17 March 2007

Don't punish the outfit.

Choosing an outfit for a date is a complicated task made even more complicated by the potential for positive/negative permanent clothing association.

Whether the debut of your black satin halter with keyhole back and ruffle-front was privy to an evening of Christian conservative ideas on how women aren't biologically fit to be brain surgeons or your 3/4-sleeve wrap dress and platform peeptoes had to sit in the presence of a man in frayed jeans and flip-flops who spent what seemed like the entire evening speaking to his mother with a tone of voice just slightly too intimate for your taste, whatever the case, no matter how long, how offensive, how young or how much of a Democrat your date proves to be, the establishment of a permanent clothing association - especially with a piece you truly love - directly threatens that relationship which is most important in a single woman's daily life: her relationship with her clothes.

My gold Grecian-style shift, my green chiffon summer slip dress, even my ivory lace and mesh boyshorts -- all of these smack of one man and of one put-in-the-past-against-my-will relationship. For weeks, I couldn't even look at them. Some of them I still can't bring myself to wear. Pushed to the way-back of their color-coded sections, each item - and there were many, many more than just the three I mentioned - each item elicited a powerful memory, all of which were positive. Too positive. Too him.

This is another set of circumstances where the wealthy have a clear advantage. A lobbyist soiled your halter with his Evangelical venom? Another lobbyist tainted your DvF with his unkempt feet and Norman Bates persona? The assured but now gone love of your life escorted you hand-in-hand through Manhattan's corridors in your ivory pouf-sleeved knit mini? Throw 'em out and buy new ones. Buy better ones. Buy ones that don't have ingrained in their fibers the memories or smells of men past.

Do you honestly think Vivian could have brought herself to ever wear that red off-the-shoulder ballgown again if Edward hadn't listened to his heart, rescued her and allowed her to rescue him right back?

The answer, of course, a resounding "no."

Until I have a bank account able to facilitate regular wardrobe rotation replacements, however, I have no choice but to either pare down my ensemble options or simply adopt a "don't punish the outfit" attitude.

At present, like my politics, I fall somewhere in the middle.


nyc admirer said...

I hear this, doll. Works for men, too. I can't wear certain ties, shirts, or cufflinks - even shoes she helped me pick out - because the associations are too strong.

And you know how everyone says "time heals all wounds"? Not true. Not at all.

There's some optimism for your Saturday morning!

brown bear '02 said...

Someone was actually *too* conservative for your Cheney-loving ass? I find it hard to believe.

Did he have horns?

dc girl said...

I think the clothes associated with really happy memories are the worst. There's nothing more awful than wearing a dress with a dud you first wore with an amazing love. Or just looking at it hanging in the closet and all you can think of when you see it is how you two used to walk to brunch together holding hands. Or him unzipping it after a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant.


jessica said...

My advice is to never wear anything new to a first date. That way, if it's a bomb, the dress, blouse or whatever it is, already has memories associated with it. *Stronger* memories.

It's hard, though, to deny yourself the excitement of getting a new outfit.

brown rowergirl said...

It's official. You've used that photo too many times. "Pretty Woman" was good but not *that* good.

Sorry, I know you love it but enough is enough!


Anonymous said...

is that GOB from arrested development in that picture?

Johanna said...

Yes, that is Job from Arrested Development! One of Carrie's worst dates EVER!

Anonymous said...

FYI, although its pronounced "Job" his name is spelled "Gob". Don't mean to be nit picky, but I was a little too obsessed with that show! :)

Johanna said...

I appreciate your meticulousness. I'm the same way. It *is* a great show, and I apologize for not being more careful!

I'm more a Tobias girl, myself, but Gob - with that voice! - was pretty damn funny. My favorite episode with him involved the trick coffin. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!