Do any of you feel like your wardrobe chooses you? I am one of those rare women who hate to shop. I mean, I really hate shopping. I realized how bad it was when Elsa entered her tweens and didn’t know what a mall was. She’d never been to one. When I Christmas shop, I think in terms of “Which store can I get everybody’s present in one stop?” So, it is no surprise to me to feel like my wardrobe chooses me. People (usually my sister) give me clothes and I accept thankfully, seeing the bag of gifted clothing as one less trip to the store.

Legend has it that Einstein kept a closet full of the same suit because he was too busy searching for the theory of everything to think about menial things such as clothing.

Elsa Einstein with her husband

Truth is, his wife Elsa dressed him pretty well and when she died, he just didn’t care that much. I sometimes wish I had a wife because I have super important ideas whirling around in my head too and they might get lost in the closet as I search for something to freakin’ wear. If I get rich and famous, I’ll hire someone to shop for me. Of all the hated tasks, cleaning tops the list and shopping is next. Choosing what to wear each day isn’t far behind.

But it’s February now. I turn 40 this month. As I was driving through the hill country from The Dalles, I realized I’ve never dressed how I wanted. In my entire life, I’ve worn things which bear no relation to who I want to be. The other day, someone said to me, “You look like a teacher.” Perhaps it was the brief case. Perhaps it was the tweed jacket. Whatever it was, I was offended. Sorry, Mom, but looking like a teacher never entered my visionary image of myself.

No, I always wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn or Audrey Tautou.

Cropped screenshot of Audrey Hepburn from the ...

You know, those little flats and cigarette pants and gamine haircuts. Skirts and scarves that looked at home on the streets of Rome or Paris. Graceful, comfy outfits that can hop on a scooter and whoosh into cafes. Instead, my wardrobe holds other people’s identities — my sister’s artsy glitz and glamor, my grandmother’s powerful and coiffed jackets, and my own choices plucked once a year from the clearance racks at TJ Max and Ross when my mother and sister take me shopping for my birthday. Instead of the beatnik free spirit or a European expatriate, I’m a hodgepodge of whatever.

It’s worse living where I do. People in my little countrified community seem to only nod at the cowboys or the women in their Fat Babies and jeans with the glitzy pockets as people who can flaunt their identity. If I were to wear a pixie cut and a Roman Holiday outfit, it would draw unnecessary attention — there would be a little uplift of the eyebrows that said, “Well, you like putting on airs. Who do you think you are?” It’s not much better in the larger community of Bend where everyone is on vacation — even the locals. They don’t dress up either. They’re on vacation. They sport fleece and yoga pants and cute little hiking shoes that double as micro-beer tasting wear. Walking their chocolate labs on climbing rope leashes, everything says, “I climbed a few routes at Smith this morning and hit the slopes in the afternoon.”

My visionary self belongs in a little flat with a balcony surrounded by curvy wrought iron and white lace curtains blowing in the window.

My reality self lives in a community where men actually wax their mustaches and the judges wear cowboy boots on the golf course. Nothing wrong with this … I’m just out of my element.

Big Tough Cowboy With Moustache Closeup Shot Royalty Free Stock Photo ...

Well, I’m turning 40 soon and I’m ready to dress how I wish, regardless of its fitting with the rest of the community. Perhaps if I get the scarf and blouse, a trip to France might not be far behind.

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