Your clothes have the ability to speak for you. Whether or not you approve of their message, they usually speak for you pretty loudly. They can yell things like, “I’m tired!” or “I like sports!” but one of the more interesting methods for communicating through your wardrobe is in code. If you find a garment or accessory evocative of something more than what it “is”, you’ll project tiny elements of that evocation through your slightly altered posture or way of speaking. We suggest you put some thought into the messages you relay simply because no one wants to go around looking like a garbled message.
Suppose, for a moment, that you have a lunch date in the park with a man, we’ll call him “Phil”, a man with whom you share a three-year relationship and who you recently discovered has cheated on you. You have decided it is in your best interests to finally leave him, and plan on telling him so on your lunch date, which fills you with a variety of emotional responses that you may find daunting. You know, like, “whatever will I wear?”
Shoes first. You’re going to start with the Shannon boot from the comfort champions at Miz Mooz. The smooth, buttery leather is precisely the same color as the caramel sauce on the ice cream sundae you and Phil shared on your first date, when he affectionately told you to have the last bite and then, as you swallowed it, added, “Not that you need it.” This time the caramel is edged out with tough-looking buckles and smart-as-a-whip buttons running up the sides. The elegance and beauty of these boots is bolstered by the unique comfort offered in all of Miz Mooz’s trademark squishy insoles and a lining that we can describe best only by shrieking, “FUZZY WUZZY!”
The super-opaque ochre tights are reminiscent of the glow from the fireplace on your first trip together as a couple, when you went to the Berkshires for a weekend. The hotel room… that you booked… in the car on the way there… on Phil’s smartphone… after you discovered “things” were actually not, as he had asserted, “all set”, was modest but nice, actually the best you could afford, which was a really great thing since you did pay for it yourself as well as all the meals for the both of you since he had just paid for the bill for his smartphone, which he could not actually afford because he did not have a job because he got fired for being drunk at work, which he told you the week prior over the telephone and around the mouthful of food he was eating out of his kitchen garbage. Did we mention that Phil has a binge eating disorder?
The dress is a beautifully tailored little floral number with exquisitely draped sleeves and a cut somehow simultaneously reminiscent of the dress of a treasured secretary, a beloved grade school teacher, and an anime-loving teenager. The dress, in your mind, is symbolic of the isolated occasion that Phil brought you flowers. He said they were “just because”. You thought they were for whatever action he had taken that gave him that guilty look. Now you wear the bouquet you bought yourself, and girl you look gooooood.
The jacket. Now, Phil was never the hottest guy, the smartest guy, or even the very nicest guy, but there was something about the way he subtly put you down all the time and then cried when you called him out on it that you found irresistibly, magnetically endearing, but it never feels good to be betrayed regardless of the dubious attributes of the betrayer and sometimes it can be hard for a person to challenge herself to rise above her general sense of immature self-loathing and create a better life by reaching for the elements she desires instead of just gratefully accepting whatever slinks in through the back door. This jacket is the wearable manifestation of independence and strength. Notice the structural integrity. The smart, clean lines. The perfectly pure cream wool blend. The high, protective, but never demure collar. The jacket is a strong and quiet but firm statement. It is exactly the sort of jacket you would like to wear as you walk down the street in peaceful solitude or to meet up with your girlfriends.
If Phil hasn’t put it together from the rest of your outfit– and we can assure you with 100% certainty that he hasn’t– he might get the hint by the time he notices your earrings. These are tough. These say, “Don’t EVEN mess with me.” They say, “You know, I’m realizing I’ve not actually loved you since the night three months into our relationship when I awoke to the sound of you snoring and was viscerally reminded of country gravy being devoured through a straw by an uncannily malicious walrus.” They also say, “I’m creative and fun and smart,” and, “Hey, going to the museum by myself is a great idea! Right now! The park is for the birds, and I’m not even hungry for lunch anyway.”
And then you live happily ever after.