dresses

A Perfect Storm of Awfulness

Yesterday sucked. It was like Friday the 13th, but a Monday and the 27th. It came at me in all directions. Sunday I had a great, productive day followed by dinner and drinks with a couple friends, and went to bed at a decent hour. Then Monday at 4am, my hell day officially started.

A quick note: this is my first really personal blog post. I’ll come right out and say that this blog is under an alias. It’s pretty obvious if you look carefully; nothing about this name existed before last week. I’m in the client service industry and I wouldn’t feel able to write freely if it could be connected back to me; that’s why I ended my other blog years ago when I got this job. The internet never forgets, and I don’t want a client to Google my name and read something personal about me that may alter their perception of me. I also haven’t told any of my friends about this blog so that I can speak freely about them without hurting any feelings if the time comes. End note!

I woke up from a dream around 4am. In the dream I had been laying into a friend about something that has been bothering me for awhile. I’m not a confrontational person; if I do need to speak to an issue I tend to do it in a calm, almost businesslike manner, to keep tempers even and focused. The only person I really lose it with is my sister; even the time I kicked an old roommate out I stayed calm even though my blood was boiling as she called me a princess when I asked her to clean her hair out of the shower drain and told me that she’d leave on her own terms instead of mine (in the end she had no choice: it was my lease and I gave her more than a month’s notice). I’m the kind of person who swallows lesser offenses for the sake of peace, so a dream about confronting my friend really tells me that this matter is going pretty deep and I need to address it soon.

The issue is complicated, but comes down to this: at a party she was hosting a few weeks ago, I fell down and hit my head very hard. It turned out that I actually suffered a concussion, as I found out when I went to the ER the next day. There were a lot of signs that something was really wrong that everyone missed, I’m not blaming people for that. It was a party and everyone was drinking. What I’m really upset about is I have no memory of the night from after the time I fell, and when I was discussing what I missed with my friend, she told me a few really humiliating things, including that I hit on a longtime platonic friend right in front of his girlfriend, whom I’ve only met twice, and who was apparently really pissed at me. I was mortified, and said I needed to reach out to the girlfriend to make my apologies. She told me not to, that no one would remember it anyway because everyone was so drunk.

I didn’t listen. I emailed the girlfriend the next day, humiliated and profusely apologetic. She emailed back a short while later… with no clue what I was talking about. She said it never happened, and that she wasn’t really drinking and remembers the entire night from start to finish.

I was very hurt, and wanted to confront my friend about it. She made me feel embarrassed to be around these people again, and made me think I had tarnished a longstanding friendship. None of that was true. I needed to say something to her, but I didn’t want to do it over the phone or through text. I wanted to look at her face when I asked her why she lied to me. The problem is that my friend and I work opposite schedules; I’m 9-to-5 and she’s a consultant who works mostly evenings and weekends. I haven’t seen her since the day she told me about what I had allegedly done. I’ve been keeping my distance, because I don’t want to be friendly via text and then confront her the next time we hang out.

I’m supposed to go to her house on Sunday for a Super Bowl party. There will probably be 20 people or so there. That’s not the place to confront her. I’m actually thinking about not even going at this point. So, back to the original plot of this blog, that’s where I am at 4am yesterday morning. And then my brain started running. And running and running. I thought for hours about what I should do, how it could go down, etc. Before I knew it, it was 7am and my alarm was going off. I was exhausted, already pretty emotional, and in a good bit of pain (my back was hurting all weekend, for some reason). Also I had dropped my laundry off the day before, including every pair of jeans I own. At the time I’d thought, “Great! I’d wanted to start dressing better to work!” But after 3 hours of desperate tossing and turning, having to put on tights, a dress and heels felt like a Medieval torture device.

I was moving slowly due to all of the above and missed my usual train, which meant I had to cram into a train car that was even busier than my normal one. I got to work already in a bad mood. I had been stressed for the last week because a client wasn’t giving any feedback on a proposal and the deadline was coming down fast. He had set up a call for 10:30 that morning, which he missed, and then couldn’t be reached. I soured at my desk for an hour. I had turned around the initial proposal in two days, and then waited for four days for any feedback (which came on the Sunday of a long weekend), and then turned the revised draft around in one day, only to not get any feedback for a full week, and now the call was missed.

