I’m going to a conference next week. As is my wont when I have a business event coming up, I carefully get all my ducks in a row: First I book my travel, then I organize the calendar to make sure the kids are covered while I’m away, next I make a hair appointment (lest you think I’m terribly girly, it’s generally only because I have 3+ inches of gray roots which need to be beaten into submission), and finally I commence freaking out about my clothes.
Sometimes I sort of want to punch myself in the face. That feeling generally comes on right after I either think or actually say, “I have nothing to wear.”
It is simultaneously aggravating and delightful to me that I work from home and only have to dress up a few times a year; on the one hand, I enjoy spending 95% of my life dressing like the sloth I am, and on the other, I really do kind of dig dressing up in my nicer clothes now and then. And heaven knows I love an excuse to shop. But lately I’m feeling like this just isn’t going the way it’s supposed to, dammit.
For one thing, I DO have a stable of business-ready clothing, albeit a small one. As my business appearances increase I am beginning to realize that many of my staple items have been worn to several events already, and I find myself wondering if it’s gauche to, say, wear the same top (which I love) next week which I wore on The Today Show two and a half years ago. It’s not even that I think someone’s going to see me and be all DIDN’T YOU WEAR THAT BEFORE?, because it seems really unlikely to me that I will run into ANYONE pretty much EVER who’s committed that clip to memory, but I still feel like there are reasons not to. Like, that I will likely be filmed again next week, and then when I put stuff on my clips page, THEN someone might watch the two clips in a row and think to themselves, “Poor Mir. She apparently only owns one blouse.”
Also, I somewhat strongly suspect that amongst women much girlier than I (read: almost all of them) there’s this weird unwritten rule about how we’re supposed to always have new clothes for business/fancy occasions. Like, I am probably being kicked out of the Appropriate Girls Club for even ADMITTING that I still have a top I wore two and a half years ago. OH NO!
Okay. That foolishness aside, let’s say I’m willing to put in a little time and energy to buy something new. Because I am. I’ve been shopping around a bit, and can I just tell you how excited I am that sweater dresses seem to be making a comeback? The conference I’m headed to is in Chicago, which—I don’t know if you know this—is Someplace Cold. Sweater dresses are basically society-sanctioned fuzzy nightgowns, both warm and comfy while still giving the appearance of giving a crap about what you’re wearing. (I am referring here, of course, to ones that are well-made and fit properly. I do not sanction the shapeless, droopy sweater dress on anyone.)
So I figure, a new sweater dress, a pair of tights, my nice boots… bam, I’m done.
Except. Look; I already own a lot of things in black. And a few things in brown. And some navy, and increasingly I’m enjoying gray as a neutral. These are all good and fine as clothing colors. But I’ve got all my neutral staples now, thanks, and I would like to buy something in a COLOR. I am not going to a FUNERAL. Colors tend to make people look nice and as if they have the will to live.
GUESS what my options have been, as I’ve shopped.
If I want a sweater dress, I can have one in black. If I’m willing to really work at it, I can also find one in brown. At the third store I tried, they also have one in gray. Now, there’s an argument to be made that I can go with the neutral of my choice and then punch things up with colored accessories, sure, but I already own a closetful of neutral-colored items. When did clothing for women in actual colors become passe? Was there an official announcement? DID I MISS IT?
I like blue. And teal. And purple, which is supposedly “back” this season, and by “back” they apparently mean “present in select accessories.” I do not like animal prints (except on shoes or other accessories) and I certainly don’t want anything that looks like a clown puked on it. I’m not asking for kaleidoscopic rainbow wonders, here. Just a few more options, really, is all I’m after.
In the meantime, my name is Mir, and I am still wearing quite a few pieces of clothing I purchased years ago. Mostly because many of them are my very favorite color—NOT BLACK.