Hope for the Hopeless in Fashion

By Katiedid Langrock

October 28, 2017 5 min read

"What do you think about this?" she said to me, holding up a checkered midriff shirt.

"For me or a doll?"

The sales clerk laughed. And she was genuinely adorable. "For you!"

"Yea-a-a-a-h, I'm pretty sure my midriff days are over," I said.

"Really?" She asked. "Do they end?"

See? What'd I tell you? Adorable.

"It's pretty cool-looking," she said in a singsong manner, as if trying to seduce me into a midriff purchase. Oh, sweet child, if only you knew, no one could seduce me into a midriff purchase. Jason Momoa couldn't seduce me into a midriff purchase. (Though I wouldn't object to seeing him try.)

"It's totally cool-looking," I agreed. "But I'm not looking for this cool. I'm looking for adult-cool — ideally adult-business-cool."

She looked at me as if I just told her Homo sapiens evolved from pancakes. Her eyes darted around the room as she tried to make sense of what I had just said.

"I'm sure it's a thing. Adult-business-cool is not an oxymoron."

She panicked.

"Oh, my God, I wasn't calling you a moron!"

And so the adventure of spending two days a week on a college campus continues.

I'm taking a class on entrepreneurship at my local university. In two weeks, we will have to pitch our ideas in lieu of a final exam. For this, I will need proper attire. Presuming my business follows, the clothes will get some decent wear. The problem is I have nothing in my closet that fits the bill.

I've never been a fashion person. And despite having written for many fashion brands, somehow the ability to put together an outfit still evades me. My friends would always joke that they were going to nominate me for "What Not to Wear."

My mom still buys most of my clothes. This is not a joke. My mom still buys most of my clothes because she knows that I'm never going to update my wardrobe. The items she buys are cute but always look like a disaster on me because I don't know how to put together an outfit. What shirt with what shoes with what pants with what jewelry? How does anyone who cares about appearance spend any less than 7 1/2 hours getting dressed every morning?

I wonder whether, subconsciously, I went into the arts so I'd never have to wear pants with creases. (And by "creases," I mean the intentional kind, not the kind your shirt gets when it goes on the floor after you wore it for a week straight, only to be picked up and worn again. Those creases I rock almost daily.) Creatives are cool; that mustard blob on my shoulder is an artistic badge of honor. Undoubtedly, it proves my status as an official visionary. For my entire adult life, I have been able to wear a stained T-shirt and leggings to work. Which means that I've been this shabby for my entire life, because no one rocks a stained shirt and leggings better than a baby.

It was the very realization that I dress like a baby spitting up on herself that led me into one of the cooler boutiques right off campus to buy some work-appropriate attire.

When I told my mom I would be shopping for clothes to match my expanding entrepreneurial consulting career, she suggested an array of bland button-up collared blouses and pressed slacks that looked as if they belonged in a funeral, not in my closet. I wanted something fun and hip. Surely, there was a way to mix business and boho, right?

The adorable sales clerk, in her 6-inch blue snakeskin booties, asked how I felt about bodysuits.

"You mean the leotard things that were popular when I was in junior high in the mid-'90s?" I asked.

She hesitated and then cautiously proceeded, "I don't know. I wasn't alive then."


I was about to leave, but she took me on as her personal project. I could easily imagine how she would speak of our interaction to her peers: "I knew that if I could help this one poor centenarian, surely I could help anyone." She wouldn't be that wrong.

An hour and a half of personal attention later, I was the proud owner of six separates that look positively hip together and appropriate for a creative business. Living among young collegiates has its advantages.

Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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