When I was packing to leave Zambia, I had a few rules for my clothing: I brought nothing back to the US that had spots or holes. This narrowed my wardrobe by over half and crippled my ability to actually make a clothing choice. I’ve never considered myself to be particularly stylish. (Please consult my over-sized Tweety Bird t-shirt and stirrup pants middle school staples if this is a surprising comment.) But I have spent enough time in public to know some of the basics of what I should and should not wear in public. Yes to a plain-white-t, no to the random bubble shirt still hanging out in my closet.
But after spending 2 years predominantly outside the USA, I’ve been reminded more than once, that I now need to relearn the fashion landscape.
I have few reference points. The only Americans I have encountered in Zambia have been missionaries (re: in similar fashion conundrum as myself) or volunteers just passing through. And let’s be real, these groups of people tend to have very distinct fashion rules that are distinct and exclusive to their sects. I mean, my mu-mus and parachute pants were perfectly appropriate attire for a weekend BBQ in Zambia, less so for a movie night out in Athens, GA.
Every morning, I go through the very-real struggle of finding appropriate attire. Today my sister-in-law asked “Is that what you’re wearing?” It was. But then it was not.
There’s a lot about moving back to the USA that’s difficult to navigate, for reasons much deeper than clothing. Let’s give Anna a little wiggle room if I show up wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. That’s about all I can settle on.
But at least my awkward apparel matches my overall awkward.