans.)

My mother sewed and she made a lot of my clothes when I was a kid. When I got to the college-jeans stage, she made me western shirts (the kind with the yokes and the pearl snaps) and patchwork vests. Sometimes she got whimsical and made me something special. I particularly loved the Robin Hood hat she made me, which I wore to Beginning Archery class. (The instructor just rolled her eyes.)

Actually, my fashion “sense” was pretty well summed up by what I considered appropriate winter outerwear. I rocked an authentic army-surplus, lined, olive drab jacket (with the snorkel hood lined with real fur). The capacious pockets held my wallet, my student ID, and my driver’s license, and sometimes a paperback book. Snowmobile boots completed the ensemble.

So what goes with jeans? T-shirts, of course! I have quite a collection, many of which I purchased at science fiction conventions. Many of them were lost in the tornado that hit our house. I still remember fondly the one with a picture of the Death Star and the caption “Ceci n’est pas une lune,” which is really hysterical if you know Star Wars, French, and art. Yes, it’s obscure, but when I saw it, I couldn’t do without it.

For a while, I went through a Banana Republic phase. (This was before they sold out to The Gap, for which I never forgave them.) Adventure clothing seemed the ultimate in cool to me. Plus, everything was khaki or olive drab, which made accessorizing easy – camo scarves, wooden beads, and amber earrings. (I fondly remember driving to Erlanger, KY, near the Cincinnati airport, where the B.R. outlet lived. The first time I got to an actual Banana Republic store, in La Jolla, I hyperventilated. If I could afford full price, which I usually couldn’t, I shopped their catalogues, or sometimes just read the awesome travel stories and daydreamed.)

When I did wear skirts, I chose the midi-length (mid-calf), unless I could only find business clothes that hit me right at the knee. I even admit that in high school, I wore granny boots with midi-dresses, which about summed up my fashion sense at the time. (I also had a red and beige gaucho outfit, about which the less said the better. It even came with a red gaucho hat.)

Then there’s my purses. They were always large enough to carry one or more paperback books. Until my back gave out, of course, and I had to switch to an e-reader. Now a regular-sized purse accommodates over 1,300 books. When I saw the slouchy pouches that women were carrying a few years ago, I fell in love. Not only would they hold books, but snacks, hats, phone, wallet (if I carried one, which I don’t, my money being tucked into my jeans pockets).

Anyway, if I should ever give up my jeans (and couldn’t wear my nightshirts and flannels), I would have to go with a mish-mosh that I invented myself. Midi-skirts, still, I think. Keep the t-shirts. Ballet flats (not Birkenstocks). Patchwork whenever possible. Camo accessories and lots of semiprecious beads. I’d keep my boring navy slacks and top for funerals, of course. (During my Business Lady phase, I owned a black Liz Claiborne dress that I bought on clearance. For a while, it was my go-to funeral dress, but I had to wear a jacket over it, as the back was a little low-cut. Awful for summertime funerals.)

I can just imagine the get-ups I could create. And I’ve even invented a name for the look. I call it Boho Hobo.

The Pajama Game (Without Doris Day)

I’ve never been one for frilly lingerie. Lace itches. Rayon makes me break out. Satin spots if you drool. Cat claws make pulls in silk. And I don’t really see the point in nightwear that you put on with the intention of ripping off moments later.

Let me tell you about flannel.(1) Flannel is my friend. When I was in my late teens, my mother found a pattern for a nightgown that I just adored. Very simple. It covered everything, right down to the ground. It was perfect.

I asked her to make me one in every color of flannel she could find. Pale solid yellow. Blue and red paisley. Camouflage. My father wanted to know if I would like to buy some more fashionable pajamas before I went off to the college dorms. To his everlasting amusement, I replied, “I’ve got my flannel nightgowns.”(2)

I’ve gone through phases in nightwear – au naturel to undies and a t-shirt and now to real, authentic things one is supposed to sleep in.

In the winter this means I’m back to my old favorite flannel – not floor-length nightgowns this time, but “Sheldon pajamas.”(3) Two-piece pajama sets of plaid flannel. Although Sheldon would freak out. I don’t have the matching robe and slippers for each set and I sometimes mismatch tops and bottoms. Shopping tip: Men’s pjs usually cost less than women’s, so I guess technically you could say I cross-dress between the sheets. Not that anyone ever has.

But spring is here (though you wouldn’t know it to look out the windows), so away with the Sheldon flannels and back to the stores for nightshirts. I don’t want ones with risqué sayings(4) or Pokemon characters or ones that look like hospital johnnies, only with a backside(5). This limits my choices.

Once again I head to the men’s department to find XXXL Big & Tall men’s t-shirts. Now I have Captain America and Batman(6) nightshirts, and this new favorite:


I also have a CPAP mask, a neat accessory for this nightshirt at least, because it makes my breathing sound like Darth Vader. I am a veritable bedtime fashionista.

Except I sleep with my mouth open, which makes me drool. And one of my medications also makes me drool. A lot.

Good thing I’m not sleeping with anyone I’m trying to impress.

(1) Super bonus points if you get this reference.
(2) Whenever he told this story – and it was often – he delivered the final line in a drawn-out Beverly Hillbillies-style drawl. It peeved me, but I never said so. Until now.
(3) A TBBT reference, as my initial-happy friends would put it.
(4) I was permanently scarred as a young teen when my mother bought me Garfield underpants that said “I feel frisky.” I was mortally afraid I’d get hit by a bus and the ER personnel would have a field day.
(5) Unless it’s made of that soft, brushed cotton that feels like the spring version of flannel. Okay, I bought one. It even has a pocket, if very inconveniently placed.
(6) Why are comic book characters acceptable, but not Pokemon or, say, Care Bears? I actually like Batman and Captain America and am not embarrassed to be seen in them. By my husband, I mean. And anyone who looks in my study window, I guess. Yes, I spend 90 percent of my life in pajamas. That’s the joy of working at home. The pajamas, not the peepers.