Wardrobe Diaries: Style Swap
Photo Credit: Perry Hagopian
Julia, Day 1
I was the first to mock Jessica Simpson in those infamous high-waist-jeans photos, so imagine my shock when high-waisters are exactly what Michelle packs for me on day one of our fashion swap. Gone are my cutesy-comfy ballet flats and chiaroscuro of office-appropriate separates. Instead Ive got a couple of five-inch wood carvings strapped to my feet and a red silk balloon-sleeve blouse. Michelle is a brilliant stylist, but I stare dubiously at my reflection. Do I look retro-chic, or like I never made it home from last nights groove at Studio 54?
The outpouring of compliments at work catches me pleasantly off-guard. My boss rushes out of a meeting to ogle the outfit, and I think shes going to shed tears of joy at the sight of me in color. All of a sudden, Im Sassy! and Trendy! according to multiple sources a real office head-turner. Thing is, Ive always felt plenty sassy in my own clothes. I start to fear people have been missing that side of me. As if on cue, word spreads that Michelle is skulking around the office in my pencil skirt/turtleneck combo and librarian specs. Everyone thinks its hilarious, but I feel a pang. Whats so hilarious about one of my go-to outfits?
I shake it off and decide to make the most of my temporary diva-dom with dinner at one of Michelles favorite restaurants a dark, moody wine bar downtown. My boyfriend, Reed, meets me there and is awed by the color but not my sinking body language. Try not to cringe, he says, adjusting my slumping shoulders. If you look all slouchy and uncomfortable, thats how youre going to feel. I do feel uncomfortable (my feet are blistered and Michelles chain-strap bag has become an albatross on my wrist), but the outfit only works if I play along. For the rest of the evening I concentrate on confident posture. A little too hard, apparently, because I take a nosedive down a flight of stairs when were escorted to our table. All eyes on me again, but oh, well. Im getting used to the attention.