YTH. ANN: What is even a “dress up” event again? One day I took a shower and put on a new sweater, shoes, earrings, make-up and my favorite perfume to go to the dentist. I’m looking forward to my root canal next month so I can wear my new clothes. Am I lowering the bar too much?
DEAR READERS: Surely you noticed, in your dentist’s lobby, that no one was making eye contact? This is an early function of COVID, when social distancing was new and it is better to avoid eye contact if you are also trying to avoid approaching someone. The unpleasant mix of pretending we can’t see each other, when actually being very conscious of our surroundings, remains the norm in indoor spaces. It is best to accept this and dress accordingly, that is, lower the standard to zero when it comes to indoor makeup.
Focus on outerwear. Check out: Stunning coat array at the Biden inauguration. See also: You’re done with a root canal, walking to your car on the slippery ground under a cold gray sky, but you’ve thought of your hat – cheerful Nordic, or bright solid goldenrod, or something that says “I am I am the man lighting up the parking lot “- and a fellow dental patient who got out of his car shouted,” nice hat! “he screamed in despair that you were at least three parking spaces away so he was free to aspire while also enjoying the last friendly eye contact before the rule. the COVID lobby applies. She’s your new dress-up show. Don’t let him down.
YTH. ANN: Can I find my own style that is comfortable, yet respectful, business-casual-retained? This was one of my goals for early 2020 and easy to do at first because of Zoom as a replacement for in-person business meetings. After some initial light testing, I realized that I might never wear pleated trousers again.
I’m contemplating the transition to the red Levi’s 505 tag in jet black, loose New York gray denim and Docker’s standard khakis, all with a wide, dark outdoor leather belt. Above, I was picturing mostly cotton, flannel, button-collar tame blue, gray, black, and maybe even orange. I would ditch the stuffy wing tips and love the soft, brown and black skin that is coarse, blending – almost disguising – with the rest of the clothing covering me. I dread the thought of the wrong shoe that catches the “aspiring hipster” label. It is the fashion faux pas that I fear the most.
I combed every thrift store within 70 miles. Finding four skinny ties in black-gray-blue that best matched me up with a feeling of fulfillment previously unnoticed in my long history of being in fashion. I took advantage of sales at my favorite store, Nutter’s, where I got an offer with a light blue button down, “chillin ‘in the garage” short sleeves, and six ties that were impossible to turn down (because there was bound to be a chance). I happened to be wearing cowboy boots, a Clint Eastwood duster, a sport coat that was deliberately weathered. My wife’s brow muscle damage is likely chronic.
My transition to the proprietorship was liberating. This continues into 2021, my middle age – well, not “crisis,” but debatable fad oddities. Question for you, is Zoom ready? I come to you, Ann’s Fashion Fortunes, for very gentle counsel and advice. Thank you for your important public service.
DEAR READERS: Thank you for sharing your brave journey, which is sure to resonate with anyone who has gone into personal style now that we are forced to separate “I wear this because it makes me happy” from “I wear this because I take for granted that it’s what it should be. You wear. “That means, all of us. If we don’t use this time for introspection and rediscovery, we are wasting a very good pandemic. Zoom is ready for your next step. Zoom needs it. We all need it. For the greater good, I urge you to avoid the “wrong shoe” idea and move on.
any question? Share on annrosenquistfee.com (click Ann’s Fashion Fortunes).
Ann Rosenquist Fee is the executive director of the Saint Peter Arts Center and host of Live from the Arts Center, a musical performance and interview Thursday from 1-2pm on KMSU 89.7FM.