You Need This... I Promise

The Brights

screencaps from Ann's IGTV trying on silks

kelly green and neon silk

 

I have been going a bit podcast-crazy. We have a relatively new puppy - like everyone else in the world - and so, to prevent my house from being completely destroyed, I have been walking her two times a day. I spent the first few months of this walking routine having endless conversations in my head (conveniently I get to be the person on BOTH sides) but the imaginary dialogue got pretty boring after awhile. Then I caught up with the rest of the world and started listening to podcasts. Politics, cooking, fashion… I especially love it when I am sent episodes from my daughters and friends. "You have to listen to this one!" It is a bit like being in a book club… it makes us feel closer to be reading and listening to the same thing.

Recently I was listening to Esther Perel, a Belgian psychotherapist with an accent so beautiful that the New York Times said it seemed to "implicitly bolster her authority." I thought it was just me. Anyway, she was being interviewed on Sway about working from home and all the relationship changes people have experienced during COVID: "You go to the gym, you go to the restaurant, you go to see friends, you change, your drive in between. It's in space and in time you transition. You don't have any of that right now. So it's very important for people to create routines, boundaries, rituals, that delineate between the personal the professional, the day and the evening, the work and the leisure." And then later on she elaborated on how exactly to do that. "Change. Get dressed when you go to work. Change, make a demarcation. If you say that we're going to spend the evening together, if you go out it's one thing, but if you are going to stay home, imagine yourself actually going out."

Aha! That is the trick of the therapist… naming it! So what she calls DEMARCATION is what I have been doing all along during the pandemic. In addition to the morning walk with the dogs, another major point of demarcation was a nightly jump in the pool at night after work. EVERY night, even when it rained. That simple shock of cold water, then putting on new play clothes for the evening, then having a glass of wine while I cooked dinner. Those little demarcations became things that I so looked forward to. These were punctuation marks separating the parts of my day. The pool has been closed for over a month so I have replaced it with a quick bath before I change for the evening. I feel prettier and happier when I do. The choice of what I am wearing at home is just as special as what I would choose if I was going out somewhere. (Just as Esther advises.)

But around the holidays…or actually anytime… what is better than the treat of changing into an amazing silk blouse in a fantastic color? You can still wear your stretchy jeans to feel comfortable running around the house - I always love to go high/low – to take the fancy down a notch. It is like a well-deserved treat that doesn't need a special occasion. It is a bit like another great piece of wisdom I once got from a French friend – who endorsed wearing a pretty, matching bra and panty set all the time. "Just try it and see how you feel" she said with a smile and a wink. "For us… it is typical." Her Frenchness made that "for us" part sound just a touch condescending, like a lot of things that came out of her mouth, but I loved her anyway. And she was right. YOU try it. You will see. A silk blouse can work the same magic.

I have sung the praises of our silk in a past post here about the tie-neck blouse. It is made of that same thick 40 momme silk – substantial and luxe and a dream to wear. You can almost squish it in your hands. The heaviness, to me, feels like such a luxury. It drapes and moves with you and it is just… wonderful. I guess it is a little like comparing La Mer night cream to a Neutrogena day moisturizer. (For all the day moisturizer fans out there – we do also have a lighter-weight silk georgette that feels dreamy in its own way, but a little less fancy.) It is more practical than you might think because you can hand-wash it and hang dry if you don't like to visit the dry cleaners.

This is solid advice for anytime – why wait to use your nice things, seize the day, treat yourself, blah blah blah – and it is also nothing revolutionary. I have written about it here many times before. But the 2020 twist is that I am taking it up a notch for the end of this bummer of a year and adding a visual as well as a tactile element… COLOR. A lot of it. The weather is gloomy and chilly and we are still in a terrible pandemic. It feels like the right time to lean into the brights and jewel tones and neons that I typically wear more sparingly. (My most-worn blouses are, admittedly, navy and ivory.) Because psychologically there is NOTHING like color to cheer us up. There is a beautiful rainbow of silk blouses hanging in the Atlanta store and I just feel happier every time I see it. This neon pink one is the exact color of a dance recital costume I had once. Burned in my memory. There is a deep berry color that looks particularly good if you've got darker hair… a sky blue, a lavender, pine green, several more shades of pink… and on and on.

I made another little closet video on Instagram that cycles through all of our colorful silks in super speed. It felt a bit like playing dress-up by myself. My older girls were SO into that, as was I at that age. Most of it was stuff I had sewn myself. DIY versions of American Girl dresses (including a colonial taffeta 'Felicity' gown that was particularly itchy because I cheaped out on the lace trim) and an amazing storybook cape in dark green velvet with a huge ruffled collar. It was divine. I cannot count how many hours the girls spent with that box, ripping their clothes off, running around for two minutes in one getup, and then stripping it off and going for another one. It was the best. And I think for a lot of us, that thrill of dress-up never goes away.

At this very moment I am thinking of digging up that cape (really a capelet as I made it for a 6 year old) and imagining it worn over the citrine yellow silk blouse. Color on color. I already feel better. Practically speaking, the joy of having an idea in your head, making it happen in your closet, and the activity of making an effort… that always cheers me up. Add a little color and it really delivers… it is an instant lift. When you're wearing something really vibrant, it is nearly impossible not to get a compliment – or at least a comment – when you walk in the room. It cheers others up too.

and some bright shoes too

 

Of course we will all enter those rooms full of people again and have many places to step up our game with skirts and heels and dresses and bigger ways to dress up. But for now, we have our homes and our families and wouldn't they – or whoever you are Zooming with - love to see you in a fabulous Kelly green blouse? And so, at the end of this year, which is so very different… I am leaning into podcasts and demarcation and dressing up for myself … this time in color! I might even even take it up a notch and throw another bright on my feet with a pair of flats.

From Ann

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