I can make an impression. I just don’t always make a good one, but it never fails, I always have an audience when things go badly for me…on any level. Today, I had a really, really big audience to several really trying wardrobe problems.
I’m kind of a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I own maybe 4 pairs of shoes altogether, and my cowboy boots. I’m definitely no Imelda
Marcos. I almost never wear any of them but the boots. I don’t often wear jewelry or make-up, and because I have long hair that is really curly, I have been known to not even brush it before heading out the door. It isn’t that I’m not clean and neat looking. I am. I just don’t like the way makeup feels on my face, and I own almost no jewelry. Usually, bracelets and rings get in my way when I’m typing, and since my Star of David necklace broke, I haven’t really found one I like as much. So, I dress for comfort. I like to think of myself as kind of an earthy, natural kind of girl.
My mom used to call it just being lazy.
When she was young, she wouldn’t be caught dead without makeup in place and her hair made up just so. She was one beautiful, elegant, graceful woman. And my dressing habits always horrified her, not to mention that I am about as graceful as a cow, and I’m prone to make jokes when I’m nervous, which she also found a bit unsettling. I miss seeing that shocked look on her face. I’ll bet she secretly thought I’d been switched with her real child at birth!
Today, the company that I work for set up a booth at a job fair that was being held for Veterans. We were pretty excited about this since it was our first time, and we’ve been all a-flutter with preparations. And I, in rare form, wanted to look professional. Ask anyone who has ever worked with me, I’m a pretty good employee except I hate dressing up. I can find the technicalities and loopholes in almost any dress code, and every single company I’ve ever worked for at some point or another brought up the fact that I skirted as close to the edge of their dress codes as one possibly can and still remain employed. Kim, my friend/boss at this company was actually my boss at another company a few years ago. The first time I worked for her, she gave me a big raise on the condition that I go buy more professional clothes. I did, but I didn’t agree to wear them. Just kidding. Kind of. I made it a point to try to wear one skirt a week, but that was about it. I work better when I’m not bound up in suffocating panty-hose, balancing on heels, and tucking and re-tucking in silky blouses that keep slipping all over the place. How do women do this without losing their minds???
I don’t know what it is about panty-hose that makes my skin crawl. It is like applying a second skin that costs too much, tears really easily and gets caught on everything. I know they make our legs look slinky and beautiful, but at what cost? I can’t make it through one work day without a run taking off and spreading the length of my leg. Then my legs don’t look so great anymore. And high heels? Obviously, those were a man’s idea. My mother, who was elegant and ladylike, made me walk around in heels with a book balanced on my head so I wouldn’t look stupid in them. Yes. I know how to walk in them. I just don’t want to.
But, this company that I work for now is absolutely perfect for me because I only have to dress in business professional clothes for special occasions. I mostly work behind the scenes, so I don’t have to don the little black skirt and heels all that often. But because we were representing our company to the public at this Veteran’s Job Fair – Hiring Our Heroes today — I wanted to make my company proud. (Well, that and this company actually bought me several nice business suits for these such occasions. I felt obligated, too.) I picked out my favorite little black skirt set with a cute top and fancy undershirt that I had been saving to wear last, and I even applied eye makeup, along with the normal face paint and blush, and wore some earrings and a fancy necklace. All of these things don’t happen often. Really, almost never. And even though I was uncomfortable, itchy, and balancing on spikes, I felt like I looked pretty darn good. I headed out the door ready to tackle the day.
I had no idea.
First, I stopped to pump gas, and my necklace, obviously not secured correctly fell down my blouse. Note: There is no graceful way to dig something out of your waistline from the top of a blouse. It literally didn’t even pause at my breast area. What does that say about my twins? Still pumping gas, I placed my hand on my waist, keeping the necklace from making a more embarrassing exit from beneath my skirt, and acted like something was wrong with my stomach while I paid the cashier. Once in the car, I fished the sucker out and re-fastened it while two teenage girls gathering signatures for something I was sure I wouldn’t care about, stood there and watched smirking. Not a great moment, but not earth-shattering either. They are girls, and as such, we women all have these kinds of stories. Their time would come. Our fashions and styles are way more complicated than men’s, and even worse, we care about the mishaps more. Still, I recovered nicely and headed to the Expo.
