Passionless Fashion

transforming our lives by transforming our wardrobes

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Day 22 – Thursday

Ena - Day 22

Ena:I need more clothes.  I need more shoes.  I need more accessories.  Yes, it was one of those mornings, filled with “I wants” and “I needs” and utterly frustrating.  Sigh.  What is a poor, unsure, style-challenged girl to do? Sigh, again.

Today I have branched out.  I am wearing a print, something I rarely do, though I’m not sure why.  I think that the one word that best describes my style (and I use that term loosely) is simple, and – in my mind at least – prints don’t fit into the simple category.  This is another Goodwill purchase, and, as it’s a bit too big, will spend its tour in my wardrobe as an under-only top; that is, one that must be worn under something else.

I must say that I am enjoying the variety…and the collar – I’m having fun channeling my inner Murphy Brown.  This is Day 22, and I realize that I need to branch out more often and take more risks.  I’m probably just making excuses, but I swear my not-so-risky fashion choices are due to a lack of raw materials, not my ignorance and absolute terror.  Just wait, once I get my hands on more clothes, shoes, and accessories I will be an unstoppable, groundbreaking force of fashion…I swear.

Bina - Day 22

Bina: “Well, look at you, Miss Suzy Homemaker! What happened to Bohemian Barbie?!” My co-worker Jeanie, an older dizzy broad whom I love, exclaimed this to me this morning.  I’m not sure if that was the reaction I was going for, or what her qualifications for a Bohemian Barbie are.  In the summers, I definitely do tend towards throwing on flimsy sundresses, mostly because they are cool and easy.  So I guess that’s what she means.  Or maybe she just thinks I need to wash my hair more…

The skirt was another Goodwill purchase, and I’m glad I finally figured out a way to wear it.  Every day this week, I’ve pulled it out of the closet and looked at it, then put it back in exchange for something slightly “easier.”  I’m happy with what I’ve done with it today, pairing the polka-dotted skirt with my rarely worn poufy-sleeved seer-sucker blouse.  I think I was going for somewhat of a Parisian pin-up girl feel, although according to Jeanie, I look more like a 1950s housewife. Eh, close enough.

I would also like to ask how the hell Kim Kardashian wears these goddamn waist-cinching belts all the time?  While I enjoy that it makes my waist look smaller, I do not enjoy how it inhibits my breathing.  If I was some kind of corset-wearing courtesan in a past life, I am sure I would’ve wished that future incarnations of me would never have to undergo such cruelty.  But, oh the sacrifices people make for fashion!

Side note: Gingerbread voting is now under way. We’ll show you what we’re up against tomorrow.


Day 21 – Wednesday

Ena - Day 21

Ena: Librarian chic.  Peter Pan chic.  Girl Scout chic.  Diane Keaton chic.  Woody Allen chic.  Diane Keaton in a Woody Allen movie chic.  These are all phrases – most of which I’m pretty sure I just made up – that pop into my head every time I look at myself today.  And, as strange as this may sound, I couldn’t be happier with my outfit.  Um, that might not be entirely true, but I’m gonna go with it.

I am in love with these pants.  It was love at first sight really, though our six year relationship has not always been what it should.  Despite my love and best intentions, these pants have spent most of the past six years hanging in the back of closets with the other thoroughly neglected pieces of my wardrobe.   It’s a wonder Social Services hasn’t turned up at my front door…yet.

Lack of compatible tops is my excuse for not having absolutely worn out these pants by now.  For obvious reasons – like my very light complexion and my tendency to go albino and disappear – I do not own white tops.  So, it was with these pants in mind that I purchased this round-collared uniform shirt on our Goodwill trip a few weeks back, and maybe it’s my Catholic school past, but I really like it.

Some things I do not like – and this goes for all button-up shirts – about it are as follows: stiffness, unsightly (and sometimes inappropriately revealing) gaping, unruly button alignment, wrinkling, having to readjust every time I sit or stand…or move.  Whenever I wear a button-up shirt tucked in it’s the same thing.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.  I see other people wearing them all the time and with apparent success.  How?  Figuring out how to wear a tucked in button-up shirt while looking fashionable, comfortable, and stylish is like figuring out how to crack the Da Vinci Code…or use html…or become a successful blogger…or learning to dress yourself…oh, never mind.

