I heard her voice, but I couldn't imagine that she was talking to me. Then I realized that I was the only other person pawing through the produce bins. Even so, I thought maybe I had missed something. She'd said, "You look so put together. I wish I could pull off that look." I finally turned and put my hand on my chest in a "Moi?!" gesture.
There she was, nice blouse, smart looking corduroy jacket, fashionable boots pulled over designer jeans, hair coiffed just right, earrings and make-up on. All that on a Saturday... surely she must have a lunch date.
Still, I thought I must have heard incorrectly. Not wanting to assume that she was being a smartass, I smiled uncertainly and said, "Excuse me?" She replied, "No really, you just look so comfortable, but in such a cool way." I couldn't hold back. I laughed, "You gotta be kidding! Okay, who's got the camera!" Here's why. Well, let me say first that on Saturdays I don't dress any differently than I do any other day of the week. Fortunately, my job at least allows for absolute casualness when it comes to attire.
Okay, for those of you who haven't seen me in recent years or never before, tog-wise I've definitely become the quintessential Pacific Northwesterner. Everything you've ever heard about 'our' sense of style is absolutely true. I've even been spotted wearing socks with my sandals (but never with shorts!). I'm one of those people who, when invited to an event, goes into a panic at how to translate jeans into something elegant.
Also, it should be noted that I don't own a winter coat. Nope, not even up there in snow country. I dress in layers and fleece is my best friend. So, Saturday found me in my usual garb (and none of it could be called 'designer' by any stretch of the imagination): wool socks, hiking boots, jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, an old flannel shirt that's now three sizes too big and hanging untucked over my hips, fleece vest, and my Australian cowboy hat over braids. I'm a poster child for woodsy comfort and simplicity. I never suspected I was making a fashion statement!
But, she laughed with me and said, "Really! You just look so totally woodsy without wearing it like a badge of honor. If I try to do that, I look like I fell just fell off the Value Village truck." Having recently fallen off the Value Village truck I didn't know what to say to her besides, "Well, um... thank you." Which I did.
Personally, I think it's being comfortable in your own skin that's the real fashion statement.
Made me wonder what the gal would have said if she'd seen me Sunday morning... tromping to and from the woodshed in a holey turtleneck, same wooly socks as Saturday (yep, slept with 'em on - it was cold!), wool clogs, bathrobe (fleece, of course!), and baseball cap (didn't want my Witchy-Poo hair to frighten critters). I had no qualms about waving to my neighbor, who didn't even bat an eye at my attire. Guess my fashion sense has finally found a home.
Or maybe it's that I've finally found a home, and the contentment I feel is the final layer that sets the style.