Once at the location, that stupid necklace did it again! This time, it got lodged in my bra. I don’t get why my boobs were able to impact its course this time but not the last. Did I grow a cup size? Probably not. Incidentally, the bra fishing expedition wasn’t as bad as the waistline one, but the security guard didn’t even bother to pretend he wasn’t looking at me digging in my bra for my necklace. Once again, I put the necklace on, this time making absolute sure that it was fastened correctly. Then I backed out of that parking space and went to the other side of the parking lot, just so I wouldn’t have to get out of the car in front of the peeping security guy. Hopefully, he would think I was someone else.
Next, I was kind of dismayed to realize that my shoes, which fit me just fine all these years, no longer fit me correctly. You just can’t wear high heels that don’t fit snug, or you clump around like a moron, the heel slipping off and making an extra little “thwack” sound as you walk. Nice. I had no idea back then, but I must have had fat feet because with all this weight loss, my shoe size went down one whole size. Can you believe that? I don’t remember my feet being fat! But with visions of my mother and her book-balacing exercise running through my head, I was mortified. How did I not notice this before I left my apartment?? So, I had to really, really want to go somewhere today before I would set off in my too-big high heels, thwacking my way down the road. I thought about kicking them off and running around like a comfortable heathen, but something told me my boss would frown on that, not to mention my mother, so I didn’t.
I had a lot of things to carry in, and that was when I noticed that my top button (which is this flimsy little fancy eyelet kind of thing) was undone. Yes, I had a cammasol on, but it was pretty lacy and see-through, and I quickly clicked the stupid thing back in place. Little did I know that this crucial clip thing would come undone every time I breathed! If I slouched in my chair, it would pop open. If I bent over, it would pop open. If I took a deep breath, it would pop open. It was making me crazy!! Kim even tried bending it a bit but no joy. The sucker was determined to stay unbuttoned.
So, of course, I became obsessed with that stupid button, and I had a hard time focusing on my actual job. If a guy smiled at me, I checked my blouse. If anyone frowned at me, I checked it again. In fact, I literally must of have checked, and then re-buttoned, that thing over 100 times today. And the job fair only lasted 4 hours!
About an hour in, I notice news cameras around. And guess which table they were taking pictures of? No big thing, I told myself. They had been all around that place, and we’d likely be cut from anything that went on air. I wasn’t too concerned until the news guy came and interviewed one of the ladies I work with, who just happened to be sitting right next to me. All of the rest of us moved out of camera range, except the lady who was being interviewed. And again, I had to re-pin my blouse. I was fairly sure though, that I was far enough away to not be doing that on camera. I thwacked my way to the restroom hoping to find a pin in my purse to fix the naughty clip, but I thwacked for nothing. I have the most random crap in my purse, but nothing so sensible as one stupid pin!! I thwacked back to my booth disappointed.
Finally, the fair was over, and we packed up our stuff. I went straight to my car, took the stupid blouse off, put on a t-shirt, and returned to help everyone pack up. We went to a lunch meeting, and then I came home. I put on my most comfortable sweats, t-shirt, washed off the face stuff, put my hair in a lopsided braid and settled into some television. Already, I pretty much over the several embarrassing wardrobe mishaps of my day.
When the news came on, though, I was a tiny bit horrified.
First of all, I was in a lot of shots they took, clumping around in heels too big for me, pinning and re-pinning the top button of a semi-low-cut blouse, and as an added bonus, eating a cookie that I had taken from a tray that said Veterans Only. In my defense though, I didn’t notice that sign until after I bit into the cookie. The vendors had exactly the same cookie tray available to them if we were willing to scale the steps that led up to the lounge. And with my wardrobe problems, I didn’t figure the cookies up there would be worth the effort. Instead, I munched on Kim’s stale popcorn, and my stolen Veteran cookie….on camera.
What do you think the odds are that the owner will never see this news segment?
My mother would just die of embarrassment. Well, at least I kept my shoes on, right?
Tomorrow, we take our office Christmas picture, and I had planned on wearing the same skirt set. I’ve re-thought that idea. Tomorrow, I will be wearing a pull over blouse, no necklace, and boots.
I think my inability to pull off one graceful day dressed like a real professional, sophisticated woman of America should be classified as a legitimate disability and I should be excused from ever having to try to do it again. I’m not optimistic about tomorrow.
Thanks, News Channel 2. I think you did that on purpose. Stalkers.