It began when my sister gave me a scarf for Christmas.
It was no ordinary scarf. This was a retro, metallic, disco-meets-the 90s pleated infinity scarf in teal and fuschia, shot through with red and white. It looked wild and bold and trendy and so far out of my comfort zone it doesn’t even speak the same language. I really wanted to be the kind of person who’s sartorially multilingual and could pull off this sparkly scenester atomic bomb of a wardrobe shakeup, but this was the equivalent of going to Nepal by canoe and I couldn’t do it. No matter how many times I played with it in the mirror and held it up against different shirts, I couldn’t do it. The scarf scared me. I was not hip enough for that scarf, which meant an exchange was in order.
The last time I was in Urban Outfitters, I felt like I had entered the house of either a 17-year-old who desperately wanted to be in college, or a 25-year-0ld who desperately wanted to still be in college. Everywhere I looked were gag books about booze or sex or cussing in multiple languages, and all the clothing seemed to be made for coeds who wanted to supplement their American Apparel wardrobes with other cheap, oddly-fitting t-shirts. So, in a nutshell: not my style. I didn’t go back for a couple years.
This most recent trip was quite a bit better, although I still felt like I fit in about as well as Lady Gaga would at Talbot’s…or maybe as well as a Talbot’s shopper at a Lady Gaga concert. Right off the bat, though, I found this scarf, a quirky but harmless infinity scarf in a more classic crochet style and in fun but safe colors like gray and olive. I didn’t go for those, though – I went for the orange. My more fashion-forward sister was with me and since she’d given me the original scarf, I wanted to stay in the spirit of trying cool new things. Plus…it was a pretty cool scarf. I liked the color and style, and I liked the way it looked on me. Still…orange. Yikes.
I clung to the scarf as I made my way around the store, trying to get my sister to explain what exactly one was supposed to do with the neon cropped t-shirts that were everywhere. Eventually I worked up the nerve to try on some actual clothes: a couple oversize tunic things and a really cute blue lace dress. As it goes when shopping, though, nothing quite worked, so I found my sister where she was ogling the TOMS and retrieved the scarf I’d had her hold on to for me. It would be mine, this somewhat bold and slightly daring scarf, and we were going to go fashion base-jumping together.
The first time I attempted to wear it looked like this:
It’s not as highlighter-orange as it looks in the photos. It’s a much more mellow coral/terracotta/pumpkin color. I took a couple pictures with the flash off to try to capture it better:
Okay, it’s still pretty orange, I guess. Wow.
I have to impress upon you guys what a huge deal this outfit is for me. This is one of the two orange items of clothing I’ve ever owned in my entire life, and it’s an infinity scarf, and I didn’t wuss out and wear it with white or gray. That’s my sadly neglected boring blue crewneck sweater, having the time of its life with another color. You guys, this is my style invention-of-the-wheel here. This is my fashion discovery-of-fire. My sartorial invention-of-internal-combustion.
And that, my friends, wraps up Heels in a Warehouse. It’s been both fun and the most stressful thing since college. Did I learn anything from it? We’ll see. I know I didn’t learn to remember lipstick in the mornings, but I did learn more fun stuff to do with belts, and I took another big toddling step into the world of color. We’ll see how I do from here!