It’s true. And surely I’m not alone on this. I would in fact, rather be naked. But since North America is as a continent characterized weather-wise as sometimes chilly, and as a people, closed minded, it would be prudent for me to don the appropriate cultural garb in order to avoid any social ostracization / being labeled an oddball, as well as to minimize further damage of my self esteem. And so, while I recognize that it is in my best interest to clothe myself, it is with great reluctance that I do so each day.
This clothes-wearing aversion of mine developed at an early age. As a child, socks were not my friend. Jeans were intolerable. And, any situation involving more than one layer on my arms/body was sure to end in tears (none of these things have changed). Due to unfortunate circumstance ie. landing in the Cleveland area shortly after birth, endless layers of shirts were a frequent misfortune of mine growing up, and socks were a necessary evil most months of the year. Nothing was more infuriating to my small self than trying to pull a pair of ill-fitting socks on my tiny feet, only to have the sock seam align with the wrong nook of my foot / not being able to get the sock fit & feel right, sending me into a blinding flurry of tearful hysterics. Yay memories.
Equally frustrating to me was being forced into a pair of stiff, stretch-less, restrictive, suffocating, awful pants made of the cruel, uncompromising material that is Jean. I might as well wrap my lower body in duck tape & slowly suffocate to death. It would probably be more comfortable. Why denim was created as a fabric to be worn on human flesh, I will never know. Shame on you Levi Strauss. Shame. On. You. But shame on society for allowing it to become the status quo for every outfit option. A cultural norm. The fashion go-to. I cannot comprehend it. Legend (wikipedia) has it, jeans were “originally designed for cowboys”. Do I look like a cowboy? I didn’t think so.
And sure. Fads come and go. But I’m still waiting for this one to die. It hasn’t. On the contrary, the jean craze has, to my dismay, escalated over the years. Jean has taken on some dreadful dimensions. The pajama jean? I can’t. It’s a nice try, except it isn’t. And the skinny jean– just when I thought denim couldn’t get more suffocating! “Let’s design a jean that people can’t even fit their feet into, let alone their legs & butts” they said. Simply stunning. But not as stunning as the mystical overall-jeans, am I right? Nothing could be sexier… Even more incomprehensible is the act of making jean couches. But I digress. I learned early on in life that clothing was not a friend of mine, but rather a most evil entity which I had no choice but to endure. Chin up, Mon.
Throughout grade school & high school, I was privileged enough to be tossed into a uniform, albeit a truly heinous getup, on a daily basis. School uniforms were a blessing, enabling elementary Monica to wake up a mere 15 minutes before the creature that drove the bus arrived in front of our house- the perfect amount of time to slip into my ensemble (I actually slept in my uniform like 40% of the time – I’m all about efficiency), brush my teeth, and grab a cinnamon sugar poptart before scurrying out the door to ride a whole two minutes on the germ infested bus.
Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression here. I absolutely loved not having to select a new outfit every day. I would’ve had zero friends in grade school if I were the one choosing my outifts. All praise the uniform. However, uniform life was no cake walk. Among the trials and tribulations we endured, there was the usual nonsense of keeping your shirt tucked in – no easy feat for a girl in certain desirable social circles of the 4th grade. Having the shirt tucked in just enough to prevent public scolding, but still maintaining the appearance of a carefree creature through certain tactics whereby you expertly position your shirt tuckage to give the illusion of possibility that your shirt tail could easily come untucked with a slight movement, as if to say “I’m a casual gal” — this was an art form, that took up more time in front of the bathroom mirror trying to perfect than I care to admit, but was an essential style to implement. Shirt tuckers (the real way) were not to be trusted.
With no way to differentiate ourselves clothing wise, the single most important opportunity for us trendy little nuggets to express our fashion sense (which I was severely lacking) and personality was through our shoes. I have never been an extremely feminine creature to begin with, but when I elected to wear my black & white Adidas indoor soccer shoes to school in 4th grade, paired with the uniform shorts and polo, I took tomboy to a whole new level (yes, the shorts. The jumper was for the intolerable girly girls, until you got to 5th grade & were allowed to wear the skirt – then you’d be shunned if you wore shorts). Once I got past the regretful indoor soccer shoe phase, it was smooth sailing.
High school came around & it was the same deal, thank god. Uniform swag, all day, erryday. Luckily, we upgraded to better colors, not that it’s hard when a cow outfit would be an improvement from the green/gold, plaid mistake we wore everyday, for 8 years. In our new getup, a solid, navy skirt & white polo we looked dashing. A refreshing change of pace. Life is good.
Except it’s not. We now have more rules & our disciplinarian, a ruthless old man, always on the prowl for frivolous rule violations like unlocked lockers– surely a sign of mental instability, but no one ever listens to me– has made it his responsibility to end me. A nice enough man I suppose (well-loved and such. I can only assume it’s because he was old), but I could see through his games and did not find the antics of said geezer to be cute. As I found following the uniform rules beneath me, there were consequences. Wait…what rules?
Futile School Rules:
- Socks must be very high, and cover the entire leg/torso. Ankles are a sex organ & absolutely must be covered.
- Nametag must be worn on a lanyard, around the neck at all times, never mind the choking hazard it presents & the mold growth inside the plastic id cover.
