The Tulle Skirt Experiment

Or rather, Barcelos didn’t know she could wear a tulle skirt without looking completely ridiculous. I asked for your help and I was lucky to have several answers to choose from!

I decided that if this was going to be a proper experiment, I wasn’t going to just throw together outfits based on your recommendations, take pictures of them, and then call it a day. I was going to wear a tulle skirt out in the wild, doing the things I usually do during the week.

Sunday: Basic Black

Day 0Sunday got off to a rocky start. I got out of bed, put on my skirt, felt like a fairy princess, but was committed to this experiment because I told the internet I was doing this.

At the top of one of my drawers was a striped shirt. “Cool, I’ll wear this and go for that classic look,” I thought. Then I looked in the mirror and was. not. thrilled. If you’re trying to minimize wide hips, then a tulle skirt is not for you. The striped shirt made me look wide on top too, making me feel wide all over, so I was thisclose to ending this experiment before it had properly begun. Instead, I sucked it up, grabbed a plain black top for its slimming ability, and instantly felt better about this whole experiment.

Jim and I then went and did what we usually do on Sunday: grab lunch, run errands, have dinner with his family. We were still missing a few things for the apartment (you don’t realize how badly you need a cutting board until you have to chop veggies on a baking sheet) and I needed to pick up some prizes for my Portuguese students since we were playing Jeopardy later that week, so we headed to Target. That was followed by a visit to World Market where I naturally gravitated towards the Portuguese ceramics (but couldn’t convince him that we needed another set of dishes) before grabbing lunch at Wingstop.

Tulle skirt, black top

That night, we went to Jim’s parents’ house for dinner. They’re definitely used to my tomboy ways, so seeing me in something like this was a surprise. His mom had not just the comment of the day, but probably the comment of the week.

Quote of the Day

“You look like you’re going to the sock hop!” – Jim’s mom

Monday: Okay in Chambray

Day 2.2I got to my desk before anyone else came into the office on Monday morning, so my fashion statement hid under my desk until I had to turn around. While I’ve slowly been trying to polish my style game, this was still a big change for my coworkers. I explained to them that I was testing out trends I wasn’t comfortable with for my blog, my boss chuckled. “You’re in the wrong city.”

Yeah, Silicon Valley isn’t exactly known for being a fashion capital of the world. San Francisco maybe, if anywhere in the Bay Area is, but the two are not the same. San Francisco is a city rich in history and culture; Silicon Valley is a state of mind that cares more about what innovative (read: profitable) ideas you can bring to the table than what you’re wearing. Silicon Valley is the reason why I wear jeans and hoodies to work without being noticed but get double takes for wearing what the rest of the country would consider regular business attire.

Day 2.1

But in spite of the compliments, I felt like… a Los Gatos mommy blogger? Which I don’t mean as an insult; maybe someday I’ll level up, get married and knocked up, and chronicle my pregnancy with the #BarcelosGrows hashtag. But unless I write the next Great Portuguese American novel or win the lottery (both equally as likely), that is a lifestyle I don’t see myself affording and an aesthetic that doesn’t really suit me anyway. I looked cute but I didn’t look like myself.

Quote of the Day

You’re in the wrong city.” – My boss

Tuesday: Pretty in Professora Pink

Day 3Now that I’d tried two relatively low-key looks (because really, how low-key can you be while wearing a tulle skirt in a fairy princess blush pink?) I decided to go full feminine floral for my next attempt. I wore the floral blouse from my first Stitch Fix box to work with a pair of skinny jeans and loafers, but for Portuguese school that night, I swapped them for the skirt and another pair of floral ballet flats.

I got to Portuguese school early because I had to set up for Jeopardy… and I wanted to watch the US Quidditch Cup pool draw Livestream before class started. However, one of my students got to class half an hour early. So I had to entertain him, set up for class, freak out over the Livestream, and field his questions about my clothes.

As for the rest of the class, they were far more excited for Jeopardy than they could have possibly been about anything I decided to wear. As it should be.

Quote of the Day

“Why are you dressed like that?” – One of my students

Thursday: Ain’t Give a Damn

After going full femme, I decided that I needed to go the other way. I was meeting Gina at San Pedro Square for dinner and drinks anyway, so I followed her suggestion of wearing my Kate Beaton shirt. I paired it with a leather jacket, some sneakers, and smudgy eyeliner. I felt far more badass than I thought anyone in a tulle skirt could.

Tulle skirt, Aint Give a Damn

That being said, my boss’s comment about being in the wrong city still stuck with me. It was a Thursday night and no one else at San Pedro was dressed like me. I felt out of place when I got there, but Gina’s enthusiastic reaction to this day’s iteration of the experiment set me at ease. The plum cider that she picked out probably helped, too. (And it matched my skirt!)

Quote of the Day

“Your outfit lives up to the spirit of your shirt.” – Gina

The Verdict

By the end of the week, I was really having fun with figuring out ways and places to wear my skirt. It went from a random thing taking up space in my closet to a piece I was trying to wear every day. I nearly wore it on my flight to Florida to keep the experiment going, but I eventually went with being comfortable instead of pushing myself out of my comfort zone for another day.

Would I wear this trend again? Absolutely! There was definitely some advice I didn’t have the time to incorporate into this experiment that I’d like to follow up on. But I think I’ll stick to basic tops with this not so basic bottom. Experimenting was fun, but everything else I tried didn’t feel like me.

Day 1.1

I’m looking for more trends to try, so if you’d like to see more posts like this, let me know!


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