Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Clothing makes the man, er, woman
By Maggie Toussaint

dreamstime_xs_41429769Sometime in college or thereafter, I read a book, and I’m blanking on the title, and it was about clothing being our costumes for whatever we were doing. That was a realization I’d never articulated before, but it explained so much about my conservative wardrobe choices. I always wanted to fit in. Intuitively, I came to the realization that fitting in (and thereby escaping the possibility of childhood/teenage ridicule and ostracism) was so important to me. How odd that I grew up in such a time of change and yet what I wanted most was conformity.

In particular, I remember being worried in high school because one of my dresses for my five outfit school wardrobe was orange. Not a muted color, but orange-orange. Because we got our school clothes in a different town, I was certain no one else would have this practically neon dress. I had nightmares about it being a beacon it was so bright.

But my mom and the shop person insisted this was the right dress for me. I was stuck with it. Much to my surprise, I got compliments from my classmates and teachers on that dress. It seemed orange was my color. And so I relaxed and became comfortable in the dress.

DoggoneItFront - Copy thumbnailTwo things I learned. 1) I can be dead wrong about something because of pre-existing biases. 2) The right outfit, regardless of whether it conforms to convention or is a detour, says a lot about you. That orange dress nurtured my independent streak.

What about you? Is there a particular outfit in your past or present that gave you fits, chills, or smiles? One lucky commenter in the U.S. will win a print ARC of Doggone It.