Apparently I am a woman of rules.
This is not a surprise to me, or to anyone who knows me. I stop completely at stop signs and red lights. I drive in my lane. I liked for Andrew to call me, not the other way around, when we were courting. I did not propose to him; if there were any proposing to occur, he would be proposing to me. We would not move in together before we were engaged. When we were engaged, we would set a wedding date.
And I do not wear navy with black.
Those are the rules I learned.
Where? I have no idea.
Some rules I know exactly where I learned them. Driving rules came from Mr. Whitley at Trinity, mostly, though of course many I learned from my parents or from other people or from seeing things that happened to other people, and they ultimate derive from a combination of social contract and law. Those are, of course, my favorite sources of rules, in that order.
But I have all sorts of other rules--fashion rules--of which I've become acutely aware in the last couple of years, the sources of which I have no idea. The never-wear-navy-with-black rule probably came from my mother, though I don't remember any conversations about it. The other rules that have come to mind in recent years have done so because of the increased amount of time I've spent in offices, though. People really wear camisoles to work. And I don't mean under other shirts. I mean *as* shirts. Or at least this is what Old Navy would have me think. And I shop at Old Navy regularly; it's my favorite source of clothes, really. But I rarely buy tops there other than sweaters, because the woven tops are sheer enough to see, well, everything through.
So those are two more of my rules: lacy camisoles are not shirts appropriate for the office. Nor are shirts that reveal flesh color changes beneath them.
I'm also not a fan of capris in the office, but that may only be because they're not particularly flattering on me. So that's not really a rule. But here's a rule: skirts above the knee are not appropriate for the office. They're also not appropriate for anyone over the age of 21 unless they're in a nightclub, or on their way to or from one.
Aren't I old-fashioned? Apparently so.
Yet I don't work in a conservative office. I work in an office in which jeans are acceptable, and I wear them. Not low-rise jeans--if you require a bikini wax or other depilatory methods in order to make your morning office-attire selection, you should not select that item for the office. Save it for the weekend.
What's the common thread for all of my office-attire rules? They're all about removing overt titillation. There's no reason to be overtly sexual in the office.
That doesn't mean I don't like to be attractive. I wear what I hope are flattering clothes, even clothes that let my figure show in ways to which more conservative friends of mine might object. My rules don't preclude self-expression to a degree. But showing who you are politically, religiously, or sexually, unless your workplace is by nature political, religious, or sexual, is in my opinion, wrong.
But office time isn't the only theme of fashion rules for me. Yesterday I stopped into a local lingerie shop, looking for appropriate foundations for my wedding dress. I explained to the woman trying to help me what my dress looked like and what I thought I needed, and my frustration in finding something like this that had feet in the pantyhose--such foundations are readily available that go from ribcage to mid-thigh, or just pantyhose, but not both. She asked whether I was wearing sandals, and when I was getting married, and I replied that I was getting married on September 24, and I was wearing a classic pump. I said I would consider wearing sandals (which is what most brides do these days), but that I personally didn't believe in wearing sandals between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Another rule of mine. She balked. So apparently I am in a tiny minority.
And so today among my errands: looking for a sandal I may wear, knowing that nearly no one will see these shoes. And that wearing sandals will simply be an excuse for another of my rules: when wearing sandals, one must have a good pedicure.