Monday, March 20, 2006

That's Flannel, not Chanel!

So I have to admit that one of the best things about being a freelance writer--whether full or part-time--has to be the wardrobe options. Let's see, there's polarfleece workout bottoms for winter with any number of shortsleeved T-shirts (I'm always warm); there's comfortable faded chambray "garden skirt" generally reserved for weeding but great for writing at the computer in summer or winter, again with requisite clean and roomy T-shirt. And the rolled up and knotted headband (from any number of colorful cotton bandanas) that helps keep my hair out of my face. Shoes and lipstick? Optional. So are morning showers. But brushing teeth and deodorant, yes. Even if you have to e-mail or speak with your editor, it's nice to know that at least you have clean teeth and smell good, even if they have no idea what you even look like! (And in working with different editors over the years I've only actually met one in person.)

Now that I'm in the last month of pantry book writing, and unable to drive, I'm really in the "relaxed dress" mode. When I had to go out for a doctor's appointment this morning, I honestly didn't know what to wear or where to find it. One has to look vaguely presentable in public and knowing I can't wear my usual work duds, I have to resort to fashion memory. Oh yes, that sweater does work with that skirt--and those shoes! At least it will soon be flip-flop season again.

The other day on CBS Sunday Morning I saw an interview with Anne Rice. Not only has the woman found Jesus--at least in her writings--she has discovered the joys of the flannel nightgown, presumably Lanz given the dropped yoke front on the one she was wearing. She literally slides from her bed to her corner desk/computer work station. Of course she doesn't have to first feed and dress her children and get them out the door; she probably only has to trudge to the kitchen to make coffee or tea. But once at her desk, she'll hum right along in her flannel nightgown.

That used to work for me in college. The Lanz flannel gown from Austria--had in variety of colors and patterns and 100% cotton, of course--was the evening wear of choice. By day many of us wore sweat pants--preferably those with our college emblazoned on the upper thigh--with polo shirts, shetland sweaters and if you really wanted to gild the lily, pearls and gold earrings. These were our uniforms--at a women's college which Wheaton used to be until 1987, we did not have to dress to titillate or please any menfolk and had the Brittany Spears look been around, most of us would have been doomed. Our clothing seemed to cover any bumps or bulges attained by the "Freshman 15" or the fact we weren't on the lacrosse team. Besides, it was just so darned comfortable! Many a late night spent studying or writing papers (pounding them out on our electric typewriters--only my college thesis was written on the computer and that was a huge mainframe "word processor"), sitting in the hall or lounge sharing popcorn, enjoying a leisurely sleep-in. Our Lanz nightgowns got us through many a stressful college day and many an "all nighter", too.

So I might just take a cue from Anne Rice and revisit that idea myself. There is nothing more comfortable: since birthing and nursing three babies, I just got out of the habit of wearing them (they are not designed for breastfeeding mothers!). Throw on my wool clogs and cotton socks and I'm set to go until D-DAY: April 15, 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is funny about costume and work -- since I started at Cobb Meadow I have reverted to my nursery school costume of skinny jumpers and opaque tights. When I taught high school I wore khaki pants and black turtlenecks or white men's wear shirts -- I have to keep my wardrobes separate to know who and where I am. If I wore my high school uniform to nursery school I might slide into my fierce and uncompromising choleric self instead of the calm and phlegmatic self I cultivate for nursery school. And, tomorrow I'm off to an architectural conference which means I had to drag out my black and grey and white wardrobe so as not to look like a dumpy early childhood teacher. And then there's the church lady wardrobe with pearls .... Ivy