((I despised the lanyard because just like an inefficient Mary Poppins, I would spend 8 minutes digging through my backpack and purse sifting through millions of things— an ocean of chapsticks, pens, sharpies, a variety of snacks for spanish class, highlighters, gum, glasses, contact solution, flip phone, flip phone charger, a planner, and miscellaneous witty notes from friends, among other essentials) trying to find the freaking thing, with little success)).
- To eliminate experiencing warmth during winter, pants are prohibited when walking from the parking lot to the building, unless they’re a special pair of one-size fits all, demon sweatpants only for purchase at school…but never for wearing inside the building. Otherwise, have fun walking in, bare legged & frozen.
- Shirt must be tucked to ensure maximum discomfort of the student
Statistics show, I had a bit of trouble following the uniform laws set in place by the pompous authorities in high school. After an excessive number of detentions for what were, in my opinion, mild uniform violations, as well as other tame infractions– sleeping in class (no one even bothered to ask about my obvious narcoleptic affliction), talking in class (sorry I’m social), leaving my locker unlocked (as if theft was rampant), and numerous tardys, an oddly chosen term my school used for proclaiming my lateness, as I would make my entrance at about 9:30 am, well-rested, well-fed, and ready to learn!– but only on occasion (slow & steady wins the race has always been my philosophy), I was called in to the office for a mother-daughter-colonel conference, to which the guy was late for. Oh, such delicious irony. Mom was peeved.
I do realize I make myself sound like a horrible student, but I wasn’t. I enjoyed most of high school, apart from the stupid rules the admin seemed hell bent on enforcing. Teachers seemed to enjoy me, (except for when I was sleeping, which is fair) and the feeling was mutual. I didn’t even hate detention. The most entertaining people always ended up there. And even when it was uneventful, I was perfectly content to sit alone, quietly with my thoughts- such profound thoughts. I’m like a monk. I can also nap sitting upright, so that was good.
Still, I was happy to have the uniform (the petty rules that accompanied it, not so much). My most trying wardrobe decision was whether I would choose sock comfort or risk detainment after school, & deciding which boxers to wear under my skirt (which was really less of a decision, and more of what I woke up wearing). Ah, those were the days. And what can I say, I’m a risk taker and a comfort seeker, so the “scandalous” socks always won.
Upon my miraculous high school graduation (who knew this delinquent was capable of learning!), ominous circumstances loomed ahead. What would I do come college, with no dress code to guide me? Maybe I could just show up to college classes wearing my SHA skirt and polo shirt and no one would notice. Not my best idea, but not my worst… But not feasible considering my school skirt wouldn’t even fully zip up my hip by the end of senior year. Fat girl problems, I guess. Nudity was unfortunately not an option. I’m not trying to become a social leper right off the bat. I guess I would just have to wing it, which never ends well for me. So with fear in my heart, I shipped off to university still clueless as to how to dress myself, knowing I’d have to learn quickly.
And now we are here, where right now at this very moment, I am a 5th year business scholar, and still have not truly learned how to dress myself properly. Through trial & error, I’ve managed to appear more normal than not, usually. I owe all my success to my two faithful comrades, leggings and boots. I understand that most people don’t acknowledge leggings as a real item of clothing, but y’all are just jealous.
Now, it just so happens that I love Fall. Autumn. Snuggle season. The period between scalding and freezing. The primary reason for this passionate affair I have with Fall is that it marks the beginning of legging season. Hoorayy! During the fall, the acceptable female dress code involves nothing more than boots, leggings, & a respectable shirt. The comfort happening in this situation cannot be understated. Due to the stretchy nature of leggings, they are the most maneuverable and soft and versatile of all the pants. I pity the men of our world in that they know not the joys of the legging life (any male that’s trying to — I admire your spirit).
As I have stated, I truly do not know how to clothe myself, and my personal stylist is living far from me in Philadelphia, so the process of dressing myself is just that. A process. Fashion is not fun. I detest trying to match shoes with bottoms & bottoms with tops. Most fashion related conversations end on my part with a, “Why does it matter if there are holes in it… can’t you feel how soft it is!”.
Therefore, the advent of leggings is so remarkable and wondrous because it has eliminated a colossal chunk of anxiety from my life & society no longer has to look at the wretched ensemble I’d have chosen sans leggings. Naturally, I have an arsenal of legging things at my disposal, & thankfully, boots last forever, unless you leave them in Croatia, but that’s a story for another day 😦
With my caboose covered, all that is required of me is to identify a top that makes me look like a functional adult, and put it on the right way which admittedly doesn’t always happen. Believe me, I’ve tried to do the fashion, but every outfit execution deviates from what I envision in my head, and I instead end up with a fugly combination of cloths that I’m uncomfortably swaddled in like an overgrown female Christ child. Throw jewelry/shoes/accessories into the equation and I’m completely overwhelmed. The harder I try, the more tragic the result. You undoubtedly think I am pathetic, and that’s not fair; I think if I could just be naked all the time (without having to move in with some pedophile cult and live in seclusion) things would be so much easier, but social norms won’t allow it.
By the way…
Day 109. I should’ve stopped at 100.