Saturday, July 25, 2009

A picture of loveliness

The other day I was wearing an orange dress to work. The dress is rust orange jersey and has a v-neck with a big 70's collar, and cap sleeves. It's pretty awesome. I was wearing it with a red belt and red sandals.
I'm walking home from work and this 70 year-old man stops me on the street and says, "Can I tell you something?" I say, "um, sure?" And he says, "I just wanted to say that it's so wonderful to see a lady in a nice dress! All the time nowadays you see these ladies and they have on their dungarees -- and I mean, that's ok! They can have... if they want to wear it that's fine -- but everything in moderation, that's what I say! When I see a lady with a dress, I think, now that's what I want to see. Like in the old days, they always had nice dresses. And now it seems like maybe the young ladies are wearing dresses again, and I think it's just great."
As he was wrapping it up, he said, "and YOU my dear, are a picture of loveliness!" So he won me over in the end, needless to say.
This dress is a handmedown from my mom, who had a ton of awesome clothes back in the 70's, the types of things you cannot find anymore. Fortunately for me, a lot of this stuff fits me now, and since she has no plans to wear these things again I basically have free reign over anything from this era that I find in our closets at home.
I went a little crazy with this for a while, supplementing the handmedowns with stuff from thrift stores, the majority of which was made of 100% polyester and had prints that usually combined geometric shapes and floral patterns. I still have an impressive collection, which, if I sold it online, could probably buy me a pretty new computer with a nice big monitor or an impressively sized tattoo. But I should probably just cash it in for a new wardrobe, because the fact is that I cannot wear any of those things when I am actually going anywhere to do anything that is not totally climate controlled. 100% polyester is not suitable for supporting life. And as much as I hate to admit it, my wild and crazy days when I could wear whatever the fuck I wanted with no consequences are rapidly drawing to a close, causing me to rebel in more subtle and work-appropriate ways. Which makes the impressively sized tattoo (peeking out from under a v-neck sweater or pencil skirt) a little more appealing than a day at Macy's.
What's stopping me from selling it all is that I'm still basically the same person as I was, and so these objects have burrowed into my psyche and made themselves nice and comfy. It's hard to kick them out now. To sell the evidence of my teenage existence and to use the money for something so mundane as department store clothes.
But when I finally get my degree, this will be a rite of passage for me that should not go uncelebrated. I've worked for five-plus years on my own, taking care of myself, and I'm finally almost done. This is something I have to think about.

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