At the Bar
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. Fashion may be one of the most subjective forms of personal expression, a series of choices that function like turn signals, letting those around us know our mood, our point of view, how we want the world to see us.
Date night is a particularly peril-fraught endeavor — piles of clothes on the bed, hundreds of outfits rejected. Is this the right vibe for the bar, the bowling alley, a pizza place? Will she think I’m cool in this? Will he think I’m hot in that?
Weston starts casual. “I just want this to be really comfortable,” he thinks, going for a relaxed vibe. A little color, a little texture, cool. Then he looks in the mirror and wonders if he looks too much boy and too little man for the magnificent Mercy. “Will she think I’m cool or a fool?”
Mercy immediately goes for her best — an elegant and artsy handmade dress. Perfect for the symphony, an elegant dinner, or a gallery opening, but then, she thinks, “What if we go to a bar?”
Mercy | Handmade dress by Rochester-area designer Cynthia LaMaide.
In the Garden Bowl
Weston’s sartorial sense starts screaming, “You need to wow this woman with class.” He decides to dress up his look with a nostalgic vintage jacket and a bow tie. “Yeah, I could get some flowers, go real old school.” Back to the mirror, imagining the date, having the inevitable second thoughts, he sends another great outfit onto the growing discard pile with “Maybe she likes more of a tough guy?”
Doing a whiplash-inducing fashion 180, Mercy thinks maybe Weston is a little more Jeff Spicoli than Cary Grant. “Is his style more chilling at the bowling alley?” she wonders. “Maybe we’ll go to the Garden Bowl — I think I look hot bowling; and I have the perfect outfit.”
Mercy jumps into her fave fringed black suede skirt and slasher tee, and hitches up her long red locks in an oh-so ’80s side ponytail. Surveying the looks, she thinks “But what if he’s wearing a jacket?”
Mercy | Vintage suede fringed skirt and slasher tee, all from Global Detroit HUMAN; feather & turquoise necklace from Vogue Vintage; Detroit Belle Isle cuff from BluArch Collection; Vince Camuto shoes from Dolce Moda.
Weston | Blue print on black tux jacket from Vogue Vintage, red dress shirt and bow tie from Global Detroit HUMAN, STAMPS brown band and “Record” face from BluArch Collection, Grey Religion pants from Dolce Moda.
Mercy plops down in the middle of a huge pile of clothes and wipes a stray reddish lock back off her face. “I don’t want Weston to think I’m trying too hard, but I want him to know that I like him!” At this point, Mercy’s roommate, Maggie, sticks her head in and says, unhelpfully, “Just look like you and it’ll be fine.” Mercy grabs a shoe from the growing pile of rejects and throws it at the door.
“Vintage is never the wrong way to go,” she thinks. Channeling the improbable combination of Lucille Ball and Sandra Dee, Mercy time warps into a sweet and sophisticated black and white number with red accessories, looks in the mirror and sees every inch the lady, with the quintessential Detroit accessory — a bottle of red Faygo.
Weston goes Brando. He’s too cool in his leather for any internal dialogue. He’s a man of action (and fashion).
Mercy | Dress, hat, glasses, ring, bracelet, purse all from Vogue Vintage.
In the Magic Stick
“Too goody-goody,” decides Mercy, desperate now for the perfect look and starting to consider some options that are, well, extreme.
“I am a woman who knows what she wants. Maybe I should just wear something that says that.”
Weston decides he’s trying too hard: “Vintage is never the wrong way to go. Classic and cool, yeah, that’s the way I’ll play it. Sinatra, Fred Astaire, hanging out, a hat, a great pair of shoes, yeah, cool baby, cool.”
Mercy | Lip Service Industrial tube skirt and top, and Too Fast spikes cross heel pumps (and ribbon crop), all from Noir Leather.
In the Grille
“OK, maybe Maggie’s right. Maybe I should just dress like me, just be myself.” Mercy surveyed the pile on the bed, the looks, the colors, all fun stuff to wear, all her in her many moods, but none right for a first date with a very special guy. She peeks into the almost empty closet. “Ah,” she says. “Perfect.”
Weston stops, looks in the mirror: “She’s a special one, bro. Get this right, OK?” He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. A color comes to him. “Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.”
Mercy | Organic Cotton-Hemp Maxi Dress and Antique Blue Rose with Mixed stone chain from Global Detroit HUMAN.
Beth Robinson is a contributor to the Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]