We're having a big Women's and Gender Studies event at the end of this month. The WGS Community Advisory Board is hosting our first annual Yes! I'm a Feminist event--a huge party and already a very successful fundraiser with tons of amazing people coming. I can't wait!
Because I'm the director of WGS, I'm going to have to look like a respectable adult at this event. In fact, I'll need to look like more than a respectable adult--I'll need to look a tiny bit upscale. And "a tiny bit upscale" means HUGE overhaul for my fashion.
Normally I wear jeans and some sort of shirt to school. Often the shirt buttons up. Sometimes it's a tshirt with a logo that's vaguely appropriate to my job (i.e. Princess Leia). I very often wear Chacos or Birkenstocks. If need be, I dress up by wearing chinos and one of two pairs of professional shoes I've owned for the last decade. In fact, both pairs of shoes I wear to conferences and public presentations are shoes I wore to my job interview at CofC. I've been here eight years.
Obviously, my work clothes aren't right for this party. How I'm going to look at the Yes! I'm a Feminist party has become a bit of a public cause. One of our WGS majors is a renowned make up artist, and she's going to do my make up for the event. One of her colleagues is doing my hair. Let's all ask ourselves: have we ever seen Alison in make up? If you didn't know me in high school, then the answer is no. I mean, really NO. I'm a tiny bit concerned that I'm going to become a Barbie head, but it also sounds kind of fun, so I'm agreeing to their very generous offer.
So, what clothes am I going to wear? Obviously black dress pants. I felt confident in that decision. But what shoes? My black professional shoes have really begun to show their age. Even I'm noticing it. So I went on Zappo's today and ordered some new black shoes. Here they are:
I showed this picture to a WGS major and a WGS alum today, and I was told that they're "fine." Not cute, not nice, not stylish--but fine. When I asked for more information, the WGS major said, "They look just like your old shoes." Which is true--that's why I liked them! She continued, "They look really early 2000s." Again, probably why I liked them.
I'm baffled by fashion. On the whole, that's the best way to put it. I don't necessarily even have opinions--the whole enterprise just confuses me. The alum showed me some shoes she might buy:
I'm not opposed to those shoes. I just don't understand them. So, they're cute apparently, but I have no means of assessing them. I suspect I'd look ridiculous in them--but maybe I'm going to look ridiculous in the other ones.
What I realized in talking with the alum and the student is that I'm not interested in looking cute (or "sooooo cute!" as Maybelle says about her own fashion). I'm not interested in having an identifiable style. I'm interested in looking appropriate. And by appropriate I mean, I want my clothes to be unnoticeable. I don't want them to stand out, because really, we've got other things to focus on.
So, as it turns out, "fine" is actually the ideal descriptor of my clothing.
This doesn't really help me determine what slightly upscale shirt I'm going to wear with my Barbie hair and make up and my 2000s-era shoes, but it's always nice to have a personal insight, even about something like fashion.