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I was reading one of those French Women Are Better Than You style books (one of the million that are on the market at any given moment) and I started to think about my wardrobe. The writer talks about how the French people she knew had no more than 10 pieces of clothing in their core wardrobe and how they always looked chic and put together even when they were going out to buy vegetables.

It made me remember a woman I had worked with when I was barely scraping by as a temp in awful, soul crushing, corporate offices. She had only five outfits that she wore to work, but every one of them was gorgeous. The fit, the fabric, the colors, all of it came together to be absolutely beautiful. The only thing I looked forward to for the entire time I worked there was which outfit she would be wearing when I surrendered myself to that shithole the next day.

So yesterday I started going through my pants in order to only keep the ones that were beautiful on me. Problem, all my pants suck. So I had to lower my standards just to keep my privates covered, but I did feel good about cleaning out my pants drawer, especially since I could now close it.

Later I was in the mall watching people (I had to pass waiting for my husband, someone collapsed in his BART train car. BTW, that emergency button on BART trains? The person on the other end doesn’t give a shit). Everyone looked fine to me and none of them were dressed to the nines. It was just people going about their day, making sure their nakedness was covered or they were at least warm.

I thought they all looked fine. So I started to question the idea of always looking chic. I like to look good but this is a filthy city and when I’m out running errands I don’t want to worry if human piss just got splattered on my nice pants. The girl in the book said it was important to always look good because you never know who you’ll run into. But I realized I don’t dress for other people, I dress for myself.

And I certainly don’t care if someone doesn’t like the way I’m dressed. Honestly if someone I run into is the kind of person who judges how I’m dressed, then I want them to find me lacking so that I’ll never have to waste a moment of my time with them.

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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  • Roger Hall

    Good stuff! I didn’t realize this was a thing – American women ROCK!

  • Roger Hall

    Good stuff! I didn’t realize this was a thing – American women ROCK!

  • Babe Scanlon

    Aw shucks!

  • Babe Scanlon

    Aw shucks!

  • Martin

    All cities are intrinsically dirty, but why should you allow that into your life as an excuse to lower the bar? San Francisco isn’t a dirtier city than Manhattan, London, Madrid, or Paris.
    What separates cosmopolitan people from urbanites is attention to detail and self-awareness, regardless of the environment.
    I refuse to dress like most San Franciscans. Going to TJ’s doesn’t mean that I have to look as though I’m trekking the Appalachian Trail.
    Also, I’m really over San Francisco’s four pastels; black, grey, khaki, and hunter green.
    And please, leave the camouflage clothing to the serial killers.

  • Martin

    All cities are intrinsically dirty, but why should you allow that into your life as an excuse to lower the bar? San Francisco isn’t a dirtier city than Manhattan, London, Madrid, or Paris.
    What separates cosmopolitan people from urbanites is attention to detail and self-awareness, regardless of the environment.
    I refuse to dress like most San Franciscans. Going to TJ’s doesn’t mean that I have to look as though I’m trekking the Appalachian Trail.
    Also, I’m really over San Francisco’s four pastels; black, grey, khaki, and hunter green.
    And please, leave the camouflage clothing to the serial killers.

  • Babe Scanlon

    Good point Martin.

    I agree that one shouldn’t let their life to be an excuse to lower the bar, if they don’t want to.

    I just can’t put much stock in caring about people who’d think less of me because of what I wear to do errands. Which is lucky since I look like a crazy person much of the time.

    Thanks for your opinion!

  • Babe Scanlon

    Good point Martin.

    I agree that one shouldn’t let their life to be an excuse to lower the bar, if they don’t want to.

    I just can’t put much stock in caring about people who’d think less of me because of what I wear to do errands. Which is lucky since I look like a crazy person much of the time.

    Thanks for your opinion!