You know those women who have it all together? They have the perfect handbag for every occasion, and wear actual outfits pulled from well-organized closets, instead of random separates that may or may not have mustard stains on them scrounged from the laundry basket full of clothes that you somehow never manage to put away. The put-together woman never wears yoga pants unless at an actual yoga class (which she conscientiously schedules in her planner for every Tuesday and Thursday morning at seven). Don’t you love her?
I used to have an acetate blouse. Imagine: clothing made out of acetate. Acetate is used to project things onto a wall or a screen by laying it over a very bright light. The idea of being projected onto a screen is horrifying, and yet I wore a blouse made of acetate. Put-together women, I have found, wear natural fibres. Hippy types do too, of course, but they tend to look like they last shopped in the mid-sixties, while our PTW shopped the Prada sale on the weekend.
Not long ago I found myself at a function which called for care being taken with wardrobe selection. I had left home several days before, knowing there was a chance I would be at that function, but as there were other activities on my agenda, there was little space in my luggage for a ‘what if’ so I tossed in my go-to outfit of black slacks and top with an assortment of bling to ramp up the impact.
I was feeling pretty good about myself, sitting there in my seat (no matter what I’m actually wearing, I always picture myself in an impeccable Chanel suit with an elegant strand of pearls.... and maybe a pillbox hat depending on the occasion) when a friend joined me. She was one of those – a PTW. Ladies, I’m sure you all have a friend like that, don’t you? She looks like a grown up in her wool suit and shiny high heeled boots. Her clothes have names like Donna, Calvin, Christian, Valentino. Mine have names like Joe. I felt like I was playing dress-up with clothes rifled from the tickle-trunk, but my closet was six hours away so there was no time to run home and change. I had to brave it out.
Not realizing (though, really, I should have expected it) my top was stuck to the back of the wooden seat, I leaned forward to greet her. Doing so caused the fabric to pull away from the seat with a very loud rrriiipppp rather like the sound of a large sheet of paper being slowly torn in two. It echoed in the vast space and I could feel every eye on me – the men in confusion and the women in knowing sympathy. I had given myself away, the cat was out of the bag. That horrible noise proclaimed for all to hear I was wearing synthetic.
I should have gone au naturel – fabric-wise that is.