Dressing the Part

Today I stood in front of my closet for twenty minutes trying to decide what to wear. I’m going into the studio to help Rick shoot the rest of his project – he’s interviewing MGC, the young rap artist that Daniel LeMelle is working with. We’re going to get shots of MGC rapping, and talking with Daniel about his new project. I will be in the background, setting lights and schlepping things. No one will be looking at me. No one will care about me. But I can’t figure out what to wear.

I want to look like a producer. No – I want to look like a writer. But we’ll be in the studio, so maybe I should look like some cool music person. I don’t think a cool music person would call themselves a cool music person. A cool music person would be unique looking. Hmmm … what costume can I put on to convey “I’m totally spontaneous.” And cool. How can I look cool? The moment you try to look cool you’ve blown it. Whenever I try to look cool I throw on a bunch of black and I invariably end up looking like a stagehand at a puppet show.

Why is it so important to me to try to create some image? Why can’t I just wear clothes that I like? I think part of it is living in LA where image is everything, but I realized a long time ago that I couldn’t compete with the gorgeous starlets or the execs in their expensive clothes. My taste may say “Barney’s,” but my budget says “Ross for Less.”

Part of it is age. What looks fun and cool on a twenty-year old can look like a clown costume on a middle-aged body. And there’s the heat, too. I love wearing black – it’s the state color in New York, where I grew up. But LA is hot and sunny right now. Sweaty is never a cool look. But black will look cool in the studio. Do I endure sweat outside for a few moments of cool inside? Decisions, decisions.

Now that I’m unemployed and I don’t go to an office everyday, I don’t have to dress any particular way. I can just be me – whatever the hell that is. I need an image consultant. Or maybe a costume designer, for all the characters I play in my head. Why is getting dressed so hard?


6 Comments on “Dressing the Part”

  1. Imogen says:

    Tara – wear what is ‘you’ and you’ll look cool and feel great – trying to be someone often looks contrived and ‘uncool’. Anyway – you’re way cool naturally – so don’t worry about it!

  2. Wear whatever gives you confidence. In other words, just be yourself! Nothing is as uncool as self-consciousness.

  3. editor says:

    getting dressed is only hard if a person actually thinks about it.
    when you consider that you need/want to cull from all the colors, shapes, textures, brands (and their social implications/connections), styles, fit that are out there in order to express (or create) who you are (or want to be), then it is very daunting.
    and i think age complicates it only to the extent that change, if we’re lucky, happens gradually, but the selection and acquisition of clothing does have to happen suddenly. you see, you want, you buy. how can a wardrobe follow that fluidity that is personal development? so while you’re on one of those plateaus every couple of years, you can coast and be content, but then, without realizing it, when you find yourself rising or falling or landing on a new level, your clothing/style, the physical expression of the other stuff, it needs to be reassessed.
    that’s my answer to “Why is getting dressed so hard?” for now. ask me again tomorrow or next week, and i might have an entirely different perspective. 😉
    and yet, i love clothes. because they can be very beautiful things. i don’t go to an office now either, and my friends, some of them, clearly view me as a non-person as a result; a person for whom it does not make sense to have and wear beautiful clothing. of course i do not agree.
    what did you end up wearing???

  4. WendyB says:

    “I think part of it is living in LA where image is everything, but I realized a long time ago that I couldn’t compete with the gorgeous starlets or the execs in their expensive clothes.” — okay, admittedly just as a visitor from NYC, it seems to me no one dresses in LA at ALL. I’ve had sales associates selling my $15,000 pieces while wearing tiny cutoffs and flip flops. I say wear what you want and definitely don’t be intimidated by anyone there!

  5. Tara Zucker says:

    Wendy – you’re so right! And there is that odd disconnect – flip flops – but they have to be the “right” flip flops (whatever is “in” at the moment.)

    I think I just, more and more, want to look like a grownup, and there aren’t too many in this town. I don’t really have a good role model for how to dress now. But I’m getting there.

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