Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Yorker State of Mind

Woman 4/2/09

It seems to be impossible for a true New Yorker not be aware of fashion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fashionista, a hipster, a b-boy, a homeboy, punk, a rocker, suit or construction worker. Everyone has that unique style marker that places them as New Yorkers.

Whenever I see someone wearing something patently mid-western or suburban, the automatic assumption is that they are tourists or visiting from out of town. New Yorkers might wear sweatpants, but they don’t rock Fruit of the Loom discount specials.

She couldn’t have been a New Yorker. I still don’t believe it. But when you’re reading a tattered paperback copy of The Blair Reader in the subway, you’re a New Yorker. Hate to say it, but show me another city where this college writing handbook is leisure reading for a mass transit rider who is in her mid to late forties. Yes, it has to be in mass transit, not a college campus.

So, you know she was wearing sweats. All 200 plus pounds of her jammed into these off-white pants made out of cotton. With all the unsightly bulges and human flesh pressing against that fabric, even I felt suffocated. There was a stain on the left knee area, and possibly more elsewhere.

Her black Crocs matched her black athletic socks. People are already shuddering and it’s only halfway through this description.

Continuing on this journey, she was wearing a lavender jacket. Nothing fancy, a plain LL Bean jacket that had a fleece lining and two side pockets. LL Bean calls it their Warm-up jacket, and the logo is on the zipper-pull. Underneath she had a wool cardigan, possibly a vest, but either way in an oatmeal color and unbuttoned. And her base-layer was a ribbed mock turtleneck in red.

Besides the book, it slowly dawned on me that she must be a New Yorker because her accessories were too gauche to be anything but. A silver necklace hung around her nexk, with a pendant that looked to be the size of a Metrocard. That pendant looked like a small amber colored stained glass window hanging on her neck. On her right hand, was a big silver bangle. Her engagement ring finger had another big chunky silver ring. Her watch on the left hand was a large ladies model – silver with white face.

The hair on her looked like William Katt from my favorite TV series (of all time), The Greatest American Hero. And somehow she had done her own version of the smoky-eyes look. There was a slight trace of hair on her upper lip, and a prominent flesh-colored mole on the right side of her chin. She also had on black framed glasses.

The handbag, at first glance, looked worn, but in fact was a brown with gold rubbings that made it appear faded. The faux crocodile skin pattern made it somewhat interesting. And the fact that her companion bag was this Sierra Club logo-ed black gym bag just added to the confusion.

So what do we have here? A New Yorker? Has to be. Too many clues for her not to be. She’s one fashion challenged New Yorker though. Guess rules are meant to be broken, just like the mould.

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