The Solution: Ann Taylor Loft. Really. At heart, I'm a mass-production-hater. In reality, I appreciate the ATs and box stores for the anchor pieces - black slacks, a white shirt, you get the picture. So three blocks down from the office, in torrential rains (I really needed an update), I pulled every stinkin' pair of slacks off the racks that wasn't capri or some wierd knit that reminded me of the trousers the residents wore in the nursing home where I worked in college. Rapid fire dressing room - on, turn, squat, yes/no. Yes, hang on one hook, no, hang on another.
Out of 6-8 pair of slacks, I bought: One.
My motto: if they don't fit perfectly, don't bother. I didn't go to find another pair of poorly fitting pants. I went to find ones that fit. I ended up with the "Ann" cut, which isn't a high-waisted trouser, but certainly isn't a low rise - high enough to tuck in a shirt without looking strange, and not so high as to scream "2007." A little bit of perkiness in a pale blue double pinstripe - on navy, with a cuff.
The Backstory: Post M-clothes, I've been fortunate enough to loose the Bean Weight (I credit one-handed eating and choosing sleep over food. That, and walking as much as I can with her for months because that was the only way she'd sleep during the day.) So even the slacks I bought Post-Bean, because my others didn't fit, are now too big. Walking around in them, day after day with my single dress belt (also too big, actually) cinching them in not enough to look like a purposeful paper bag waist, well, it just feels plain old unhealthy, actually. This morning, when I put on my new pants (and a new blouse, see below), I felt trim, healthy, and alert. Told H, "I just can't believe how much better I feel - it's amazing what I new pair of pants can do for a girl."
I still have a few more updates to make, but in the meantime, I feel better, and have a few more choices in my closet. ATL has some adorable summer choices. Most are decidedly in the preppy camp, but if chosen carefully, and paired with some thought, you won't look like you've just stepped off the Annapolis-based yacht (not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have the means to be yachting, but...). I've got this sweet button down on with my striped pants - stripes on stripes being my cheekiness today. The fabric is light, but substantial, and the fit good. I'm tempted to go back and pick up the navy polka dot version. I also picked up a fitted cable v-neck in what ATL calls "Embellished Blue." Not sure what "embellished" means in this context, but it's a clear, bright blue that provides just the right kick.
And for others on the update prowl, the sale racks are ripe for the pickin'. I didn't score any deals - nothing fit quite right, but there are plenty of little jackets (like the drool-worthy pink one in this earlier post) and a retro housewife dress I wish was still there in my size. It doesn't have quite the flair the Goodwill version does, but with well-chosen jewelry (Dariaux, here's the place for that blue necklace!), it can be the perfect canvas for individual style.