One navy blue scarf.

I am attending the memorial service for my friend tomorrow, so decided to buy something new to wear.
Something nicer than the ancient trackies or jeans and cheap men's t-shirts that I usually wear.

I hopped on a bus into the city and wandered through shop after shop after shop, looking at the millions of items on the racks, on the shelves, on reduced/bargain tables.

Three hours I spent doing this and eventually came home with.....wait for navy blue scarf.
Yes, you read that right. I shopped for three hours and bought one scarf.

I am totally clueless when it comes to buying clothes.
I just do not know what to buy.
I don't know what looks good, I don't know what suits me, I don't know what items to put together to get a "look".
And by "look", I mean something that looks good.
On me.
(Plus, I wasn't prepared to spend largish amounts of cash on something I wouldn't wear again).

This goes back to my childhood.
After my mum left, I just wore whatever clothing was available to me.
I have no idea where the clothes came from, they were just there.
I think most things were given to my Dad, for me, by well-meaning neighbours.
Dresses, blouses, shorts, long pants. Even underwear and shoes.
Maybe my Mum sent some things that had been outgrown by the family she was now living with.

I didn't know and I didn't care. I had clothes, that was enough.
I didn't care what I looked like then.

Later, when I left Port Pirie and went to live with Mum, I had a job and began to buy my own clothes.
Jeans and t-shirts. Men's jeans because they were so much cheaper and the smallest size fit me perfectly.
And they were comfortable.
A few skirts for the summer. Dozens of brand new knickers and socks. (No more second-hand knickers for me. Ever)

Once the kids began arriving, I lived in t-shirts and shorts, t-shirts and jeans, anything that was clean and comfortable. And this is what I still do now.
I haven't done any serious clothes shopping since arriving back in Adelaide in the 80's.
All I've done is replace things as they wear out. Mostly t-shirts and socks.
Jeans last forever.
And I still wear men's jeans, because they're wider in the waist than women's jeans, and I'm thick-waisted.
I see other women wearing nice things, and think to myself, I should buy something like that, but I never do. I look at them in the shops and think "what if it won't fit right or look right on me?"

So when an occasion comes along where I might have to dress up a little, or even where I might have to just look a little nicer than I usually do, I often don't go. I don't enjoy gatherings much anyway, so I'm happy enough to miss things like parties etc.

Which brings us to today. Three hours of searching the shops and coming home with one navy blue scarf.

I'll team it with my black work pants, black shoes, navy (newish) t-shirt and my navy padded jacket.
Not dressy, but casually presentable.
And I'll be comfortable.


  1. You sound a lot like me River, I wear what I got and if I dont got it, I dont go...
    Except for one glaring difference, I wouldnt spend 3 hours to buy one anything... I'm in, I grab whatever looks like it might be ok and I'm out of!

  2. At least you got a scarf:)

    If you are happy with what you wear then don't change. But if you want to branch out then try to spend some time just trying basics. Maybe find some pants one day, try some different style skirts on another or some shirts.

    There are plenty of clothes out there and I'm sure there are a whole heap that would look great on you and be comfortable.

    Maybe even more scarfs!

  3. I loathe and detest shopping and like you, don't know what to buy. When my ignorance is teemed with a reluctance to be uncomfortable or spend a fortune it leaves me stuck in a loop.

  4. This really interests me as I often observe what older women are wearing. You are only middle aged, but I observe that too.

    Shoes, low heeled plain black, but must have a small heel at least.

    Stockings. Who wants to see and older person's bare legs? But keep them light. You don't want to look like you have legs that need hiding.

    Skirt with at least one pleat, plain coloured and dark. Blue or black.

    Plain blouse, but can be in any colour, bright or dull as you choose.

    This is the tricky bit. A tailored jacket. Don't try to match it to your skirt but it must compliment it, style wise and colour wise and it also has to work with the colour of your blouse. However, you can never go wrong with black and white.

    Get your hair done at a salon. You might not like the result and it won't last but at least you will look interesting.

    Small black handbag.

    Done. River is going to knock 'em out at the memorial.

    Meanwhile for a funeral or wedding, I wear an old pair of R's black pants he has grown out of, any non patterned shirt I can find, a very old jacket that does not fit me very well and quite unfashionable shoes that are heavy as lead.

    I just can't see the point of buying decent stuff for a very occasional wedding or funeral.

    Your outfit sounds fine. After making little effort at dressing up for an occasion, I take along in the car a pair of jeans and a shirt to change into as soon as I can.

  5. You are not alone in your closet problems....I have three pair of elastic waisted jeans, six loose somewhat tshirt syled tops...and these I wear year round. In the summer sandals if I really MUST wear shoes and in the winter socks and rykers low rise boots. I don't go to funerals (although I guess I WILL have to go to ONE someday but I won't care about that will I lol. I avoid weddings like the plague. In fact, my rule is, if I have to buy something new to wear I'm not going.

  6. I think it's different for me because I work in an office every day but I'm still wearing a ton of shirts I had pre-babies so at least five years!

    I hate and I mean HATE shopping in the stores so I never go except for groceries but instead find bargains online! They deliver it to the door and if I don't like it then I just drop the box back in the bin at work.

