|thrifted dress // vintage Escada brogues // navy surplus hat|
Jennifer and I had a wonderful broke-lady Oakland day yesterday, getting coffee and cheese rolls from Arizmendi, visiting the Oakland Museum of California (where she took these photos) and finally hitting up the Salvation Army in Chinatown—where we actually walking out empty-handed.
On the subject of hats: berets are always a point of contention with the mister and I because he thinks they look crazy and costumey. Oddly enough, it's the other way around with this sailor hat he bought me. I like it, but I'm afraid it makes me look like one of those women who dresses like a child (and not in the good way, more like a woman who dresses like a child because she's taught grade school for too long and certain cues have leaked into her sartorial subconscious), but he thinks a sailor hat is chill. "What? It's just a hat."
IT'S JUST A HAT.
The discrepancy between the way we perceive ourselves and the way others perceive us was a recurring topic of discussion between me and Jenny throughout the day (if you want to talk about smarty sociological stuff, Jenny's your lady. She's got like twenty degrees in women's studies and sexuality studies and...basket making? If I'm not mistaken?) That discrepancy is where the whole shit arena of pop-culture fashion policing exists, Glamour's do's and don'ts, Vice do's and don'ts, do's and don'ts in general... getting flack for an outfit shouldn't matter, but it's hard to not take it personally when one is attached to aesthetics as an extension of one's personality. I think they can be, and I like to think my style is an extension of my personality, but I don't actually hinge anything on it, because the language of clothes is so much more fluid than the language of words. They're signifiers for concepts that may or may not be in agreement with the people out there in the real world, on the streets, who look at me day to day. I might think this sweater or that widget says smart, funny, artistic, ambidextrous, but it just might read as dumb, weird, try-hard, colorblind. And it's no one's fault. Meaning has its own agency that can be completely out of our control and that freaks me out, but there's also a freedom to that kind of helplessness. Can you imagine if your clothes actually did define you? Fuck that.
The point is, of course we all have the right to dress however we want, but the rest of the world has every right to think we look like idiots. And neither party needs to apologize.