Last Saturday, post-tango class. We tried on piles of stuff - a good deal of mine and S's at the request of V, who is outfitting us for Buenos Aires. At V's urging, my pile included a long flimsy thing in the vile pastel turqoise they used to paint bathrooms. Rapidly discarded.
V bought a Bally skirt she calls a moveable blanket - winter-weight, brocade-y, which she says she's going to wear every day. S, a long skinny plain black tee-shirt dress. My haul, after much enjoyable trial and error, was this cunningly designed Ricochet skirt.
I love pleats, they're mobile and easy to wear without adding bulk. That embroidered panel drops from the waist and does up on each side with numerous hooks and eyes, corset-wise. Great with flashy tights for tango, and with good heavy opaques for ordinary wear.
This was my second score. It cost twice as much as the skirt, although here its aesthetic appeal suffers from the lack of a body inside. It's a Desigual cotton dress, with a drawstring neck that laces down the back, putting a bra out of the question. The wonder of it is the skirt - wildly flared by godets from halfway down, and more godets inside those. It moves deliciously. That, and the fact that it meets V's requirement that tango wear have something going on at the back, makes this perfect for tango, notwithstanding the simple summery fabric and the unhemmed skirt.
I'm wearing the skirt (and the red tights) right now. The dress will have to wait for warmer weather.
Reading this seriously unsettled me so I don't see why you shouldn't have to read it too read it too. For those who can't be bothered scurrying off elsewhere, it's a New York Times piece about people going on "shopping diets".
You can do this in one of two ways: by buying no new clothes for a year (underwear and shoes not included) or by wearing only six items of clothing (again, underwear and shoes not included) for a whole month. Apparently a 31-year-old Wisconsin woman achieved the latter, and was astounded that no one noticed - not even her husband.
Putting aside the quibble that most married women would expect their husband to be the last person on earth to notice, I take issue with the implicit assumption that the main reason we pay attention to our appearance is to have others notice it. What Wisconsin woman herself felt about the month-long removal of choice and an unvarying dress diet isn't reported. But another woman said she suffered mood swings, and lost the will to get up in the mornings. That's more like it.
Others report a life-changing experience. Oh dear. A Texas man who undertook the challenge ended up questioning "everything”, including why he was spending 20 minutes every morning figuring out what to wear. (Also including, perhaps, why his country invaded Iraq and why it can't provide basic health care for millions of its own people.)
Here a young male reporter earnestly addresses the camera about "the way people relate to their closets", and the founder of Six Items or Less talks about reducing her clothing choice to see if it frees up her mind for other creative activity.
Like writing a novel? Gulp.
If you want to know even more about this sort of thing, go here.
I won't be right behind you.
I'm a writer. Sometimes I write fiction and sometimes I'd rather do something else, like earn money, travel or dance tango. Whatever I do, I never stop looking. So this blog is about looking to write, writing to see, and seeing to think. I was once the kind of feminist who believed it was wrong to delight in such things. Now I'm the kind of feminist who doesn't believe that at all. I will never, as Linda Grant puts it, go beige into that good night.