The Jacket

November 1, 2007

patent What you wear sends a message about who you are.  We would like to think that people judge us only on what’s inside, but that just isn’t the case.  Every fashion choice you make is a word, a sentence, some kind of punctuation.  We all make fashion choices everyday, even if we think we are unconcerned with such trivial things.  If you spend time perusing the vogue and glamour to get tips and then put on the latest trends, it says something.  If you throw on whatever is clean, it says something.  Sometimes what you are saying when you get dressed and what other people “hear” when they see you are totally different.

Nothing brought this home to me more than a fashion choice I made some years ago in college.

I was at the mall with friends, shopping at one of those teeny bopper stores, when I saw The Jacket.  I fell in love.  It was (fake) black patent leather done in “jean jacket” style.  Elena said,”Oh ha ha funny. You aren’t really going to buy that.” She was shocked when I walked out with it.

When I walked into the cafeteria the next day wearing my new purchase, Sandra said sarcastically: “You can really tell Foreverloyal is muslim with that jacket on.” Whatever chick! I went right on about my business.

I started getting catcalled.  Dudes trying to approach.  It was uncomfortable.  None of this had ever happened before The Jacket.  But that couldn’t be the cause, could it?  It was just a dang jacket!  I didn’t want to stop wearing it.  It was shiny and happy and fun, like me.  So I kept wearing it.  And I kept getting the same reactions.

Clearly I thought the long skirts, scarves and the jacket were saying: “Happy, fun (not that it’s any of your business), practicing muslima.”  But alot of people were seeing “Happy, fun muslima, but maybe not-so-strict. You’ve got a shot! Go for it.”  As much as I loved that jacket, I had to let it go.  I put it in a bag gave it to the thrift store, hoped it would find a good home. 

Black patent leather is back in.  Foreverloyal is all grown up and married.  I wonder what a long skirt, scarf, wedding ring, tribe of children, and a black patent leather jacket would say?


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