Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

the crazy sweater experiment

I got a pretty good night’s sleep last night so I woke up almost cheerfully. I say almost because I still growled my way through my morning rituals the same as every other day, I just wasn’t yawning quite as much. The plain and simple fact is that I am not a morning person. No amount of sleep, or sunshine, or Cap’n Crunch is going to change that fact. It was a Wednesday, and because I’m usually off on Wednesdays, (unless I’m off on Saturday, which I was this week) I typically spend the day doing my laundry for the week. So when I do have to work on a Wednesday, it’s always a challenge to find something to wear. This is not to say that I don’t have a lot of clothes. I do. But it’s just over a month since Christmas, so I’m still wearing my “post holiday” pants. I have several pair, but they are all varying shades of black. So what goes with black? More black. Or white. Or cream. You get the picture. But, it was Wednesday, and I don’t know why, but I wasn’t in the usual, “woe is me, I have to go to work” mood. I was feeling bold, and confident, and…dangerously defiant.

Cue the crazy sweater.

Perhaps I should start with the back story. I know you love back story! I have a client who owns a clothing consignment shop in town. It’s a very upscale place catering to women with discriminating tastes. Like me. So I was in her shop a few weeks ago doing a client visit and I ran across this outrageous sweater. Well, I thought it was pretty outrageous. It defies explanation, but I’ll give it a shot. It is a long black button down sweater with hot pink ribbon running through the length of it, silver beaded bows, black satin and lace trim, and thick hot pink fur around the cuffs, the collar, and the bottom. I tried it on and immediately thought of Lady Gaga, Studio 54, Donna Summer, and a platinum blonde wig. So of course, I had to buy it! I took it home with the express intent to wear it long enough for my husband to demand that I immediately take it off and never put it on again, and then I would hang it back up and tuck it into the closet until next Halloween. I can’t help it; I like to stir the pot sometimes. But as crazy as I may occasionally be, I had no intention of ever wearing this ridiculous sweater for any reason other than “dress up”.

Fast forward to Wednesday…today. As I was digging around in my closet for something to wear that met with my PMS charged mood, I ran across the consignment store sweater. And because I’d gotten a good night’s sleep, and maybe because I was tired of wearing the usual drab business attire, and maybe even because I wanted to stir the pot just a little, I took it off the hanger.

I stood in front of the mirror and looked myself over. I wore my black “post holiday” pants, a fitted black knit shirt, black shoes, and the hot pink and black sweater. There is something about hot pink fur that just changes a woman, and I felt supercharged. I ran out of the bathroom grabbing my purse and my phone and my keys because, as usual, I was running late. I didn’t pause as I passed my husband, so I can only imagine the double take he did when he saw me wearing the crazy sweater. “You’re funny.” He said. “But aren’t you going to be late? You’d better hang that ridiculous thing back up and get out of here.” I just smiled. It was going to be a good day. “Nope. I’m wearing this to work.” I shot back. “You’re kidding, right?” He said with marked skepticism. “Nope! I’m suffering for my art!” I said with a wider smile. “This is going to make for great blogging!” And I was off.

I managed to get to work relatively on time. I was the second person through the door. The first person didn’t even mention my sweater. I chalked that up to him being a guy. He probably didn’t even notice what I was wearing. I ran to my office to log in so I could run back to the lobby for everyone else to arrive. As the others filed in one by one, I did get a reaction, but it wasn’t the one I had expected. The joke was on me! I was suddenly getting rave reviews on my sweater. Not, “great joke”, not “you crack me up!” No, it was more along the lines of, “I LOVE your sweater! Where did you get it? You look so girlie! You never wear pink, it’s your color!” My sweater was a hit, but for all the wrong reasons! I even had a few requests to borrow it. I had no idea I was so fashion forward! I did get a few tips on what I should pair it with next time…short skirt, hot pink tights and silver boots, was my favorite suggestion. Not that I own any of those things…yet. It’s a good thing my husband doesn’t actually READ my blog, now isn’t it?

All day long my sweater was given lovely little compliments. Even the men seemed to like it. Was it possible that it was just SO ugly that it came back around to cute? I’ve seen puppies like that…so ugly they are cute. But a sweater? It could happen! Somewhere in the middle of the day, my manager approached me out of the blue and stood back to get a long look at me, twisting her lips to the side and furrowing her brows as if deep in thought. “I’m not sure what I think about your outfit today.” She said after a minute. Finally! Finally someone with the reaction I expected when I put the sweater on this morning! “You look somewhat like the madam in a fancy brothel.” How she knew what a madam in a brothel looked like was beyond me, and I certainly wasn’t going to ask! I just nodded and walked away. That’s one thing I love about my job. I can wear crazy sweaters as long as I’m not wearing open toe shoes with it. The other things I love are the fact that I get paid to go there every day. I work less than two miles from home so I don’t have to drive in traffic. I get to eat restaurant food for lunch every day, because it’s only half a mile to the food and its two miles to home. And I have a really big window in my office so I can still see the sunshine all day long.

It was a long day at work, but somehow my crazy, ridiculous sweater made it so much more fun than I expected. I decided that no matter what I wear on the outside, on the inside I am that crazy hot pink fur trimmed sweater, and there is no reason why I can’t let that side of me see the light of day every now and then. As I strolled into the house at five oh one, and threw my purse and my keys on the table, my son walked past me and stopped just long enough to ask, “What the hell is with that hideous sweater you’re wearing?” “My blog.” I answered and he nodded as if that explained everything. After all…what’s could be more important than suffering for art?

Until next time…I’ll be searching for a platinum wig!

Erica

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