Often when I start to build an outfit, I have a starting place in mind: my ivory cut out blouse and my trio of brooches, my burgundy patent oxfords, my orange sweater, or my leopard print coat. A specific clothing item, color, or accessory pops into my head and I start there.
Last week I had a whole day to myself to work on writing projects. At some point in the day I planned to go out to a coffee shop. It helps me to physically move away from the computer and get out in the world for an hour or so. It offers a break, a treat, and a signal to my brain to do a different task: in this case, editing.
Editing requires the right outfit
Two things were going on for me.
- I had a desire to wear a dress and my gray stretchy knit dress came to mind. I bought it originally in 2008 and wore it to Chicago where I was training image consultants at an educational conference.
- I really wanted to wear my lighter gray Grandpa cardigan sweater because it felt so professorial. I imagined a college professor wearing a cardigan like that during office hours. His office would have real wood paneling lining the walls. In the old days that professor would be wearing a sweater like that smoking a pipe, which would account for the scent in that dark office on the second floor.
Following the gray
So those two things were clear: wear the cozy Grandpa cardigan sweater and the gray dress.
A thought said, “Follow the gray theme.”
I remembered I had ribbed gray warm tights. The vertical ribs had a sit-up-and-pay-attention vibe. Perfect! I had a wide dark gray scarf that was a nice smooth wool. It looks very no nonsense. It was just right.
Adding accessories to my professorial outfit
I could have worn a metallic gray bootie but they didn’t feel academic enough. I was really into this role-play. So I went for my black oxfords. That opened the door to wearing black or gunmetal accessories.
I added my gunmetal arty ring, my Calleen Cordero black and silver leather cuff, plus my dark mushroom/grayish Calleen Cordero bag. And of course, every academic needs a clipboard, right? I use clipboards for separate ongoing projects. Now wasn’t it awfully handy that this clipboard was in a smoky gunmetal gray? Wow, this outfit was making me feel REAL smart!
Fashion got my attention
I went to the coffee shop. Did I get work done? Yes, some. But I was actually quite distracted by two striking women who walked into Peet’s in Sonoma and sat in chairs right next to me. One woman was super tall with long, dark hair and wore a black and white polka dot coat with red flats. So cute! The other woman who wore glasses and had short brown curly hair had a great paisley scarf around her neck that related to her hair coloring. She was dressed in brown wool trousers, a brown wool jacket and oxfords much like mine. She looked very smart. She could have been a real professor!
Plus, there was this handsome, tall guy sitting at the table near me next to the window. He was dressed and accessorized so impeccably, I had to go over and compliment him. He was wearing a color combination that I love. He wore cream pants, a black T-shirt under a camel colored sweater (the black T-shirt peeked out lower than the camel sweater), chocolate brown suede jacket and cool silver metal cuffs on his wrists. Oh, and he had on those caramel colored laced work boots. So smart.
It was a great fashion day in Peet’s so I studied people more than I studied the papers I’d brought with me. You can’t blame me for not getting a lot done, right? When fashion is on display like that, you just have to give it the attention it demands!