Monday, August 10, 2015


There was a time when I enjoyed buying clothes, and was good at it, and did it regularly enough that I was always well-dressed. Or maybe there wasn't. Like all golden ages, this is some mix of a conflation of several eras that really did exist, and a rose-colored revisionist history of that which really took place. 

But some time in my life, after the middle-school era of going to stores with friends who had unlimited shopping budgets, but before the time when "shopping" meant getting in the car for an hour, only to arrive at whichever NJ mall and think only of how to get to the closest Asian supermarket, sometime in that window, things were otherwise. If I had to really pin it down, it was this one semester of grad school, the one where I wore pencil skirts and heels, heels purchased at a chic (French?) store on 7th Avenue in Chelsea. I dressed like this because I was both teaching and taking classes, and was still at the age where you're supposed to dress in a way that identifies you as not-an-undergrad. It was around the time whichever French department peer pressure - or just peer learn-by-example - regarding put-together-ness had clicked, and I stopped expecting shapeless gray v-neck t-shirts to really pull together a look. 

I know I do this periodically, but here goes: I'm going to try. I know that DGAF, as the kids say, is the height of chic as attitudes go, and goes really well with those Adidas Superstar sneakers that have, mysteriously, become to the adult world what Sambas were to my fourth grade class. But I GAF. On some level. Despite the gray t-shirt collection, and other sartorial choices inspired by my thinking of how great whichever gray sweatshirt and black jeans-type combo would look on Stop It Right Now blogger Jayne Min. (Should just put a post-it on the mirror: You are not, and in no way resemble, Jayne Min.)

There's the non-trying that's noble, feminist, frugal, intentional. That's about embrace-your-natural-whatever. Then there's the sort that comes from a place of why-bother. It's not the same as the (diagnosable) why-bother that leads to things like not bathing, but it might be enough to merit an intervention at the Stacey and Clinton level. In an attempt to avoid that fate (is that show even still on? and would they cross the border?), I've taken two small but significant steps in the right direction. Am I currently, at this very moment, wearing a gray t-shirt and jeans? That may be, but once the rain stops and the skirt's been hemmed, it is on.

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