    I think your new scarf will look nice, and furthermore you are there for your friend not a fashion show. Think of it that way!

  7. Tempo; that was the problem. I couldn't find anything that looked like it might be okay. There were lots of things I liked, but they wouldn't go with anything I already have, or with anyhting else I'd liked.

    Sarah; basics for me are jeans and t-shirts. Branching out is a whole new world that I'm terrified of.

    EC; exactly!

    Andrew; it's going to be my black work pants and shoes, with navy t-shirt, navy overshirt (it's really nice) and the scarf.
    I haven't worn stockings for probably 30-40 years. I hate them.
    There won't be time for a salon hairdo, around these parts you need to book well in advance. I'll just shampoo and let the curls do their thing.
    I have got the black handbag and the taxi is booked.

    Delores; in my entire life I've only been to four weddings, one of which was mine, and two funerals. I wear my jeans and t-shirts year round also, with a small sidestep into shorts on really hot days. Buying "good" clothes is a nightmare. Everything seems made for size 0 girls who are 6 feet tall. I'm 5 feet tall and size 16. Let's not even mention shoes! Short feet...very wide....

    Jennifer Kay, thanks. You're right, it's not a fashion show and as long as I'm not wearing "homeless" clothes or "hooker wear", I think I'll be fine. And it is only for an afternoon.

  8. River, you can't go wrong with black. Ever.

    In my teens and twenties, I was really really into fashion and fitting in and wasted far more money than I care to think about. Part of it was youthful vanity but a larger part was a form of anxiety; wanting to belong and being terrified of being considered different.

    In my late twenties, after living overseas for a few years and using my money for anything *but* looking good, things changed.

    Like you, I hate going anywhere if dressing up is required. I hate wearing tights, strapless bras or heels and loathe the feeling of make up on my face.

    Jeans, t-shirt and comfy shoes are what I hope to spend the majority of my remaining days in.

  9. Holy, you sound just like me, too! Don't like gatherings, at all. Find them painful. I detest shopping for clothes, hate trying them on. (I do like certain things, honest.) ;) On the odd occasion I have bought something nicer, I never end up wearing it because I feel like I'm dressing up and feel ridiculous. How do other women do it and feel natural? I didn't have much of a mother-ly influence either, maybe it's partly that, but also, I think the whole fashion thing is a load of baloney. "Clothes maketh not the man." Or whatever that saying is. ;) Usually, I'm in a karate t-shirt and mens baggy shorts and mens flip-flops! I call it my uniform. :)

    I like what you've chosen. I hope the service goes well tomorrow. (I'm out of my depths with this stuff as I've never been to a funeral, don't know how to handle it or what to say, but you've been in my thoughts.)

  10. Hi, my name is Robert, I wear a feather boa.

    A hat with a plume on Sundays, a cravat in a giant bow.

  11. Kath Lockett; I was never into either fashion or fitting in, just didn't care about either, which is why I have so much trouble shopping for "good" clothes. I wore black and navy and looked just like everyone else. Casual, not too dressy. It was a very nice memorial.

    CarrieBoo; there's quite a lot of "us" out there, but you wouldn't know it by looking at all the "put together" social people on the streets. Wearing nicer things does feel a lot like playing dress-ups.
    What passes for fashion (the fads) and can't be worn the next season just doesn't do anything for me. When I think "fashion", I think of classic well made clothes that look good, wear sensibly, and last more than 6 months. Classic never goes out of style.
    The memorial was nice, I looked much the same as anyone else there, so felt comfortable. The son made a nice speech. I cried.

    R.H. woo-woo! A feather boa! Is it pink?

  12. Hi River,
    Oh my, I can relate to your story, but I usually avoid buying ladies clothing. Well, mostly I do. Although I do recall that time I saw this fashionable pink mini skirt that went...sorry, what am I doing...
    Actually, my son thinks I dress up like an over-aged "hoodie".
    The main thing is I reckon, despite your three hour adventure, you will be comfortable in a casual sort of way.
    Take good care.

  13. R.H. you've piqued my interest. I simply must see a photo of you wearing this pink feather boa.

    klahaie; pink mini skirt? Hmmm. sorry, I'm laughing at the thought.
    I was comfortable and warm at the memorial. It was held outside in the garden with a marquee for the food and drinks with a gas-powered heater standing in the middle.

  14. This is so true for me too. I don't have a lean & mean wardrobe. And I hate buying really expensive & fancy clothes to wear for a "special" occasion. It seems impractical, I reckon that's why I dread the shopping in these instances & like you often comes home with nothing until I'm forced to buy something on the least minute. I do notice however that I tend to buy great stuff when I'm relaxed & not looking for something in particular.

  15. Joni Ibarra; I tend to buy nothing unless I'm replacing a much loved worn out item. I look a lot, but can't justify buying stuff when I have a drawer full of t-shirts etc already. The problem there is the stuff I have isn't suitable for special occasions. Much more suited to walking along the beach, weeding the garden, scrubbing the shower....I only have one or two special occasion pieces. Not a single dress.


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