When what to wear to work becomes a military operation – A Che Guevara-ette personal style experiment

“What the hell are you wearing?” asks Doctor C, catching me in an embarrassingly macho pose in the elevator this morning.

“I don’t even know,” I say, blushing. “I was feeling kind of militant this morning so I figured I’d just go with it.”

“Nice cape. Do you think your boss is going to let you wear that hat all day?” She presses the button for her 10th floor Blank Canvas Living offices. My fate holds me on the 6th floor, rolling paper for geophysicists and dreaming about a creative future. My button’s red glow is as mocking as the smirk on Doctor C’s neon-coral lips.

“It’s actually a scarf,” I point out, ignoring her tone. “I knit it myself a few years ago, and I’m going to have to be strategic about the hat. It completes the whole Che Guevara-ette look – and the necklace adds some class.”

I see her trying to hold it in, but she breaks out laughing. “Because you’re the very picture of a classy lady right now!”

“Whatever. Life’s too short to stick to the script. I don’t care if I get in trouble. I just want to feel something when I get dressed. I can’t hide in my head anymore. I need to wear who I am, you know, honour my mood and story of the day. And you know what else? I feel like I could kick some serious ass wearing these pants. I stand differently. I walk differently. All I want to do is to climb a tree in some deep dark Bolivian forest and start scouting for a revolution- ”

“Woah there tiger,” Doctor C interrupts my tirade. “All this from wearer of the infamous ugly pants?”

We burned those bastards! Look what you started!”

She rolls her eyes and swings her long white braid from one shoulder to the other. “If you’re in the mood for war, girl, you really need to come upstairs and do a ‘tour’ in our West corner restroom.”

The 6th floor button winks out and the elevator doors open, but I’m too curious to get off. I leave the script and stay on board for whatever adventure is waiting for me on the 10th.

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‘Burning the ugly pants’ personal style makeover comes to Blank Canvas Living

“You ever heard of Blank Canvas Living?” Our receptionist hands me the errant package, labeled with our company’s address, but wrong name and floor.”

“They just moved into the penthouse, I’ll run it up.” I head straight for the elevator bay, with the oddly shaped, brown paper wrapped escape tucked under my arm.

The lift doors slide open and I forget all about the package, my waiting desk, everything fades in the presence of the woman already on board. She is tall, magnificently ancient, with a long white braid and a mad flash of neon fuchsia lipstick – a lesser gloss would never balance the curious intensity of the eyes above. I take my spot in the opposite corner, but let my finger drop when I notice the 10th floor button has already been pushed.

The doors close and I am suddenly, acutely aware of my own appearance – a total systems fail. I feel the woman’s eyes judging me, even though I keep my gaze fixed on the carpeting, and on her exquisitely designed sneakers that I am suddenly, and acutely, wanting for myself.

“You know,” says the woman, “every second you wear those pants you mock God.”

I look up mortified, and find her smile glowing brighter. “That might be a bit extreme,” I say.

“You’re holding your crotch together with packing tape. Do you have another definition of extreme when it comes to fashion sacrilege?”

“I know they’re grim, ok fine. But the receptionist gave them to me ages ago and I’m not really trying to impress anyone down there <<pointing to mystical 6th floor below>>. But, in my defense, I did write an epic makeover serial on my older blog called ‘burning the ugly pants’ and these were them.”

The woman crosses her arms and stamps a sneakered toe. “Writing isn’t worth shit if you don’t live it. You and I are going up to the roof right now and we’re going to burn those abominations you call pants. Come on girl, it’s time to stop screwing around.”

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