Impressing writers

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”

Thoreau may be right, but I still disagree with him. Maybe because I’m a woman, or maybe because I’m insecure, I sometimes think it’s appropriate to buy clothes for new enterprises.

This is not to say that I’m going out and buying Jimmy Choos (whatever they are) to wear to my upcoming writing residency. But I do need a pair of shorts that do not have paint stains on them, or worse.

It’s embarrassingly shallow, but I’m trying to figure out what to bring with me to wear. There may be a reading, so I need something I can wear in front of strangers that won’t embarrass my mother’s ghost. I want to bring a cute shirt or two should the residents go out for dinner one night.

Last time I went to a writing residency, I took my very best t-shirt collection. This was the right thing to do. It was casual, comfortable, and I felt cool. It doesn’t take much to impress writers, but they liked my sketchy bicycle t-shirt almost as much as I do. I’ll bring my cowboy boots for confidence and a jacket for instant respectability.

Can you dress yourself? What do you recommend for the woman who thinks that a tweed jacket (with elbow patches, natch) and jeans is high style?

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13 responses to “Impressing writers

  1. I am incapable of dressing myself for any other purpose than to not be naked.

    But for a woman who thinks that a tweed jacket (with elbow patches, natch) and jeans is high style, I’d recommend jeans and a tweed jacket with elbow patches, because high style is subjective, comfort is key, and attitude is everything.

  2. i was just in NYC for a big conference. Of course, I had travelled there from faraway [name of country redacted] with carry-on baggage, so my choice of clothing was neccessarily restricted. After three days of skirts (they take up less space), high-heeled sandals (we bought them together, Indy, remember?) and make-up (I know…), I decided on the fourth day to go in jeans with my “TV sucks, ride a bike” t-shirt and running shoes. At the last moment, I changed my mind, and put on a Steve Earle t-shirt instead. Thank godess! I got an unexpected text message about an hour later from [name of famous doctor who wants to write a story with me redacted] saying “meet you at the Yale Club for lunch?”

    Well, if you don’t know what the Yale Club is, join the club (I mean the club of people who don’t know what the Yale Club is). I didn’t either. It’s twelve floors of luxury off of Madison Ave where you can have very good iced tea, incredible food, and, well, I don’t know, anything a Yale alum could dream of. Except you can’t wear jeans. “Oh,” said [name of famous doctor redacted]. “how about you walk behind me and act as if you don’t have jeans on?” She was only five foot nothing, and I am gangly, but I did as she asked, and noone said anything. I also thanked my lucky stars that I hadn’t worn the t-shirt which would have offended my mother’s ghost, and might have gotten me thrown out.

    But back to the question about what I recommend you bring to your writing thingy? A Steve Earle t-shirt. YOu never know when it will come in handy.

  3. And so I am instantly reminded of:

    “I’d spent way more years worrying about how to look like a poet — buying black clothes, smearing on scarlet lipstick, languidly draping myself over thrift-store furniture — than I had learning how to assemble words in some discernible order.”
    ― Mary Karr, Lit: A Memoir

    Wear whatever makes you feel like you.

    This weekend I wore a dress to a fundraiser that I was unsure about. Until someone said, “I love your dress. It’s so Audrey Hepburn.” I’m still unsure, but I’m going to live on that Hepburn quote for the rest of the year.

  4. All I know about style is that screen-print t-shirts are good under any sort of patterned jacket/sweater thingamabob you want to put over them. Including tweed jackets with elbow patches. At least, I hope they are.

  5. I just figure if my bra is comfortable, actually are any, and my flying squirrel upper arms are covered, I m good to go.
    What is it with writers and baggy sweaters because I love them and my writer friends love them. I’ve gone to readings where the writer/reader wears one. It’s sort of like middle school teachers in corduroy midi-length jumpers, a turtleneck and Birkenstocks.
    Baggy sweaters as a uniform, sad really, especially if it’s 95 degrees out.

  6. I’m certain all the cool kids will be in berets.

    I go on the record as saying that as soon as they come out with Garanimals for adults (and for those in marketing make a Tall line as well, please and thank you very much), I will be first in line.
    Even if it means I have to wear zoo animal prints. Fuck it. It matches.

    That being said, I think you will feel better if you get there and say to yourself, “Whatever it is I’m wearing, it is CERTAIN to look better than anything Lyra would have possibly picked out.” Think of it as an affirmation.

    Just make sure to say it in front of a mirror. With a beret on. And maybe, no definitely a fake mustachio.

    I know. You’re welcome.

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