February 14, 2006

Uniforms, Fashion, and A Fond Farewell To Maternity Wear

The Pregnancy Wardrobe
Originally uploaded by Poundstone.

I’m really intrigued by the idea of normal people developing and wearing uniforms. In the movie “The Gleaners and I,” narrator (and director) Agnes Varda features a friend of hers – a man with long Santa Claus grey hair - who has worn all white for years. One couple I read about decided to wear uniforms for a year. They stored each day’s outfit – which consisted of a pair of elastic-waisted pants and a v-neck t-shirt - in clear pod-type containers mounted to the wall of their industrial-chic apartment. Sarah Neuberger of The Small Object just posted a blog entry here revealing that she makes all her own pants – which are based on a pajama pant pattern - and wears them exclusively. She has done this for 10 years. As a kid I remember reading about a soap-opera star who only had clothes in the colors black, white and red.

While I was pregnant, I had about 10 core clothing items I was wearing. And I must say, it was pretty freeing. I really enjoyed not having to think much about what I was going to wear each day. And I guess that’s the point of uniforms – that and consistency. Which I also like the idea of – that people can always count on you to look pretty much the same. It seems comforting.

I have never tried to express myself artistically through my clothing. I’ve used other outlets for that. My clothing goal has been mostly to wear stuff that made me look leaner than I ever actually expect or feel compelled to be. So that means I own an awful lot of black. A lot.

But there is a part of me that loves fashion. The idea that people can walk around looking like beautiful pieces of artwork. I think I’ve just come to accept the fact that it’s not really my cup of tea at this time in my life, and to really enjoy the fashion sense of others. And as long as I stay away from New York and Paris – the places that, having returned from them, I always feel guilty that 99% of my wardrobe comes from The Gap – I’ll be fine. (It’s crazy – I can spot Gap clothes a mile away at thrift stores. Just about everything they make fits me really well -- although I’ve been distressed by their focus on making stretchy shirts for the last few years. Pants involving stretch are my friends. T-shirts involving stretch are not.)

What’s interesting is that I may have now entered into a new fashion phase. No, I’m not going to start wearing Mom Jeans. But now, only rare occasions will call for me to wear business-y clothes. Though as my former co-workers will tell you, I hardly ever wore business-y clothes to begin with, despite the fact that my office sort of called for it. I always felt like an imposter in them. So now that that charade can be dispensed with, I can ask myself: what do I really want to wear? What do I feel good in? Maybe colors aren’t such a bad thing after all? Right now, during the transition from big ol’ pregnant body back to something resembling my pre-pregnant body (I hope), the answer is one size bigger than my regular size, and lots of hooded, pockets-hide-the-belly-area, zip-up sweatshirts. And I love them! One thing I’ll definitely be doing is purging any clothing items that the “What Not To Wear” ladies Trinny and Susannah disapprove of. They’re spot-on. And Susannah and I have very similar bodies (Though the “tummy” she always complains about looks nonexistent to me. Perhaps that says more about my tummy than hers.) Anyhoo, perhaps more thrilling adventures and ruminations in dressing myself to come. And I’ll definitely have to write about some unexpected reactions I had while dressing Sophia soon…

1 comment:

rhya said...

i totally love uniforms.
i have heard from friends who live in japan that there are tons of great uniforms to be found out and about there.