Sunday, January 25, 2009

Leopard print tunics to tulle skirts

Dear Belle,

My extremely tardy response makes forgiving your arguable ball-dropping completely necessary---not that there was anything to forgive! Your poor hands are to be well-treated, even if that means a reduction in blogging. I was just playing catchup from the inauguration madness and whiling away the hours in good IRL company instead of writing.

Fashion, however, is plenty inspiring. Unlike some, I actually care about the messages I send with my choices in clothing (at least most of the time, and when I don't, it's a conscious choice to disregard, not scorn for the idea of conveying messages through dressing).

When I was in school . . . homemade clothes, oh yes. My double knit interchangeable ensemble in purple, purple leopard print, pink, and white leopard print (tunics, belts, and leggings!) was something to behold, I'm sure. I too rocked the Keds: white leather ones, which I diligently re-polished with the same stuff my mom had for her nursing shoes. There were also several shirts with puffy paint (Girl Scout projects, mostly) and some with pictures of horses that my frustrated painter aunt made on the weekends. It took eighth grade and the new Contempo Casuals in the mall to break me of these sartorial habits. I immediately adopted a quasi-goth look revolving around black stockings, Doc Martens, and miniskirts, which took me through high school and faded out only after I moved to California and chopped off my waist-length hair.

Even though I'm not the most stylish (or the least), and even though I'm older and stodgier now, I still am skeptical of the whole school uniform trend. Young people forming their own identities need room for individuation in expression. Sure, there are other ways to express yourself, but getting it out of your system by wearing something to school and finding your tribe is better than actually having to find a crowd to run with outside of school. There's only so much time for you to really go wild with experimenting with your appearance. I am still a little sad that I never dyed my hair blue. (Probably not office-appropriate at this point.)

Even working in a firm, I draw the line at the whole "older women must wear ___" bit, though. If you can rock the young styles, who cares how old you are? I had a makeover some time ago, but I've thrown out most of the advice from it, mostly because it wasn't me, and I don't like speaking with a different, blonder voice. At present I stick to cashmere sweaters with either trousers or pencil skirts with tall boots. Once summer comes, I will revert to my usual cool and pretty dress + cardi or blazer.

I didn't go to any of the inaugural balls, alas, but did get this lovely party dress for future evening occasions. It does break my new guideline for clothes, namely that I play up my callipygian qualities, but it was just too kicky and fun to resist, and I had just come off an all-nighter at work and wanted to treat myself. There will almost certainly be an evening wedding or something, and if not I will consider it economic stimulus.

Made anything tasty lately? I'm gearing up for another party and am looking for new recipes to go with old favorites. The more I cook, the more Texas brisket will be left for me.

Amber

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