Somewhere in the past two years, I’ve stopped being Kooky-with-a-capital-Q. I don’t know when it happened, but one day recently I woke up and realized all my outfits have the same silhouette, the same pleats and gathers and darts. I still love my power clashing, my aggressive kitsch, my costume pieces repurposed for everyday life, but there’s something leaner about it now. I no longer wear trailing skirts or a million layered bangles or black tights in the summer. I still crave being seen, but the tools of my seduction are much more ’50s twee, primness slightly queered, than art-teacher absurdity.
I have a uniform now, for better or for worse. A fit-and-flare dress – knee-length, cotton, cap-sleeved – a hat or scarf, colorful socks, men’s brogues. It’s where I’ve settled after a lifetime of throwing fabric at myself and hoping something stuck. I enjoy it, I feel like myself here in this groove, but I didn’t realize just how deeply carved it was until I almost passed up this dress.
It’s longer than I prefer, by a good foot. For a few minutes I agonized – I just don’t feel right in long dresses. I’m not a hippie; that’s Kristina’s department. And then I realized that when a dress like this is delivered, pristine and unstained and in your exact size, you don’t pick nits. You spend the ten goddamn dollars, because you will never find a piece like this again.
I ended up wearing it to a circus-themed party the night after I took these photos. I sprawled on the floor and decided my dress would be the tent.