I really like getting dressed in the morning. But sometimes I don’t get it right. I just look off, an unintended Tacky Clothes Spirit Day, kind of off. On those days when I pass by the mirror I have to tell myself, “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.”
Growing up, it was suggested more than once that I apply to be on What Not to Wear. My friends, sister, acquaintance at school. This was probably because I sported a Pokemon shirt with Princess Leia buns atop my head and a suit jacket with shoulder pads on the reg. But the idea of someone throwing out all of my carefully selected clothing and having someone come in and dress me sounded awful. And awful is how I felt every time my mother dressed me.
Once my mother sent me to school in what was, in my humble opinion, a gut wrenchingly horrific outfit. It was the fifth grade, the shirt was beige with fringes and had a faux Native American vibe, with matching bottoms, like pajamas. So, I did the logical thing. I snuck a Brittany Spears inspired get up into my backpack. The white sleeveless shirt had enough fabric at the end that I could tie it above my belly button and the skirt totally mimicked the skirt Brittany was wearing in the Hit me Baby One More Time video. I was ecstatic after I changed in the bathroom at school. I looked awesome. As I walked life’s runway (the school hallway) to the playground, my classmates stopped and stared at me, throwing compliments at my feet. Soon after my mother walked up and saw me hitting the yellow tetherball in my belly shirt and catholic school girl skirt. Her lip tightened as her eyes searched for somewhere to hide me. Her eyes seemed to scream wordlessly, “WHAT DO I DO? WE’RE OUTSIDE! THERE’S NOWHERE TO HIDE HER!”
I grew very accustomed to that look.
Musicians have always peaked intrigue with their wardrobe, so really I’m following in the footsteps of the greats, from Elvis to Dolly to Ozzy. My first “style” I adopted in 7th grade was inspired by Lauryn Hill. I loved her chill, neutral-colored bohemian look, with head wraps and hoop earrings. I decided, I want to look like that. Back in the day Danielson Family was like a weirder Jackson 5, with their matching Doctor and Nurse’s outfits. I really loved this concept of music as performance piece. Two years ago I got to play with NPR’s Tiny Desk Winners, Tank and the Bangas. Their bold makeup, clothes, hats and scarves, brought a whole new visual show to their musical show.
I have mad respect for those weirdos not unlike myself, that have the itch to make bold fashion choices. Which is not to say I know exactly why people feel the need to wear outlandish things, but I do see some self love and self care woven in to the reasoning. Because if getting dressed is like decorating oneself, and not too far removed from celebrating oneself you gotta give it to the people who go all out.
Feel free to click here to watch a video of me playing on Halloween, wearing some ridiculous get up.