DATELINE: January 2, 2021, from Lady Proverbs, somewhere on the Oregon Coast
Yesterday there was a person with an umbrella in the parking lot across from our apartment. I knew they weren’t from Oregon. Native Oregonians simply don’t use umbrellas. With rain often accompanied by wind, us water slugs gave up on umbrellas years ago. We all have hooded jackets, unstylish by standards of New York city or other fashion-focused metropolises, or wear baseball caps, homemade looking knitted caps and other head coverings that probably wouldn’t even pass muster for a homeless person in NYC. Yeah, we’re slugs. Sometimes referred to as Hobbits. Fashion-backwards, but well adapted to our environment.
With short hair, I often don’t even bother with a hood or hat if the rain isn’t too bad. Fluffing it up once I’m in a dry place, kind of like a human version of what a dog does, works great. We’re a fairly rugged sort. Hey, but our skin is really nice from all that rain and fresh air!! So there’s something, yes?!
Yet, I do appreciate people dressing up and looking wonderful when they go out. Just having watching all six seasons of Sex and the City from start to finish in the right order, it was very enjoyable seeing all the outfits that Carrie Bradshaw and her gang of merry women came up with. Her petite body was a living mannequin for the best of NYC’s fashion-forward set, from crazily stylish hats that I couldn’t carry off in a million years, all the way down to her Manolo Blahniks, not made for Oregon gals like me with size 11s. Yeah, I’ll never blow over in a wind storm, as my Dad always said.
Back in my late 20s and into my 40s, I was living in Boston and did my part to be as fashion-forward as Bostonians could be, the certainly less stylish little sister of NYC. Every year I’d buy a Ralph Lauren suit, silk blouses, expensive shoes and boots that did a fairly good job of making my feet look smaller. I had a really nice figure back then, knew how to work a scarf, and I looked damn good. I can only say this now because I’m a woman of a certain age, no longer a head turner by any means, so it’s perfectly ok to be nostalgic about my once hot body.
I went straight from the wilds of Africa to Boston in the late 1980s and into a city where there was pressure to keep up with the fashion Joneses, or at least I perceived it to be that way. Working in the corporate sector — and pre-casual Fridays — every day was dress up day, especially at the higher ranks. I was on the executive cabinet, vp level, so I had to dress the part, I thought.
Over the years as my professional confidence grew and I did not try as hard to keep up with the Joneses or buy a Ralph Lauren suit every year (having returned to Oregon and entered higher education where eccentrically dressed people were just ok), I still dressed well, but it wasn’t as much of a focus. I had come into my own and I dressed for me, no longer giving a fuck what anyone else thought.
And now it seems I’ve come full circle, dressing like the little girl tomboy of my youth in jeans and comfortable shirts, jackets and shoes that can handle the outdoors of Oregon. I no longer carry baby red racer and yellow racer snakes in my pocket as I did when I was five and six. But I do still like taking walks on rainy days and picking up shiny rocks and appreciating the clear rain as it drips from the branches of fir trees, hitting my face and bouncing off mossy pathways of forest layer cake. I guess this Oregon girl has come home again. And this time to stay.
P.S.: Happy New Year all! Nuff said.