Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'll never own anything Burberry.

I don't know, really, what Burberry is or why it's a big deal.  I don't know enough about that world to even list a selection of others in the same category to tell you that I don't know why those brands are able to command multi-thousand dollar price tags on their bags and clutches and wristlets.  That's not my world.  It never will be.

I feel fancy when I spend $25 on a new purse at Target.  I haven't spent $25 on a new purse from Target in years, though, because at Christmas each year, my Momma buys me a new purse.  I did buy a white purse at Pay-Less to match my white shoes when we went to Caitlin's wedding last summer.  I think it cost $12.  I carried it with me for weeks after the wedding - all my stuff was in it already, why switch back?

I get my hair cut as necessary.  I define necessary as approximately every eighteen months.  Before my last cut, I sat aside an entire 45 seconds for styling each morning - that's how long it would take if there was a lump in my first ponytail and I had to re-do it.  With the shorter cut, I have to save at least five minutes for applying volumizer and blow drying.  I would skip the product, but if I do, I look like a drowned rat at the end of the day.

You can tell if I'm dressed up, because then I wear make-up.  If there's no lipstick or eyeshadow or mascara, it's just another day.  (When I'm REALLY dressed up, there's eye liner, too, but that's usually reserved for super special occasions, like the annual work Christmas dinner.)

I'm most comfortable in yoga pants and no bra, but that's not acceptable work attire, so most days you'll find me dressed in dark boot-cut jeans and tank tops paired with long sweaters.  (my favorite sweater has a hood on it.)  My favorite shoes right now are the brown Keen boots Jimi gave me at Christmas, so I wear them almost daily.

I have accepted these facts about myself, and have come to love the freedom they give me.

When I was in middle school, I remember begging my parents for a Dooney and Bourke purse - a seventy-five dollar purse for an eleven year old, can you even imagine!? - not because I loved the style and design of the bag, but because all the cool girls had them, and I wanted to be a part of their world more than just about anything else.  Even as I opened the gift on Christmas morning and gave all the expect squeals of delight, I was, in my heart of hearts, sad that I'd made my parents spend all that money on such a stupid little thing that I only wanted so I could fit in.  The bag, of course, didn't improve my popularity one iota.  Neither did the teased bangs or the short shorts or the K-Swiss shoes.  The "I'm not really the smartest kid in class, here I'll show you buy not doing any work at all" approach I took when my nick-name became know-it-all...all that got me was bad grades and no phone for 6 weeks; not the best way to grow your friends base.

I've tried a thousand ways to remake myself into some other version that's more acceptable or pleasing to others.  Miserable business, the act of changing oneself.  And then one day I woke up and said, "Fuck it."  That's it.  Fuck it.  This is me and I am I and that is all there is.  She lived happily ever after...

Except it's really hard to not compare yourself to other people.

Bossman and I took a trip to Chicago over the summer; just a day trip, up and back.  I put on make-up.  I wore dress pants (some stretchy blend, with an elastic waistband) and a nice top (5 years old, from Lane Bryant and slightly too big, in a loud print) and my knee-high boots (4-inch heels. Stupid).  I thought I looked great...until I got to the gate and saw the other business travelers; men with their crisp suits and and polished shoes, women with skirts and hose and heels.  They all carried professional cases or bags or folios of some sort - I adjusted the strap on the purse I carried, the purse Momma gave me last Christmas, and wished I'd included foundation in my dressing-up makeup routine; all of these women obviously did.  In Chicago, my frumpy, out-of-date clothes made me feel as if I were waving a big red "look at me, I shouldn't be allowed to dress myself" flag - everyone was sharp and stylish and fancy.  I wished for the millionth time I'd done something other than let my hair fall loose on my shoulders, and so dug a scrunchy out of my purse and pulled my tresses back into a loop, which I hoped looked fancier than a simply ponytail.  I watched the ground as we ate breakfast and waited for our appointment time - how do they walk so fast in those heels?  I'd break an ankle!

I worry bossman is looking for a Burberry girl.  I worry that he sees me in my day-to-day and thinks "She could never do this."  When I made my proposal, he said to me, as if to discourage, "You'd have to get a new car, a new wardrobe..."  In my head, I keep hearing him say he's looking for an experienced hotshot or a good looking woman in a short skirt, and I feel my opportunity slipping away because I've spent the last five years taking full advantage of our slack office dress code.


  1. I came out of hiding just to tell you that I love you. :)

  2. I hear ya, I'm similar in a lot of ways. Like roommate recently spent 3-400 on boots. And I thought about all the more reasonable things I could do with that money.

    That's a tough situation at work... they say "dress for the job u want, not the job u have" but I do the same thing..dress on the younger/more casual side. Sometimes I feel like a slob next to my more polished colleagues

  3. Ohhhh boy. So I have 2 Dooney and Bourke purses. Both were gifts from the hubs because I am spoiled, but they are the only expensive name brand purses I own. One is the pink one and it was my first 'fancy' purse and he gave that to me for my birthday and the other was an anniversary present last year when we went to Disneyland. It's the Disney one and I love it to pieces because it has drawn cartoon Disney stuff on it and I am a Disney freak. I do have Burberry sunglasses, but that is only because I needed sunglasses after my lasik surgery and they were completely covered by insurance. I feel better about myself because I am not as bad as my sister who owns everything Coach and my husband's best friend's wife who owns everything Louis Vuittion. And for the record, I had to look up how to spell all of those brands except for Coach. I walk around in my yoga pants and no bra and if I have to leave the house I put on a sweatshirt so no one can see my nips. I don't wear makeup, basically haven't since my wedding. But then, I don't have a job. When I worked at the bar I wore tons of makeup & made sure that I looked cute in my bar logo t-shirt and whatever bottoms I decided to wear that night. When I worked in the corporate world I wore some cute outfits, but ditched the makeup and hid flip flops under my desk.

    But I will tell you what. If your boss does not give you this job than he is a durned fool. You deserve better than that. You are a hard worker and you're dedicated. If he can't see that, can't appreciate that then you should probably get that resume ready to find some place that will appreciate you.

    You are the bestest.

  4. I wear suits, pearls, heels, and an up-do/blow-out to work everyday to maintain my professional image.

    The very minute I get home from work, all my make-up comes off, and I slip into flannel PJs and flip flops.



  5. Oh, Natalie! Your boss would be an idiot if he can't see that you can "clean up" when you need to go out in the world (and not in the office).

    I was nodding my head the entire time I was reading your post. I am exactly like that, well except my Burburry would be Louis Vuitton. I just don't get it! (I have purchased a LV bag & tri-fold wallet, for someone else, it's a long story.) No make-up for me, nor the fancy clothes (and even when I do dress up, I feel fake) and for the most part, I like me. But, as you said, sometimes it is hard not to compare ourselves with others.


Please don't make me cry.


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