I take off the blazer, loosen up the tie. Step inside the booth. Superman is alive.
Jay-Z – “Kingdom Come”
Everyday before work, I do two things I shouldn’t do: Facebook and Shop. After I take a shower, I lay back down in bed with my laptop & see what new notifications I have (I also check how my blog is doing). Then, I get dressed. But since I literally live out of two suitcases, I rarely like what I have on. So, if I need a black sweater for this outfit, I go buy one. If these pants don’t fit like they should, I buy a new pair. I’m not saying I go into Nordstroms (which I can’t even if I wanted to because I don’t know where it is) and ball out. I’m in NEW YORK every morning and the beauty of this consumer-driven city is that I can get a pair of $10 pants on my way to work and all I have to sacrifice is my boss seeing me come in late, but at least I look cute 🙂
So yesterday, I stopped by the Foot Locker on 34th, ready to be a hypocrite. I had written in my post, “Eff the Jones’s, I’d Rather Keep Up with the Smith’s“, that I don’t wear Jordans, yet here I was asking for the Big Kid’s section. I was lost. I haven’t bought sneakers in so long that I didn’t know what to look for. But somehow, I still knew what to look for. The sales guy saw me walk in –leather skirt and black nylons in my Nikes –and thought he could bamboozle me. I must say, I was partially excited that original Jordans are being released in the their original colors, but you can’t fool me with these new ones. If they aren’t on that original card, I don’t want them. And Jordans originally came out in combinations of red, black, and white –Bulls colors, thank you. Not saying the new ones aren’t creative, but if I’m going to get a pair, I at least want them to be legit. So I ended up asking for the 6s in all black or whatever else they had in a 5.5, and this fool brings out two boxes of Team Jordans. I opened both and just looked at him. Do I look like I’m going run some ball? Full-court-press looking girl? “You didn’t bring me any real Jordans?” I asked… I mean, I’ve been out the kick game for a while, but don’t please don’t play me like I was never there.
Really, I just wanted something to walk to work in. I take the train everyday from Journal Square in Jersey to the 34th street station. Then I walk 6 blocks to work. And even if my shoes match the purse I carry my lipgloss in, they still hurt to walk in. I wanted something simple, yet recognizable. Ideally, I wanted the Tory Burtch ‘Reva’ ballerina flats, but I just made my first student loan payment and paid my past-due U-Haul storage bill, so I can’t cough up the $195 at the present moment. & If I’m going to pay $195 for Tory Burtch, I might just put that towards my Christmas fund. (Christmas is for Christians. Louboutins, that is!)
So I left Foot Locker, feeling a like half a hypocrite, wondering (just as the salespeople were) what the hell I wanted. I want something cool, but not hood. (“All black,” I had told the salesman, I can’t walk into work all ghetto.) I work in a setting where for the majority of the day, I’m the minority. I can’t come in here blasting Jay-Z and wearing hood attire. I’ll give up the clothes, I’ll never surrender my music. I thought about it and… that’s not me anyways. When I was younger, I wanted to badly to be cool (and if you were a teenager at any given point, you wanted the same) and was greatly influenced. Now, I think for myself way too much to be swayed.
My journey led me to Journey’s where my debate was between Sperry Topsiders and UGG boots. I settled for the sequin-covered ‘Women’s Bahama’ Sperry’s because it’s too early to pull out the sheep’s skin. This morning I sat on the PATH critiquing myself: SperryTopsiders, Longchamp, Express and Calvin — with John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath, sitting in my lap. Man… if I didn’t know I was black… lol. But this is what 8 years of private schooling will do to you. It never changed who I am, but surely affected the way I dress and maybe even calmed the way I act. I behave. You can take me places. Lol.
How you look from the outside has a great effect on your interactions with people. I always dress accordingly. Right now, I’m at work wearing all black, but I have the shortest, tightest, purplest dress hanging in my closet impatiently waiting on Saturday. But the same way reason I can’t wear Jordans into work is the same reason I’m fairly covered when I go to the club. My dress might be strapless and short, but I surely don’t look like no video hoe. A video vixen? Maybe. The way you dress speaks louder than you could ever voice. The clothes you choose are chosen by you and therefore emit the persona you’ve decided to put forth.
You have to find a balance. That’s why, yes, I am wearing Sperry’s, but they are dripping in sequins. Ask my friends, it’s sooooooo me. I dress in all black for work, but I’m not afraid to spice it up with color. I keep my nails cut and clean, but they are indeed painted with Essie’s Fancy Delancey (aka bright ass pink). There’s a way to be respected and still be you. To be creative yet professionally dressed. To keep to your roots but clean up. To be sexy without being vulgar. I had a conversation with an old friend the other day about how we are not a “suit-and-tie” generation. But then again, you can tell who works at Macy’s, who’s in a boring office and who works in fashion –especially if they all have suits on. I dated a guy who had to wear a shirt&tie to work.. he had no creativity. He claimed there was no way to be fashionable and wear a suit. If he’d pick up a GQ magazine once in his life, he’d be embarrassed with himself. I could never dress so plain and boring, but I still wear suits to work.. it’s just different. It’s me.
The image you paint is the picture that will be seen. You’ll care when it affects your money. It’s the same reason Rihanna hired a new stylist. Why Cassie shaved her head. Why Diddy made people walk miles for cheesecake (not apple pie. Thank you, Crystal for the correction). The image you put out is all people have to go on. I’m not saying you have to dress cautiously all the time, but there is a time and place for everything. You don’t wear a ball gown to class do you? Do you? Everywhere you go, you have to decide who you want to be, and clothing is the most influential way. When you go to the club, you can be the hoe or the stuck-up girl. When you’re at work, you can be the ghetto girl or the professional. You choose. I’ve already made up my mind.
The clothes might not make the man, but he sure does purchase them for a reason.