If I had a million dollars
(I would not buy a green dress, btw. That's cruel.)
On a run1 the other day, I fell into a thought experiment. This happens a lot — and is one of the reasons why I like2 running. While my body is otherwise occupied, my brain gets a chance to go off on its own tangents. Unless I make a point of it, I generally remember none of the things I think about while running. Running is the same as one of those Men in Black mindwipe devices or mediation or something, except when it isn’t.
Thought experiment, which started in my head for no discernible reason: what would I do if I suddenly had more money than I knew what to do with? A few of the answers were easy: I’d pay for college tuition for the offspring. There are a couple of charities I’d throw wads of cash at.3 I’d travel more. I wouldn’t buy a new house or a new car. I like my house, even though there are projects in it I could finally finance4. My car is perfectly adequate for my needs, even though I’d be tempted to pay someone to do all of the routine crap I hate doing, like putting air in the tires and scheduling oil changes.5
If nothing else, this little mental journey let me I realize I’m more or less content with where my life is, stuff-wise. A grander house6 or flashier vehicle seems like way more trouble than its worth, when what I have is fine.
So my brain moved on to the highly idiosyncratic ways I could toss cash around for amusement’s sake. And I landed on paying for a Christian Siriano couture gown, customized por moi.
Do I need a gown? Absolutely not. Do I live a life full of opportunities for gown wearing? Also no. Would I even have an appropriate place to store said gown? I laugh insouciantly. But do I want to talk design with Siriano and know that large sums of cash are the only way to make that happen? Yes, indeed.
I know, I know. The first thought you have when you think of my look is high fashion. Know that my standard uniform of jeans and flannels does not convey how fascinating I find clothes, both why we wear what we wear and how to make what we wear.7
The (newish) reformulation of Project Runway reinvigorated a show I’ve long loved but whose tiredness even I could feel. Admittedly, the season currently airing is a little less ebullient and sharp than the last one — but after 18 months of a pandemic, none of us are as ebullient and sharp as we were. Given *waves hands around to take in the all of it,* this season is good enough and exactly what I want to watch right now.
And that’s mostly because of Siriano. For the uninitiated, he was a contestant on the show way back in season four8. He’s gone on to have a fabulous career of dressing stars, launching several lines (including affordable ready-to-wear), and venturing into home goods. One of his driving ethoses9 is that fashion is for every size human, not just those who are walking coat hangers.10 And he’s only in his mid-30s, which means there’s much more to come.
Where he really shines, however, is as a mentor to the contestants. Which isn’t to say that my beloved Tim Gunn wasn’t and isn’t;11 just that Siriano a) knows what designing under these constraints is like and b) pulls no punches. I can’t drop a video clip in a newsletter but if you haven’t seen him in action, click here.
While I’d love to sit down and just chat with Siriano, what I really want is to hand him the bundle of constraints my human body contains and see what he’d come up with. No matter what, I’m sure it would be fabulous. The trick on my end would be finding some place to show it off. But if I had buckets of money, I’m sure I could get myself invited to some sort of gala, yes? Or just swan around doing laundry in it?
Question: if you suddenly had a bunch of money to amuse yourself with, what would you do with it? And, no, you don’t have to go for a run to mull it over.
Have I told you yet that I ran the New York City marathon in 2016?
For variable definitions of the word “like”
ASK ME ABOUT MY KITCHEN
I want a car butler, one who I ring to inform I’m about to go for a drive and he/she makes sure my car is gassed up and maintained. I’d hoped that one of my kids would be motor-heady enough to do this in exchange for the years and years of room and board but no luck.
If you like reading about what clothes say, check out the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan. She won a Pulitzer for her work, which validates the idea that what we wear is worth talking about.
Spoiler: he was the youngest winner ever
Nothing wrong with being a walking coat hanger, mind. Just that most of us more resemble bean bag chairs.
I really enjoyed Next in Fashion on Netflix. I also appear to be the only one who enjoyed it because it’s been canceled.
Related to the above (and, yes, this footnote is getting out of control), the show I most want to see on U.S. airwaves/cable/apps is The Great British Sewing Bee, which is pretty much what you think it is. Amateur sewists — not designers — compete a la Bake Off or Pottery Throw-Down. Via a convoluted hack, I saw the first few seasons but that hack no longer works and I am sad. I’d be happy to pay a few bucks if someone like BritBox or Acorn picked it up. Just putting it out there in the universe.