When it’s my month to host the Bellas (we’re three image consulting buddies), we have lunch and then we walk across the square to the store J.James to visit our style inspirer, Valerie, who works there on Sundays. We check out the divine clothes, scarves, handbags, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and gifts.
I don’t buy many things there, but the few things I’ve purchased I’ve used a lot.
I recall the Sunday when I spotted on the rack against the back wall a sheer, sage colored long duster with a shawl collar.
My heart skipped a beat. Would it fit?
It did. It was perfect. I might as well have been Cinderella slipping into the golden slipper that she’d left behind at the ball when the clock was striking midnight. I don’t remember if Cinderella was speechless at that moment, but I was. I knew I had found THE ONE.
When something suits you so well, it’s magic
Am I being overly dramatic? Quite possibly, but maybe not. When I saw my reflection in the full-length mirror I felt more “me” in the duster than I did when I took it off.
The Bellas loved it on me and Valerie thought it was divine.
“How will you wear it?” Valerie said.
“No idea,” I replied. And I meant it. I had no idea. I didn’t know how, where, or when I’d wear it.
Valerie said, “Well, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. We’ll see it one day on your blog and then we’ll know.”
And here we are, months later
When I purchase something, I’m usually wearing it in an outfit the next day. If not, I give it three days or maybe five days, and if I haven’t had the urge to wear it by then, I take it back to the store for a refund.
I didn’t wear the sage duster in twenty-four hours. I didn’t wear it in five days. I didn’t wear it in a month or three months or six months. I didn’t wear it for nine months. I saw it every day I opened my closet but never work it into an outfit.
Did I have doubts about that purchase? Maybe teeny tiny ones. But I kept thinking one day it will be splendid. I was willing to wait for that day regardless of how long it took.
I thought about it
In basic terms, I wondered if it would look good over a column of white or a column of black. Maybe it would be best over palazzo pants (didn’t own them) or a jumpsuit (didn’t have one).
I thought about it some more. It seemed elegant but organic, inspired by Nature, mysterious, something that would be worn by a princess running through a forest, trees on both sides of her, the forest floor rich in black soil mixed with decaying leaves. With the duster floating behind her and her long wavy ash blond hair bouncing up and down, she was happy and free.
Last week I got inspired and the dream turned into an outfit.
It started with a new pant I’d purchased five days ago. It was a classic for me; a slim knit; a pant for all seasons to wear with longer tops.
I decided to add a simple black Babette long-sleeved T-shirt. There was my basic canvas: a column of black.
Okay, now what? I looked into my closet and saw two things almost at the same time. One was a gray-green crinkled Babette stretchy sheer T-shirt that my daughter Erin had picked up at a consignment store. She bought it for herself but it was too big on her so she offered it to me. Behind it was the sage duster.
I layered the gray-green crinkle sheer T-shirt over the black polyester T-shirt.
Then I added the duster. The colors responded so well together. (Like Cinderella and Prince Charming.)
Creating the natural, Nature palette
I loved the textures in the outfit: smooth and crinkled.
The color palette represented the wonder and mystery of Nature. The black was the rich soil and the gray-green and sage were the trees in that quiet forest. I felt peaceful, glorious, and grand as I looked into the full-length mirror in my bedroom.
Next I had to choose my accessories. I didn’t want to disturb this forest mediation I’d created.
I had to be careful. Figuring out the right accessories took longer. I tried several things before landing on the right combo.
I’ll tell you all about that part in Part Two of this Anatomy of an Outfit. Stay tuned!
My mother recited poems to us when we were growing up. One of them was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. I don’t know why it always made us laugh, but it did. Maybe it was the glee in her sing song voice when she recited it.
Years and years later, I found this framed image with the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer. I gave it to Mother and it hung on a wall in their lake home. Last August when I was there, I saw it again and brought it back home to lean against the sage walls of the bedroom I share with my Prince Charming.
Mother, this outfit is for you.
Trees, a poem by Joyce Kilmore
I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree
a tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
a tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair;
upon whose bosom snow has lain;
who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.