Oh Lord, this is the sort of thing The Mom would be brilliant at. She really would. Most people might freeze up at the mere thought of accompanying anybody to Washington D.C. What might one say to the PM and his wife? The President and First Lady? If it were me, in all likelihood it would probably be a swear word. That is, if I passed muster sartorially-speaking.
And The Mom is right: I probably would not. My fashion choices were in evidence recently when I met up with some girlfriends I have known since childhood. We met in Dublin. I hadn’t been before, but from what I’d heard after asking around to my Irish and non-Irish pals, I concluded that the better part of this weekend would be spent in a pub. Especially given the company I was keeping and the fact that it was February. Thus, I dressed for the pub: Converse, plaid shirt, and scruffy jeans (though, I hasten to point out they are Karen Millen scruffy jeans so you know, they’re not just old, they’re stylishly distressed). I turned up for the weekend with my backpack, as I always do, and everyone asked me if the cheapie airline had lost my luggage. To which I replied, Dudes, I’ve got three pairs of clean pants, same for socks, a toothbrush, deodorant, and a book. It’s a weekend, what more do you need? (I point out to North American readers that pants are underpants).
To my mind, the only thing I wanted to pack but decided against was the laptop. What pub wouldn’t have me dressed like that? If it’s good enough for London, NYC, Paris, and Toronto, it’s good enough for Dublin.
My friends, though, had packed dresses. Though, in fairness, they’d been staying for longer than a weekend. I had considered a dress but that would’ve required my cowboy boots (I’m serious – look, it’s a monsoon over here every other day. If you wear shoes they just melt.) Packing the boots would’ve required checking my luggage which would’ve cost something ridiculous and on and on, so I decided not to bother. On our last night, we rocked up to a fancy hipster hotel to take advantage of their bar with a great view, and we were dressed not unlike a Girl Band: Posh Spice, Sporty Spice, etc. Everyone was cool with that. When I related my standing out sartorially to my friend back here, the artist, he commented: You dress like a creative. You make the shit people buy. Good look.
And if you think about it, I do. Look at all the fashion designers when they take a furtive bow on the runway after their shows. Jeans, t-shirt, big glasses, messy hair, trainers. Even Victoria Beckham wears trainers now. Thus, I am fully justified in my choices.
But, were I to win the contest I dearly hope The Mom has entered, I would be well and truly fucked. Sometimes I think she doesn’t believe I know how to dress properly. But I do. I have learned the rules, and therefore I am at liberty to break them. I sometimes think the way I dress keeps her up at night. Before I got my old job in London, she went out, unbeknownst to me, and bought me a bunch of skirts, trousers, and skirts from The Banana. To this day, five years later, I’m still wearing them. And I get compliments. It seems strange at 40 years of age to say, Thanks, my Mom bought it for me, but credit where it’s due.
I’ve always loved the way The Mom dresses even though I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to do it myself. Her clothes are bright, cheery, fashionable, and she’s always so pleased to be wearing them. Sicne the great Crohn’s flare, I’m tiny enough to pinch some of her old clothes and it’s really nice to not have to have gone shopping. But I wish she’d have kept some of her more statement pieces. There’s one top that ‘il Sis and I both lament the loss of. It was sort of cropped if I recall correctly, and covered in sequins in the image of a butterfly. It screamed the seventies in the best possible way. I would wear it a lot if I had it now.
In fact, if she did still have it, and won the trip to D.C. I’d insist she wear it. If only because all the other people she’d hoped to be photographed with are much bigger than she is. It would help her to stand out!