I usually show you guys what I wore to work during the week, but today I didn’t wear this outfit to work. I put it on when I got home actually, after I picked up this shirt from the tailor/dry cleaners. I got this Trademark top from TheRealReal for like $30 a few months back (the MSRP is probably around $300-400; they no longer manufacture clothes btw). I had prior good experiences with Trademark and try to stick with brands that I know make high quality garments when shopping secondhand, because otherwise, it’s a real crap shoot. But when I received this top in the mail, I was disappointed to find out it was shaped more like a tunic and bulged out in unflattering ways when I sat down. There were still a lot of winning qualities about the garment though so I fussed over it for a while debating if I should return it or try to make it work.
This picture shows the original length of the top. The large iridescent button at the collar was a big selling point. It felt very old and futuristic at the same time. Like a detail you might find in a vintage store or on a Star Trek costume.
The seam work inside and out was really impressive as well. And although the fabric is thick and structured, it felt soft against the skin and breathed well. It’s a blend of linen and cotton and woven in a way that looks like tweed. In the end I decided to try to make it work. I decided to chop off 10 inches from the bottom to create a more cropped top but not quite a “crop top” (I’m too old for crop tops). I didn’t expect the tailor to be able to keep the original hem but she said she’d do it if I was willing to pay more. She charged me $35, up from her usual $20, and needed a time extension because it was so difficult to execute. It was worth the wait because she did a really great job! The top doesn’t look like it’s been altered at all. Here’s a close up of the hem.
I used to paint primarily with a family of oil colors in the ochre range and I always loved the way faded army greens paired with ochre, so much that I’d used that shade of green to paint the skin of the people I painted. These are colors that can be found in nature. They stand out but they don’t beat you over the head. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed the matching ochre button at the fly. It made me feel like this top and pant combo was meant to be.
It’s too cold right now to wear this outfit outside, but when the weather heats up above 60 degrees, this will be the first thing I reach for.
Right now I’m reading The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a good book so far but I’m not sure that I would recommend it to some one who has not already read a lot of other books about Buddhism. If you have a solid foundation though, the book can offer a lot of affirmations. But if read without much background, it can feel too abstract and non-specific. This book helped me with a difficult interaction I had with a woman who works at the hospital coffee shop today. She got extremely offended by me reaching over to her side of the counter to grab one of those coffee stirring straws. She made a really big deal out of it, and when I apologized, she became even more enraged. It was hard for me to understand why she reacted so strongly. Then it got worse because she had to ring me up at the cash register. As I was waiting in line, I tried to collect myself and thought about Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings. When it was my turn to pay, the woman continued to berate me for reaching over her, saying “And now you expect me to ring you up!?”. Even though I felt terrible inside, I tried not to show it, and said “I hear you. I want to apologize again. That’s all I can do.” Then she finally let up and said “It’s all right”. This woman is usually very nice to me but almost always complains about something, I’ve noticed. Like when I say “Morning, how are you?”, she always replies with something negative, like “Huh! At least the week is almost over, so that’s good”.
Today it seemed like she was already angry about something beyond me, and was ready to take it out on anyone for any little thing. Accepting my apology early on would have meant that she needed to own her own anger again, so I can see why she didn’t want to accept my initial apology. When I got back to my office, I felt really unsettled. It’s frustrating to start a day this way. But as Thich Nhat Hanh says, it’s OK to feel anger and pain, and its best to just notice it, observe it, and try to understand it. I sat there for about 10 minutes, staring at the wood grain of my desk, took a few deep breaths, wiped away the tears, and felt a lot better. This woman couldn’t handle her own pain, and so she passed it onto me. I’m not sure that this did anything to lesson her own pain though, but I’m glad I was able to contain it for a while and let it out, without passing it on to someone else. The rest of my day went much smoother from that point on. I wasn’t moody or mean to anyone. I was able to give my presentation and got good feedback on it. Thinking about this all over again makes me so grateful to have the BF, who is the exact opposite of this miserable woman.
Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you react? What makes you feel better?
[outfit: *trademark cotton-linen top (altered), *madewell straight chinos, *kork ease wedges; *pre-owned]