I haven’t lived in Texas since January 1971. However, Texas rules regarding dress requirements are so engrained in me that they still rule my life. How else would I know if I were “Dressed to the Nines,” or not?
Yes, I still pack away my heavier winter clothes in the spring, even though I could wear the majority of them all year round here in Northern California. However, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing suede shoes after Valentine’s Day, or dark velour anything after Easter. My lighter weight and lighter color clothes just would not do during winter months. No, I don’t wear white shoes after Labor Day. Tennis shoes do not apply to this exclusion.
The members of Writers on the Journey, my writing critique group, have put together a three-day writing retreat for August. Meals prepared for us, and all cell phones on self enforced mute. Three glorious days for me to work, uninterrupted, on my book, Maracaibo Oil Brat. Naturally, my first concern was: What Does One Wear to a Write-a-Thon?
I could find no fashion precedence for a writing retreat. I resorted to What Would a Reasonable Female Person, Like Me, Wear? I analyzed what I wore when I produced the most writing. The answer? Comfortable stuff. With that in mind, I scoured my dresser and closets for such clothing to fill the bill.
Thus far, I’ve selected three tee shirts for specific reasons: all are stained or faded beyond all usefulness. I’ll bring my San Marcos Academy 2000 Reunion shirt, My Oakland Ski Club shirt that I accidentally tossed into the washer with a new pair of jeans and now it has an irregular blue pattern throughout, and a Las Vegas Treasure Hunt shirt I won at Harrah’s in South Lake Tahoe. I may throw in my long-sleeved Willie Nelson shirt if the weather station predicts cool weather. My Texas Christian University hoodie will keep me warm in the evenings. I’ll also bring two pair of jeans not fit for anything dressier than gardening, both with discreet holes at the knees and over-washed to death. If the weather is warm, I’ll pack my ancient pair of $2.00 Salvation Army shorts, embellished with a paint blob. I’ll wear my gardening tennis shoes, which are one step away from a toss into the blue garbage can. My retreat clothing ensembles are in such decrepit state that Goodwill wouldn’t take them.
Clothing and foot wear done. What about jewelry? Only the essentials. I’ll wear my fake Mexican Rolex (don’t want to be late for meals), plain gold earrings, and my wedding ring. No need for bracelets, necklaces or matched-to-the outfit rings since the retreat is not held at a resort or on a cruise ship.
Will I commit a fashion faux pas by letting comfort dictate my clothing choices? I think not. Might even make fashion history as the tackiest dressed writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.