Sensory comfort - Is the material soft? Does it irritate my skin? Is it a comfortable shape? Is it the right size? Is it appropriate for today's temperature and weather?
Likes: cotton, smooth textures, 3/4 sleeved shirts, loose clothing, hats...
Dislikes: turtlenecks, scratchy or bulky sweaters, stiff clothing...
Gender appropriate - I've been told that clothing should accentuate one's gender, but at the same time that it should not be revealing.
Friend: Try this!
Me: I like the color, but it's such a weird, thin material. :\
Friend: That's what camisoles are for!
Me: ...? A what? parasol? *sweatdrop*
(a week or two later wears the new outfit)
Me: *looks fancy, feels uncomfortable...* :(
Friend: Woah, Megan, you look nice today!
Me: *can't wait to get home and get in my pajamas*
(Shortly afterwards receives an email asking me to go for coffee)
Me: wut?! D: sriously?
*puts outfit in closet and doesn't wear it again* :(
Age Appropriate - Did I mention that the clothes must also be well-suited toward one's age group?
Me: Oh! *finds a cute outfit*
Me: *realizes it's in the Junior girl's section*
Era appropriate - This is a big factor, too. Not only must the clothing make sense for a Christian woman, it must also make sense for someone living in the 21st century.
Me: Can I wear a Greek costume like the one in this Encyclopedia?
People: No, that's not culturally appropriate.
Me: But modern clothes aren't as pretty as this. :\
Me: Can I wear a Civil War uniform?
People: No, not unless you're a re-enactor.
People: Oh, and if you want to be a re-enactor, you'll have to wear a hoop-skirt and blouse because that's what women wore.
Me: blah :[
Me: *wears kepi to school anyway*
Me: Can I wear a sailor uniform?
Me: *volunteers as a sailor* ^_^
Me: Can I wear my Star Wars Navy Trooper uniform? XD
People: What? O_o;
Culture appropriate - Ok, I got the right century. But even so, cultures have their own rules about what's appropriate for people to wear.
Me: This is my new Japanese haori (a kind of jacket). Isn't it beautiful? It has a zen rock garden design on peaceful grey.
Person: Oh, no, that won't do. You're a young woman - you must wear a bright, lively color. Something like red or pink.
Me: *almost cries*
Me: *doesn't wear haori afterall*
Me: Ok, fine. I'll wear my white dress today.
Friend: ...but it's not Memorial Day yet.
Me: Huh? What does that have to do with it? O_o;
Me: ends up wearing a baseball shirt, hoodie, jeans, and sneakers again
Appearance appropriate - Ok, I'm dressing according to the right time, gender, age, and culture. But the clothes also have to go with my skin tone, hair color, and eye color.
Me: I love this pink shirt! :D
Friend: Sorry, it doesn't match your skin tone at all. How about this one?
Me: I love these glasses!
Eye professional: I think something lighter would go better with your hair.
Combination appropriate - Am I done yet? Wait, there's more? One final factor that comes to mind is the fact that the clothing selections must not clash - they have to fit together as a unified outfit.
Friend: You shouldn't wear brown and green together.
Me: *looks down at mint green shirt and brown cardigan* uh.
Conference speaker: Another great way to spruce up your outfit is to add a scarf. You can find scarves in all different colors and styles. They look great with a dress or plain top. And there are so many ways to wear them - loose, wrapped once or twice, tied... *shows examples and more examples with jewelry added*
I think I'm going to cry like Crona from Soul Eater...
Well, after thinking about it, clothing really is complicated. I've started jotting down notes about the types of clothes I do like and am trying to arrange a wardrobe that I'm comfortable with. It's a process, so that means one step at a time. This does make me wonder - how do neurotypical girls figure all of this out? Do they learn by spending time shopping with friends or reading magazines? Somehow, I just didn't get it.