Variations on a Theme

Earlier this year, The Directorate celebrated the acquisition of the perfect (for me) cropped white denim and off-black denim. I thought you might like to know how the denims have been doing.

I wore this white blouse with white denim and blue denim jacket for travel this summer and, if I may so, thought I looked quite chic at the airport with a blue-and-white floral mask — over a proper medical grade mask.
Obviously, getting vaccinated is the higher call of the social contract right now, but dressing nicely for the airport is still on the list.
Dressing nicely for airport is below (1) vaccination, (2) masking, (3) NOT appearing pants-less on Zoom

My love of white shirts has not been easy
As previously mentioned, this Marni blouse came from The RealReal. I recently realized why The RealReal is working so well for me.
When I buy new things, there is a always a little part of me that thinks, How soon will I ruin this?
Perhaps ruin is too strong a word, especially since I take very good care of my clothes — but regular wear and use of clothes inevitably cause fabrics to lose their color, structure, or softness. Deodorant, perspiration, laundry detergent, and even dry-cleaning take a toll.
But when I buy something second-hand, I don’t even ask the question because the garment isn’t brand-spanking new. We’ve already exceeded expectations from Day 1.

Thus, the RealReal has allowed me to relax.
Notably, when I first wore this top, I got deodorant (Schmidt’s*) under the arms and then somehow made a greater mess trying to pre-treat the deodorant stains with OxyClean. I soaked the stained areas in cold water — which did lighten the deodorant stains, but created a larger set of yellow water stains all over the top. Duly noted.
President Valet+ cleaned everything and returned the top looking
. . . better than new-to-me.
Relaxed Directrice, living happily on borrowed time

Switching gears to black, which is harder (but not impossible) to stain, is a similar silhouette.
My best friend gave this beautiful plisse pleated top to me several years go. It’s just the thing to wear with fitted pants.
These jeans are not skinny per se, but fitted through the hips and thigh

Come a little closer to see the texture and pleats of this fabric.
Such a deep, dark, fathomless black; I like this color with the off-black denim

It’s felt hard getting dressed for work in September. Like many, I am feeling deflated about the fact that a significant return to the office around Labor Day — which seemed possible in June — is not going to happen. Add to this the annual dissonance of dressing for fall when it’s still 85 degrees and . . . I am questioning why I bother.
Trying to not be too sulky

I am doing it for all mankind
Why do I bother?
In order of proximity, but not significance, I do it for:

  • myself (because I still do love clothes);
  • The Photographer (to look nice);
  • my colleagues (to project normalcy, good cheer);
  • The Directorate (commitment to community);
  • for all mankind (to honor my part of the social contract).
    Remember this, Directorate: If I start wearing leggings and t-shirts all day, I need help.

    * Sometime, long ago, we discussed natural, aluminum-free deodorants. After trying several, I settled on Schmidt’s, which comes in several appealing scents. I like bergamot/lime. The Photographer uses it, too, but purchases the more manly scents. Several years ago, Schmidt’s produced a “Holiday Spice” product that smelled like mulled cinnamon cider, pumpkin pie, a Frasier fir, and a giant pile of beautifully-wrapped presents all at once. Unfortunately, it was not sold in 2019 or 2020. The Photographer and I have discussed escalating our gentle efforts (thus far, mosh notes sent to Customer Service) to something more forceful. Setting aside this minor complaint (deprivation of favorite scent), I love this brand. Unlike aluminum-based products, which cause significant yellow stains under the arms, this brand of deodorant does not stain or damage clothes. I probably don’t even need to pre-treat them before laundering.
    + President Valet at 5514 Connecticut Avenue NW has survived the pandemic and is surprisingly busy. Clearly I am not the only person putting on real clothes everyday. It’s less convenient for me than Diplomat Cleaners (which closed its storefront on Connecticut Avenue but will pick up and drop off cleaning), but does an excellent job.

    7 thoughts on “Variations on a Theme”

    1. Three cheers for being well dressed at the airport! At least 80% of airport time is spent waiting (read: people-watching). Thank you for your civic engagement. That black blouse is marvelous. And let’s add a fourth cheer for Dr. Schmidt’s!

    2. The RealReal is so much fun to browse, but also a really depressing reminder of how size exclusionary high-end fashion is. I would love to give them my money, but can’t because they sell virtually nothing over a size 10

    3. I love all the pleats in this post! I’m also impressed that you’re brave enough to wear white in the airport and on the plane. I’m always envisioning the turbulence or jostling people that will spill coffee all over my pristine clothing. (Very excited to order my first Schmidt’s!)

    4. I second Regina – white on a plane! You are a risk taker!

      And I applaud the social contract you are touting. Vaccinations and cute clothing for everyone!

    5. I had a call with long-time colleagues this week who run their video cameras and on an impulse I turned mine on. Big mistake! I’ve taped a note onto my camera, which is affixed to my monitor: Brush hair, lipstick on, close the curtains.
      That inspired me to look nice the rest of the week. Probably with Labor Day well behind me I need to get into my closet this week and get those dark cottons out. As you note it’s nowhere near sweater weather, but I think I could use a shop-my-closet refresh.

      This is as good a time as any to wear white on an airplane. I did precious little eating or drinking when flying b/c it’s mask-off to do that. The no-alcohol policies mean your seat mates aren’t getting sloshed and spilling on you.


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