Friday, July 24, 2009

Creating a wardrobe

Commenter Gabrielle noted this column about men's "seen by someone else" attire, and wondered what might a woman do. Let's look at the recommendations for men first:

one or two suits in blue or grey
a blue or black jacket or sports coat
a jacket for summer (khaki or blue cotton or, if you want to be really fancy, seersucker)
a tweed jacket for winter
year-round grey wool trousers (light or dark or both)
a few pairs of khakis
3 white and 3 blue shirts
a selection of ties
2-3 pair of dress shoes in black & burgundy

This ignores the winter coat and casual clothes, of course, but it'll do for church, office, and more for most any man. So what do we do for the ladies?

Knowing that telling a woman what to wear risks sudden death, I made sure I ran the list by my dear wife. :^)

How about this; eliminate the suits and add 3-4 dresses, 3-4 skirts, and add a few blouses of differing colors for variety. The man's wardrobe is filled in 18" of closet space; the woman's probably in 30". By combining a few different colors for shirts and pants/skirts, almost infinite "looks" can be had without breaking the springs on the family 3/4 ton.

Along the same lines, I had a great experience shopping for new shirts recently. I walked into the store, and within five minutes, the owner not only figured out my proper size with a glance, but also set out a dozen shirts that would fit me and my style. I mentioned the experience to my wife and another woman at church, and they agreed that if a woman's clothing store could offer that kind of service, they'd get great business from them.


Gino said...

ant mens store would get repeat business from me if they could do all that, deliver it, and hang it in the closet without me ever having to try something on or enter the store.

pentamom said...

There are, of course, anatomical (and cultural) reasons why women's clothing can't be as easily categorized. With men, all shirts are cut straight down, and you only need to distinguish between "normal" and "athletic fit" and make sure they tuck properly into pants. Also, assuming a man's clothing fits properly within broad guidelines, it is not expect to "fit" and "flatter" to the same precise degree. Of course there are distinctions between well fitting and ill-fitting clothes, but in general, men's clothing is far more uniform-like and therefore more uniform.

With women, there are a thousand different ways a shirt could "hang" on the body, or pants could fit around the waist, hips, and thighs, because a more precise (and I'm not referring to tightness here) fit is expected as part of a woman's overall "look." Also, the range of colors, patterns, and styles women are able to wear is much broader, so it's much harder to discern the broad kind of "style" a particular woman would favor or be flattered by.

So, in short, it would be nice, but I don't think it's actually realistic.

Bike Bubba said...

Good point.....though I'd have to argue that a lot of people of both sexes don't even get to the "athletic" vs. "standard" vs. "portly" cut distinction....if you catch my drift. I would have to guess that a quality women's clothier could come a lot closer to what men's shops do routinely.

Bike Bubba said...

I'd love to know about the women's store that Bike Bubba describes.

Two books of interest in that direction:

"Sew Simply, Sew Right," by Mini Rhea and Francis Leighton. (Mini Rhea was Jacqueline Kennedy's seamstress who helped her develop her style.)

"A Complete Guide to Home Sewing," Sylvia K. Magger

Both contain sections to help women understand their body style type and which patterns would flatter more than others.

Even if you don't sew (yet :)), you can understand better what you're buying.


Gabrielle Eden said...

Land's End is good for helping you out with women's clothes and I hear they helped a woman who had a baby and was struggling to find a good swimsuit, and helped her to find something that complimented her figure and resolved her figure problems post-baby.