A Major Dilemma

Next week I speak at the TEDWomen 2018 conference in Palm Springs, California.  My talk is done and memorized to the point of boredom.  Tickets have been purchased, rooms booked, and prayers requested.  Only one thing remains.  What to wear?

When I did my TEDxMileHigh talk last winter I wore a pair of Old Navy Jeans and a red sweater to one of the rehearsals.  The curator said, “Yes, that!”  I paired it with a scarf Jen Jepsen got for me at one of her favorite shops in Gunnison.  I added my red Tieks (okay, it is possible I am addicted to Tieks) and that was it.  Nice and simple, like a Colorado female.

This time I’m not speaking in Denver.  I’m speaking in California.  And this isn’t TEDx, wonderful as TEDxMileHigh is.  This is TED, the mother ship.

I gave StitchFix a chance to choose an outfit for me, but I think my first stylist was 16 or couldn’t read or something, because all five pieces were the exact opposite of what I requested.  So I wrote a little note to the folks at StitchFix telling them how they’d blown an opportunity to be prominent at TEDWomen, and they promptly sent another fix.  The stuff looked nice, but didn’t fit.

So I booked an hour with a personal shopper at Nordstrom.  She had watched my TEDx video, so she knew what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, nothing fit.  Which was probably a good thing, because everything cost at least a half million dollars.  (I used to buy stuff at Nordstrom, back when I made money.  I forgot how good their cashmere feels.)

This evening, Cathy has agreed to go shopping with me.  Since we split up, we have both agreed that if any kind of major problem occurs, we’ll be there for each other.  Finding an outfit for TED is a major problem, demanding that she drop all other responsibilities, like counseling people in crisis, to deal with my crisis.  I mean, finding an outfit for TEDWomen is pretty much an existential crisis.

I am speaking at TED with my son, Jonathan.  He already has his outfit, a blue shirt and dark blue jeans.  Today he called and said Jubi suggested that maybe he should wear a sport coat.  He said he thought he’d wear his black one.  I reminded him that the camera does not like black, or white, or tight patterns. He said, “Forget the jacket, then.”  Jonathan can say that, because no one cares what a man wears at TED.

Last winter I did a little experiment.  I had a friend look through YouTube comments of four speakers from past TEDxMileHigh events.  Two were men and two were women.  One of the men wore a light tan sport coat and an un-tucked light blue shirt.  The shirt was kinda wrinkled.  The other wore a blue shirt that was one or two (or five) sizes too large.  There was not a single comment about what either man looked like.  On the other hand, fifteen percent of the comments about the two women were about the way we looked.  I never did look at the comments.  I’m not stupid.

Which brings me back to next week.  I’m really tempted to go with an Old Navy sweater I bought on closeout at the end of last winter for $12.99.  (I could have bought 30 of those for the cost of one sweater I tried on at Nordstrom today. Did I mention their cashmere is really nice?)  I’ll pair it with some dark skinny jeans and a pair of my Tieks and call it a day.  Or not.  I mean, it is TED.

There are a few people out there who insist transgender people choose “this lifestyle.”  Yeah, well, if I chose “this lifestyle”, then Donald Trump is the smartest president our nation has ever known.

And so it goes.

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5 thoughts on “A Major Dilemma

  1. You go woman! We are with you! You always look like a million dollars. Wish it wasn’t so but but people do look at how women are dressed. Speak firmly! Truth to power, as you always do.
    Much love,
    Rev. David E Ellis
    Our old tribe rejects but bound together in Christ boundless unending love that holds it’s all together through the God who loves us.

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  2. I think the most important thing is that you FEEL comfortable … your messages are priceless and I have no doubt that this one will be too. So, that said, if you feel comfortable in your $12.99 sweater; wear it!! Your point about disparaging comments about how women dress/look .. well, that’s going to happen no matter what, so you may as well wear something which is comfortable; something which wraps you up like a hug – an armour, no less. Everyone’s a critic! Your MESSAGE is what is important (along with you as a person, obviously lol 🙂 ) The haters are always going to hate and you need to have your armour on to steel yourself from those comments … so don’t go out and buy something “fancy” which actually makes you so uncomfortable that it becomes palpable to your audience, just so that other people are satisfied.
    For what it’s worth, what you wore at TEDex was, in my opinion, totally perfect for what you had to say … you looked like a “comfortable-in-your-own-skin” woman, and that came across (rather than detracting from your words).
    You are an awesome woman with a tale to tell and much wisdom to impart … what you wear is less important than that, but, above all, you must feel comfortable in what you wear. And hey, don’t worry about the negative comments about the clothes … if that’s all someone can say about your presentation then they have either not really heard the words or, more likely, they are a little bit “stoopid” 🙂
    Go get ’em, Paula xxx

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  3. One thing that you might want to consider is having two possible outfits. That way if you check out the lay of the land and the speakers tend to be more dressy, Then dress accordingly. Palm Springs tends to be casual but… It’s not easy being a woman. I am sure that you will do well

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  4. Then She said, “Dad, I am not scared when you cry, nor disoriented or lost. Simply, I love that you cry and want to see more of your tears in life. I want to know you in all the ways you are light and dark. I love you, and that is why I cry with you, “Dad, go naked..and just be yourself””

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