A classmate turned to me yesterday and asked:
"Okay, is the tie terrible?"
He was dressed in a dark gray suit and white collared shirt with dark blue stripes for a job interview. The tie was an olive green paisley kind of affair, and was honestly really, really ugly.
"I mean, I know it's bad," he said, "but is it like interview-losing bad?"
I gave my honest opinion that it was pretty bad, but he probably didn't need to run home for another one, before realizing that he was talking about the state of the tie, not the color or design. He had gotten it wet earlier. Oops. I played it off like that was exactly what I was talking about before retreating behind my laptop. I know, I'm such a bitch.
It's not like I'm one to talk, either. I show up to school these days in a mish-mash of whatever looks like it's going to keep me insulated and warm. And while I knit a red hat a few years ago to match my Patagonia jacket, that's the extent of any color/design/brand name coordination. I'm sure people are giving me points for creativity, or for the boldness involved in wearing heinous outfits, but like split kits that can give rise to Twitter battles, I worry that I'm doing it all wrong.
Granted, I can put a half-decent outfit together if I had to, but the thing is that cycling doesn't seem to track the fashion world very neatly. It defies that old adage that one should always take off two accessories before walking out the door. Instead, I feel like I'm piling them on: Rapha Winter Collar, Outlier cap, my own knit hat, gloves, an extra set of clothes in my bag, layers of Underarmour...a massive silver Ortlieb bag, white helmet, and dark green bike on top of it all. Everything clashes.
Add to this the fact that I'm mixing brands. Not that it would be obvious to the untrained eye, but given the fact that the gentlemen of Rapha only seem to wear Rapha, can their gear be feasibly combined with Underarmour? Is that as tacky as wearing Chanel and pairing it with Coach shoes and a Louis Vuitton bag? Or as weirdly unsettling as seeing an Asian girl dressed up as a cowgirl? Even with all the neutral colors that bike gear comes in, is there some hidden "omg-she's-trying-way-too-hard" when you end up wearing all the gear you own at once because it's just that damn cold?
My classmate left in the middle of class for his job interview, and I wondered if the tie was really going to affect his chances. Not negatively, I hoped, because although he didn't seem too interested in the job in the first place, even I'd feel bad if that happened because of the tie. But taking off my Outlier hat at home so I could pull the Rapha Winter Collar over my head, and feeling a tad self-conscious about it all, I remembered a quote from none other than Coco Chanel:
"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."
I can live with that. I can definitely live with that.
[Yay Friday! Yay Rapha! Yay Rapha Scarf Friday!]