Tuesday, June 26, 2007

fashion-impaired in the a.m.

One definite downside to this whole working-days concept is that for years, my brain learned to shut itself off between the hours of five and nine in the morning, which is exactly when some key daily decisions need to be made. Mission Critical choices, such as what I'm going to wear.

These days I need to be up at 5:45 a.m. at the latest to make the carpool to get me to the train by 6:45. The express is so packed, I usually have to stand and wobble around in the aisle,walk, then wait at least 20 minutes for the bus before riding to my stop between 7:45 and 8 a.m., from which I walk four blocks to the office. It's a trip with quite a few stops, and a lot of in-the-public facetime.

That's cool with me, because I like the tranquility of getting to the office an hour early and organizing my day. And I don't mind the standing around and watching people. But it also means that people can stand around and watch me, too. So imagine my dismay when, as I stood on the platform waiting for the train and taking note of all the cute clothes my co-commuters wore, I look down at my own ensemble and realize that it's hideous.

I must have been half asleep when I decided the gray herringbone trousers perfectly complement my purple-and-gray patterned silk blouse. Except at 5:30 a.m., the tungsten light of the closet can be deceiving; my shirt is actually brown and purple. So I was people-watched during the train ride, the walk to the bus stop, the wait at the bus stop, the bus ride, the walk to work, all day at work and the reverse home in an outfit that didn't really match.

Of course I exaggerate. The brown is only readily apparent when you're within fifteen feet. But just like in that generic sidewalk footage of "Americans" that nightly news often runs with a voiceover about obesity or heart-attack statistics, there are A LOT of people walking around downtown in Chicago close enough to have noticed how badly I see color in the morning.

But I was fine; I don't know any of those people anyway. I buttoned up the black sweater I keep in the office for chills and kept it on all day, even though it was 91 degrees F today and so humid we were practically swimming around outside. I was even feeling pretty good about it until I caught sight of an old Dungeon colleague on the bus to the train. I gave her a hug and found out she takes the same train to suburbia, so we sat together and caught up on gossip and she told me she's taking classes at the community college to pursue a degree in--wait for it--fashion design. I was mortified. Especially after we had a lengthy discussion about how hard it is to find pants that fit, and how much harder it is to draft patterns that flatter your figure. I am fairly certain she has now deemed me a coordination cretin who puts together not only unmatched ensembles, but ill-fitting ones as well.

Something has to be done about brain dysfunction in the a.m. Perhaps I should have pp come over every weekend and set my clothes out for the week, because getting up earlier is definitely out of the question and I cannot be trusted to dress myself.


Alexandra said...

hmmm... i was trying on pants yesterday (at mango--HUGE sale) and stupid little boy kept yanking the dressing room curtain open, while his fat (i'm sure) mother was in the one next door. and it was in the middle of the store dressing room very public, anyway, it was dark in there and i thought i got black pants but they're actually navy... i dont know what i'm gonna wear that with... but yeah dont worry, matching is out anyway :)

cadiz12 said...

i'm so jealous (of the store, not hte peeping boy)! maybe i should blame the fact that screwed up today's outfit as well because i don't have access to the real Mango or Zara.

Lia said...

I have a similar problem with getting dressed, so I've opted for: all bottoms are black. I think I have one gray skirt. That way, no matter what I put on, it's okay. I only buy tops that go with black.

Your commute sounds miserable. I hope the job is worth it.

cadiz12 said...

i actually like the commute; it's during the day and i don't have to fight for parking, and combined it only takes about 2.5 hours, give or take, which i can use to talk on the phone or read the paper. but then again, it's summer and it's new to me.

Radioactive Jam said...

2.5 hours each way? *shudder* I guess you make the best of it and keep the stress low.

And a radioactive fashion tip: if you wear mis-matched shoes, you can pretty much rest assured no other apparel irregularities will even register with passers-by. I know whereof I speak.

Or rather type. Whatever.

Librarian Girl said...

Ok, I never have a problem dressing myself, but I DO have a problem deciding what to eat. You should come help me meal-plan and I will help you dress. Plus, my brain works well early in the morning-- I am trying to avoid thinking that this puts me in a geriatric demographic.

omar said...

My drive to work takes 6-7 minutes. I do miss getting the chance to listen to the radio, but before I get a chance to be sad about it, I've already reached my destination.

Anyway, good luck with the whole fashion thing. I wear pleated pants and hand-me-down golf shirts, so I'm no authority.

cadiz12 said...

no, it's usually around 2.5 hours total; sorry to mislead, jam.

come over! as part of my "training," i have been mealplanning for tricky eaters with varying degrees of fasting/dietary restrictions for more than five months. plus i unsure that these pants match my turquoise shirt today, either.

i may have to consider the all-black-bottom system.

ML said...

Lord, at that time of day, you're forgiven for any "fashion" mistake :)

Anonymous said...

My train commute is similar. I can actually sleep so I can amke up for a late night and coming home be refreshed for the evening.

A train commute, even when longer in time, is much less stressful than driving. I don't know why everyone doesn't take a train to work.

I should be living in Europe..

Stephanie said...

I think Jam's onto something with the mismatched shoes and outfits. I'm lucky--ABQ's a funky little place and a college town on top of that so everyone does their own thing anyhow. As long as I wear Tevas with whatever, I'm golden. (Not to mention comfy.)

Jon said...

I think there are far worse travesties in the world than not matching your outfits correctly. (that's what people who can't match their outfits properly say)

As to the commute... while the idea of letting someone else do the driving is nice, for some of us, sharing a seat/compartment with 1000 other people really isn't that appealing.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Its true, matching is out.

When I worked in offices, I planned clothes the day before.

Teej said...

I do this ALL the time. In a sun-filled room. It seems the planning-the-night-before strategy is perhaps best, but even that doesn't always work for me. My second thoughts happen after I'm well out the door.