the re-education of a functionista

by Patricia on January 10, 2012 · 5 comments

According to Urban Dictionary:

Functionista: Someone who consistently wears situationally appropriate clothing.

Anyone who dresses purely according to the dictates of function, in response to actual weather conditions and in pursuit of personal comfort.

The opposite of fashionista.

In other words: me.

At least, that’s the way I dressed for most of my life. Deep inside, there was a fashionista waiting to add shiny baubles and leather boots. But for many (many) years, I resisted.

Not because I wanted to dress like I did in college well into my thirties. Not because I couldn’t pick out nice pieces of clothing (in fact, I’ve always had a knack for dressing up when a fancy occasion came along… it was the everyday clothes that befuddled me).

No, I dressed functionally cute for most of my adult life because it was easy. Easy to blend in. Easy to hide out. Easy to not be judged (as showy or heaven forbid I draw any attention).

So throughout my days as a software engineer, I almost exclusively wore: jeans, grey/black Converse Lo Tops, t-shirt, and a grey/black hoodie… or on fancy days: a sweater.

For. 10. years.

Excuse me a moment as a I weep.

Granted, there were glimmers of something more: the fun going-out tops that one time I was single for like 6 months. The form-fitted Express outfits I bought toward the end of my first marriage. The summer dresses that I’d buy, wear once, then push to the back of my closet because I felt weirdly exposed or frilly.

And the last year or so (working from home) was even worse: slippers, yoga pants/sweats, t-shirt/tank, and a sweater to dress things up a bit (Where did this idea that sweaters are dressy come from?!).

But I’ve had enough. This is the year I will get dressed like I mean it. Even if I never leave the house.

Why bother if your only co-worker is a cat?

Because I feel better when I wear real clothes. I feel like a professional (speaking of professionals, have you read The War of Art? I totally recommend that if you’re a creative type who finds it easy to not make time to create).

And I feel like a real person, not Ms. Schleppy “Hasn’t Showered in Days” McSchlepperton.

Added bonus: I don’t need to change my pants when/if I leave the house.

I’ve watched so many episodes of What Not to Wear that even in my schleppiest schleptitude, I would not leave the house wearing yoga pants or sweats.

The bottom line to all of this rambling is that I have plans.. or intentions this year that…

  • I will dress like a real live person every day (well, work days anyhow).
  • I will dress so that I only need to put shoes on to leave the house.
  • I will experiment with my clothes and actually wear outfits.
  • I will dress so that I do not need to change my pants in order to leave the house.
  • I will have fun with how I dress.

In other words, I will not go for easy when easy means hiding out. I will own my style and I will stand tall knowing that I look freaking awesome… even if I’m the only one who agrees. And I will wear my confidence with some kick-ass boots.

How do you take the easy way out?

P.S. Are you on Pinterest? If so, follow me!


1 Mary Mauer September 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Patricia, so glad that you did my Mom’s German Potato Pancakes and that you like them. I like the sound of the applesauce and sour cream, can’t wait to try them this way.
About the jeans and tee shirt, that’s my uniform until Winter then it’s jeans and sweatshirts
Love your blog :) Mary

2 Patricia September 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Thanks Mary :) Tshirt and jeans is still my go-to most of the time… it’s just so easy!

3 Alicia W. July 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I am so with you on the functionista thing! I am also trying to dress with more care. Good luck to you! (Trying your pad thai recipe tonight, BTW…hoping my kids will like it!)

4 Louise January 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Enjoyed my visit Patricia. I happened upon your blog while researching Coffee Break Day. Your Cuppa Joe Cupcakes brought me here, lol…

As for fashion, I’m in the Functionista department. Jean and a tee shirt have been my “costume” for as long as I can remember. (You don’t know me yet but that’s a lot of years:)

Good Luck with your goals!!!

Thanks for sharing…

5 Chris Mitchell January 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Oh yeah, I get it. Being a dude, it’s SO much worse because the “bottom” is just so much lower for us! You might have to change your pants to leave the house, but guys might actually convince themselves that wearing what they slept in to a lunch date might be OK if it was only 3 nights used…especially if it matches somehow.

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