“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little—if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” –Coco Chanel
There are times when I go to the grocery store and see people–good, decent, hardworking, probably exhausted people—wearing clothing that closely resembles (if not exactly replicates) pyjamas.
Oftentimes, those trips are closely followed by jaunts to the corner gas station for my semi-weekly fill up, where I see people in luxury vehicles swiping their credit cards in holey tank tops, gym shorts, and pool slides.
After a weekend visually full of slippers and elastic (combined with the feeling of being very, very pregnant), I convinced myself it would be okay to sit in a dark theatre wearing cutoffs, a T-shirt, and boat shoes (in the interest of full disclosure, they were sea green and cognac boat shoes made by the creative geniuses at Cole Haan).
And no one died. No one even looked aghast at me as I paid for my popcorn, collected it and my Perrier (a girl’s gotta have standards) and stealthily took my seat in the balcony of the idiosyncratic hall to take in all the smoky glamour that is “Murder on the Orient Express.”
But then. Meandering out of the theatre and fumbling for my sunglasses (having spent a great deal of my life in Florida with the aid of sunnies means that my eyes now tolerate sunlight on the same level as that of a cave-dwelling fish), I saw HER.
As she walked up behind me and passed me on the left with a purposeful stride, I couldn’t help but take in the whole picture. Lovely dark skin and black, black hair that fell just past her shoulders, slightly curled, and with white and black silk flowers pinned into them, revealing a glimpse of tortoiseshell glasses. A fitted black knit pencil skirt, into which was tucked a gauzy black blouse imprinted with tiny white anchors. Feet shorn in strappy black flats with gold accents.
Not extravagant, not over-the-top, but like she gave a damn.
For the short remainder of the block, all my mental faculties were engaged in searching out, “Who is she? She came to the movies by herself? But yet, she’s dressed. Not just clothed, but dressed.” I couldn’t help but wonder if she was meeting someone for drinks or dinner, or if this was simply HER, being silently/deafeningly communicated through her clothes (her demeanor suggested the latter).
Then she suddenly turned off to the left, and I, still dumbfounded from the stark contrast of HER against the sea of drawstring pants and cutoffs, continued on home, feeling simultaneously shoddier and more beautiful for having seen her.
I hope with all my heart that she ran into a bit of her destiny that night and that it exceeded her expectations. I hope that she felt as mysterious and intriguing as she looked.
But whether or not she realizes she had an appreciative audience, I’d like to thank her for the moment of intrigue and inspiration she brought to my life (and I’m sure to many others in the khaki-clad audience). Please excuse me while I retire to my dressing table to pin some flowers in my hair.