For a given value of “Glamazon”, that is. Back home, in any one of the big Texas cities, I would not qualify. My hair is too small, and I do not wear makeup to the grocery store or the gym. My leather jacket is decked out in fringe and wooden beads, not rhinestones. I refuse to wear shoes that hurt my feet, and I feel that at 5’10”, do not not really need the commanding presence conferred by high-heeled pumps.
But, as they say, “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” and I no longer live in Texas, I live in the Pioneer Valley, and it seems that the simple fact that I wax my legs and eyebrows, and deep-condition my hair on a regular basis is enough to get me Full Glamazon Status. Never mind my huge collection of shoes and handbags, and my instinct to coordinate my outfits…even to go to the grocery store and the gym. It is also enough, amusingly, to get me relegated to the status of “Bimbo” with certain elements of the local society, who appear to regard any woman who engages in Grooming as an individual of inferior intellect, who must play up her looks to compensate for the lack of a brain. Just wearing lipstick – heck, even colored lip balm – to a party with this sector of society is enough to bust your rank. Certain other elements in our local society regard me as a Quisling for removing any of my body hair and wearing a bra.
I was grateful when my local paper (which celebrates its 225th birthday today, which impresses the heck out of me) instituted a regular one-page Friday “style” feature. Yet this, too, bears the distinctive stamp of the Pioneer Valley: the style team canvasses downtown looking for someone who appears to have spent an actual thought on assembling their clothing, photographs him or her, and interviews the person about their Look. I’d say, conservatively, that 90% of the people the team chooses have assembled their Look off of the racks of the local thrift store. Not that I have a problem with dressing from the thrift store – I’ve done it myself – but it does, shall we say, limit the degree of sophistication and coordination one can achieve with an outfit. So the short story is that virtually all of my local competition for the Glamazon title are, regrettably, hipsters. That said, there are a small number of individuals with truly interesting style – in the Rodarte sense – that operate out of the thrift store around the corner. They’re more of the Burning Man tribe of Fashionista, and their outfits are clearly assembled with great care, express significant individuality, and in general, they’re a joy to watch as they swan around the town with their vintage handbags and pumps.
Back to my morning. I hate it when I look at the 54 pairs of summer shoes (the winter shoes and boots are still in storage) and reach the depressing conclusion that I Have Nothing To Wear. I am certain that my husband hates it even more than I do when that happens. Fortunately, this isn’t one of those days. The roughness of my morning has everything to do with the quandary of finding an outfit that will carry me through the day without major alterations and trips back home. This is not, I should note, one of those trite little crises about how to dress for work when one must go straight out to an evening function. Enough women have difficulty with this question that every women’s magazine in the country runs at least three articles per calendar year on how to navigate those waters. Those waters, however, are pure class-1 rapids. That’s grade-school…ABCs and 123s, as easy a sail as you can get with both feet actually in the boat.
My issue is graduate-level: what outfit can I assemble that will carry me from the barn, where I need to clean up a horse and supervise the pre-purchase exam from the vet, to my classroom where I need to deliver content on cost behavior and estimating cost functions, preferably without stains, mud, hay, or Eau du Equine. And, thanks to the tattered rags of Tropical Storm Lee, it looks like the barn scene is going to be characterized by a general sense of Wetness. I have come, reluctantly, after 90 minutes of firm consideration, to the conclusion that this cannot, in fact, be done. I must take an entirely separate set of clothes into which to change on the fly. I cannot help but feel that my Serious Glamazon Sisters in Texas would have found a way to pull this off. Oh, the shame of it all. The disgrace.
I’d wear a paper bag on my head, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t go with my shoes.