I will never forget another unfortunate outfit that my roommate and dear friend told me I couldn't leave the apartment in because it was bordering on "too costumey". I can only imagine the times in my 20's that I left the apartment with no one to stop me. And yet, let's be real; the only thing separating a mid-20's and mid-30's me is perhaps budget. This particular sartorial bent of mine was actually quite helpful when donating costume pieces to a production of Carmen years ago. I had more gypsy skirts than any one person should own and the opera company reaped these benefits.
What I think I look like
What I actually probably look like
Recently, a co-worker told me on a casual Friday; "Katrina, you look like Stevie Nicks today. And that's a compliment!" Actually, I'm totally cool with that comparison.
My current state of motherhood presents fashion problems all their own because it exacerbates every extreme of my wardrobe. I now face risking not only the homeless look, in flowing garments from head to toe, but in keeping my professional wardrobe updated for my office job and for performances I attend, my casual weekend outerwear has become last priority. This means that on certain days of New England weather, I take my daughter to the playground in my only lightweight jacket, which has a leather belt and faux fur trim at the collar. The day I realized I was wearing this with rhinestone earrings and all the other mothers were wearing Patagonia puffers, I felt like one of those assholes on the Housewives shows. Don't get me wrong; I felt comfortable and all but it was as though I had a mission to bring a slice of plastic Jersey to the playground. (I am never that meticulously manicured of course. Ain't nobody got time for that). The truth is that my over-formality in cases like these is both genetic and learned behavior.
I used to laugh at my mother for never wearing or even owning a pair of jeans, and now I fully admit that every weekend, I just want to put on a casual "schmata" as my Jewish friends would say- a rag of a dress to throw on- instead of a pair of those leg prisons the rest of the world knows as casual weekend wear. It's summer for crying out loud. Who's idea was it to make jeans a year-long thing? Also, all the cool jeans these days are "mom jeans", which are sort of updated takes on the high-waisted looks of the 80's and early 90's. I fear this would be all too real on me and I would actually look too much like the ignorant women they jab at in that SNL sketch. And though shorts have come back in vogue in the past few years, it is very tough to find a pair that doesn't ride up on one side and give me an asymmetrical crotch full of short. Don't even get me started on the whole romper trend. I have a long torso, a large bust, the tiniest shoulders known to man, and a c section incision lump to hide, so finding one garment with actual pants attached that fits all my bizarre requirements could take literal years. And for what? I then have to strip naked in a public bathroom stall for the approximately dozen times a day I have to use the toilet? No thanks.
Then there's that waist cut-out, spaghetti strap trend that seems to have just come into style at the point in my life when it would be most impossible for me to wear. Despite my Bohemian look, I have never been the type who could go bra-less in public without public censure, but I think after nursing an infant, with those wait cut-outs, that if I attempted it, I might actually get arrested.
So, I'm marking my calendar. Age 35 is officially when I seem to have lost touch. I lost touch a long time ago as far as music is concerned. If I happen to listen to something actually written in this century, it is inevitably before the year 2004. My friends always joke at our parties that I seem to have heard that Outkast album and thought "nothing can top this" and haven't looked back since. But it seems that having a young child further freezes the mind and now it is with regard to fashion. The intern at work was showing a few of us what people wear out to clubs in L.A., where she is attending college, and I was like; "Oh no, that's underwear. A dance leotard at best." I emerge from my house and I have so many other questions:
1. When did dying one's hair pink stop being edgy and start becoming mainstream? Don't get me wrong; I love it, but it's still not appropriate for my day job.
2. Are we really continuing to take the return of the bodysuit with the snap-crotch trend seriously? I thought onesies were for my toddler.
3. Prairie Chic. I thought I made up this term, but when I google it, actual images come up. I have been so confused lately when I see groups of teens on the train platform dressed up like slutty Laura Ingalls Wilders.
On the shelves of Urban Outfitters right now
5. What's with all the unicorns? I mean, really, they're everywhere.
I remember my mom saying that she always thought her cousins looked very sophisticated dressed in black and brown but that she and my grandma did better in pastels so "We always show up to family parties donned like heliotrope flowers". But as the kids say these days: "You do you."
Photo by Leah LaRiccia Photography
Photo by my dad