There’s another key concept to all of this. Impunity. Along with the focus on good behaviour, there’s a parallel and seemingly contradictory assumption that if we do it, it must be OK. Seen through a kindly lense, the assumption would be that all the scrutiny that precedes any act, by self and community, will prevent anything untoward. However, seen through perhaps a more realistic lense, this is simply another way for people to rationalize failure to live up to their own standards.

When I went shopping the other week, and wound up to my horror purchasing Naturalizer shoes, I also bought a dress at Banana Republic. When I put on said dress, all the usual things happen that happen for felicitous purchases. I felt pretty. No, the need to feel pretty doesn’t disappear after 50, nor the capability, if you are careful. Given the dress itself, I also felt snappy, carefree, classic, and just elegant enough. All good High WASP parameters. I even reminded myself of my mother at her best. All good. But when I thought, “Hmm, what will I wear over this?”, I realized I would probably wear, in this still chilly spring weather, the down jacket I purchased at a Decathalon sportswear store in Shanghai. In other words…
Silk Dresses in the Office?
Silk Dresses in the Office? – by High WASP on

Yes. I would wear the down jacket even though it doesn’t appear to be appropriate. Why? Because it’s comfortable. Besides, it’s black, so there is the ostensible color match. Deconstruct this outfit and many things become clear. A dress on sale at Banana Republic? Sure, why not? No need for fancy brands. We like Banana Republic, it feels like our aunt’s house might feel. And the spring green color has a long and honorable High WASP heritage. Pink not required. Requisite good bag and shoes? Check. The jewelery we picked up in our travels? High WASPs love cultural authenticity, and high carat weight souvenirs. The down jacket? Impunity. Since we have done everything else necessary, if we want to wear a down jacket we will. And it will be OK. Because we say so. Which also can lead occasionally to leaving the house looking like this.

What I am saying is true. Perhaps a little exaggerated. For a down jacket, I know it doesn’t matter.

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