Unfortunately, I am a “morning person” which means that the peak of my productivity occurs between 8am-11am. Because I am a freelance writer, this means that almost every day I stumble out of bed straight to my computer desk wearing whatever I slept in, and get to work. The unglamorous truth is, when I’m writing about street style at New York Fashion Week, or eulogizing Anna Piaggi there is a pretty solid chance that I am wearing grungy sweatpants, no underwear, some novelty t-shirt I got for free and whatever sweater I happened to pick up off the floor first.
Perhaps it is just me who holds unrealistic assumptions of how fashion people are supposed to dress, but I always imagined that everyone walks around looking like Anna Dello Russo all the time, in garish outfits that cost more than two month’s rent. I hate to ruin the illusion of fashion writers living this glamorous life –- and maybe some of them do, I can’t imagine Lynn Yaeger typing out her ferocious wit in anything less than Comme des Garcons -– but I think for the most part, low-profile freelance writers (a.k.a me) don’t get paid enough or leave the house enough to really care.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter what I look like, as long as the work gets done. I don’t have anywhere to be specifically –- the coffee shops I frequently work at aren’t going to miss me when I don’t show up for a day -- so what I wear is always going to be secondary to the work I do. Still, the mental picture of an unkempt sports writer or web programmer seems a little more appropriate than a fashion writer who gets paid to write about cute outfits, yet chooses to do her trade in her hole-y pajamas.
I wish I could say my outfit apathy changes and I transform into a total glamour puss whenever I go out into the world to Do Things, but once again: this is just not the case. Even when I am required to leave the house, my go-to uniform is a t-shirt and jeans. For the past week, I have essentially been wearing a variation on this outfit: plain black long-sleeve crew-neck sweater, really old Urban Outfitters jeans I got for $20 on sale like 5 years ago and a really frumpy pair of Hush Puppies loafers. Maybe I wasn’t wearing mom jeans, but I was definitely wearing mom shoes. It wasn’t a “bad” outfit strictly speaking, just boring as hell.
This public admission of my lack of style is a little weird, considering I ran a quirky personal style blog for a long time. I viewed clothing as my most important form of self-expression, and put a lot of thought and effort into what I wore. Now I want my writing to be the centre of attention and I dress as if I want to disappear.
Luckily, I am not the only “fashion person” who doesn’t give two shits about whether my sweatpants are Alexander Wang. The grand dame of fashion journalism Cathy Horyn, is also a really boring dresser. Horyn may be fashion critic for the New York Times, sitting front row at fashion shows, but she isn’t there to be seen. She is there to have an unobstructed view of the collections being presented, so she can write about them with honesty and clarity. Horyn lives up to her “critic” title, and her zinging commentary is often considered the final word on designer collections. She is rarely seen wearing a modicum of make-up and her conservative, minimalist outfits make it clear that some girls just wanna wear black.
Cathy is a talented goddess and if she can maintain her position as a well-respected fashion writer while dressing like a high school teacher, it makes me feel okay about my desire to wear sensible shoes. I may be boring but we can’t all dress like Lady Gaga -– that would be mighty boring too.