What I Wore to Work Today: Wed, April 27
Shirt: Goodwill, pockets removed
Skirt: Goodwill, shortened
Belt: Gift from Sarah
Two people told me that I looked quite professional this day, one of them adding that I looked like I was ready for an important business meeting. “I am a financial industry professional, after all,” I said.
I’ve started wearing these brown shoes when normally I would wear black. My usual black office slingbacks have reached the end of their natural life and are being sent to the great big shoe rack in the sky. So I’m on the market now for a new pair of comfortable, classy black office heels, and for a new purse. When I say “on the market” I mean that I looked at the falling apart pieces of my current bag, said “Oh I suppose I should get a new one”, tugged on the strap to make sure it wouldn’t break on my shoulder, and continued on my merry way. Oh, and I darkened a few of the more flagrant holes in the pleather using a Sharpie. I do have some class.
See those weird little high pockets practically at my collarbone? Removing the pockets was a simple, effective refashion.
I took a last-minute weekend trip to my small hometown in Minnesota last weekend. I wore this skirt on Saturday out for drinks catching up with a couple old friends. I wore this skirt to church on Easter Sunday. I wore this skirt to work on Tuesday. And then — and then! — I washed it.
I can’t remember the last time I sat in a pew next to my mother during a church service. She passed me the little book where people sign in if they want to note their presence. “Hm, I think I’ll mark out-of-town guest, or maybe returning visitor…” I mused.
“Or you could check the member box, you are technically a member,” she said.
“Um, actually, I was just mouthing the words during the confirmation ceremony in 9th grade, I didn’t actually say them…” I replied.
“What??” She was surprised. “You were just mouthing the words? All these years and I didn’t know…”
I went to my first-ever baseball game last month at spring training with a bunch of Cubs fans. I tried valiantly to find a Cubs shirt, flipping through every single t-shirt at two different Goodwill stores, and came up with nothing. So I did the next best thing and got myself a St. Louis Cardinals shirt. I thought it would be funny to wear the shirt of a hated rival, playing up the naive hockey fan angle: “They’re both baseball, right? And in the same division so I’m kinda close?”
When I walked into the house two separate people greeted me individually with a stare at my shirt, followed by “What a [expletive]! Get out!” So I borrowed a permanent marker to cross off the name, which was deemed acceptable. Because I’m such a Cubs fan that I’m not content cheering for my own team and instead I tear down the others? I’m going to a regular season game this weekend while the Cubs are in town and I’ll be wearing a real shirt this time.
The Easter Bunny brought my mother a set of 8 homemade cloth napkins with a tropical pattern on one side of each and a bright pattern fabric on the other side. I walked passed the primary material at Joann when I was there to buy fabric dye and I actually did a double take, back-tracking to pick up the bolt of fabric for further examination.
Why do I like this? I asked myself. What would I do with this? Why can’t I shake the feeling that my mom would like it? What would she do with two yards of gaudy tropical birds? After much puttering back and forth and even a phone call to find out if she would use a set of silly, bright cloth napkins (answer: no), I bought some of the fabric anyway. Later she sent me an email saying that she would in fact use them if they were sturdy and large enough to be practical rather than decorative, which was good because I had already started assembling them.
I have spent a non-zero number of minutes folding and refolding the napkins and just admiring them in rainbow order on my coffee table. As long as I can remember I’ve liked things ordered by color. In elementary school my sock drawer was carefully organized in rainbow order. (It was 1991, I had many slouchy socks of different colors.) Any crayons, colored pencils, and markers I’ve owned throughout the years have been re-ordered in their boxes. My closet is sorted by hue. It’s so pleasing to the mind, just look!
The various women’s magazines I’ve been reading since my early teens — Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, InStyle, Lucky, Women’s Day, O the Oprah Magazine, Family Circle, Self — often talk about how great dresses are because they’re so quick and easy and comfortable and you just throw one on and walk out the door. I always scoffed at that: it takes what, 20 seconds longer to put on a pants and a shirt? And why would a skirt ever be more comfortable than pants??
My dailywear dress collection (as opposed to formal dresses for costumes or theme parties) has increased 8-fold since last fall, from the 1 I had at the time, when I received the Mother Lode birthday package in the mail from an excellent friend. She included a short black and white dress that I was surprised to find that I really liked, and I’ve been slowly accumulating more dresses since then from Goodwill’s 50% Saturday or $1 Thursday sales. Some needed refashioning, others were wearable as-is, all worked with a thin belt and knee-high black boots. I’m interested to see if I keep wearing them into the summer when the boots no longer provide an anchor.
Oh, and the comfort factor of dresses? I’m learning about that now as I find myself uncomfortably larger than my primary pairs of office pants, and some skirts too. I need to figure out how to reverse this trend before I lose access to half my wardrobe. I think I’m on the right track: instead of having a mini banana cream pie for dessert after lunch today, I had the banana cream pie as lunch. I’m also going for a run this evening. Between these two strategies I should be back to last summer’s weight — which in retrospect was healthy, sexy, and all-around delightful — in no time at all. Right? Right??
What I Wore to Work Today: Thursday, April 14
Jacket: Goodwill, $1 Thursday
Belt: Gift from Sarah
I mixed my neutrals for this outfit, wearing a brown t-shirt and shoes, a brownish gray belt, and a black jacket. I think I’m going to take out the shoulder pads because their shape got slightly distorted when I put the jacket through the wash. The tag said dry-clean-only and I said “We’ll see about that, I paid a dollar and if it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out”. I also realized I need to take a seam ripper to two snaps right above the top button at the corner of the lapel. At first I thought the snap was there to hold it closed better when buttoned, until I couldn’t find its matching half. Both are the female sides of a snap with no matching male piece to be found. Why did someone hand-sew them on? What am I missing??
I remember when I learned that pieces for hoses and connectors and plugs are called “male” and “female”, depending on which part of the connection mechanisms they are. It struck me as surprisingly dirty, and in the years since that learning moment I’ve felt brazen when screwing the female hose piece onto the male faucet connector in the public light of day before God and everybody. Who knew that filling the mop bucket could be so titillating?
The sun is making it difficult to take pictures on my balcony in the 7:35-7:50 range, as you can see above. The sunshine is so bright that my camera bases its automatic settings on the sun and doesn’t pick up much of the relative darkness around it. I came home before going to my evening zumba class, giving me an opportunity to try again.
Welcome to a new corner of my balcony, three feet away from my usual posing wall. The morning sun has gotten out of control, making it difficult to take photos during the precise window of time I have before work. Wait until you see the next day’s Lighting Fail and you’ll understand what I mean.
The planter behind me once had four different herbs in it. Now it has dead rosemary and a basil plant that keeps trucking along even though I stopped caring for it months ago. I water it maybe every 3 weeks, if that, and it seems to be doing just as well since I moved on as it was when I was closely emotionally invested in its successes and failures. There might be a life lesson in there somewhere…
I tried again for pictures midday in better light. I had a half-day at work on Monday so I could go home and address the trails of a brutal migraine that floored me the night before. “Address” in this case means barf a little and then sleep the rest of the day. Works every time.
I don’t have a Before picture of this lightweight button-down shirt from the half-off Saturday sale at Goodwill several months ago. It was a lot bigger — I brought in the sides and shortened it. It feels very Summer ’92 to me, I’m convinced my mom and I had coordinating bright plaid blouses when I was in late elementary school. You know what could provide evidence of this idea? My childhood photo albums. You know where those albums are right now? All the way in the other room. You win this time, unsubstantiated conjecture based on vaguely formed memories, but we’ll meet again…