Monday, February 22, 2010

Legs For Days

In my past life, when I disliked clothes that drew attention to me, I rarely wore anything short. (Not that this isn't the case now. The drawing attention not the short.) Blessed with legs that were long and shapely even in my heavier days, I could make most anything look short. For that and many other reasons, it wasn't until after college that I bought my first real miniskirt. My first minidress didn't enter my closet until sometime in the middle of my tenure in New York. But even after buying them, they stayed hidden away. Not because I had forgotten them but because I feared them.

I know that sounds melodramatic. Why would I ever fear a piece of clothing? Much less something that took up so little space. But I did. For whatever silly, timid, little girl reason, I did. When they did depart my closet, I would spend most of the evening fidgeting. Pulling at the hem. Standing in corners. Avoiding glances.

When I stop and think about it, my issue with The Short can be traced to my past discomfort with The Sexy. Or at least the overtly so. In the past, sexy meant many things to me, and none of them were particularly good. Smart. Pretty. Funny. These were all positive adjectives in my world. Not necessarily words that I always associated with myself but words I understood.

Things changed quickly in the summer of 2008 when, spurred on by my internship, I decided that I needed to learn how to wear them. I had been slowly ridding my closet of things I never planned on wearing again. Things that were too small or too large or simply not me anymore. But as the skirts few outings into the greater world had less to do with them and more to do with my various neuroses, they did not find their way into the discard pile. I was set on making them a part of my life. That September I wore a blue and white patterned mini to a fashion show with sweet mary janes, a black tank and The Cardigan. In some ways, that was the beginning of the end.

That Halloween, while lazily dressed as a devil, I paired my black minidress with red tights. When February arrived, I ran through the East Village in the patterned skirt and mary janes paired with a white sweater, gray tights and a black, cotton motorcycle jacket. As that Fashion Week progressed, two minidresses joined the fray complemented by black leggings and my equestrian style boots.

Moving home and feeling particularly feisty when it came to dressing, the skirt collection increased threefold. A-line. Corduroy. Military Green. Plaid. Tights in every color from green to black to pink to silver were found on my legs. Ballet flats and equestrian boots and heeled oxfords and wedges sat on my feet. Before New Year's Eve, I pranced around the house in the black minidress I had purchased for that evening. I stopped pulling and tugging and playing around.

The answer, in the end, was to find a way to make them all mine somehow.

Be that preppy or girly or boyish or sexy.

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