Bina - Day 21

Bina: This project is simultaneously getting easier and harder.  I’m now fairly used to the idea of waking up earlier to make myself look at least presentable.  It’s pushing my style envelope that is proving more difficult.  I’m going to have to get more creative. I have been trying to follow a few fashion blogs for inspiration.  I’ve never really followed style trends too closely – I love seeing what celebrities are wearing and all, but generally when I shop, I just pick out things I think are cute, and which are usually on sale. I realized I have quite a few clothes still hanging in my closet that I don’t really wear, or wear very rarely.  I guess for the past few years, I’ve been continuously defaulting back to the same jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, and Chucks, and leaving the rest for dead.

Yesterday’s jeans did prove helpful in the completion of the aforementioned Gingerbread House.  The whole thing was highly amusing – from people’s comments as they found me panicking over my mixed cement icing in the kitchen to crumbling graham crackers all over our office, we couldn’t stop laughing.  Okay, so maybe making gingerbread houses won’t be my new passion, but that’s okay.  It was fun and I’m proud of us for doing it at all.  It’s all about the journey, not the destination – which in our case is a mid-century modern shanty.  Won’t you come in?

As for today, I’m not crazy about how I look.  This baby doll dress was bought in Little Tokyo a couple summers ago. It bothers me how the top part doesn’t go under my boobs (a common problem for me, especially with cheap clothes).  And I feel like I look fat.  Taking these pictures is actually really helpful in seeing where I go wrong and what works.  It’s like a harsh reality mirror. They can’t all be winners.  But let’s all just enjoy the fact that I’m in a tree and I let Ena take a picture so close to my face and chin, shall we?


Day 20 – Tuesday

Ena - Day 20

Ena: Drum roll, please.  Today I am wearing a skirt.  To work.  This may seem like an ordinary occurrence, a mundane event, certainly not an occasion deserving of a drum roll.  And it’s true, thousands of people wear skirts every day to offices all over the world, I just do not happen to be one of them…well, until now.  Seriously, this is huge.

This skirt comes from my purchased-but-not-worn collection and until this morning had been hanging in my closet tags intact for the better part of a year.  I won’t lie, – at least not about this – while I am not completely unhappy with the way I look, I am thoroughly uncomfortable.  The extremely high waist on the skirt, the very lovely but very high shoes, and the strangely constructed crotch of the tights have banded together to wage a full scale attack on my body, and, sadly, though not unexpectedly, my body doesn’t stand a chance.

Besides bodily discomfort, I am also extremely uncomfortable with the looks I am receiving from…well, everyone…but we’ve all heard that song and dance before so I really don’t need to go into it again, do I?  On a lighter note, and further to yesterday’s post, I am happy to report that I put some serious – though possibly futile – effort into striking a balance between professional and stylish attire.  This is most definitely a challenge, but one I feel I’m up for.  Stay tuned.

One last thing.  While I have made a very bold and brave fashion choice today, it has also been very stupid and ill timed.  Bina has persuaded me to take part in another harebrained scheme (she should have been a lawyer or a hostage negotiator, really), and I find myself about to embark on the construction of a gingerbread house, in an outfit comprised entirely of dryclean-only items; not very bright.   We are not – or were not – considered joiners around our office, and participating in the gingerbread house contest was seen as a way to change that, though why we wanted to change that I’m still not sure.  Oh well, how bad can it be?

Bina - Day 20

Bina: How is it only Day 20? I feel like I’ve been dressing up for a year.  Holy Canolli.

“What would it be like to be the kind of person who participates in the office Gingerbread House Contest?” This is the question I asked myself last week, when the President’s Assistant came around, coercing people into joining in the holiday festivities.  I am about to find out what it is like to be that kind of person because I coerced Ena into another harebrained scheme – Operation Gingerbread.  Please note I have never made a Gingerbread House in my life. But today is the day I attempt my very first one.  Jeans were imperative.  I built the rest from there, including my Forever 21 scarf and shirt (respectively $3.50 and $2.99).  I’m pretty stoked I got to wear my arm band today and that I’m getting more use out of these cowboy boots.

We discovered the only other two teams participating in this Gingerbread throw-down are made up of semi-professional bakers and cake decorators.  WTF.  While attempting to spy on one of our competitors in the conference room, we couldn’t help but notice just how gigantic their creation was.  We’re trembling in our booties, people.  Here’s hoping we can present a respectable third-place.  Ena says “Maybe we’ll win!”  Haha…maybe…we’ll post the pics of our modest creation tomorrow.

Day 19 – Monday

Ena - Day 19

Ena: Like a phoenix rising from a heap of used Kleenex and discarded NyQuil packaging, I have returned.  Alright, perhaps that’s a tad dramatic, and I don’t want to set the bar too high – or get anyone’s hopes up – so let’s just say that I’m back and feeling (almost) back to normal.  How’s that?  Everyone’s expectations sufficiently low?  Good.

Had I not been feeling completely wretched, I would have liked to spend my two extra days at home playing dress up.  I have decided that I either need to wake up an hour earlier or start trying on clothes and assembling outfits the night before I wear them.  As I seem to have an increasingly difficult time rousing myself out of bed these days, I think that the latter option is the most realistic.  But, is that cheating?  As much as I feel that it would accelerate the learning process for me to practice getting dressed, it feels…less organic and wrong somehow.  Do people – who are not in elementary school or attending an awards ceremony – lay their clothes out the night before wearing them?

I am also having a difficult time navigating the fine and sometimes blurry line between professional and stylish attire.  Today is a perfect example.  Dressed like I am today, I feel like a corporate square (see pant suit incident for additional example), like I look much older than my very, very young 30 years.  I think that the challenge for me – ok, one of the many challenges for me – is to try to find a manageable balance between work-appropriate and age-appropriate clothing…or, maybe the challenge for me is to finally accept that I am, in fact, a corporate square.  Either way, it won’t be easy.

Bina - Day 19

Bina: This weekend, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank.  It was actually really fun participating in the conveyor belt mayhem a la Laverne & Shirley.  And I got a pretty decent upper body workout.  There were hundreds of volunteers – both individuals and groups from organizations like ours.  All of these generous and kind-hearted people make it possible to feed thousands of hungry people every week.  Of course, volunteering is helping me to feel better.  It makes me feel good to help other people, and thus in turn, makes me feel good about myself.  So it’s pretty selfish, really…

When I first got “dumped” last month, a few friends suggested I go out and hook-up with someone new to make myself feel better.  I even had a few unsolicited offers from men who would be more than willing to help me out.  But I felt I had outgrown revenge hook-ups and I was also just too damn sad.  I had fears of crying into someone’s mouth while they kissed me, like Carrie Bradshaw.  We’ve all been there, right?  I lamented with a friend how it seems like as we get older and continue the quest for love, each time we manage to open ourselves up to it, the heartbreak stings a little more.  It’s like another small piece of yourself has been shattered, and dear god, at this rate, will there be anything left for anyone else?  Sometimes, I can be very dramatic. Anyway, I opted for this therapeutic solution instead.  Project Makeover, inside and out.  The results will be far less instantly gratifying but far more fulfilling in the long run.  At least, that’s my hope.

This morning, getting dressed was a chore and a bore.  I was a bit tired as I ventured downtown to 7 Grand last night to celebrate Repeal Day.  I am happy to report that I ate two French dips – my appetite was in full effect! Anyway, I had no idea what I was going to wear today and I threw on some jeans and didn’t want to even think about it.  I looked over and saw my Chucks on the floor of my room – they looked so comfy and lonely! They wanted me to wear them!!  But no, dammit.  I switched out of my faded blue jeans and put these black skinny jeans on, which were $7 at the Forever 21 Black Friday sale.  Then, I threw on my boots and this old Urban Outfitters top, took down my hair, and was on my merry way.  I don’t look that fantastic but at least I’m not wearing cat socks.  And this was the first morning in a while that I haven’t felt nauseous upon waking up.  I think that’s probably a good sign.

Day 18 – Friday

Bina - Day 18

Bina: Damn you, over-the-knee socks! I do not know how to wear you with my boots without it just looking like I’m wearing knee-pads.  Oh well.  I did the best I could.  This outfit was a purely spontaneous effort – I’m not sure if I look stylish or stupid, but here I am.

As I was locking the door to my apartment this morning, a gentleman I’ve never spoken to walked by and said hello. I thought either his head was going to spin off or he would fall down the stairs, he was staring so hard. Please note that I hate when girls brag to me about how often they get checked out or hit on, maybe because I am never that girl.  I am always the friend of the girl who is constantly getting hit on.  This is totally fine. I came to terms with that fact long ago, and have actually been quite grateful, considering the high ratio of douchebaggery present in most LA bars.  In fact, when I first moved to Los Angeles, my roommate Alexis and I made a game out of doling out Douchebag of the Day awards. Our first recipient set the bar pretty high.  We were waiting outside for a table at The Griddle, and this Douchebag was attempting to light one of those big gas heaters himself with a lighter. He called us “pussies” for backing up while his girlfriend sulked over her giant pancakes, which she most likely threw up a few minutes later.  Thank you, sir, for being our first Douchebag of the Day.

