“November 7: I met Adrienne Vittadini for lunch at Swifty’s. The weather was gorgeous, and I went with Hermès: a black suede fitted jacket with long fringe and nutmeg-colored calf-leather pants. Paired that with Manolo Blahnik ostrich booties and my black Birkin.
Then a trip downtown for a meeting… Back uptown, picked up my daughters at school and changed into my ‘play clothes’ to hang with them: a long-sleeved white Gap tee, khaki Gap pants and a cozy mustard Tse V-neck sweater.”
— Muffie Potter Aston. This from the New York Times feature, “What I Wore,” in which Mrs. Aston describes her wardrobe changes as she “balances life as a mother with a demanding schedule of charity work.”
November 7: Alarm rang absurdly early, as usual. I am starting to feel it might be possessed by Satan. To wake my daughters and make breakfast, I wore what I woke up in: a tentlike black sleepshirt I ordered from Land’s End in the mid 1990’s, and my trademark persistent cowlick. For work, I elected one of the seventeen pairs of black pants hanging in my closet, and married it with a grey mock turtleneck, somewhat shapeless in its old age. I tossed a jaunty paisley scarf around my neck (the one I found on the sidewalk several years ago at 1st street and 8th avenue) and breezed out the door to stride purposefully to work. I carried my gradebook and a stack of papers in the nondescript, relatively clean Eagle daypack I took hiking when I was 24.
At the end of a long day of teaching middle school students about the joys of the writing process, I trudged purposefully home from work. Samson the dog slobbered a bit on the black pants, which means I now actually have to wash them. Picked up my daughter and changed into my “screaming at you to do your goddamn homework, I mean it” clothes: black polarfleece pants that really should only be worn whilst camping, paired with a brown tshirt from Skinny Legs bar. Cowlick persisted, even more forcefully.
November 8: For the morning ritual of showing the kids where our front door is located, I once again went to my go-t0 Lands’ End ensemble, wondering if one nightshirt can rightly be an “ensemble.” Perhaps this was my Lands’ End “solo.” Feeling the nip in the air, I added some shearling slippers my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Earl got me for Christmas in 2004 when they drew my name in the family Christmas lottery. The slippers once smelled pleasantly of lanolin, but now smell mostly of feet.
For work I went with black pants — but from the Gap this time rather than Banana Republic. A bold fashion move, given that their ankle length emphasizes certain deficits in my height, if you know what I mean. Another bold choice: Target black turtleneck that folds down at precisely the same angle at which my cowlick folds up. Tossed on a cardigan sweater to mask the sweatiness I generate while plodding purposefully to work.
Lunch meeting in the Spanish classroom with Jake, Serena, and Zack today to discuss their missing homework and their apparent lack of enthusiasm for my concept of “deadlines.” While gesturing for emphasis, I dropped hummus on the black pants. More laundry, dammit.
That afternoon, while my own girls did their homework (“Deadlines mean something in this house, mind you! No child of mine is going to have a lunch meeting and make her English teacher spill chickpeas on her pants!”), I googled cowlick-repelling haircuts.
November 9: OK, fine, I admit I have absolutely no idea what I wore, but it was almost certainly either black or brown or grey. Or, to be more sartorially accurate, Hearse, Clove or Lint. Things get really confusing midweek within my extremely limited color range. It’s possible that my rainboots were involved somehow, as they are now leaning drunkenly on the floor next to my pile of dirty Chimneysweep pants, Misery-toned turtlenecks, and that jaunty free scarf I am going to wear until it turns into Linus’s rag of a blanky. I also do not recall how I spent the day, but I am pretty sure we had poultry for dinner, because someone has left a plastic Fresh Direct rotisserie chicken container next to the front door so that Abigail can take it to school and make it into a terrarium.
November 10: The choice between the Manure Aerosoles loafers and the Bullseye Aerosoles loafers proving too much for my morning pea-brain, I once again boldly chose by thrusting my hand into the closet in the dark. I’m in luck: both of today’s Aerosoles were the same color: Hogswort. I realized with shock and alarm that there were now only 15 pairs of Mildew pants in my closet. I realized mere seconds after that that fully 5 of the pairs were capri length, not really appropriate for late fall, and I am so not going in that weird “winter shorts” direction people keep trying to pull off. I mean, please. You winter-shorts wearing person with your obedient, flattened down bangs: I hate you.
Six of the other pairs proved distressingly shiny with wear, revealing their vintage to be similar to that of the song “Candle in the Wind.” Praising the stars that I teach at a Montessori school, I pulled on jeans, planning to spend the entire day hiding from the cheerful, bowtie-wearing headmaster.
After school, while dashing off to the store to fetch ingredients for Rice Krispie treats for Grace’s advisory the next day (One day’s notice? Seriously? Does your advisor think I am made of Campfire brand marshmallows?) I chose an understated Plague turtleneck, purchased from the deep discount rack at the back of Talbots. I know this is what I had on that day, because it is on top of the pile of Raven pants and Recent Widow turtlenecks next to my dresser.
November 11: Today, after changing out of my Batmobile nightgown solo, I elected Cockroach jeans, the Owl Pellet mock turtleneck, and a surprise new item: a cardigan sweater in the color of Old Man’s Hair! My Smartwool socks — inexplicably purple, what was I thinking??? — not only match one another but also keep sweat off of the slippers.
Gosh, what a week it has been! Purposefully toggling between my work life and all these fun, playful hours with the girls wearing my cosy oversized sweatpants, I am just exhausted. So many Pigeon-toned turtlenecks, so very little time.
(This post loving dedicated to my mother. I remain grateful that she has not — yet — disowned me.)