As you may remember, back before Christmas, I was asked to participate in a panel about the Apple Watch. Wristly, the sponsoring firm, had found me via my review, here. As you can imagine, deciding what to wear that day required serious deconstruction.
I considered my options across several axes, as one does. Modern vs. classic, fashion vs. business, and those beloved High WASP superordinates, effort vs. nonchalance.
I considered the outskirts of my axes. Not actual skirts, mind you. First up, I Really Don’t Give A Damn And Am In Fact A Street Artist. Imagine this, but with a long-sleeved UNIQLO Moomin-print tee and my Vince sneakers from this outfit, or this one.
Nah. Felt like I was trying too hard in not trying, if that makes sense. The extreme physical comfort would have been completely negated by social discomfort, by a sense of pretending to be something I’m not. I veer Artsy but only a little bit.
On the other hand, I thought about wearing this. We’ll call it, Yes I Was At The New York Stock Exchange On The Day The Market Crashed And I’m Still Here. And I mean the 2008 crash, not 1928, in case you wondered.
A gray Italian suit (which everyone who might show up on Wall Street ought to own), pointy-toe Manolo Blahnik flats, pearls, man’s watch, and a t-shirt. But the watch event was held in San Francisco, and I’m retired, and I think this suit will remain in my closet against the highly unlikely chance I ever go back to the NYSE.
I considered two other outfits more seriously. First, Oh, Are The Seventies A Trend? I’m Too Cool To Care. A variant of my most reliable date night getup. Even when it’s a date with two young women friends in New York’s Koreatown.
- Vintage DKNY ankle boots with squared heels
- 7FAM flared jeans
- UNIQLO Basquiat tee
- Gold dangly earrings (Those Catbird chain earrings are so nice!)
- All-Saints biker jacket
- Hair in a low ponytail
This might have worked, but my real-life Basquiat tee is a little too high-contrast for perfection, and I don’t like to wear a biker jacket unless the rest of my outfit is impeccable. See, nonchalance.
And finally, Simply The Best I’ve Got. Which, as you can see, is where I wound up. On the first panel.
And the second one.
All da shoes.
- A hair trim and blow-out/straightening. I realized in New York that my gray hair is my best accessory, so I wanted it as clean and architectural as possible.
- Vicente Agor quartz earrings. Clear, so they’re subtle, long to make a statement.
- A white Apple Watch, of course.
- Ten year-old Christian Louboutin Simple 70 pumps in calfskin, for a touch of vintage “It” fashion.
- New Chanel lipstick (Rouge Coco Shine in Étourdie – Rêverie Parisienne) and lip pencil. Going lighter and pinker still, as I approach 60.
- Nude Wolford fishnets, thus solving the tights dilemma. (Rushed into Neiman’s last minute for tights and lipstick. If you’re going for perfection, go all the way.)
- And that Dries van Noten dress. Casual but elegant, comfortable and no-fuss. It’s 3/4 sleeved, and, when I’m standing up, a nice modest knee length.
Of course, I hadn’t realized that we’d perch on canvas counter-height canvas directors’ chairs, bringing my legs truly front and center in a way I hadn’t foreseen.
One of those moments when the universe gives back. I spent my young career trying to camouflage my figure. Working for a chemical company, selling to the semiconductor industry, not a lot of women. And in the mid-80s the idea that unwanted attention might constitute sexual harassment was pretty new.
So at almost 60, there I sat, ankles and knees on parade. And then one of the moderators asked me what had it been like to be a woman in tech. “Do you really want me to talk about that? I said. “Yes,” she did. I said, as I have before, “I like men. I married two of them, I gave birth to one.” (I joke to make sure any defenses are down.) “But,” I said, “I can’t tell you how many meetings I sat in where business development discussions used ‘dating the pretty girl’ as a metaphor. And,” I continued, “Even today so many of you have used the example of “Even my wife likes the watch,” as a ways to talk about the technically unsophisticated.”
“We women in midlife, we have the financial resources,” I said. “Ignore us at your peril.”
Everybody clapped. I suppose I put my best foot forward. Thanks, Wristly, for the do-over, and Dries, for the fabric courage. Sometimes the universe is a good pal.
Glance Conference photos from Twitter (#glanceconf). Shoes by Philip Elmer-DeWitt.
Links may generate commissions. You will notice that several of these links go to The RealReal or Vestiare, sites for high-end pre-owned clothes. I’ve never used them, but seeing the price and purported quality of their goods I just might give it a try and report back.