Anyway, I am only noting my observance of many more head-turning glances and better customer service since beginning this project.

I arrived at the office and discovered Ena was still out. Let’s all pray for her speedy recovery and return on Monday because I can’t take embarrassing photos all by myself! I made JP quickly snap this one for me.

And I got to do something pretty great today!  My company has awesome programs in place for volunteering and one of them is reading to kids on your Friday lunch break.  The Santa Monica Blvd. Community Charter School is right around the corner.  I walked over a few minutes early to pick out my books, and be-friended Mrs. Kim, the amazing Korean librarian at the school for the last 25 years. She insisted on feeding me, leading me firmly by my elbow across the cafeteria.

My reading partner arrived (who happened to be a fellow Longhorn) and we got to it.  The kids were so well-behaved and attentive, I couldn’t believe it.   Of course, I had an amazing time reading to those adorable children.   How could I not?  And when they kept asking me to read more books, I felt I’d done my job well. Mrs. Kim snapped some old-school Polaroids of me making crazy faces and then she asked me to sign one and gave me one to keep. Thank you, Mrs. Kim!  She also asked me to please come back soon.  And I will.

Day 17 – Thursday

Bina - Day 17

Bina: My trusty colleague and cohort, Ena, is out of the office today. Something yucky is really going around because 3 people on our team are out sick. Here’s hoping I can hang on to my health through the holidays!

It’s quiet in here, something I have remedied by turning up my Stevie Wonder Radio station, and trying to be as productive as possible. Being productive is good – I’m certainly busier these days than I have been in a while. What with rehearsals for the play and overtime at the office, I haven’t had too much time for moping and feeling sorry for myself. But don’t think I haven’t made the time! ;-)

I knew I’d have another long day, so I decided to give my waistline a break. Back to my bohemian ways, I decided to pull out an old stand-by flowy dress, and try to mix it up with some accessories – my cowboy boots, feather earring, denim jacket, and a scarf. This may not seem like much of a feat, but if you look at the Before pics, you’ll see I’ve still come a long way, baby.

Day 16 – Wednesday

Ena - Day 16

Ena: This is just not my week.  Seriously.  I think that I’m still a little under the weather; I’m tired, grumpy, unmotivated, and I feel – and look – like poo.  Baahhh!

Is there anything more to say?  Do I really have to say anything else?  Well, I could have shown up to work today wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, socks, sneakers, and a headband (actually, that’s not true – I hate headbands), but I didn’t.  Accomplishment?  Triumph?  Perseverance?  Whatever.

My only hope is that I am not the only one who has days like this.  I’m not, right?  I hope that people can relate to what I am going through right now.  I hope that my struggles just might inspire something in someone else.  I hope that people get as big a kick out of these hideous pictures as I do…at the very least, I hope that.


Bina: So I’m feeling a little better, albeit still a bit fragile.  My friend Kristin wrote me with concern this morning that my latest heartbreak seemed to be taking a toll on my self-esteem, and Ena said it seemed ironic that the whole point of this was to make us feel better, and now I seem to be feeling worse.  I am hoping that maybe it’s a bit like when people have to take Accutane and the doctor says the acne will get worse before it gets better.  Maybe I’m just getting rid of some residual bad energy and once I get through this time, I’ll start feeling better. We’ll see.

As for what I’m wearing, I would have never put this outfit on if not for this project.  From the tights to the waist-cinching belt, the level of discomfort would be far too high for me to tolerate on a regular basis.  But as this skirt was purchased at the Goodwill for $5, I decided I’d better make use of its great color today.  And here’s a few highlights from my day:

Renah said this is her favorite look that I’ve put together so far.  She said she was proud of me. Yay!

I walked out of the studio store and an older lady who I do not know stopped and said “You look so nice!”

A friend from another department saw me and said “Damn, girl, you look so cute and stylish! I didn’t even know it was you!”

Ena and I took a walk to get her dry-cleaning on the other side of the lot.  As we walked by numerous hunky crewmen working, taking breaks, and driving forklifts, we couldn’t help but notice their interest as we passed.  Mission accomplished, I suppose, though I just realized my shirt might be a little transparent. Whoopsie. It still helped boost my self-esteem!