I have never been accused of being fashionable. That I was presentable at all in high school was a testament to my well-healed mother’s tireless prodding. In college a gaggle of roommates mothered me out of t-shirts and into blouses, only to find me backsliding daily into a pair of old sweats.
Probably, I thought myself above vanity, and consumerism. A woman, after all, is only so grand as her idea of herself, and sometimes much less. I see now my persistent stylelessness as a combination of genuine lazy indifference and a healthy squeeze of egotism. “I don’t care. I don’t care. Look at me, because I don’t care!”
That is until I fell in love, which I never intended to do, and then married a colorblind man who doesn’t care what I wear and frankly can’t tell the difference between red and green, much less shades of navy blue. Now, in the face of such refreshing indifference, I find myself sheepishly emerging from fashion apathy. I realize now, more than finding and trying on clothes, I hated the comments and speculations if ever I dared to wear other than my drab everyday. “What’s the occasion?” or, “You look good, today.” Which meant, of course, that every other day…
Even if my husband were not colorblind, marriage has allowed me a measure of experimental freedom with my wardrobe I didn’t anticipate, freedom without fear of those persistent assumptions to which single girls are subject. A skirt is not some grand life statement, damn it. A skirt is a skirt. And the one person worth impressing, were I trying to impress anyone, doesn’t care what I wear (if he did he wouldn’t have married me.) Strangely enough, latching on to this particular ball and chain has left me freer to create a wardrobe, and a life, than I might have been, left to dig further into the fashion rut I’d carved for my single self.
You won’t find me racing out to Labor Day sales, or chanting open, open, open in front of department store windows. But you might find me surfing the shelves of second-hand stores, and I now openly, and graciously, accept the fashion charity of others. I’ve come to believe, that style, like love, finds us–hopeless though we fear ourselves to be–when we are open, willing and least expecting it.