dedicated to Julia of A l’allure garconniere
This comic is an only-slightly dramatized version of how my mother and her talented fashion-forward friends give me a makeover approximately once every two years, to varying degrees; the most recent to mark a new period of job hunting this summer. There is a lot to be said about the feminist and capitalist implications of “upkeep” (and tying professional acceptance or acceptable personhood to constant consumption) and the class privilege associated with “looking employable” which I will get into another time. In my mama’s estimation, this also means a commitment to appropriate femininity which becomes a sort of game of concessions, compromises, and dinner table nagging (Mom, I haven’t shaved in like 8 years it’s time to drop it).
On a practical or personal level, I am very excited to have a haircut for the first time in over a year (and feel neutral about having my entire face waxed) and have been engaging in a lack-of-space-driven project of getting rid of any clothes that are: falling apart, don’t fit, originally belonged to my dad in the eighties, started out as part of a Halloween costume, never see the light of day (or night), or were thrifted or swapped for truly inexplicable reasons (cheap! free!).
I am paring down my wardrobe into three categories: things that will last forever and can be worn in many situations, gym bro clothes, and things with sequins and/or overalls. I am also working on repairing or altering clothes and shoes that I love but are busted (rather than getting new ones or letting them languish).
Also, it is an absolute fact that people I don’t see on a regular basis often don’t recognize me when we meet, because I never look the same. For whatever reason, I apparently morph like three times a year.
There was a serious moment somewhere between throwing away the patched up, raggedy-ass shirt that I have worn at least once a week (usually way more) for the past three years or so, and dropping off my dry cleaning, in which I made a commitment to getting up five minutes early to put clean clothes on.
In this moment I acknowledged that I have entered a future where I do things like go to the doctor (instead of ignoring injuries), get haircuts (instead of growing my hair out awkwardly between shavings) and cook balanced meals (instead of melting cheese on things).
And this, Julia, is why I am looking fly.