Skip to content


Design and other ephemera

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Earlier today I found myself joking over Twitter that being stalked by Talbots ads was making me feel old, and I felt myself reaching for my metaphorical bottle of Manic Panic (my favorite accessory in 1997).

There was once a time when dressing in anything other than torn, black clothing items was completely unimaginable to me, and my ultimate short term goal was the realization of perfectly bleached out locks with black roots, ala Kim Gordon or Debby Harry.

Oh, to be a pretty young thing at a liberal arts college in the aftermath of Grunge.

I can distinctly remember Christmas my senior year, when my mom, trying to gently nudge me in the direction of this scary thing called “adulthood,” gifted to me a pair of Banana Republic pleated front wool trousers. I could barely contain my disgust at these pants, both from an aesthetic point of view (really, who could blame me–pleated front trousers?), but also for what they signified–a reminder from a parental figure that the era in which I could acceptably dress like a refugee from a Hole video was quickly drawing near. Not welcomed news. I feigned interest in the pants as best I could and relegated them to the back of my closet the moment my mother’s back was turned.

Fast forward to today, and my closet resembles that of any other respectable, semi-happening urban 30-something on a limited budget. Simple shift dresses and laid-back boho chic blouses vie for space among classic black pants from yes, Banana Republic, and I could not be any less bothered by this fact.

It’s merely an indicator of the Circle of Life, vol 2: Personal Aesthetics. Nor am I particularly unique within this phenomenon. We all grow up; our clothing choices reflect that.

Now am I saying that I am proud of the fact that I surfer over to Talbots the other day in a vain attempt to find some decent 100 degree weather pants? No, lord no, I am not. In fact, I thoroughly expect my 1.5 readers to mock me for this revelation, and I silently curse the internet for reminding me of my time on that site through those damned personalized banner ads that now seem all the rage (*shakes fist at internet*)

But what I am proud of is that age and the modicum of wisdom I have gained from over the past 15 years or so have taught me to separate the personal from the sartorial. Sometimes a pair of pants is just a pair of pants, not a symbol of our relationship to society or our rejection of the mainstream. Sometimes you just want to cover your lower half with fabric that makes your ass look okay, and that doesn’t raise any red flags at work.

Call it rebellion against adolescent knee-jerk non-conformity. It’s definitely a form of self expression my 30-something self can get behind.