I must have auditioned for that musical — Forever Plaid — multiple times during my years in the entertainment industry, but never nailed the audition. But change careers, and years later: BAM! Nailed it and locked it down. Standing ovation. For the fabric, however, not the musical.
Now, clearly, plaid is a fabric design that’s been around a very long time. And while I welcome all comments and corrections, I’m going to go out on a limb and give credit to the Scots. Plaid — called Tartan — lived in their warrior clan worlds and Gaelic culture long before my infusion of the criss-cross weave. But it’s still relevant. Still on trend. When you’re older than Jesus (plaid, not me, mind you), you can claim both. Check out this sassy column by The Eagle’s Katrina Casino: ‘Plaid’s History Shows Rebellion Woven in Fabric’. Thank you, Katrina, for humorously vouching for my love of plaid, though I’m not sure you’d stand by my over-use of the Scottish weave. However, my co-workers did.
On the Friday before Halloween this year, I breezed into work following off-site client meetings feeling sassy: sport coat over a fabulously plaid shirt I had haphazardly tucked into boot-cut jeans, artfully covering a bold belt and buckle. The shoes? Just pointed enough and scuffed enough to say “artistic” and the J.F. Rey frames (my signature) completing the picture. No watch (time is so passe) and just my sterling silver index ring set with a peridot (signature #2… is more than one wrong?). I drop my computer at my desk, shout hello to the team, and am met by a chorus of hellos — all coming from… well, me. Ten of me! Every person in my department was dressed like me. From the sport coat to the fashion glasses to the matching belt and shoes to the ring on my finger, and yes, you guessed it, right down to the PLAID SHIRT. Oh, and every one of them had grayed their hair and was holding an iced quad vente skinny hazelnut latte, courtesy of Starbucks.It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Happy Halloween!
I busted a gut. It was unbelievable. And more unbelievable? Not one of them had breathed a word of it to me. They were SO SURE of what I was going to wear that they didn’t even worry about potentially being wrong. And THAT was the kicker. And also the impetus for some serious wardrobe evaluation. Was it time to kiss plaid goodbye, forever? Or just pace myself? I’m still deciding. But I did drop some cash on some serious solids this weekend…