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Friday, April 12, 2013

Anything Goes

One of the best parts of living in London is people watching. It seems there is almost nothing you could wear that might attract noticeable attention. Crowds of women are routinely dressed in costumes going to Hen Parties and hoards of fashion students wear the latest trends and of course, everyone else is in their usually fashionable garb and European chic. Also to be fair, some are wearing animal costume-like pajamas.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I think few dress to impress. They just wear their clothes.

My European friends - especially the French moms - confess to complete ignorance of their amazing sense of style. Au contraire. I watch you popping berets on your beautiful, reluctant girls and envy their lineage of perfectly understated chic.

Before there was a perma-chill here, one school morning I showered too late to blow dry. So I pulled my hair back and tucked it under a bandana. More Marsha Brady cleans the attic in a kerchief than Axl Rose, but so not something I would attempt in another locale. I'm pretty sure if you ran into me in such a state you'd find a way to...well, comment.  Not here.

Even my embroidered capris don't merit mention here. My lime green pants did in Illinois. A dear friend and I were once chatting on a La Grange street corner when I was wearing those pants. She waved to a friend driving by and said to me, "He's also from Virginia. He probably knew you were, too. From your pants."

In London, you should know that "pants" mean underpants. I was indeed, in British terms, wearing lime green trousers.  Did I also tell you that once I shouted across the Marylebone High Street to a friend — a man to whom I'm not married — that "I LOVE YER PANTS!"?  Interestingly enough, he was wearing kelly green trousers.

Here I feel like pausing and mentioning that the Mister was wearing a pair of khaki shorts embroidered with red lobsters the day that nearly 10 pounds of Baby Sister rocketed into an Illinois hospital room. His East Coastness caused great excitement among the Midwestern nursing staff. They huddled all around his cute get up. The Mister was never more interesting than when I was moments away from delivering a baby. No one noticed poor ole me. Way too busy with: "What are on your shorts?  What are those, crabs?! No, Shirley, I think they're lobsters?!" I pretty well suffered from antenatal and postpartum benign neglect as I delivered my 4th baby into the world. Virtually alone. Without any medical assistance. But to a father wearing cute shorts. Harummph.

For our school's international night here, we were dressed full-on American. I wore a pair of corduroy patch plaid Lilly Pulitzer pants that most sensible Americans wouldn't wear to mow their lawn, Big Brothers and the Mister in USA shirts and baseball caps. The girls in red, white and blue. As we got off the bus in front of Selfridges, Big Brother said, sheepishly, "People must think we're TOURISTS!"

Really, the only thing I wear here that has ever merited mention was a ball cap. I have worn one exactly twice and in similar emergency hairdo status as described above. It was then that my girlfriends agreed at the school gates that I did indeed look American. I'm so terribly sorry for all my fashionable American friends, that this is apparently a legacy we've dispatched abroad.

I've got a few more months to do us all justice.  Here's hoping!

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