I don’t usually eat my lunch in the staff room. This isn’t because I don’t like my fellow staff (I do!). It’s because I’m a graphic designer, and graphic designers are essentially trolls that live inside caves built out of monitors and reams of paper. We emerge from these caves for three reasons: to pee, to glean snacks from the Birthday treat table, or to go home. When it comes to our precious lunch hours, we allocate that time to catching up on what happened on the internet in the morning, because that’s just what designers do. But occasionally, I’ll bring a lunch that requires heat, and I’ll peel myself away from Buzzfeed to heat up yesterday’s leftovers in the staff room microwave. The nice thing about only using the staff room on an occasional basis is that the magazine stock pile always seems fresh.Today’s outfit has me reflecting on an exchange that took place in this very context.
One this particular day, me and my soggy left-overs crawled out of the cave towards the staff room. I was pleasantly surprised by a new (to me) stack of In Style magazines. As I casually flipped through the pages, I came across a spread of very flamboyant printed pants, forecasted as the next big thing. A fellow employee leaned over and said, with utter disdain, “Ugh, I don’t like these”. I replied, with annoying assurance, “You will.”
This person probably found my ominous, confident prediction insulting (and unnerving, as it was delivered in a weird troll monotone). She probably thought “Um, you’re not even a regular down here. You haven’t even contributed to the book swap. I’ve seen you take books and I’ve never seen you put any back in. How do YOU know I’ll like printed pants, cave troll!?” If that were in fact her response, it would be totally justified. But, dear fellow employee, I speak from personal experience! Behold my polka dot peplum dress:
See, last year, when the peplum first became a thing, I was all “That’s weird. I don’t like it. Too 80s.” But slowly (predictably) I saw bloggers making it work, I saw one pop up on my girl Emma Stone, and I saw how it could disguise the fact that I eat Ruffles by the bag. Thus, suddenly (predictably) I wanted a peplum as much as I wanted another bag of sweet salty Ruffles.
Like the denim shirts and pleated skirts that preceded it, the peplum moved from something I resisted to something I wanted in my wardrobe. That just how fashion works. Those sneaky powers that be tell us we’ll suffer inside leather pants, and we think they’re crazy, but the next thing you know we’re all pulling a Ross in the washroom. So, fellow employee who’s fortune I tried to read, I don’t know if you’ll ever warm to printed pants. Perhaps you will forever find them ugly and distracting, but it’s more likely you’ll realize how well they disguise the crumbs from your bag of Ruffles and warm right up to them.
There are many people that will forever deny the influence designers and magazine editors have over their tastes. They’ll remain pre-makeoever Devil Wears Prada Anne Hathaways. That’s OK. I, on the other hand, welcome these fashionable overlords with glee, because they’ll never hold sway over my wallet. They may influence what I like, but they’re not going to profit from it. The Salvation Army, on the other hand, is taking the $3.50 it got from me for this peplum dress, and laughing all the way to bank. And in return, I’m happy to keep them laughing, because at least it gets me out of my cave.
Dress: Salvation Army | $3.50 Belt: Salvation Army | $0.99 Bag: Talize | $8.99 Booties: Talize | $12.99