I spent a little bit of time on Clients From Hell, which made me smile and siphoned off a little of my bad mood.

Then I found out from one boss that the other boss had spoken with my client, and he wanted to change directions completely, but that boss was unavailable to speak with me at this point. The one speaking to me only had a few second-hand facts. This is when I put down my head and cried. Yes, that only happens at work when I am PMS-ing, but the thing about PMS is that it takes away your control of your emotions. Had I not been PMS-ing I still would have wanted to put my head down and cry, but I would have been able to will myself not to. As hard as I tried I had to give into my emotions. I had a team of two working their asses off trying to get me what I needed on our already tight deadline, and now I didn’t even know what direction to steer them in. I wasn’t included in the conversation and, as the hours ticked by, I wasn’t getting any tangible information to work with.

My boss called at 4pm and wanted to see something within the hour. I missed that deadline only by a few minutes, and then waited around for a reply, which never came. Sad songs kept coming on my iPod on the ride home, which really helped. I got home around 7pm, hungry, but not willing to really cook anything or wait for anything to defrost… so I made some nachos and a glass of wine and then later some ice cream with probably a larger ratio of sprinkles : ice cream than there should normally be. I couldn’t bring myself to write anything and the new episode of How I Met Your Mother, which left some of my friends in tears, left me kind of cold.

And that, ladies and gents, was my terrible day. I don’t like putting negativity out into the world like this very often, but bad days happen to everyone, and I think writing down my experience helped me realize it really wasn’t as bad as it felt going through it. Today I’m better. The sun is actually out, even though it’s a colder day, so that helps a bit too. Ooh! And today I wore a really cute dress:

Colorblock dressModCloth, sadly no longer available

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Grown Up Clothes

If the title didn’t give it away, this is going to be a girly post.

I’m really lucky that I get to work at a company that likes to maintain a casual atmosphere and lets its employees wear pretty much whatever they want to work. Nothing scandalous, of course, but comfortable and casual. In the summer, I go in wearing a sundress and flip flops, and in the winter I’m almost always in jeans, warm snow boots and a sweater. I’m also in the client service industry, however, so when I am out of the office meeting with clients, I have to dress in a more professional manner. I’ve had my handful of client-ready outfits for years, but they don’t make up the majority of my wardrobe since most of the time I can get away with a lot less.

Here’s the problem: I’m 28 years old (shocking, I know, considering yesterday’s Frozen versus Tangled rant), and my cheap, cute, comfortable clothes from Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe are really no longer age appropriate. I look very young for my age, so I’ve gotten away with it probably longer than I should have, but I can’t pull them off for much longer. I’ve been wearing the same client-ready dresses for years. I don’t own any pants that aren’t jeans or intended for exercise, and I hate blazers (the reason for that being twofold: first, in my initial post-college job I had to wear blazers every day, and I looked like I was a child playing dress up in my mom’s closet; second, the trend now is 3/4-length blazers, which are cute, but always leave my forearms cold. Also shoulder pads suck). The last time I cleaned out my closet I realized I need to get some grown up clothes, and fast. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

1. Money
Grown up clothes cost money, yo! I mean… seriously. I’m used to shopping at Forever 21, where the most I’ve ever spent on a dress is somewhere around $35. I also do a lot of Mod Cloth shopping but, aside from an $60 dress I bought for a wedding back in 2012, I typically like to buy dresses from them on final sale, when I can spend at most $30 on a dress. Grown up clothes are never that cheap. The last time I was in Macy’s (Macy’s! Not even Nordstrom’s or Lord & Taylor!) a simple Calvin Klein top I liked cost $45. $45 for a shirt! It was definitely nice, slate colored with a draped neck and made of good material, but I balked at the price. I mean, $45 for a top, and it didn’t even have sleeves!

