There are some things of which I’m afraid—insects and men carrying large, ugly knives immediately come to mind.
But when it comes to fashion, I’m absolutely fearless. I look at a garment as an opportunity to improvise and wear it in a way that makes it my own. So many clothes have possibilities that largely go untapped because women wear them as they see in magazines or on other women.
Yesterday I wore a black and white striped silk short robe. But I wore it as a dress. I bought it through mail order and when it arrived, it was so pretty that I decided instead of wearing it as a robe, I’d wear it as a dress. And that’s what I do. I have another black cotton robe that I bought in Chinatown that I also wear as a dress. This one has orange flowers embroidered on the back.
The way I wear it is I cinch the waist with a belt and pin it closed on the bodice and halfway between the waist and the knee. It’s short enough so it’s above the knee.
My regular readers know I love brooches or, as I refer to call them, pins. I have a number of butterfly pins and some turtles. I frequently pin a turtle or butterfly to the hem of a skirt, on the edge of the shoulder—so it looks as if it’s ready to take off—or on a sleeve. When I do, I get so many comments.
Recently I pinned a butterfly to the hem of a black skirt and a woman came up to me and asked, with great interest, why I had done that. With tongue-in-cheek, I replied, I “can’t keep track of where the butterfly lands. He does what he wants.” I’m sure she thought I was crazy.
I have a plain cardigan sweater—nothing special. I wear it fully buttoned back-to-front. With a pin and a scarf, it looks totally different.
When I wear a belt, I frequently wear the buckle more to the side than dead center. I don’t know why, except I like looking different.
So many women are afraid to wear anything different. They have the herd mentality. I promise you, if you do wear something in an unusual way, people will not gather on your doorstep waving lanterns and muttering curses.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at email@example.com.