- Sources of Inspiration
- The Fine Print
- And Whatnot
- Abstract Floral-Print Dress: Gap Maternity
- Turquoise Cardigan: Caslon via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
- Necklace: Gifted
- Brown Die-cut Flats: Lifestride via Zappos
While most of my time at school is spent, well, going to class, the other part of my “day job” is as editor-in-chief of one of our school’s many law journals. Occasionally, this is a job that obliges me to speak in front of large groups of people, like at our new staff orientation, an annual ritual involving overwhelming the new 2Ls with information of occasionally debatable utility about their responsibilities for the coming year. Because, as a good law student, I’ve never met a checklist, flowchart or decision tree I couldn’t come to love, my process of trying to figure out what to wear consisted of a series of (increasingly hilarious) if-then balancing statements. If I must stand on my feet for almost two hours . . . then I must wear flats. If I must wear flats . . . then I must wear a skirt because I don’t fit into any of my pants that were hemmed for flats anymore. If I want it to be totally unambiguous that I’m, in fact, extremely pregnant, but I don’t want thirty people to be staring at my belly button the entire time, while looking appropriately authoritative and not too hopelessly uptight, then I must wear . . . a (woven) floral print dress and a brightly colored cardigan? Okay, so maybe there was a significant logic leap on that last one, but I think it mostly worked: I stayed on my feet without too much difficulty, and my clothes made me feel confident without being in my way.
What didn’t require a significant logic leap was realizing that this would likely be one of those events that functions as a kind of focusing prism for all the weird ways that the embodied experience of being a 3L and an authority figure in some respects and nine months pregnant all at the same time sometimes forces that discussion. See, e.g., the otherwise really sweet new member of ours who asked me, with a completely straight face, “are you married? Was that planned?” a question my dear friend C2 suggested would only be appropriate to ask one’s own teenage daughter. And while I knew, I suppose, to expect it, it has been the aspect of the being-pregnant-in-law-school experience for which I was least prepared and by which I am continually disarmed. This is obviously a problem for which a mere sartorial solution won’t quite cut it, but I’ve been thinking about it more as I get dressed for school these days, as I ponder all the messages that my decidedly-non-neutral body sends to the people around me, whether I intend to send them or not. The odds of my finding the perfect answer in the next (hopefully few!) days and weeks seem slim, but it’s worth thinking and talking about.
Regardless of what circumstances motivated you to do so, have you ever thought about dressing as a kind of armor in this sense, about dressing to deter certain perceptions or cut off certain lines of inquiry? If you have, did this kind of defiant dressing have the effect you anticipated?
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