Here are some examples of how your lifestyle choices can dictate your own personal style. Try to be smarter than me.
#1. Lifestyle experience: You go to the farm/corn maze with your young children. They play with shedding rabbits, watch pig races in the mud, smash pumpkins with baseball bats and try unsuccessfully to dodge flying pumpkin guts (fully authorized) and wander through the petting zoo. Your daughter wraps her sticky arms around you, distraught because she has lost her lollipop. You look around and spy it stuck to the side of a sheep, tangled in its wool. You yank the lollipop out of the fleece, pulling out many hairs and bits of stick and mud along with it. Your daughter asks for it back.
Style choice: Next time you go to the farm, you remember to not wear your leather jacket, your newest cowboy boots, and your best jeans. (Yes, it should have been obvious, but I thought the cowboy boots were the perfect touch.) Alternatively, go for the avant-garde: wear a fleece vest or jacket and stick your daughter’s lollipop to it.
#2. Lifestyle experience: You’re snowboarding with your besties. You have finally started wearing a helmet after that last severe fall when your head hit the snow with the force of your son hitting a pumpkin with a baseball bat. You ask your sister-in-law if she wears a hat under her helmet. She says she does. You put on a wool hat. Midmorning on the slopes and you feel the sweat trickling through your hair. Your head itches and you can’t get to it through the helmet. The Colorado sun beats down on your head and is reflected up from the snow; it’s a mild and lovely day. You can’t enjoy it because of the head-sweat. Your sis feels great and says you shouldn’t have worn a hat. You say, “But you told me to wear a hat under my helmet!” and she says, “Well, yeah, but not today!” At lunch, when you take your hat off, your friends stare at you and snicker. Actually, they guffaw, chortle, and cackle. Later, you look in a mirror and words fail: your hair is matted and sticky and flat in some areas and poking out like sticks in others. (I think it was then that my friends started calling me “Mattie.”)
Style choice: You decide to never follow Angel’s advice again (which you should have already known). You put your hair in a ponytail before you put your helment on in the morning to try to keep it obedient. It doesn’t work. You buy a cuter hat for cold days, and at lunchtime you refuse to take it off. On hot days, you put up with their laughter (every. single. time.) and plot revenge.
# 3. Lifestyle experience: You take your kids to the city to see The Book of Mormon. You dress up: short skirt, tailored jacket, and 3 3/4 inch heels. You walk from the parking lot to the theater to look at the billboard. You walk a few blocks to the restaurant, and back. You wander the theater district so your son can take photographs. You enter the theater and climb several flights of stairs. Your seats are “stool” seats: you are sitting on a high, padded stool. Your skirt insists on riding up your thighs. When you climb off the stool at intermission, you fall off your heels. When your daughter is so entranced and excited by the show and talks about how much she wishes she could meet the actors, you offer to take her around back to wait for the actors to leave the theater. She doesn’t even know that’s an option, and is so excited that she speed-walks around the theater to the stage door. You hobble after her. You wait on your high heels for 15 minutes. The actors come out, encourage young enthusiasts, sign programs, chat for awhile. Your nicely tailored jacket begins to feel tight across the shoulders and, obviously, your feet hurt. You long for pajamas. The night is not over. You still have the hour’s ride home. (Author’s note: go see the show. Seriously.)
Style choice: Plan ahead, for God’s sake. Honestly, you should know better. A night at the theater is not like a party; know that there is walking involved, and that you’ll be sitting for hours so wear something comfortable. Also expect that standing at the stage door will now be standard operating practice in this family and plan accordingly. A nice, fitted jacket and 3+ inch heels are probably perfect for a business meeting or tea party, but not theater (unless you live in NY, and then I think you have to wear heels all the time). Leave a pair of pajamas in the car. Better yet, stuff them in your purse and change in the bathroom after the show.*
*Not that I ever go to either business meetings or tea parties. Actually! Now that I think about it, I happen to throw my own tea party every year at Christmas, with Lizzie’s friends and their moms (also my friends), so hah! Don’t know if it really counts, though, since I stopped serving tea after the first year when it became clear that all the moms vastly preferred the wine that was also on offer, which morphed the following year to margaritas. So no tea, and no tea cakes or finger sandwiches. Instead, something that’s easy to serve on paper plates and lots of time for playing mother/daughter Christmas charades which should be incredibly stupid and lame but which is actually hilarious, probably because of the margaritas on the moms’ parts and the levels of delirious excitement about Christmas on the part of the girls. We use the landing of the stairs which overlooks the living room as a stage. Girls and moms run up and down the stairs, fighting for the chance to act out incredibly easy charades, such as:
Charade: act out the song “Oh, Christmas Tree.”
Charade action: point at Christmas tree.
Now that I think of it, that’s probably not the best time for a short skirt and heels, either. I think my tea party is another perfect venue for pajamas.
Couple of lessons I’ve learned:
- Do not let your desire to be stylish get in the way of being comfortable. Make sure you own enough comfortable but classy clothes to wear on those occasions when your outfit needs to meet both of those criteria.
- Plan ahead. This should be a no-brainer. I blame my ADD. I am a terrible, terrible planner. (By the way, ADD is a convenient disorder to be diagnosed with later in life. It can always be twisted, in some way or another, to take the blame for anything. I recommend getting tested. If you need help spinning your answers in order to get a positive diagnosis, let me know.
Damn, damn, damn. I swore this would be a shorter post. I thought my points would be so concise that I originally planned 10 of them. Then 5.