Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Forget Paris!

I wonder if my biggest transformation is not having transformed….

So ModCloth is doing this terrific transformations contest, and I wanted to come up with something witty yet heartwarming, perhaps that would make my reader tip her head slightly, gazing fondly into the distance, a smile just at the corner of her mouth. You know, that “best blog ever, could’ve won me any college scholarship, what I did on my summer vacation” kind of entry. Uh, yeah. Easy.

No. Transformations are not so apparent. It’s not all black and white.

Or is it?

In high school, I went to Paris with some classmates and our French teacher. I’m sure I imagined walking away from the trip unbearably chic: a fantastic haircut, new unique clothing, some je ne sais quoi. Instead, of course, we were shuttled around like a certain twelve little girls in two straight lines. No freedom for high schoolers.

People dream their whole lives about going to Paris. Why did it seem like I was getting a dull version? Oh yeah, because everyone in Paris, it seemed, dressed in black and white. No subtle shades of color, no subtle shades of grey, even. Heaven forbid mad couture dresses flouncing down the Champs Élysées. The hub of fashion, right? Maybe they’re saving their fancy outfits for clubbing. Maybe they’re going for a minimalist look.

Maybe ::gasp!:: they don’t really care what other people think of their clothing.

Not just clothing. Slowly, of course, the trend caught. I don’t mean the black and white, I mean the devil may care attitude. Because seriously, why should they wear rainbows just because a schoolgirl tourist expects it? And why should I want to transform myself into a grande dame when I’m not?

So yeah. My transformation was not to transform: no pretending, no phonies, no Parisian savoir faire for someone who’s not from Paris. But strangely, after this trip, I did live differently. I laughed more, I danced more, I found it easier to socialize, and I finally (uh, eventually) figured out how to be myself.

Maybe you’d wear bright green in a crowd of black and white to be noticed, but maybe you won’t be. Maybe if you dress similarly to everyone else, you’ll feel like you belong. Maybe if you’re cynical, you won’t care what other people think of you because usually they don’t think of you. Or maybe you’ll find something subtly unique about each person, in the cut of the fabric or the breadth of the stride.


  1. Well Katie I think you're a "grande dame" in your own right. Your individuality and creativity are certainly admirial traits to me, transformation or no.

  2. You're welcome and I meant "admirable traits," not that you're not seaworthy too, it's just that...yeah I'll stop now.