This is three-months, I said THREE, trois, tres months after having a baby, folks.
... (fragmented thought).
Sorry, I slipped into a hyperventilation and jealousy-induced coma for a moment, but I am back. Where was I? Oh, OK, so yeah, even if you looked like this (she is 39, people!), on a good day, when your hair was obeying and your face was very bright and fresh, you could not pull this off:
Why when I see this photo does "California, knows how to party..." instantly come into my head?
tears thoughts and stick with me. You could not, even if you wanted to with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, pull off a tangerine orange floppy hat with some same-color corduroy/polyester bell bottoms, a slouchy cream peasant top and some clunky brown disco shoes. If you were seen walking down Main Street USA in this, people would stop to ask you: 1. If there is a disco tonight at the local VFW or 2. If there is a 70s-themed Live Action Roll Play Convention in town. You will be publicly shamed, for sure.
But wouldn't you believe it that any stick-figure celebrity can slip on some Aztec-hieroglyphic designed shortie shorts and wrap a thick skunk-scarf around her teeny little neck and the fashion heads will roll. "*Gasp* She is SO FABULOUS."
Not you and I, kids. We are normal everyday folks who consider dressing up to be a simple, black cocktail dress or a Ralph Lauren dress shirt and tie. We are simple people, who shop in malls and clearance racks to piece together our everyday attire. "Risky" means putting a belt around a cotton dress, or wearing just leggings and a t-shirt to the grocery store. (Note: Celebrities look great doing this, but when we do it, we look like lazy, off-duty strippers.)
THIS is a hat—a body-topper, a personal statement without words, a piece de resistance:
But we common folk can only go this far—a drab, slouchy thing we use to cover up a bad hair day:
On the field of frumpy vs. fashion: Red rover, red rover, send Lia Dee right over!
Why can't we break through to the other side? Is it money? Connections? Resources? A personal shopper? Exposure? Free stuff? that keeps us on our side of the field? That keeps me from being able to wear this, or this:
And, oh how badly I want to wear these things. I could do one million sit ups to get rock hard abs of steel and sexiness, run one million miles until my legs are chiseled pillars of stone, and I could not wear those damned shorts. Even with all of my sass and lankiness, I could not wear a dangling skunk from my neck and get anything but concerned stares and calls from my mother.
It is a lot of things, there's no way money and exposure, etc., don't play into it, but I think a lot of it has to be confidence. Most of those broads are probably just as paper thin emotionally as they are physically—they can't be the most grounded, confident things ever—but they do have the spotlight. It can be cold and cruel, but it can also be the source of these things being attached to your name: gutsy, unique, fashion-forward, breath-taking, mature, evolved, role model, perfect, stunning, chic, fab. And to be honest, if I got one of those on national television every once in a while, I don't think I would care that much if Joan Rivers feels it's necessary to rail on my Grammys dress, or if US Weekly decides that "Beyonce wears it better." I would hold that one "fab" close to my heart forever and ever, wear it like a badge of honor everyday, and I would let it manifest itself as courage to wear even more gutsy, crazy things more often. (See: Paris meets the bird's nest, above.)
As always, my conclusion comes down to a series of "sweet little lies" we tell ourselves to get by—or at least just I do. Maybe, when we're in the department store, or shuffling through the even-more-discounted rack at TJMaxx, we should tell ourselves that everyone IS watching, that at the party tonight there will be a bright spotlight, just waiting for each of us to step into it. That, no matter who wears it better, at least we showed up, got noticed, got photographed. Why are we so afraid to be the celebrities of our own lives? What's stopping us—other than fears of being thrown in the nut house? I say: buy the bird hat, get the pixie cut, hold your breath until you're blue in the face getting into that painted-on pair of yellow skinny jeans, buy an imitation skunk scarf and wear it proudly. What's the worst that could happen?
I don't know about you, but I've got to stop being so afraid all the time.