The entire TME team was on Zoom, doing our usual weekly meeting.
“Ok” I said. “It’s time to determine our style challenges. Cam’s first. What’s hers? Overalls? Doc Martins?”
There was a derisive snort from Cam, and giggles all around. “I’m thinking….spiked collars and black leather” Laura volunteered. Cam had once referred to her preppy outfits as “edgy” because she was wearing slip-on Vans, and we haven’t let her live it down since.
“Ok, ok, ok” Cam cut in. “FINE. I’ll do edgy. I keep pinning these outfits that are so dark, and edg – NO REALLY THEY ARE!” (as the rest of us burst out laughing) “so yeah – I’ll figure out how to make it feel like me.”
Which is exactly the point of this exercise: to get outside of our sartorial comfort zones….without going into the realm of costume. That’s the trick.
The rest of the team was pretty easy to challenge: Scotti, our makeup artist / glamour girl who has yet to meet a sequin she doesn’t like….MENSWEAR. “I’m not sure I actually know what that is….” she started. “Loafers and a button-down shirt!” supplied Amanda helpfully, while Scotti recoiled in horror.
Amanda, the girl who once (accidentally, she claims) wore slippers to the mall got the hardest style challenge, in my opinion. She’s gotta do something glam, but in a real, comfortable way.
Laura? Will tweak her tomboyish style for something romantic and feminine. “BUT NO STATEMENT NECKLACES!!” she proclaimed, while we all cracked up. “UGH!” Gwen, who does regal and classic like nobody’s business has to try…boho. The last two weeks she’s been resignedly looking over the Free People website….”I do love a pretty pattern” she keeps mumbling into her coffee….”but why are these shirts so….voluminous?”
Jess, our resident artist, typically dresses like a cross between Punky Brewster and Sienna Miller….has been assigned the challenge of preppy. “Bonus points for a polo shirt!” HA HA HA. (Hers will come later – the poor thing was in a car accident and while SHE’S OK, THANKFULLY, her wrist is in tough shape.)
So now we’re down….to me. “What should I do?” I asked the team. There was a long pause. “You’re tough, S” Cam started. “You try out a bunch of different styles already” Laura echoed. “It’s probably why you started this blog.”
Too true. Once upon a time I wanted to be an actress, and the propensity to dress in costume never really left. Only now my costumes range in styles such as “Girl Who Gardens,” complete with a flirty floral headscarf (for that one time I decided to start a container garden) or “Mom Who Picnics In The Manner Of Emma Woodhouse” to “Girl On Fire Goes Grocery Shopping” because there’s no such thing as too much Katniss (a side braid was involved).
As you might imagine, my husband has boundless patience. I’m getting better as I age, though. Discovering Who I Am and all that. #adulting
So I sat there, smugly assuming that my style challenge would be something light, easy. Then Scotti narrowed her eyes. (She’s my sister, BTW. Narrowed eyes never bode well for me.)
“You know what Shana hates?” Scotti started. All heads turned. “She hates regular, black leggings – not faux-leather – but the everyday kind….and she especially hates them with tunic-length tops.”
There were gasps all around. “But that’s pretty much the daily mom outfit!!” Laura cried. Scotti smiled, evilly. “EXACTLY” she said.
Then, like sharks smelling blood, they went in for the kill: “You have to wear plain leggings with a tunic!!” “Your bum must be covered!” “LONG TOPS YES!” “No leggings with rips or faux leather or—” “NO OVER-THE-KNEE BOOTS” Cam finished for them. They were glowing, triumphant.
“Hold. On.” I started. “Why no over-the-knee boots??”
“S,” Cam said in her most patient mom-voice, as though talking to a small child, “you wear them all the time.”
And for the record….I don’t hate leggings and tunics. Everyone I know has worn them at some point, and I’m not sitting here judging anyone for wearing an outfit that is both cute and comfy. It’s just…..they never really feel like me. I think because the styling often skews preppy or girly, or they’re paired with hunter rainboots or tall boots (two styles that I’m just completely over) and…yeah. There’s nothing edgy about this pairing, and any longtime reader knows I like an outfit with a little edge. Something…messy.
So. My challenge, then, is how to make leggings and tunic edgy?
First, I turned to The Internets (*cough*Pinterest*cough*) for inspiration. Here’s what I found: