Here’s Something I Like (Not that Anyone Asked): Overalls

Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!

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New overalls, old attitude!

I’m an adult woman by any measure, but depending on the time of year, I’d describe my aesthetic as either “cool teenage boy” (winter) or “trendy toddler” (summer). Fortunately, those two looks have been merging over the course of the last few years as everybody — or at least everybody in Brooklyn — has started dressing younger than their years and even typical toddler outfits like rompers and overalls have become acceptable clothing choices for adults (who dress like teenagers).

Overalls coming back into style was huge for me. I was born in the 80s (shhh, don’t tell!) when children were either dressed in gender-neutral overalls or not at all (I walked around naked a lot). Here’s a pic of me rocking my fanciest hand-me-down OshKosh B’goshes for a school photo when I was…three? Four? (I can never tell how old kids are.)

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Ready to start the school year in style, bitch!

I wish they still fit! But since they don’t, I’ve had to amass a new, only slightly larger collection of overalls in recent years. My journey began about five years ago, when my friend Stefanie’s bachelorette party gave me an excuse to buy the Free People overalls I’d had my eye on for months (we were playing a murder mystery game and I was assigned the role of plumber. I didn’t do it!).

Though I am, technically, a free person, I had never bought anything from Free People because they sell the kind of clothing worn by girls named Jasmine who read Goop without any sense of irony, but I discovered that they also make one hell of a onesie. At the time, they only sold one pair of overalls, which are still available at the store to this day. Even though I was so desperate to own overalls that I would have gladly worn them even if they’d fit me like an indigo potato sack, they were shockingly flattering. Not to brag, but whenever I wear them I got tons of compliments. Here I am performing in them not long ago, and though you can’t see my whole bod, hopefully you think I look thin!

Mary Loving This Crowd
Photo by Jennifer Walkowiak

I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of the overall trend’s rebirth, and in the years since I bought that first pair it’s only become more socially acceptable to match most of the toddlers in my neighborhood. For the past several summers, I’ve been rocking these and a pair of Carhartts that look like they were actually made for children.

A few months ago, I realized my beloved Free People overalls were about to bust in the crotch (I don’t have a thigh gap, sorry!) and decided to invest in a new pair. The store’s collection has grown and I decided to try The Boyfriend Overall in black. I also ordered a new pair of the ones I already owned, both in case the Boyfriend fit didn’t work and so I could qualify for free shipping. I loved the Boyfriend overalls so much, however, I didn’t even try the other pair on. I wanted them in blue as well, but they were out of stock in my size (don’t even ask bitch because I’ll never tell! Just kidding, I will totally tell you my size but only if you ask and honestly that would be kind of a weird question). Fortunately, I waited too long to return the other pair I ordered (whoops!) and could only get store credit, so when they restocked the Boyfriend fit in blue last week, I bought them immediately.

While my original overalls were neither loose nor tight, my new ones are loose but not too loose. In fact, they’re just baggy enough to make me feel I’m reaching my ultimate fashion goal: dressing like Aaliyah.

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Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of her death, which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It seems impossible she’s been gone that long because everything about her, from her music to her style, is still so relevant.

It also seems impossible because it means I’m old. Not to make it all about me (although this is my column about me), but Aaliyah was my favorite musician when she was alive and I was in high school. I still love her as much today as I did back then and still want to wear nothing but crop tops and overalls even though she almost certainly wouldn’t be wearing those same things today, especially since her style was evolving and becoming more sophisticated before she died.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is how much and how little people change. Aaliyah would have changed, was already changing, would be a different artist and person if she were still alive today. But in some ways, she would be the same. I’m not who I was when my mom dressed me in OshKosh B’gosh for a school photo, but I haven’t changed that much. I still love a peter pan collar and smile awkwardly in photos and I still want to be wearing overalls at all times. Some would say I haven’t let success change me. Others would say I haven’t had any success.

One thing I think about a lot is how I would have used social media if it had existed when I was a kid. Facebook began when I was in college — I’m old! If Instagram had been around when I was a teenager, I’m pretty sure I would have used it almost exclusively to post videos of my dog and of me dancing (with my dog) which, even though I don’t have a dog of my own, is exactly what I use it for now. Perhaps that’s a troubling sign that I’ve failed to evolve as a person, but what else should I be using Instagram for? Sexy selfies? Memes? Photos of my kids? (This is probably obvious but I don’t have kids.)

I prefer instead to think I’ve managed, in some ways at least, to hold onto my childish sense of fun. I lost it for a while — became cripplingly self-conscious, desperate to seem cool — but in the past few years I’ve gotten back to a place where I’m (mostly) unafraid to make a fool of myself. That may sound immature, but I actually think it’s a sign of maturity. The way I see it, we’re born being exactly who we are, then we get bombarded with a ton of bullshit that changes us, and the whole journey of life is trying to overcome the bullshit and get back to who we were before all that damage set in, or at least that’s what the theory posited in the book my therapist assigned me. Maybe I’ll never again be anything like the little girl who wore OshKosh, but it’s worth a try, and overalls feel like a good start.

As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares that I want to live in overalls. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, overalls or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!

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