My best friend just moved to town (YAY!) and his good friends in NY are all from wealthy backgrounds and work in finance, marketing, etc. Friend invited me to a birthday party on Saturday, themed around ‘what we wore in high school’. The invite specificially calls out Hollister and Abercrombie, layer tanks and denim miniskirts, popped collar and Van Dutch.
My family’s income growing up was working class although we were sent to a private high school and learned from an early age how to move in my grandparents’ upper middle class world. But I was a poor art kid; I got two new pairs of jeans a year, and everything else I either bought myself (usually from Goodwill) or was a hand-me-down.
Although I struggled with it at the time, I credit that struggle with helping me develop a unique style and sensibility, an appreciation for vintage, and a personal resiliance (clothes are extremely important to me).
So now I’m 30, going to this party, and I went online and bought a spaghetti strap tank and mini skirt ($22 including rush shipping, thank you ThredUp), and I’m surprise having Weird Intense Feelings about it. Being an imposter, being out of place, being a traitor to poor people and weirdos... it’s just a party, and they’re just clothes, but damn am I feeling Some Way.
Also I don’t have the right shoes for the outfit. (Pictured left, minus a blue ribbed tank I’m getting from Amazon and will actually wear again, because you gotta Layer Those Tanks.)
I’m sure I’ll feel better once I’m dressed and there and have a character to lean into (I’m going to channel Erica S, who was a cross between Regina George and Summer Roberts), plus alcohol is a thing. But costume is an appropriate word! I worked at an American Eagle for four miserable months after college, and I felt like a crazy person for the first six weeks because the look is so not what I identified as. Although I will say their jeans make my ass look great so I’m loyalist to the mid-rise skinny now.
It’s amazing the parts of your idenitity you don’t realize you’re holding on to and when they pop up. I know myself as someone much more complex than I could understand as a teenager, as is everyone else. And somehow I still feel like Janis Ian trying to be a Plastic.
What silly thing do you have surprise Feels about?