Monday, December 04, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunction

I've learned that location doesn’t just have an impact on your neighborhood and amenities. It also has a bearing on the types of clothing choices you make. I’ve talked about the need for practical shoes and handbags. In Houston, for example, I could easily wear high heels to work and carry a small purse. In New York City – not so much. The city is also less forgiving of ill fitting clothing choices as well. In Houston, I could have easily have gotten away with wearing ill-fitting clothes. But in New York, such a choice can have an embarrassing effect.

Take this experience a few weeks ago. The cooler weather in NYC provided the opportunity to pull some of my old tights from the back of my sock drawer. I hadn’t worn them in over 10 years (!) but they were still good, so I thought, what the heck.

Well, their good condition was misleading. The years in the drawer had reduced the elasticity of their fibers. That meant that my tights just weren’t tight enough - they didn’t have quite the staying power necessary for walking about town.

As soon as I left the house looking fashionable in a grey sweater, black skirt and black tights, I knew the rest of the day would be a challenge. Almost imperceptibly at first, and then more urgently, the tights began inching their way down. I would discreetly pull at them, paw at them, pretend I was scratching my leg or adjusting my coat. But my efforts didn’t have much effect. At one point I was afraid the crotch would appear below the hem of my skirt or worse, that the tights would come slithering down with uncontrollable speed as I ran to catch the train.

I spent much of the day trying to keep my tights above see-level. Just another hard-won lesson in the city.

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