You know, I never really fit the Dallas type. Being raised in the upper Midwest, we didn’t think about making ourselves look good as much as we tried to stay warm. (Layers! Lots and lots of layers!) So moving to Big D in my early twenties brought quite a culture shock. Thrust into a world of perfectly coifed hair, manicured nails and head-to-toe style made me want to hide in my sadly-equipped closet. Slowly but surely I had to adapt to the new business world I had become part of and bring my wardrobe up to par. Luckily my boyfriend (now husband) enjoyed dragging me to the Valley View mall and insisting I buy some designer, dry-cleanable dresses, non-sensible high heels and some matching jewelry. Gone were the days of wash-and-wear clothing, one brown pair of flats and one black pair of low heels. I began to get into the groove of presenting an attractive as well as capable employee.
My boyfriend (now husband) bought me a trial membership at a tanning salon to try to temper my non-sun-loving self. (There’s not much lying by the pool in Wisconsin). He “spoiled” me with facial treatments at spas, manicures and pedicures, even took me to a special hair stylist he had heard about from folks at work. All this in an attempt to bring me up to speed to what the beautiful women of Dallas did as a normal way of life.
C‘est la vie! As business casual hit the work scene and became the norm, my wardrobe began to relax back into dress pants and blouses, then slacks and cotton shirts, then finally into almost-never-need-to-iron clothing as long as you hang it up to dry as soon as it comes out of the wash cycle. I started wearing less and less make-up and cut my hair pixie short.
Since leaving the commute into Dallas behind me (hopefully for good), my wardrobe is more bra-less and barefoot than push-up and stiletto. Since I don’t have to worry about my co-workers noticing my cracked and calloused heels under the bathroom stall wall, my feet are getting back into high-utility mode (as a kid in Wisconsin, I could proudly run across gravel barefoot!) I’ve thrown out most of my past-useful-life makeup and enjoy each new gray hair as it appears.
So after 25 years of morphing into a Dallasite, then sneakily easing my way back out of it, I have returned to the country girl ways I lived and loved up north. Thank you, Texas, for letting me return home to my true self. By the way, I think I’ll keep the suntan.