The Devil Wears Prada; This Newbie Wore Everything and Wore It Wrong
He stared at me lasciviously. The hostess stared at me disdainfully. It seemed every patron in the restaurant stared at me owlishly. My entire outfit, including the shoes, cost $80. I thought it was a superb ensemble when I left the house. I felt powerful, pretty. But as we waited to be seated those feelings slowly drained away. They all knew I was a newbie on my first POT date. And we all knew I was overdressed.
I didn’t truly understand as I got dressed that night that America is a very casual country. We don’t stand on the pomp and circumstance that our neighbors across the pond do. But this idea came to me instinctively when The Other One called me while I was in the uber on the way. He had somehow guessed that I was on a date with another man and wanted to see me. I could even wear the same outfit if I wanted. I immediately rejected that idea and then began to wonder why. The restaurant I had just left was on the list of 50 best restaurants in my city. So was The Other One’s restaurant. They were both Zagat rated. They were both heavily touted in local papers and magazines. Why did I dress as if I were going to an interview for one and not the other? It wasn’t because of the man. It was me. I didn’t truly understand the city I lived in before that night but something was beginning to dawn on me.
The Other One never told me where he was taking me. We could end up at a 5 star restaurant or a local bar. He did however always tell me that he loved how I always fit in perfectly. I acquired that skill after very careful observation of the other patrons of the places we went. No one was wearing a ball gown, a skin tight midi dress, super low cut tops. No one was wearing ripped jeans. The women were always dressed simply. Their denim was dark and their heels were only so high.
I took that knowledge and $75 to my favorite thrift store to buy what I call dating basics. Yes, I went to the thrift store. We all have at least one good one in our city that sells brands we recognize and maybe couldn’t afford if they hadn’t been donated by some kindly soul. That’s where I actually do most of my shopping.
I walked into the thrift store with only one rule in mind. Expensive does not equal: trendy, well dressed, stylish, or appropriate. I bought the following things:
- 2 pairs of dark denim jeans. The darker something is the harder it is to tell if it was well made. Besides the lighter the jean the more casual it is and while America is casual we haven’t relaxed that much
- Oxford or “button up” shirts. I got a white and a blue striped. They go with my jeans and my next items really well.
- Skirts. I got an a line in a really cute floral pattern and a pencil skirt. The pencil skirt has enough stretch to show off my fantastic ass. They both can be easily dressed down with my next two items.
- Tshirts. Now v-necks aren’t for everyone but I love them. As a matter of fact they are one of the only reasons I go into stores like Forever21. I also love scoop neck and boat neck tees.
- Chambray shirts. These are my favorite things. He makes fun of me all the time because if we go into any clothing store, they are the first thing I look for. There is nothing you cannot wear them with. There isn’t a single pair of pants, or skirt, or shorts that it can’t work with. I currently own four. All of them but one are from the thrift store.
- Chunky men’s cardigans. These are my own personal things. I love how comfy they are and I love that they can make an outfit that might be too much (I’m looking at you black halter spandex midi dress) just right.
- A plain black maxi dress. It was five dollars. I wore it to a fundraiser in a $3 million historical home. Every woman in the place wanted it.
- A silk camisole. It has lace detail around the bust which added just the right amount of sex appeal. Works well with jeans and flats or heels. Under a chambray or with both of my skirts and it looks amazing under my next item.
- A leather jacket. This was my thrift store splurge at a whopping $25 dollars but it was a great buy. It makes even the simplest outfit really edgy and cool.
I’ve always been a bit of a shoe horse so I didn’t have to worry about that but I’d definitely recommend Nine West to the rest of my fellow newbies. They make less expensive and comfortable heels. I have the Love Fury heels in black leather and they are amazing. I can walk around in them all night drunk or sober and my feet are absolutely fine. I’ve also extended my wardrobe to include a form fitting black dress. I bought it from TJ Maxx for $20 and I love how I feel in it. Besides my $5 maxi dress, it is the one article of clothing I’m complimented on most. I don’t own any “real” jewelry so I don’it wear any when we go out. He’s noticed and remarked on it several times. I’m sure, based on his comments, we’ll be going shopping for some pieces soon.
I try to put together the simplest outfits possible. I’m not always interested in being bright and flashy. In my opinion, black clothing was one of the greatest things to ever happen to humanity. I want to be well dressed but I don’t think that has to be complicated. Put on pants you love wearing. Add a shirt that makes you feel beautiful. Add shoes that make you feel sexy and, if the weather calls for it, a jacket that makes you feel like a badass. You’re done. Confidence has nothing to do with the tag inside of the clothes you put on. Confidence is about how you feel. If you’re wearing Chanel and all you can think is that it makes you look fat. I’m sorry darling, you wasted your money. If that $2 tee gives you cleavage you didn’t have and those $10 jeans give you an ass you didn’t know you had? Then you can take over the world. Just don’t forget to put your heels on first.
I laugh about that first outfit now. I didn’t know anything about my city and how people dressed in it. I understand now that while my new wardrobe works perfectly in my city, I might need to spruce it up in others. Now I welcome the challenge. I also welcome the stares. I know that they happen because of who I’m with and not because of what I wore.
What about you babies? Did you wear something absolutely crazy on your first POT date? What was it? And what do you love to wear now?