Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dress Up

What we wear is so much a part of who we are. Isn't it? We would prefer that people looked beyond our 'rags' I'm sure. But they don't. As I type this I am sitting here in white tennis shorts and a white polo (purchased on the cheap at Costco). It is possible I stink a bit since the dried sweat is now ready to give off that metallic smell. I played tennis, finished eight hours ago and haven't changed or showered.

I still remember the first polo shirt I ever owned. It may have been the first knit shirt I owned. The first thing that wasn't sewn by my mother or grandmother. We got it at some discount store, a one-off precursor of the big box discounters of today. I remember standing in the yard of our house, wearing it. It was windy. I was enjoying wearing that polo so much. I wanted a bunch of them.

I always loved jeans. Bear in mind that I went to school for 15 and 1/2 years where pants were verboten for girls. (Worked a couple of years in business after college where the dress code forbade pants, too.) But I loved pants. And tailored blazers. I still do. I don't remember when I last wore a skirt. It was very possibly in 2002 when I was faced with the third or fourth funeral service in a few weeks time and had run out black outfits. I trotted out a black skirt which I still own. The jacket that matches it is probably due a replacement but that skirt probably hasn't been worn since. Oh, wait! No...the last time I wore a skirt was probably after that. Someone invited us to a 'white tie and ball gowns' party. No, I didn't wear a ball gown. I wore a long velvet skirt and a velvet top to sort of look like a gown.

These days I have a few basic modes of dress and with these I try to get by in the situations polite society presents. If an event is really casual I will wear jeans (a loose fit Levis Men's style that happens to fit off the shelf) and a long or short sleeved button-up blouse depending on the season. I might wear a blazer, windbreaker or leather jacket if it's chilly. Sweaters, too, when appropriate. (Which is hardly ever in Austin but I do travel elsewhere.) I will wear hiking boots, tennis shoes or loafers to fit the occasion. To be a little dressier I'll choose the black-wash jeans and loafers. If I'm just hiking around, I might wear a polo with the jeans.

If an event is a little dressier I will wear a suit with pants or slacks and blazer with a button-up blouse. Maybe a covered placket blouse or some pleats to fancy it up. Maybe even, choke, a piece of jewelry or a scarf. I wear my nicest flats. I can still walk a couple of miles in them. I have one pair of lace up black and cordovan spectators I sometimes wear, too.

For black tie I wear tuxedo pants and a top with a bit of spangle or maybe really wear a tuxedo (coat, too). I have a silver turtle neck, various sparkly tops, vests, tuxedo shirts. I wear a pair pf flat 'tuxedo' pumps There are Cole Haans as are most of flats and loafers. A few of my shoes are Ballys, though.

For tennis or the gym, I wear something from a small collection of shorts, polos, sweats.

And that's it.

I enjoy wearing jeans or slacks and blazers. I enjoy having pockets. My blazers or suits are either custom-made, expensive women's wear or men's wear tailored to fit. All have pockets.

I feel sorry for women who are forced to wear certain clothing. I feel sorry for women who feel they have to wear high heels or short dresses or ball gowns. It's hard to know who is really wearing what pleases them. I empathize with men who want to wear women's wear. I understand that one just wants the clothing they want. But me? Most of the time, now, I am happy with my clothes and I also manage not to offend those around me. I hope anyway.

And I mostly get by with my sartorial choices, too. A black blazer covers a multitude of sins. So to speak.

[Photo: SoCo boutique. Me and FFP.]

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