I have to get over the money thing. I’m at a disadvantage here since, for the last four years, I’ve never had to buy a single outfit that I couldn’t wear to a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon to watch football, whereas a lot of women my age have spent the last seven years slowly building their wardrobe up with adult pieces. But I need to make those changes, especially if I want to advance in my career (no one wants to see a 35 year old woman giving a presentation for 20 people in a floral dress from the Junior’s section). I need to figure out–and fast–what my clothing budget per month should be, and what I need to sacrifice in order to do that. Maybe that means a couple less dinners out per month, or a few more meals actually eating leftovers instead of letting them sit in the fridge until they smell before tossing them.

2. My Style
Oh boy oh boy, my style is pretty young. First of all, I love dresses, and if you take away my evening dresses and the handful of professional dresses I’ve mentioned before, what you’re left with is a ton of sundresses. Boy oh boy do I love a sundress. And polka dots. I have a polka dot problem. I’m acutely aware of what clothes look good on my body. I’ve got a full chest, small waist, short torso and long legs: sundresses above my knee fit my body and personality perfectly. Here are a couple dresses I bought from a Mod Cloth sale this past summer:

ModClothDresses

 

All three are casual (although the polka dot one can be dressed up, which I did for my birthday dinner), cute (I have a major thing for polka dots), accent the waist. Also, all of them are prints. I own very few solid color dresses. I’m trying to get better. In the fall I bought this Rachel Roy dress from Macy’s:

rachel roy dress

 

Cute right? It works really well for work, clients, or going out and, although it has a pretty high neck for me (you will NEVER see me in a turtleneck), it cuts my leg in a nice place and hugs my curves without being inappropriate. Of course, I bought it at $90, which goes back to the money thing, but there you go. New York & Co and H&M are also some nice transition stores when it comes to a more adult style without sacrificing a lot of money. Here are a couple of cute tops I got from H&M in December, each only $25:

h&mtops

 

Bottom line is… I’m trying to figure out what my style is going to look like for the next 5 – 7 years or so, as opposed to continuing to buy clothes that fit my style from the past 5 – 7 years.

 

3. My issue with Long-Sleeved Shirts and Dresses, or Sweat
I’m a New Yorker, and I sweat every day. I don’t have a sweating problem, it’s just the price you pay for living in this great city. Honestly, if you’re a New Yorker and you DON’T sweat every day, please tell me about it, I want to know what sorcery you have and why you own’t share. Picture this, non-NYers: It’s 8am, time to leave for work and it’s 9 degrees out. You have tights under your jeans, warm socks, snow boots, a sweatshirt over your sweater and under your winter jacket, a scarf, a hat and knit gloves. You leave your apartment as bundled up as humanly possible to walk to the subway, hands in pocket, head down. You descend into the subway station and start to disrobe piece by piece: hat first, then gloves, which you stick in your purse, and then you unzip your coat a bit to let the air in. The train comes, and you board, stuffed into a car so filled with people that you have to place your laptop bag between your feet. Strangers breathe on you and jostle into your sides every time the train sways. The sweating starts in earnest now. After the longest 20 minutes of your day, you squeeze out at your stop and, as you leave the subway, start replacing your hat, gloves, scarf. Almost immediately upon hitting the fresh air, the sweat you created underground freezes on your body. Yes, it is as gross as it sounds. You walk to your office building as fast as possible to escape the cold, but the heat you create from your power walk has the added benefit of defrosting said sweat while creating it some friends. Finally you reach your building and as soon as you step in the elevator you start stripping again, because the office building keeps its temperature at 78* year round.

Grown up clothes never seem to want to let you breathe. Cotton may be a cheap fabric, but at least it lets the air in and is easy to clean. If I sweat in dry clean only… well, that’s why I don’t own a lot of dry clean only clothes. I just need to get over that one.

So that’s what I’m dealing with when it comes to building up my Grown Up Wardrobe. I’d appreciate any advice or helpful hints from women who have found themselves working through a similar transition! In the meantime, I’ll be here on my couch in my sweatshirt and PJ pants…