Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Tenure Dress: part two

Dress: Papillon; Earrings: Birks; Sunglasses: thrift
My last post was about my tenure party at which I wore this dress for the first time. It is now and forever more, my Tenure Dress. On this sunny day, I thought I'd trot it out again, in better light and with a better camera.

Sandals: Montego Bay Club
I didn't say it was perfect light. This light is decidedly dappled but I wanted you to see the shoes with the dress.

Seriously, check out these shoes! They're cheap and therefore really uncomfortable, not on my back but on my feet. But look at them. I just have to wear them sometimes. You can even see Beau's teeny reflection in them on the bottom left, if you look really closely.

In other words, shiny things make me happy.

I was not thrilled to find that the dress doesn't fit me as it did a year ago. I guess I've gained more weight. It's one thing to find peace with one's size. It's another to have gained size because of a disability over which I have no control. My weight gain is a constant visible reminder of my constant struggle with chronic pain. The pain forces me into a level of inactivity that is not at all natural for me. I miss being active! 

This makes it much harder for me to make peace with my size than it might otherwise be.

I'm trying.

As is often the case, I noticed the change chiefly in the way I filled out the top of this dress. It was a laundry day and every bra that even comes close to fitting me now was hanging up to dry so I tried to make do with this old one. The result was not very ... modest or decorous, as the damned thing was far too visible. 

Beau surely didn't seem to mind, though. Bless his heterosexual heart.

In fact, I finally had to place my clutch over the source of his distraction so he'd get a photo of my face, which was up there, not down there. 

Since I'm bi, I thoroughly sympathize and am not offended. I like it that my partner thinks I'm hot. That's very nice.

He was very well behaved when we first started dating though, so well behaved, in fact, that I had to ask him if he liked my figure  because I never once caught him checking it out.

Let's get another look at that clutch, shall we? It's just a little thrift store find with a subtle sparkle that I enjoy.

Clutches are much more comfortable for my back than bags that sling over the shoulder, so I'm amassing a fairly extensive collection of them. They're easy to find second hand.

What I was really wanting from Beau was to get a photo of my eye makeup. I very seldom bother wearing makeup (unless you count tinted lip balm) so I thought it worth photographing. It's still pretty understated. 

That's just how I roll. It might be because my brows, eyes, lips, lashes, and hair are all pretty dark against my pale skin so I just don't feel a huge need for makeup. Never really have.

It's might also be because of my Quaker/hippie/feminist upbringing. Makeup was frowned upon in all three circles, and also in the lesbian realm into which I came out when I was eighteen. Makeup just never became a habit for me.

But jewelery did!

I'm really crazy about these earrings lately. They're solid, eighteen karat gold and I love their gleam and original design. I think you're going to see a lot of them for a while.

I seem to have inherited my love of jewelry from both my paternal (Jewish) grandmother, and my maternal great aunt. 

My aunt, who is 94, was, like me, raised Quaker, a religion in which simple dress is traditionally required. I mean really really simple: grey, black, and a little white, no buttons, no jewelry, no finery whatsoever. Think of the Amish and you have a pretty good sense of Quaker dress. 

Even though that custom is long passed, there is still a sense among Quakers that one mustn't be too flashy or vain; simplicity is the key. So, when I bought the above earrings, I called my aunt and asked her if I was bad for loving pretty things. "It's not very Quakerly of me, is it?" I asked.

"Oh, that's just old-fashioned," she said, with her strong Duchess County (up the Hudson River from NYC) accent. This was my ninety-four year old aunt, the aunt who remembers riding a horse to school, telling me that I was being old-fashioned! "I don't know if you know it," she went on, "but I have a pretty extensive fine jewelry collection myself, and your grandmother loved her brooches."

Ring: vintage
"Sometimes," she told me, "I pick my outfit based on what jewelry I feel like wearing that day.

Okay, auntie, I feel better now. Accessories are good, even the "fine," expensive ones.

Bangle: vintage; Ring: Effy; Freckles: sun
Beer's an accessory, right? It is when it has a lovely orange glow to match my outfit, right?

In addition to the beer, the orange of the fries joint we went to seemed a perfect compliment to the outfit, especially in that evening sun.

I can tell you that I didn't do my back any favours posing like this. I had some trouble getting back up. Silly me.

I'd experimented with a different way of styling my hair when it was wet. I just put in product and scrunched rather than pinning it as well.

Result? My Jewfro was on full display and it was looking pretty wild. Some days, that's fun. 

But only some days. 

I'd joked that all I needed now was an orange cat to cap the orange them of the day and make my post perfect.

And lo! An orange cat ambled up and plomped himself down for a little lovin'. Cats just seem to know that I adore them.

Beau's sharp eyes caught another orange cat, way far away and below us. Look right into the centre of this photo. See that little orange blob? That's a cat.

There are several feral cats living in this little valley (know locally as The Cut) near me. I used to see feral kittens too. Happily, my landlords are also cat freaks and have managed to capture these cats and have them spayed and neutered. They also feed them. 

My landlord even created a little shelter for them. When he caught a homeless man sleeping in it, he kicked him out, saying that was for homeless cats, not homeless humans!

That's downtown in the distance, as the sun sets.

And good night to you too.


  1. I love those shoes! The dress is lovely too, and sure beer is an accessory. (:

  2. Oh, these are indeed cool shoes! I also love the earrings. It's the little things that make an outfit special, and I love how you've photographed and told your story today.

    Sue xo

  3. Thanks all. For the locals in the midst, I got the shoes at Payless. Maybe they have more. Wait till you see the headband, hair jewelry thingy I got there!