Once upon a time, I was career driven. I had assistants. I supervised people. I submitted budgets. I was respected. I got big salary increases just by changing jobs. I stayed in nice hotels and expensed room service. I had lots of suits—pant suits, skirt suits—and shoes that cost as much as the suits. (ohmygod I just remembered that right before I resigned as Director of Programs at a non-profit, I bought the cutest Ralph Lauren high polish calf loafers in navy with silver hardware for a ridiculously discounted price of like 120 dollars and Liz said, as I prepared to make $50 a day as a sub, “I hope you can eat those shoes for lunch.” Touché.) And then I became a teacher.
I took a salary cut but I still had nice suits. And I wore them. Then I lost weight, then I gained weight, and then I decided that—regardless of my weight—I didn’t need to wear suits when some of my colleagues wore velour “pant suits” [read: sweat suits] and corduroy jumpers. Meanwhile I had that issue with my foot for which I ultimately had surgery but which temporarily left me without dress and skirt-worthy shoes. So I started wearing pants. Lined pants, mind you, from Lord & Taylor, but pants nonetheless. With nice sweaters and blazers. And even though I rebooted my cute shoes collection (pun intended), I just never went back to skirts and dresses for school. I felt like I still made a good, professional impression, and dress pants were easier. No searching for hose without holes in the black of night (when I wake up). (Did you know you can buy a decent bottle of wine for the price of stockings?)
And then, recently, I was shopping on line and saw a dress, with a sort of Pucci-inspired print. Very geometric. Bold. Very cute, I thought. And when it arrived, very forgiving. Before I even wore it, I thought, okay, I’m going to wear dresses again. To heck with the rest of the faculty that has, collectively, as much fashion sense as prairie skirt. So I ordered a couple more. Even though I have two skirts, hanging upstairs as I write, that I haven’t gotten around to wearing yet.
Well I wore the Pucci-esque shift dress today. With black opaques and black boots. (So groovy.) And I got a lot of compliments. But I also remembered one reason I stopped wearing dresses when I walked around for eight hours as a human experiment in displacement.
I probably should have just taken the tights off, but I didn't. But now I know better. And I'll look cute over cocktails or dinner. But not in the classroom.