My Uniform

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-10-24-25-amI’m getting dressed for work and realize that I’ve had this suit since George W. Bush was president. It’s clean and fits, but I have a sneaking suspicion the lapels might be the wrong width. No matter. I select a shirt and a scarf. I think I’ve had the scarf since before the kids were born. Hmm. I guess this is why I can watch a TV show set in the 90’s and the fashion looks completely normal to me.

I’ve maintained a pretty conservative wardrobe most of my working life, at first trying to look like I knew what I was doing, or at least like someone who shouldn’t be laughed at. I became comfortable in skirted suits with jackets and pockets. It took years before pants became part of the uniform, and even longer to get comfortable with “casual Friday”. And throughout, I’ve had the vain hope that if I bought just the right things, I’d never have to go shopping again. A magical wardrobe where all the pieces mix and match, making an endless variety of outfits. Of course, the “variety” in the many black and gray pieces may only be detectable to me.

Occasionally, I think, should my clothes make a statement? And then I find an article that assures me your clothes shouldn’t be more memorable than you are. A consistent color palette makes it somewhat easier to make decisions each morning, but I’ve learned not to get dressed in the dark. Once during a job interview, I glanced at my feet and realized my left shoe was black and my right shoe was navy. I felt like fashion klaxons must be going off, but nobody noticed.

My mom has always said that the most important thing about clothes is how they fit. If the newest style doesn’t look good on you – too tight here, too loose there – don’t wear it. This approach means I cannot be in denial about my physical features, and there are some entire years when there is nothing in the store I can buy. So when a new season brings something that fits me, I’m tempted to buy it in every color – well, every color within reason.

Maybe my clothes aren’t exciting, but I look like me. I’m comfortable, and I can climb the stairs, or crouch under my desk to reach a pen without popping a seam. My husband used to joke about wishing he could wear an coverall jumpsuit to work. Just step in and zip it up and you’re ready to go. Sounds great. I wonder who I can get to sew those long zippers into all my suits?

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