In Which You Are Made to Work Through Some Issues With Me

March 26, 2014

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When I was almost ten years old, fashion was not a part of my world; much of my clothing was hand-me-downs from my cousin and the rest came from weird, now defunct stores in the mall. There was no Old Navy or Target and no Internet. In related news, kids in rural New Hampshire were generally not a stylish bunch. It’s okay, I don’t think we knew.

For some unfathomable reason I became obsessed with one ensemble and I can still see clearly what I wanted to wear: a knee-length corduroy skirt with a kick pleat (ugly, but fine); calf-high, pleather boots in a burnt orange color (hideous, but it was the seventies); a white, really fuzzy sweater with a droopy, borderline-cowl neck (hmm); and then, nonsensically, a pin-striped button-down shirt, the classic kind with buttons on the collars, over the sweater (what?).

My mother had repeatedly rejected this combination because (I now realize) it was totally stupid, so I had thus far not made it out of the house wearing my dream outfit. I saw my opportunity when she was in the hospital, delivering my brother; when my father brought me in for a visit I had dressed myself in you-can-guess-what — and my mom was so pumped on adrenaline and so exhausted from childbirth that she didn’t even seem to notice! I took this as a sign that she had seen the outfit and realized that it was, as I’d been trying to convey, spectacular. In my mind I looked like someone on a soap opera, the ones my babysitter used to watch — sadly, that was my fashion aspiration.

As I’m writing this it seems more a story of me being stubborn and not obeying my mother (oops) but, as I was thinking about it last night, what stuck with me was my absolute conviction that everyone would understand how sophisticated this outfit was if they could just see it on me. I have no idea why I even thought of this minor episode after so many years, but I do know that I wish I had bottled some of that conviction. I could use it in my adult life.

Among other things, I’ve lately been struggling with writing. I write things, mostly blog posts, and then abandon them when they are three-quarters finished, deciding that they are boring, humorless, meaningless, or the perfect storm of all three. But blogs are not meant to be agonized over; many writers use them to test material, or as a daily writing exercise, or to quickly get down an idea that they want to pursue later. So today I decided I’m just going to post them all over the next few weeks, with the conviction that they are worthy of being published (in blog form, at least).

The funniest thing about the sweater/shirt combo and my conviction is that, ultimately, I was completely wrong: I did not look good. I may be wrong this time, too, but it’s freezing and gray and uninspiring outside (yes, still) and I have to come up with something. This is what I’ve got.

  • Kobi

    I bet you looked great in the way that totally confident people can wear anything. I have never had that ability but I did have a navy blue and white checkered skirt that I used to wake up and put on every day first thing, no matter what else I was going to wear. I don’t think they ever let me wear thee checkered skirt in public, which probably explains several of my later sartorial choices. I think I might go and get myself a checkered skirt, just to see what happens…

  • Michelle

    I wish you had a pic of you in that outfit. Love it! Michelle

  • lcarrigg

    In a way, I wish that, too. And in another way, not! HAHAHA. I didn’t even go into my home-styled haircuts. I was quite a sight.

  • lcarrigg

    Do it! DO IT!! Although, I’m not sure where you’d actually find a checkered skirt these days…are you handy with a sewing machine? :)

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