In 1998, I graduated from a university program and as a gift, my parents gave me money to buy myself new clothes, but with the stipulation that they be Work Clothes. I was to "stop wearing jeans and sweaters' and prepare for a real career. I bought two skirts, a jacket, a pair of dress pants, and probably a blouse or two. I still own and wear one of the skirts.
Today, I put on a pair of jeans, my Ithaca Rutabaga Curl teeshirt, a black blazer, my green agate earrings, a fleur de lys necklace and my purple velvet sneakers and I went to work -- to say farewell.
And someone -- admiringly, I hope -- told me I looked hipper than ever.
I chose my clothes with care today, to make a really personal, if silent, statement. You know all those "when i am an old woman I shall wear purple' poems. Well, I'm not old and the only purple was the aforementioned shoes, but it's kind of like that.
I know that there are many, many people who need to wear a uniform to work, who have no choice about what they wear. This post is not aimed at them in any way.
But in bidding farewell to working in this office, I was also saying no to unnecessarily high heels, uncomfortably structured suits, depersonalized fashion -- which is kind of its own uniform -- and yes to just being me, weird teeshirt and all.
I'm really grateful to have this luxury. I'm grateful that an English degree ended up not being utterly useless. I'm grateful to have the luxury of not working in the salt mines of marketing. I'm grateful for texture and comfort and colour and design and secondhand stores and sale racks and Etsy and even skirts that my mother bought for me -- whether she imagined them paired with a rutabaga or not.