Who Wear What When

Dressing … Down?

January 27, 2009

Well, this ought to make my old man happy. I’ve been on the receiving end of more "love your shirt" comments today than I can really tally up, and all I’ve got on is my husband’s snap-front lumberjack shirt.

I dressed for the weather today; I knew I didn’t have any appointments or meetings, and the dusting of snow (not again!) told me it was going to be chilly… so I went for comfort.

It helped that I recently saw this image of my favorite fashion editor, Kate Lanphear, dressed way, way down. But also, I’ve had this conversation in my head lately about how I have two sets of clothes: work clothes and well, farmers market clothes—I’ll call them that because honestly, I feel like I am most creatively attired and really at my best — like, ready for Facehunter — on Saturdays from April to October at my local farmers market. There is just something about dressing to shop for locally grown ears of corn that I really, really love.

Of course, having two sides to one’s wardrobe just makes sense, and pulling from each is just a part of participating in the world. Being appropriate is a really key element of style, so of course I’m not going to wear my threadbare Mudhoney tee-shirt from 1989 (oh wait, that’s my husband’s, too) on a day when I’m interviewing a menswear designer. Some obvious rules aren’t meant to be broken. But there are some middle ground items that I want to be able to work into work gear and vice versa.

A recently acquired pair of wonderfully giant-sized Sears & Roebuck overalls come to mind. I love that they’re completely timeless and classic, and I love how Bananarama and/or Go-Gos they are with a couple of thick cuffs rolled onto the pant legs. And trend-wise, they hit that boyfriend jean-thing square in the jaw. This weekend I dressed them up to go to an afternoon bridal shower in West Seattle with a black silk tunic, an oversized, peachy-toned silk blazer with shoulder pads, brown ankle boots, and chunky silver hoop earrings. ‘Melanie Griffith in Working Girl meets Depression Chic?,’ I asked my in-house style consultant. He—okay, my husband—did something that wasn’t quite a nod and wasn’t quite a shrug, so I figured I had it right.

The next day, I did laundry, went to the grocery store, and made dinner in those overalls—and that Mudhoney tee. Will I wear them next week when I meet the suit designer at our photographer’s SoDo studio? Hm. Not sure. Only time will tell.

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