Dressing to impress
The stresses of getting dressed when you don’t belong.
‘I dress for myself’ was a true statement I wore with honour up until this year. Before I happily aspired to encompass the sickening style of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. When I packed up my clothing to move from Australia to London last year, I took none of the basics and ALL of the shiny things. My corseted suede Saint Laurent style ‘Game of Thrones’ dress also made the cut, as did my Kate Bush long sleeved red velvet dress – it’s not a dress unless it channels some sort of awesome pop-culture reference.
I arrived in London with a suitcase of awesome and a dream of wearing it all at once like some sort of magical Ab Fab character. Yeah, I could be Bubbles! I even started looking at adult tutus on etsy. And then I met him.
For our first date I went for Chloe-style Picnic at Hanging Rock realness, all innocent white lace and long soft hair. It worked a treat. On our second date I rocked the Kate Bush red velvet dress, Penny Lane fur collared coat and even whipped my hair into a quiff as a sort of man-repelling test. It didn’t phase him.
Nothing has. And trust me I’ve tried. If a man is willing to accompany you to Alaska Thunderfuck’s Stevie Forever show in New York while you channel Adore Delano in a leopard print slip – then that’s love right there.
I know I can be and dress for myself around him, but when it comes to his friends, I feel the need to edit like my imaginary career at Vogue depends on it. When I met them I already felt self conscious. I’d unintentionally stayed at his house all weekend. This meant when we finally did leave the house I was forced to rock the literal ‘boyfriend jeans’ and ‘boyfriend beanie’ look.
The friends were lovely, kind and very sweet. There was nothing I didn’t like about them but I could tell right away that I was very much different. They were quintessentially British posh. They’d all met each other at a school not dissimilar to Hogwarts, but with accents more akin to Downton Abbey.
The girls held pristine Mulberry Bags and their faces were completely makeup free. The boys wore blazers with pocket squares and said words like ‘genuinely’ and ‘essentially’ a lot.
They spoke about where they were set to ‘summer.’ One picture-perfect couple with matching duffle coats spoke about heading to his parents house in Cape Cod. Another tailored blazer boy invited us to his parent’s house in the South of France. And then there was me, girl of no summer houses. A Fran Fine in a room of CC Babcocks.
Now when the question of ‘dinner with my friends?’ is posed, I force myself into a strategic thought process of what to wear, followed by a lengthy getting ready routine worthy of a Real Housewife reunion show. I’m ashamed to admit I now dress for them. The aim being to look as perfect as possible. Because if I look perfect they won’t notice I’m less St Trinian’s and more Summer Heights High…I obviously need help.
Have you ever dated in a pool that you didn’t feel comfortable in? Did it ever affect your style? And are Birkenstocks acceptable attire at a house in the south of France?