*If you doubt that people in the real world have expectations about the way an artist should look, check out Marcy's Suburban Mom scenario near the end of this post on her blog . Just as an aside, let me say, Sorry, kiddos, I remember college, and no matter what you are doing, I'm pretty sure you're going to one day find yourself acknowledging that it was different from out here in the real world.
*Okay, now back to expectations about how an artist should look. For the guys, I have no doubt in my mind that your hair should do things a crew cut could never imagine, no matter what your age, brother. . . but this only applies to guys who don't work with power tools because hanks of hair freezing up a shaft that should be turning are never pretty. Ditto shafts that shouldn't be turning with your hair wound 'round them. For the rest, I'm not sure that a specific piece of clothing is "the" key to looking like an artist. There's more to it than whether to go with faded and ripped (as in denim) or ripped (as in fine musculature) and straight from the hand of the hottest designer. Nope, you can't buy the look. It's something that grows and stretches and shrink wraps itself to your personality.
*We women get a little more wiggle room in this "how to dress like an artist" party, though, simply because women have had more practice and options in adornment throughout history. I don't even want to talk about the fairness of this. Please! We've been hobbled by high heels and tortured with pantyhose, but then again, we've also gotten to pick the color of our hair if we want and stolen the painter's palette for our eyes and lips and nails and clothes if the desire struck us.
*I think the subject I'm dancing around here is that political and social ramifications aside (don't get me started on Barbies or those hobble skirts from a century or so ago), we women have the best end of the deal when it comes to how we want to present ourselves to the world these days. We can go girly, or we can go not-so-girly, or we can go girly one day and not-so-girly the next. . .whatever strikes our fancy, as long as our pocketbook (or pocket) can handle it.
*What does all this mean for us creative women who are a shade over 20? I think it means a bunch of things, some clear cut, some confusing. We have more options, so we have more decisions to make. . .and that can be good, bad, or somewhere in between. Since I can't seem to tie this whole post up into neat little packages, I guess I'm going to have to resort to just making a bulleted list of thoughts about "how to dress like an artist" when you're a grown woman :)
- First admission. I have always wanted to look like one of those people with "style," one of those casual but elegant women who can mix vintage and modern and end up looking like they stepped out of a magazine instead of like someone threw them into a thrift store dressing room and made them get dressed in 30 seconds. It seems that these women are almost always the creative or artistic type. I thought that would be me, but I'm always a day late for the newest trend and a dash of flair too short. So, even though I've always wanted to look like an artist, I've never quite gotten the hang of this sort of style. . .and I sigh when I admit to myself that I don't really want to go to any of the trouble these women do in order to look that way.
- Besides those unique women who have that casual but elegant and creative look, have I ever really paid attention to how someone's dress fits in with their creative/artistic background? Yes and no. Yes, because during college, I could pick out the art majors a mile away (it had to be the burgundy hair flashing against the black trenchcoats). No, because I've learned you usually can't read the entire book of a person's life and personality by simply skimming part of a chapter. I remember one of the librarians during my grade school years. She looked like an "artist" to me, with her hippie-cleaned-up-for-a-day-job clothes and long hair in braids. . .but she was a librarian, and her husband was the artist in the family. Looks can be deceiving, no?
- I think for me, once I really found the medium (glass!! hot, molten glass!!) that let's me express myself, I started feeling confident and complete on the inside. Dang, all of a sudden my preference for worn out t-shirts and torn jeans makes sense! I can work in those. I can wipe spilled bead release on the hem of my t-shirt. Who cares if the glass spits and pops little pieces onto my old jeans when I'm torching? If I want to practice using that hand-me-down welding machine (oh, I gotta get that thing out again!), then short hair that springs back to wild, uncontrolled life after I remove the welding helmet is perfect.
- But do I *look* like an artist? Ummm, no. I don't think so. . . unless you look beyond the clothes and start to see me. See my obvious delight when someone asks what I make. See my eyes twinkle when I tell someone else, "Oh, you can do that, and here's why I know you can." See my ears perk up when someone has a new tool or a piece of scrap metal or a bit of glass. See all those things about me, the way I notice and admire those same types of things about you, and you'll never forget I am someone passionate about making things. That, right there, is my artist's cloak of many colors, and I like to think I wear it well :)