A New Wardrobe

One of my summer projects, in preparation of the career transition that is speeding into my future, has been the quest for teacher clothes. I need a professional wardrobe which does not include, as Dave likes to call them “bright tight tank tops,” a staple of my warm weather fashions. At first the task seemed onerous: expensive, time consuming, and furhtermore frustrating, because I’d be looking for the dreaded conservative clothing.

At first, I went alone. This winter, purchasing the Power Suit with Mandi was indeed fun, but I knew that shopping for teacher clothing was a serious task, and nobody really wants to look in JC Penney for knee length skirts, now do they? No, I thought not. I got on a roll at the mall one day a few weeks ago with some good purchases and then took a break until I came up to Philly to stay at Haverford for a while.

During our two weeks of bonding, the shopping issue came up with my significant other; it was brought to my attention that we’ve never been shopping together. I figured it was cruel and unusual to drag a guy along to department stores, even [gasp] shoe stores, and the ultimate indignity: the makeup counter. To my genuine surprise, when I mentioned that I might like to go down to Suburban Square to scout out the bargains over Memorial Day weekend, I found myself with an enthusiastic partner willing to give the male perspective on “teacher clothes.” We actually had fun that day, and while I ended up with a watch (and belt, both practical purchases but not exactly clothing) instead of a suit, the day was a success.

I don’t usually shop with other people, but sometimes it’s fun. I’ve learned to respect my dress, skirt, and pants size and not get so angry at the fact that I’m never going to be a 0 or 1 again. Those were much less happy times for me. I also started to realize that maybe it was time for new clothes, that I’m moving away and starting again, and perhaps a change in feathers is in order. I’m learning how to get clothes that fit my personality, still look nice without being trashy or inappropriate in the classroom, in short, more grown up.

These days I seem to feel either very adult and independent, while preoccupied with things like health insurance, student loans, and buying luggage, or alternately young and vulnerable. Those days, like today, I just want to lay down on a beach and let sweat run out all of my pores. I want my only worry to be the sand fleas, and my only unknown to be the jellyfish in the dark blue water. It’s scary to have to think about real-life issues, to talk with my family about what’s going on in our lives, and to hear about my Dad being sick. I realized that being a caretaker in the household is a huge resonsibility: having dinner on the table, the house cleaned and functioning really doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for screwing around and being unproductive. Maybe that’s why I felt so tired when I got home.

But I also realized that even on those “regressive” days when I don’t want to assume responsibility for an adult life, I’m not the same Thea that moved to Pennsylvania four years ago; I’m not even the same Thea that came back from Spain a year ago. Today at the beach with MandiTVS (the newest acquisition to my world of AIM), after swimming, sunning, chatting, walking, and drying out I mentioned on the car ride home that the beach doesn’t make me bitter any more. It’s a place where I feel comfortable and happy, not somewhere populated entirely by “those girls” from my past, a site of insecurity and inferiority. I can go to lay in the sand during the summer and not feel like I’m betraying my social values. There are quite a few things that don’t make me bitter anymore, so much so that at times I think a change in nomikers for my blog might be in order, but perhaps I need a reminder that things weren’t always so lovely.

I’ve had a wonderful two weeks. Back in the hot shop again, and I found that I actually kind of knew what was going on; I understood the advice that Chris was giving me, and (again) surprisingly, I look kind of hard core in the pictures that Dave took of me in the studio. I’m making functional things that I designed, which is pretty fucking cool as far as I’m concerned, and I can’t wait to find a place to work in Miami. I don’t have all the right clothes to be comfortable yet protected from the heat in the studio, but I haven’t really developed my glassblowing wardrobe yet. Who knows, maybe that will be my next project. I’ve got all sorts of looks to try out in the next few years, and while the teaching wardrobe might be the immediate one for the future, I don’t know if it’s the one that I’m going to be wearing for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, I’m going to forget about immunizations, oil leaks, and high gas prices for another evening, make some pizza at the Warrens, and watch Lindsey Lohan host the MTV movie awards. How’s that for an adolescent end to an irresponsible day? Now, if I could only find an outfit that matches the *car*…..

One Response to “A New Wardrobe”
  1. Clothes are so overrated. I’m trying to organize a homeless fashion show in Seattle. Everyone always talks about the way we dress so I figure there’d be a lot of interest for a show.

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