Many times before, I have referred to myself as vanilla ice cream. And I mean it. In a world of diverse, unique humans, I am the basic model. Sprinkles, caramel, gummy bears…you can add every topping you want but underneath it all I will always be vanilla. I suppose you could say my style is conservative with a side of dull and boring. I never grew up in a house with fashion magazines lying about or a mother that mirrored anything off of a runway unless the airport was involved. No, mom was only about being clothed and quite honestly I don’t think she ever wore anything special for holidays, boyfriends yes, but not holidays.
I suppose it all starts with how much time I give myself in the morning prior to leaving for work. I hear many women talk of getting up super early, starting their curling irons and pressing their clothes. Honestly, all I can do is chuckle. I start my alarms a full forty minutes before I absolutely have to drag myself out of bed. Now mind you, I never rise with the first alarm, it’s just a precursor to the ones that follow. I guess we could say it is the jab that comes before the knock out. So I generally give myself about forty-five minutes from get up to walking out the door. I will spare you the boring details of how I prep for a full work-day; I will just say that sleep is more valuable to me than the workweek fashion show.
So once I am cleansed and ready to dress, I meander to the closet. Often, I find piles of my clothing on the kitchen table because no one else wants to put it away. I know work clothes aren’t supposed to be in there but I look anyway. Inevitably, I find myself looking at what hangs in the closet and the bathroom. The towel rack, it has not seen a towel in ages, but it sees work clothing every day when I just do not bother to walk to the closet. I find I have three general rules to dressing myself. The first is, does it fit? I am not now and never have been the woman who likes to wear tight fitting clothing. As a matter of fact, if something even remotely feels as if it is getting smaller on me, I will deposit it into the charity bag. I figure I did not spend nine months wrapped around myself in my mother’s womb some forty odd years ago to simply grow up and develop a fetish for close-fitting fashion. I will leave the restraint business to the violent and freakish.
The second rule asks, is it clean? I just absolutely refuse to put anything on that I can tell has been worn. Now, while my hatred of laundry and love of cheap clothing has prompted me to learn how to wear certain clothing more than once before washing, it must look and smell as if I did not wear it once already. Being as that I am way beyond my teenage years, you will never see me pick up a pair of pants or shirt from the floor and put it on. I did enough of that as a kid when mother was in her depression period and just did not see fit to wash our clothing.
The third and final rule demands that my clothing match. Yes, vanilla ice cream may be complimentary to any other color but it just wants to coordinate, not fascinate the world around it. Socks, must match. If I pick out a patterned shirt and black trousers, then you can rest assured that the only thing on my feet will be black shoes. I have recently branched out to include a pair of light brown ballet flats with my navy clothing, but to me that is pretty risqué. While my shoes consist of safe, yet comfortable black and brown, period, end of story. I will not go as far as to say I am wearing my grandmother’s shoes, but these are super conservative and if penny loafers were acceptable, I would probably be looking for a penny right now. Do not get me wrong, I love to see other women really knocking fashion out of the park. And I am not talking about suits made of raw steaks or dresses made of credit cards, I mean I enjoy that well put-together woman. She looks like she walked into one end of her closet, twirled as she met with a personal assistant and came out ready to sashay into an interview for CEO.
These women seem effortless to me, while I must seem drab and undercooked to them. I watch with wonder and awe as each day, they show up in classic outfits, perfectly balanced. This is skill and expertise, something I obviously never developed. Never having been a fan of shoes worn solely for the compliments, I love to watch another woman rocking shoes I can only dream of falling in. The walk, the one that says, “Yes darling, I have it all, now watch me strut to accounting”. She has all the right compliments of color and the designer bag to match each outfit. Her closet has a sub-closet and it is filled with shoes of all shapes, sizes and heights. It’s like the 33 flavors, only in accessories made for your feet. She could wear a different pair every day for a month and I will still be over here, vanilla ice cream. But take comfort, because when I walk, I have a walk that says, “Yes darling, I got an extra ten minutes of sleep this morning, now watch me conquer this hallway in my black flats”.