Archive | Style Matters

The Church of Color

For a while in my twenties, I only could wear beige, white, and black. I was very sick at the time, and in my long recovery, I couldn’t handle the strain of real color. This, in retrospect, is how I know that I was gravely ill, for color is and always has been very important to me.

My abstinence from color had happened once before. That time, I lost my ability to perceive color all together, and it was that loss, coupled with a harbinger of the symptoms that later capsized me, that forced me to accept that I had to separate from my family of origin. The metaphorical and literal often blur dangerously on the blueprint of my body. I suspect this stems from the lifted veil that I take for granted.

By nature I am highly selective about the colors with which I surround myself. The off-tones of the early 1990s hurt my eyes, for example. Those mustards and greyish purples always seemed so joyless–sanctimonious, even, as if it were not PC to shine. (I never viewed a friend who got married in a brown dress the same way again.) In my mid-teens, I was known as “the green girl,” for I liked to wear as many shades of green as possible. It wasn’t an affectation. The green made me feel hopeful and connected to something bigger than myself. Alice May, my mother’s mother, was the only one who understood. She adored green, which she said was the color of life and love. She had a winter green couch that was my favorite place to read. Continue Reading →

Lemonade by Post

I had a perfectly awful day, full of low-grade aesthetic irritations like bleeding blisters from my allegedly sensible shoes and a rash from an exposed zipper and underpants whose elastic waistband snapped on the subway and two handsome younger men who “ma’am”ed me (I don’t care where or how you grew up, all women hate ma’am!) and the unhappy realization that, when it gets humid, my new haircut looks like Amadeus’ wig. By the time I got off the subway all I wanted to do was lie naked in a dark room with a glass of opium, er, wine.

Instead, I got lemonade in my mailbox. There, in lieu of bills, I found a beautifully festooned card sent, unbidden, by my favorite ten-year-old in all the land: Miss Luci Vanderpile, my most epistolary of goddaughters. I mean, there were scratch ‘n’ sniff stickers! And sparkly hedgehogs! When I finally brought myself to open the envelope (really, it was almost too pretty to disturb), it contained so many hand-printed treasures that I sat on my bed and wept grateful tears. All hail the magical healing powers of snail mail–and godfamily, of course. All hail godfamily.

Free Bird

This morning as I comb out the bird’s nest that was once my Barbie locks and iron the nipped-in Mad Men dress I’m wearing on today’s show, I’m laughing, I really am. While out at the beach for a few weeks, I only washed my hair once, I never shaved anything, I didn’t put on deodorant, I never even brushed my hair. (My bun got more “bee-hivey” each day.) Sure, I brushed my teeth and took showers; hot water and clean teeth are wonderful. But I rarely put on lipstick–let alone clothes with a waist or, G-d forbid, a bra. It turns out that, at this ripe old age, a true vacation entails zero grooming or dolling up. I have reverted to my nine-year-old self–that tomboy in a smock dress and Converse sneakers–and it is glorious.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy