When I dress in the morning my thoughts rarely fall to the question, “How does this outfit pledge my allegiance to my local sports team?” Sure I root for the home team. Yes, I get excited to attend the occasional game, bathe in the sense of community, and be a member of a jovial crowd routing for a common goal. Unfortunately the game schedule and opponent team color wheel are not committed to my memory.
Monday night I watched my Cincinnati Bengals narrowly miss a win against rival Pittsburgh Steelers in the final minutes of the fourth quarter (ok, ok, I may have spent a good portion of the other three quarters channel surfing but I paused thoughtfully when it counted). I too was disappointed by this loss. However, when I woke up Tuesday morning and faced my closet I thought, “Inspire my day! Take an average office outfit and make it wow. Keep me comfortable, interested, and awake sitting at a desk for 10 hours.” Mondays loss had been put behind me.
My thought process for getting dressed Tuesday started with the outfit details as it often does. For the week I concocted a new manicure. It is French style with purply red tips instead of white. Just so happens this maroon/red matches the shade of my red patten leather Michael Kors platforms perfectly. Realizing this it seemed like a logical place to start the creative dressing process. I wanted to wear something comfortable so I went to the most comfortable and time tested black slacks in my wardrobe. Then realizing the day was perhaps one of the last unusually warm days of the season and seeing the section of my closet housing professional button down collared shirts was not getting much love, I chose a short sleeve white with black pinstriped top with white collar. Comfort was achieved but it was kind of boring so I threw on a pop of color in my new favorite way. I grabbed a long fabric strip of soft jersey and gave it a knot around the neck. In my mind this concoction was a quickly assembled win for a boring Tuesday.
Then I got to work and realized how men’s outfits are often assembled. “Is that a terrible towel?” asked one of my coworkers referring to the yellow terrycloth towel that Pittsburgh Steelers fans swing above their heads at sporting events. “What?” I looked at my outfit and it took me a minute to realize what he was talking about. Clearly this florescent yellow is different than that mustard yellow the steelers claim? We debated the shading. He was jovial enough through this; as were the next three coworkers that inquired about the yellow swathe. Yellow black and red, yup, in hindsight those are steelers colors.
My mind jumped back to a similar oversight last summer. I was excited to be invited to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game with my cousins, aunts, and uncles; and was excited to find we also had an opportunity to arrive early and watch batting practice. In that situation I thought about what to wear in sports reference but to be coy about my color introduction I wore mostly black with red nails and accents instead of an all out red ensemble. This would have worked but then in a rush out the door it was cold so I threw on the functional pop of color, a yellow trench that has brought me so many good memories over the years... Fond memories were not created by the jacket that day. I arrived to a chorus of “What? Are you rooting for the other team?” Apparently the opponent was a black and yellow team. I was forced to remove the jacket and shiver for a few hours. Even having the coat on my arm, like a flag for the opponent, evoked an uncomfortable feeling of alienation.
I don’t mind people bringing up this oversight. In fact I like it. The criticism and teasing gives me the opportunity to explain my error and grow through the oversight. Truly this was not a bold statement in opposition of my cities sports leagues, “Fellow Cincinnatian my intention was not to slap you in the face!”
What concerns me the most are the people I don’t know that don’t ask. I am sure my cute pop of color was lost Tuesday on that guy in the bengals jersey staring me down at the gas pump with a look of salty loss on his brow. “Hey guy pumping gas! I am a home town supporter! We are rooting for the same team! Feel the community?!? Give me a smile!?!” I wanted to yell. “Hey cute new Reds player that just got brought up from the minors! I really do want you to win! Come hither so my cousin can get an autograph and I can admire that baby face up close!” Last Tuesday and last summer mighty Emily’s ensemble had struck out.