Thursday, September 6, 2018

You Are What You Wear

I paired the butterfly skirt with a t-shirt that reads “Take what you need and burn the rest.” In all the years I’ve owned that butterfly skirt, I’ve never had a perfectly-matching top for it. The material is flowy and satiny with a slender lining underneath. It’s a “work skirt” I’ve had since we lived up in the Upstate and it’s hung, unworn, for years.

This summer my style became work skirts and t-shirts. I wore the Miyagi-Do Karate t-shirt with a dark blue miniskirt. The Save Ferris t-shirt with a black skirt that has grey flowers on it. My Maine t-shirt with the green Tommy Hilfiger skirt. My First Amendment shirt with the white Tommy skirt.

I wrap both wrists in bracelets. I wear earrings in all five holes. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t. I let the Jeep dry my hair and push styling paste through it whenever I arrive where I’m meant to be.

I’m 41 years old and my style has emerged as authentic, a little eccentric, and vintage.

I’ve been telling Hollie for years that if what she chooses to wear is weather appropriate and makes her feel confident, then it’s fine. She pairs red shirts with pink skirts and blue socks with purple leggings. She works in color families, more than in matching sets. Once, when she was wearing all read (shirt, skirt, pants, socks), my friend Jodie said she hadn’t realized Hollie was monochromatic. She’s always had a color palette style, things that don’t clash really, they just aren’t a perfect match. It’s that slightly off-match that defines her style.

Yesterday I wore my Goonies t-shirt with suit pants. It was the first time I had the guts to do it, but I thought it looked really cool. Celebrities do it. Why not me?

In Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr.’s character pairs a kitten t-shirt with a blazer. It’s an eccentric millionaire look. The kind of My Give a Damn’s Broken look that exudes confidence. I just had to own it.

After about an hour, I’d forgotten I was wearing it and just owned it. The t-shirt with trousers look may take a little longer to gain confidence, but I’m going to work on it because it’s unique. Weather appropriate and makes me feel confident, that’s what matters.

In many circumstances, I’m expected to don the business woman uniform: trousers and a blouse. When I worked 8-to-5 for a big company, I wore skirts every day. High heeled shoes and Kay Jewelers jewelry. While my make-up has always been sparse, I worked my hair between coloring appointments. Painstakingly blow-drying every strand.

Maybe I’m just older. Maybe society has changed. Maybe being a mom had made me less patient with things like hair dryers and jewelry clasps.

Or maybe I’ve always been a skater. 

Thrasher Magazine pictures used to paper my walls, my favorite t-shirt was a ripped G&S black and white oversized. At Clemson, I wore a black body suit with a pair of my friend Josh’s jeans and an unbuttoned flannel shirt. I’ve always had a little rebel style, I just suppressed it.

And this summer, I finally unleashed it. It’s not like having a hysterectomy or selling the house, there’s nothing permanent about a wardrobe. But it still feels like a milestone. Like I’ve emerged from the cocoon and started to flap my wings.

And they’re gold and gossamer and pair nicely with a slim pencil skirt.

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