Friday, February 06, 2009

Denim, Converse and Pleather

So I asked a colleague one day, who always wears a suit to work, “Why do you bother?” The management team is in New York and we never have any in-person meetings with anybody important. Her response was, “Well, it’s the only clothes I’ve got, so it's just easier.” Only clothes I’ve got. Easier? Hmmmmm. So here I am, at the end of our conversation, imagining a long rack of woven wool and polyester, in black, tan and grey organized by color with matching shirts and shells in a long walk-in closet lined with cedar walls. (I know, my imagination goes on overdrive sometimes.)

And so I got to thinking how I would hate if suits were my daily uniform. On days that I work from home I hardly shower. While I’m supposed to maintain a corporate presence in my day job at the office, I don’t wear suits. I only wear suits when I have important meetings, or when an important manager is coming to town. I have 3 to choose from in my closet that are right now collecting dust. On a daily basis, I dress as minimally corporate as possible. Pants and button-down shirt combos. In my closet there are jeans, and lots of them. The best fitting ones, of course, which take years to track down. Every woman knows that, even if you don’t have the extra money to spend, if you come across a pair of jeans that fit right, you will go into debt to pay for them. You may even sell a kidney. And other things that are in my closet have elastic waistbands. And fleece. And cotton. A few pieces of wool for those 7 degree days, and then a shoe rack hanging on the closet door with about 10 pairs of shoes all ranging from my black converse sneakers to my pleather work shoes.

I’ve never been a fashion trendsetter, although I appreciate a really stylish outfit on someone else. But I lack the ability to make it happen for myself. I usually look at the mannequin to guide me. I am not daring at all with my clothes. And my taste seems to vary with the wind. One day I feel preppy, the next I feel punk. I can’t seem to nail down a real fashion sense that represents me. But perhaps that IS who I am. Undecided. Multiple layers. A veritable contradiction. But for the sake of not wasting money, I really do wish I could just nail down a personal image. But there’s a lot of different “people” that make up my day: the employee, the suburbanite mother, the crafter, the writer. They all seem to require a different uniform for some reason. I guess there's a part of me that feels like I can't dress the same way I dress when I go to the White Stripes concert, as when I take the kids to the park. Is this stupid?

But there was a moment in the 80s when I seemed to absolutely have my permanent personal image nailed down to be one of the characters on Miami Vice:

So....back to 2009. Of all the clothing in my closet, though, there is always the most comforting and most frequent piece of clothing worn daily as a mother, employee, crafter and writer: my thermal pants. They are my pajamas. They are my lounge pants. They are starting to fray and turn a darker shade of the grey they already are on the bottom cuffs, but I don’t care. I love them. They even have pockets for easy storage of ponytail holders, cell phones, and chapstick tubes. The ultimate favorite piece of clothing that no one outside the house sees.

Ahhhhh. Me loves the thermal pants.

What's your personal style? Or better yet, do you think you have one?


Blogger Heather said...

That photo is great!

I don't think I really have a style. It's mostly whatever fits and whatever is on clearance.


1:17 PM

Blogger Alissa said...

I'm like you: chameleon.

The weird thing is, I love to make really bright, colorful, fun, twee, retro things, but I would never wear them. They bring too much attention.

7:51 AM

Blogger Mayberry said...

My style is so totally mommyish. Jeans and sweaters in the winter, capris and t-shirts in the summer. I try to at least accessorize a little to make me feel less schlumpy.

2:22 PM


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