July 5th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

For fear of tomato stains

I am dressed in a stylish, comfortable outfit I would never dare venture out in public wearing. The problem isn't that it's too elegant or not elegant enough for everyday use; the problem isn't with the washability of the fabric - it's all machine washable; nor have I any issues with the cut and fit of the clothing. The problem is that it is all white.

White is a hazardous color to wear, unless your primary worry is whether or not you'll spill baby powder all over yourself. It doesn't get dirty any more easily than other colors, but it shows it more readily than most. The only clothing I have lost to permanent tomato staining were white: the lovely, densely embroidered Yugoslavian blouse I was given when I was young was made of an extremely thin, light fabric which refused to yield its tomoto stain, once attached to it. In full-outfit form, white is suitable for christenings, weddings, Ivy Day*, (all of which are formal and ceremonial events) and anyone who is accustomed to carrying around a full-length coat with them at all times, just in case.

Yet, now that it is summer, now and again I will see someone who is dressed entirely in white: white cocktail dresses and tuxedos seem to be stylish displays of summer luxury, proof that the owner can afford to only wear the outfit once, if need be, or has sworn to only eat cream sauces and vanilla ice cream for the evening, and has the ability to avoid leaning against anything, just in case.

Poll #316743 On wearing white

What is your opinion on the subject of wearing white clothing? (Pick as many as you like.)

I know exactly what you mean - I worry about wearing white too.
You're making a mountain out of a molehill.
White's no harder to care for than any other color of clothing.
I only ever eat vanilla ice cream/cream sauces/white food and always carry around a long coat.
I love my christening/confirmation/wedding/Ivy Day dress so much, I wear it regularly.
I let my dry cleaner worry about stains and wear white with abandon.
If you bleached all your white clothing before washing it, wouldn't have a problem.
If any of your white clothing wouldn't be harmed by bleach, you could wear white regularly.
I would never wear white - it clashes with my wardrobe.
Too many options! If you ever write another poll, make it shorter.

* A Smith tradition involving a collegeful of young women all dressed in all-white outfits. Thanks to maxineofarc, mine was a lovely Tudor-style confection.
Fishy Circumstances

On the need for more bookshelf space

The longer I work on my dissertation, the more I discover that I need to know about a very great deal indeed in order to become an expert on a very small topic. Everything's relevant. History of medicine, modern time/motion/efficiency studies, Greek romances, eighteenth century novels, ancient gods and goddesses, political idealism, painting techniques, construction techniques, writing techniques, anachronisms, folklore, and shopping all tell me useful things about my dissertation topic. When I commited to this topic three years ago, I wouldn't have thought any of them would be relevant.