On a giant bulletin board in my house in South Carolina, there's a photo of my dad on his twenty-first birthday wearing a very special outfit he had, no doubt, chosen for this special occasion. It's a matching ensemble which was clearly bought together comprised of snug mauve double knit flare leg pants and a matching plaid double knit shirt with solid mauve exaggerated cuffs and a fly collar. As my dad would say, he was "lookin' good." My mom, on the other hand will just laugh and shake her head.
"When I met your dad, he was washing his hair with a bar of soap. His Hair looked like a Brillo pad, and his pants were too tight." She always says she loved him so much it didn't matter.
We've all had those outfits, though. Whether they actually looked as good as we thought they did or if everyone was laughing at us behind our backs, we've all stepped out thinking "man, I look good." And that outfit, my friends, is a thing I like to ask about as one of my spinster party questions.
I asked the outfit question on a work trip to New Jersey one time, and I got some pretty good answers. In a car full of fashion designers, we could have spent the entire ride discussing great and not-so-great outfits we'd owned that, at the time, seemed really brilliant. My friend Kathryn's favorite was a dress with a good twirl factor. But my friend deb's outfit was a real cake-taker.
Deb is one of my favorite people. She's hilarious yet measured, and I think that for a long time after she met me I don't think she remembered my name. So, in lieu of my name, she referred to me as "wolf buddy," because of the three-wolf-moon that is currently one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe.
These days, Deb's style is simple, sophisticated, and understated. (Re: Mostly black. We're fashion designers). But, when I asked deb on that road trip, the outfit she described sounded pretty darn magnificent. Deb's favorite outfit was a two-piece cut and sew knit affair consisting of biker shorts and a tee shirt that both sported the same all over fruit print. So, she was just one big fruit print. Amazing. I liked the idea of this so much, I had to make a drawing. Also, I made it because I like to imagine Deb as a fruit-covered child.
Like Kathryn, my favorite outfit was in possession of excellent twirlability. A fuchsia twill dress with brightly colored teapots printed all over, my go-to was a very full a-line from neck to knee, topped off with a large, white, circular collar. My mom and I had found something upon which we could agree an that fateful day in Talbot's Kids, and I wore that teapot dress like I was getting paid for advertisement.
In recent years, I have purchased a dress of similar body shape but without the collar in a nice chambray from the Gap. I have to admit that it is one of my absolute favorites. Somehow, though, I now have less opportunity to twirl when I'm wearing it. But there's probably a group for that here in New York.