Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Clothes make the (wo)man

So we have dress-down Mondays at my school. It's a morale booster for staff and students. This past Monday the teacher across the hall from me noticed my flannel shirt, jeans and work boots. "That's you," she said. "That's your personality."
"How'd you know?" I asked.
"It's just you."
And she was right. It blew my mind that the two or three times I've worn flannel, jeans and workboots, she has said something similar. The truth is, if I had an Angie uniform, that would be it. When I wear that threesome, I feel able to meet any challenge. These have been my favorite, most frequent non-professional clothing items since my early twenties.
I'd love one in every color!

Maybe they fit me best because I'm a do-er: I garden, cook, write on benches and porch steps. Flannel and denim wash well, and it doesn't matter if I stain them. They still look and feel perfect (to me). It's sort of like the saying, when you have comfortable shoes, you forget you have feet.

Wearing this uniform makes the issue of clothing disappear because clothes say things about us-- androgynous, earth mother, nerd, soccer mom, glamour girl, preppie, whatever. If a label fits, we probably feel most comfortable when we're in this outer skin (clothing). When we wear  these things, we never wish we'd worn something else. We have that extra smidgeon of energy freed up to focus on whatever we're up to.

I don't know how or why this happens.

Maybe I'm more "myself" in flannel and jeans because my happiest, free-est childhood days were spent with my grandparents in the South. I wore a great deal of flannel back then, as did my grandfather who was definitely more like a dad than a granddad. Those were the days before they both died and I moved permanently back to New York, before abandonment issues became a running theme in my life. Maybe flannel and denim represent a simpler time-- before pain and fear colored the steps I took and the expectations I had about the world.

So in this society of rapidly-changing fashion statements: what's in, out, lame, hot, etc. I say find your uniform-- the things that not only make you feel good, but also represent "you" at your core. Wear it every chance you get, in as many variations as you can come up with. I plan to, because when I do, it's like a kid putting on the Superman cape.

So what's your uniform?

Check this out: This Sunday Cliff Bellamy wrote a great review about Salt in the Sugar Bowl for the "Books and More" section of the Durham Herald-Sun! 

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