Outfits

What Were You Wearing?

“She leaves a little bit of sparkle wherever she goes.” -  Kate Spade

I bought this silver jacket recently for the chilly days in the Bay Area where I’ve recently relocated, and it sheds little bits of metallic silver fabric wherever I go- on my face and hair, on my boyfriend, on the couch. I call it my Bowie jacket. It reminds me of those silver ankle boots I had in 4th grade, a trendsetter early on. Classic in their 80’s extremism, obnoxious, garish, and so perfect for me. I coveted the boots, and yet I had trouble wearing them... the sad pull to conform was strong even then. Like the boots, I’ve always felt over the top (more on that later).

During a recent dinner conversation in the city with my boyfriend Casey and dear college friend Alex I realize that one of the key things I remember about encounters is what we are wearing. It becomes a joke that Casey riffs off of throughout the night as I tell various stories- “but what were you wearing?”

I remember what he was wearing when we first met on a crisp Sunday morning last December. A red and yellow (
cardinal and gold, I am later corrected) Iowa State pullover that reminds me of McDonald’s color palette, and an orange backwards fitted hat. Pretty casual first date attire, I observed as I spotted him leaning against the far wall at Peet’s coffee in Oakland. I definitely fussed more over my outfit. We were going hiking so I needed to be functional but also sharp and at my best because, hello, this was a first date! And getting up, ready and out the door to meet someone at 10:00am was already a bit of a stretch.

So per my usual M.O. I tried on various options the day before and settled on knit black yoga pants, a fitted moss green North Face fleece, and bright blue Saucony sneakers. I would have to charm him with my dazzling personality since there wasn’t much more I could do in this department! We had a lovely day walking around a farmer’s market with our coffees, trying persimmon for the first time and attempting to explain what we did for a living. We got a little lost in the woods on a long hike and had sushi for lunch afterwards, a first for me, though I ordered the only baked and cheese-covered item on the menu.

On our second date to the California Academy of Sciences I wore jeans and a blouse with hearts, a subliminal message perhaps. We saw reindeer and butterflies, and he put his arms around me on the windy sidewalk, laughing while waiting for our millionth Uber. We ate tapas and took in a stand up comedy show, where we were skewered most of the night (mostly him) for sitting front and center. He took it in stride and earned my respect. We rode the train together for a while, not wanting the night to end, least of all not in public in front of strangers on a train. His stop arrived too quickly and he abruptly jumped off, giving me a very sudden peck on the lips. He followed up later to say that the kiss was “weak sauce” and he would make up for it next time.

By the third date Casey had stepped up his game and was wearing a purple button down and a tie. It was supposed to take place on New Year’s Eve but he came down with a stomach bug and we rainchecked for later in January. I had carefully selected a funky new currant colored top and a gold and rhinestone circle-shaped geometric statement necklace, which I was determined still to wear, damnit. We had a lovely dinner at Skates On the Bay, and in the downpour outside under my green plastic umbrella we rectified the previous weak sauce kiss.

Thinking back on what we wore helps me relive the feel of those ephemeral moments, the increasing swell and stakes. Little markers to help me tap into the back and forth, the magnetic energy exchange. Out for a movie on date four, Casey broke out polished black loafers with dark jeans and a sweater and I was suitably impressed. It somehow conveyed to me that he Got it, understood how to show up and navigate our tender new waters with aplomb. We had the first of the “what are you looking for” conversations that night and began real talk about where life had respectively carried us, to arrive here and now at this present moment.

For date five I was ecstatic when he arrived with a colorful, Marimekko-inspired bunch of flowers, that we unfortunately had to give away to our dinner party hosts. I wore a short black A-line dress with a v-neck and flecks of color throughout the design, and he had on a striped wool sweater in the vein of Mark Cohen’s character from Rent and light khakis. After dinner we retired to the living room around a piano and sang for hours with friends, the air vibrating with magic.

That is the last I remember of what we wore. By now we were both all in, and it was time to make room for the new adventures that lay ahead. What we wore became less important to how we were, together.


lists and notes, that's me!

I LOVE lists and list making. Been doing it all my life as far as I can remember. I have notebooks upon notebooks and piles of lists. In working on tidying up the clothing area this week, I came across this notebook- #nerdalert! I took the time to create all these labels and sections, in the hopes I could get a handle on my stock and help me know what to wear more easily. It makes me feel good to make these lists (and as I go through this process, I'm tempted to do it again!) but the thing is I don't look back at them... so they aren't a whole lot of help. Happy (This notebook had 2 entries, one from 2011- I have none of the clothes listed there now!, and early 2015).

I think what I probably need to do is a look book with Polaroid snapshots of my outfits in a visible place. I put things together when I'm organizing and have time to experiment, and want to remember to do certain things (none of which I can do when I'm in a hurry getting dressed daily).

I don't do so great with things tucked away in a drawer. It has taken me a while to learn this, first via a quiz in Real Simple magazine about left brained and right brained storage, and I'm totally a have-everything-out-on-display kind of person (with a flair for list making, which forays into left brain territory- I had 9 things right brained on quiz and 4 left- this also aligns with what I know about my MBTI Laugh). My Mom on the other hand, is totally a put-everything-away-in-a-drawer person. Once I figured this out it was easy to get my storage solutions and I love them all. See previous post on jewelry displays. So for now, I'm moving on from you outfit notebook, and saying thanks to you also, for helping me refine the best vehicle for my ideas!

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