Friday, February 2, 2007
Who are You Wearing?
You know the whole “Red Carpet” part of the Oscars—that odd parade into the theatre, before the awards show even begins, when actors preen and spin for the cameras, and reporters (is that what they are?) shout “Who are you wearing?” The question itself would have Freud raising an eyebrow. And the stars smugly say, “Oh, Valentino,” or “This old thing? This is a Badgely-Mischka hand beaded gown with over 100,000 Austrian glass beads.” And we are meant to say, “Oooohhh.”
I was thinking about that the other day as I pondered my wardrobe options for Love is Murder, the big mystery conference in Chicagoland this weekend. And I blogged about it a couple days ago on Mysterious Musings, and now I’m going to talk about it again. There’s been some debate on MMA about how professional a writer should look, and whether or not one’s clothing has an effect on one’s reputation, and even one’s sales.
I always make an effort to look respectable, but I’m at an age at which I simply can’t see the value of dresses or panty hose; therefore, my wardrobe options are reduced to a category I call “elegant pants.” There are many subcategories here: there are the trousers that would be termed “extremely elegant”—silky pantsuits worn to weddings, perhaps. They might even be embellished with sequins or embroidery. Next in line would be the “businesslike pants.” Suits with matching pants and jackets, or even the mix and match look, would fit this category, and for me it’s the perfect attire for a conference. It’s easy to sit through many a panel without becoming too wrinkled, yet one stands out from the fans who might be wearing jeans or sweats. The final category, “Casual yet elegant” pants, can still apply, but one might have to disguise a comfortable pair of knit slacks with a striking and distracting blazer.
So while the starlets are now contemplating their twenty-thousand dollar gowns for the upcoming Academy Awards, I am being very practical and asking what will be the most comfortable (yet attractive) attire. After all, they’ll be parading down the red carpet, holding in their stomachs and resigning themselves to no dinner so that they don’t ruin the line of their expensive dresses. I, on the other hand, will be marching through the parking lot all by myself, and no one will chase me with a microphone yelling “What sort of pants are you wearing? Are those from J. C. Penney?”
Instead, I will sling my bag—with my books, my event schedule, my Mapquest map to help me find my way home, my banana and power bar, my glasses in case my contacts start getting dry—and I shall enter my own professional arena with all the glamour of an author.