Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I wore polka dots today

...and felt like an idiot. Why? I think polka dots are adorable. They are playful and happy and youthful which are traits I value. And the outfit I had on was classy and cute. So why did I feel anxious that someone might pop over unexpectedly and see my polka dots? I'm not sure, but I changed rather than further contemplate the issue.

I think that maybe polka dots aren't me. Whatever that means. Like all women, I have a closet full of clothes that I never wear. Truthfully, my closet is a schizophrenic mixed bag pining for psychiatric intervention. I must've worn these styles at one time, but I guess I've changed. Or, more likely, they were never me. I just didn't know it, because I was adept at changing me to be a part of the crowd du jour.

I don't think men are this way. A couple years ago, a friend and I took a getaway to Mexico for a few days. We hung out under a big beach umbrella, two pale obviously-American chubbies in a sea of gorgeous foreigners. The women were thin, tanned, and beautiful, but they couldn't hold a candle to the men. Unbelievably fit, glistening brown skin, boy shorts. At once holding a cigarette and a partner's perky breast, we couldn't stop staring at the men.

When the couples eventually got up and dressed, the guys wore capri pants, silky dark shirts, and closed-toe leather sandals. But even through my drool I knew that, were I given the chance, I probably wouldn't date any one of them. Seriously! They were not my type.

As pretty as the beach boys were, my type of guy doesn't spend much time thinking about his hair and wardrobe. A makeover is buying his favorite shirt in another color. I've never succeeded in slipping Bruni Maglis over his tennis shoes, nor a man purse over his shoulder. Even the plain front/pleated front battle can rage for days, so sartorial transformation has never been in the cards. Men know what they are comfortable wearing, and are usually unwilling to indulge our female fantasies. Truly, I wouldn't want it any other way.

If men can stay true to form, why do women's closets suffer from bipolar disorder? Are we multifaceted and complex, or are we being unduly influenced the expectations of our mates, the opinions of our friends, and the daily media mind fuck?

Though my closet doesn't reflect it yet, my chameleon days are over. I am newly unapologetic about my hairstyle, my yoga pants, and my Doc Martens. When I dress up I usually wear black from head to toe. I don't show a lot of skin, and hide my few curves. I wear simple earrings, no other jewelry. I no longer worry about fashion trends, because I refuse to be trendy.

My manner of dress is merely an outward manifestation of the natural, unadorned, athletic, private girl that I am. I cover my body in such a way that I'm not constantly mindful of the fact that I'm wearing something. Something that feels foreign and awkward. Like polka dots.


Jay said...

Well, there you go! Your clothes are a reflection of your personality. It doesn't explain why men's taste in clothes doesn't seem to change, but it does explain why ours evolves, I think. Maybe it's simply that men don't dress to impress us, but we can't resist dressing to tempt them? Even after thirty odd years ...

Looking through my wardrobe, I'm just glad I got rid of all that old junk which made me look like my mother, and the cringe-making stuff which was too young for me.

suesun said...

great post, as always.....

At least you weren't (I hope!) wearing one of those hats to complement your dots!

I think it's perfectly acceptable for a woman to have a multiple-personality disorder closet. We change. We have different moods. We have different places to go. I decreed last summer to be "the summer of the miniskirt" and wore them every day, because I had some pretty horrific varicose veins removed earlier that year and had nice legs for the first time in about 8 years. It was great! And I didn't give a rat's ass if anyone thought it strange that a 40-year old woman was traipsing around in short colorful skirts.

The important thing, as you said, is to be comfortable in what we choose. I was wearing minis merely because it MADE ME HAPPY! Life's too short to wear boring clothes and/or clothes that make you look like your mother and/or clothes that you are wearing for somebody else and not yourself.