The uniform

While Haiti lies in ruins and orphans need kin; and the Mass. voters have chosen to be catastrophically unhelpful regarding healthcare reform, I opt to focus on my own ridonculous problems instead. Like the tiny little identity crisis I’ve been having. (Honestly, it’s just easier. But let me say, in my defense, that my $$ has gone where the need truly is.)

I used to be the kind of person who put some thought into getting dressed in the morning – I wasn’t terribly adventurous or avant-garde, just ever so slightly creative. (I wore scarves.) When I was in (art) school, I wore my charcoal handprints and paintsplatters like badges (Hello My Name Is Artiste) of devil-may-bite-me cool. Lately though, because gardening is such dirty work, and I’m not 19 anymore, I have filled my closet, thanks to Savers (that’s Value Village to you west coasties), with chinos and khakis and ugly sweaters because I don’t mind ruining those things.

I realized recently that dressing for work in clothes I hate has made me (unfashionably) lazy and invisible way before my time. I have been known to wear the same exact thing all week because I’ve gotten so out of the habit of giving a shit. I generally don’t even bother anymore with cuteness on the weekends – especially if I’m going to be blowing out my knees in this garden. My inner French-girl weeps and refuses to open the shutters.

Maybe it’s because I’m in a hurry to enjoy the last months of my thirties before my butt drops below my knees; maybe it’s because I have to wear an actual uniform at work; maybe it’s because gardening media seems suddenly infused with excessively hip hipsters like Alys Fowler, Gayle Trail and Patti Moreno The-Garden-Girl, who wear vintage scarves and have tattoos and tromp around their gardens in Jack Purcells or exquisitely expensive Hunter wellies. For whatever combination of reasons, I have become increasingly aware that I don’t like what I’m projecting. I’m not liking that I’m not looking as much like me as I used to.

The only thing I can think to do for it (aside from shopping for new “work” clothes and I’m trying to resist that impulse) is to open up my closet. And truly, since most of it, even the cute stuff, is from Savers anyway, nothing is sacred. And I wonder if stretching my creative muscle this way will make it limber in other ways. (Maybe I’ll paint again?) Meanwhile the true woes of the world worry on…

Do you wear a uniform – in or out of the garden?

An exclusive first-listen to Charlotte Gainsbourg’s (avec Beck) new album is here.

6 thoughts on “The uniform”

  1. Please, don’t kill your inner French-girl!

    Tatyana, Thank you and not to worry – I think her heart is still beating… -kris

  2. Hi Kris, VERY well-written. I’ll turn 50 this year. I haven’t given a shit for a shamefully long time. Usually I’ll change out of my grungies if I’m going to a doctor’s appointment or grocery shopping or to a friend’s. However most of my Savers clothes [Yes, it’s VV here but I like Savers and I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it.] are getting tight and need to move over to make room for “expansion.” I must be out of the loop because none of these garden celebs is familiar to me. It’s probably just as well. Martha Stewart is reason enough to close the gate and grow vines over it. [Not that I don’t like her but I doubt she’d be caught in the chicken coop wearing the likes of Savers.] Truthfully I think there are a lot more down-homers like us than there are hort-chics anyway. So, chin up! 🙂

    Thanks, Grace! “Hort-chics”! Love it. I know you’re right and I’m proud to be in such good down-home company. It’s been kind of fun to rediscover lost well-preserved favorite clothing articles though. I’m thinking of it like using the good china – hard to enjoy it if you don’t use it. (Not that I have good china, but my grandmother did and we ate off of corian instead. blech.) -kris

  3. Kris, First of all…Your butt won’t drop till later in your forties~~Walk, walk, and use the stairs! Second, embrace your inner artiste and have some fun in the clothing area. You’ll appreciate the lift. gail

    Thanks Gail! That’s good to know re. butt drop – I like thinking that my 5ish miles with Nino every day will buy me more time. And the inner artiste is having a good time but I do have to remember to poke her awake in the morning… -kris

  4. Oh Kris, you look chic all the time or at least every time I see you. Invisible…I don’t think so. I noticed that you didn’t mention me right there with Patti….LOL She does always look great but the a T shirt does look like designer wear on her. Take a few bucks and splurge on something special. I think you look marvelous! Oh, and you don’t even have a butt to fall, so there. I do get the ‘identity crisis’ thing though. Just roll with it and it will pass.

    Layanee, thank you! (I swear I didn’t mean to go fishing with this post but I’ll take those compliments any day.) And you always look so sharp that if I didn’t know you better, I wouldn’t believe you ever worked in the garden. Plus you have the best shoes. So there! And I’m rolling rolling and feeling better (when you look good, you feel good? It’s a good start anyhow.) -kris

  5. First of all, bless you. 2nd, this parallel life thing is creeeeeeeepy. Tres, 2nd hand clothes are the best for putting to creative use. Not that I would know. I work in an office and still manage to cycle through the same 2 pairs of pants in my 3 days in the office. But inner French girl is as inner French girl does, and that is, above all, walk around with confidence even when she’s wearing cymbals on her knees. OMG those French girls! One thing I spent a little cash on ( anyone?) is my Mountain Khakis. For women. Dog walks, bog sloshing, mountain climbing, compost turning, wall building, bar hopping–they sop it all up with a biscuit. Get them dirty, pull your boots on, go to Savers, watch them all salivate. Now I’m going to check out this record!

    Lynn, Bless you back (and you MUST move here)! Of course you’re right about projecting confidence. I always forget to when I’m feeling 13. I’m checking out mountain khakis right now and the descriptions alone… but then yours was even more convincing. But, damn, they’re not giving those pants away! Meanwhile the image of a particularly lovely skirt hanging on your line is burned in my brain. Now that’s good garden-wear. -kris

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