Blogging has made me admit something that I've known deep down for a long time: I am a fashion geek.
I don't do retail therapy. I hate shopping. Much of my wardrobe comes from the local thrift store because buying previously owned cothing fits in with my anti-consumerism philosophy. I don't blowdry my hair. I don't usually spend more than $20 on a haircut. I don't wear make-up. I've never pierced my ears or any other body part. I shave my legs randomly. I don't own a black dress.
At conferences, I usually wear jeans and a brown shirt. (I used to wear black with the theory that it was a dressy colour, but I switched to brown because it looks better with my colouring.) If I'm presenting that day, I might dress up with a blazer or black pants, but not usually both at the same time. For teaching, I wear jeans, some kind of plain shirt, and either sneakers or hiking boots. I could defend this practice by explaining that this attire is entirely appropriate where I teach -- many of my students are studying to be forest rangers or lumberjacks -- but the truth is that I'd probably dress like this if I taught at Columbia. My younger sister, that is, Urban Sophisticate Sister, who lives in the Upper Snob Section of Manhattan and dresses every day like she is going to a photo shoot, rolls her eyes at my clothing choices. She exudes Trendy, yet Classic, Well-Tailored and Expensive. I look like a woman who just doesn't care what I wear.
Yesterday, though, I had a revelation. I am not a complete and total fashion geek. Once every week, I wear expensive, well-made clothing. My skiing outfit! I will spend any amount of money on outdoor clothing because I enjoy winter sports more if the clothes I am wearing fit well and keep me warm and comfortable. My ski clothes are even color-coordinated: all red and black. When I caught I glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror at the ski lodge yesterday, I looked so well-dressed that people were probably mistaking me for a tourist rather than a local.
And on top of this, I am working on a belly dancing outfit. When I finally finish getting all the accessories that I can wear with my pantaloons, I will have yet another fashionable outfit, although the only people to ever see it will be the women in my belly dancing class since I have no intention of joining a troupe and performing in public. Oh, and I am partial to nice lingerie, especially anything silk, which means that I'm fashionable in the evening after the kids go to sleep, although only in the privacy of my own home. I don't know if that counts though.