Sunday, September 07, 2014

Dressing for one's fourth decade

Guest-blogging at the Dish was fun. If you're so inclined, check out my posts there, which cover the usual WWPD gamut - European anti-Semitism, shiny things, "privilege," and so on.

On a different note, clothes-shopping. Sort of. Let me start over:

I find it incredibly relaxing to look at clothes. Online or in person. I understand that there's a whole web of privilege-critique to apply to this - if I were black and thus preemptively accused of shoplifting, I might not enjoy poking around stores so much; so, too, if I didn't fit into straight-sized clothes, although that bit matters somewhat less, because I don't often actually try on any clothes. As someone whose career has been in the academia-and-writing realm, I've never had a tremendous shopping budget. If anything, I think the fact that I can't have all-the-clothes makes looking at them somewhat more interesting, but not so much so that I'd look around in a place where I truly could never, ever afford anything. (That, and little boutiques where it's just you, the salesperson, and the unaffordable clothes are not for me.) It's not that I never buy clothes - the Uniqlo receipts floating around various surfaces in my apartment suggest I do this sometimes. It's just that the looking-to-buying ratio is somewhat skewed. And I spend far too much time on the COS website for someone who's never going to buy these $100 Scandinavian minimalist dresses that would look reasonable - if on anybody - on a six-foot, broad-shouldered Scandinavian woman.

Offline clothes-browsing is not an activity easily indulged where I live. Less so, still, on a Sunday evening. But Urban Outfitters was open, so I figured, why not?

And it was a sea of... familiarity. All plaid flannel skirts and crushed velvet. Pre-ripped all-cotton jeans (the skinnies are on clearance; so last season). And then it hit me: I remembered when this was first in fashion. What an old-person thought, but there it was. What Tavi had been precociously nostalgic for a few years ago is now mainstream-hip. I guess that makes sense. (Self-promotional aside: NYMag linked to something I wrote about Tavi! Not quite the same as founding a magazine while still in utero, but it'll do.) Anyway, it occurred to me that if I can vividly remember crushed velvet dresses and Angela Chase-chic from the first time around, none of it would benefit my wardrobe.

That said. I know I should be thinking: 30s! Like those spreads in fashion mags, where they tell you how to dress for each decade, which seems so ageist when you're in your teens or 20s, but which, once you've seen yourself in clothes from 15 at twice that age, start to make sense. (There's an amazing bit about that, but as it relates to discussions of cosmetic surgery, in Roz Chast's new book.) As much as I might like the holographic oxfords I spotted on a recent looking-but-not-buying trip to a local mall, they'd do nothing for me. But what is 30s dressing, if not office attire for a corporate life I don't lead?

All that said: what do we think of these jeans, in Ultrafaded? So-very-now? Or yet another gesture in the wrong sartorial direction?


haley said...

Levi's 502 women's are 100% cotton ! And on sale right now . Check them out if you like the ll bean ones. Which I like in the ultrafaded color, I think your going in the right direction.

Phoebe said...

I've already ordered the LLBean ones (which are already sold out in many sizes/styles, I guess because this is now The Look), but with jeans ordered online, there's a 300% chance they won't fit and will need to be returned. Can't find any Levi's 502s, though - where are they on sale?