Never mind that today’s forecast called for the possibility of thunderstorms and heavy rain in the afternoon. This May morning was sunny and bright with a brilliant blue sky and puffy clouds moving swiftly ahead of unsettled weather further west. I was intent on wearing something equally bright and spring-like, counting on the rain to hold off until I was safely home at the end of the day.
Teal was my choice, an intense aquamarine in the form of some vintage trousers by Inclinations with tapered legs and interesting, triangle-shaped belt loops which I purchased in the 1970s while working my way through college in the San Francisco Bay Area. The weatherman called for the temperature to reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit by the time I reached Washington D.C. from my home in Baltimore County, Maryland. So I paired the slacks with a ribbed knit, lace-trimmed tank top by International Concepts (INC) from Macy’s in a similarly saturated hue. But it was still a bit chilly in northwest Baltimore County as I set out on my commute southward, so I layered on what I lovingly refer to as my "curtain"; a gossamer shawl by Christina Fairbanks which was the very first article of clothing I purchased after moving to Maryland in 2001. My lace "curtain" came from a little boutique named South Moon Under (www.southmoonunder.com) in the Rotunda shopping center of Baltimore City, a stylish clothing and accessories shop which has evolved from its origins as a laid-back surf shack in 1968 to 17 stores spread throughout Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, all specializing in avant-garde, fashion forward styles.
Having come from a generation where one’s outfit always had to be perfectly coordinated, I would normally have added a teal beaded necklace and earrings to my outfit and called it a day. But lately I’ve been trying (with some difficulty) to break free of the matchy-matchy mold and dress with a more modern, multi-chromatic ethic in mind. So I decided to forgo the teal beads and look at my belts and scarves instead. In the end, I chose a stretchy beige belt with a ceramic buckle featuring desert colors of sand and sky, a gift from my best friend’s mother, Joyce, last year, and a fringed scarf by Laurel Burch featuring blue and violet equines on a grass green background, a find in the Minneapolis airport several years ago, which I lassoed with a mixed-metal scarf-slide accented with a richly colored agate, itself a purchase long ago from Potpourri.com.
I finished my look with comfy jute-wedged sandals and an agate-filled bracelet with matching earrings of heavy silver. I couldn’t veer too far off the coordinated track, after all. But as I studied my reflection and pondered the result, I realized that my ensemble made me smile. Broadly. And it might have been just that unrelenting effervescence that somehow managed to keep the inclement weather at bay until I turned my key in the lock at home tonight.
Who's not sat tense before his own heart's curtain?--James Russell Lowell