Kitten Heels and Cage Fights
When you don’t know what to wear, you usually turn to your most savvy friends and ask them. One of them usually knows the answer, right? But when I was asked to go on a date to a cage fight, I had no idea.
First of all, it’s not often that a lady gets asked to go to a cage fight with her man and his fellow wrestling buddies. So of course you know what I said. I said ”Hell yeah, I’ll go!” and a millisecond later I was on Facebook asking everyone I knew:
What should I wear to go see cage fights?????!
More than one person answered: jeans, leather jacket and kitten heels.
Kitten heels?? What the hell are kitten heels? In my mind I pictured kittens. With heels. Huh? I must not have any, because I have no idea what they are. Google images confirmed I had no kitten heels. I also had no cute jeans (pre-rodeo era) and no leather jacket, so apparently I was going to a cage fight in my underwear only. Nope.
Time to Get Creative
Time to get creative. I thought about cage fighting. The men would be in jeans. Simple. The only women I imagined would be there would be bikini-clad models parading around a ring like they do in boxing matches. Gawd… And then I remembered that one of my favorite movies is Gladiator and that the empress at the gladiator fights (or jousting matches) always dresses well. I thought about cage fighting and the adjective that kept coming up was “badass”. To me, badass meant boots. Even when I was a little kid, when I wore boots I somehow felt different, like stomping around, puddles be damned, was my right. And I had some boots, so I started there.
Just having one thing to build on that seemed appropriate for a cage fight gave me lots of encouragement, so from there it became a little easier. I felt like as long as I was wearing my Italian leather, super-high, platform boots it didn’t really matter what else I wore. Plus, this was a cage fight in Portland, Oregon, where no one seems to care about what you wear anyway. So in truth, the downside of poor fashion decision making wasn’t too horrible.
One thing this dilemma did was expose my debilitating style rut, because the usual clothing suspects in my wardrobe weren’t working at all. I would have to deal with that later. Right now, I had to channel my inner empress and dig deep, deep into the old, unseen things in my closet for options.
Out of the closet came a ten year old, dark floral skirt with slits up both sides. On top of that I layered a black lace negligee. And then, because in truth I was a conservative dresser, I topped it with a short cashmere cardigan with pearls for buttons. The bottom of the lacy negligee layered over the top of the dark floral skirt with the half-buttoned cardigan on top WITH BOOTS was kind of awesome. (I know, sounds boring, but this was over five years ago, and this was me!).
Holy crap. Was I really going to go out of the house in that? Apparently so, because I did.
My date loved it and I couldn’t believe how many women at that cage fight stopped me to say how great my “dress” was. Whaaaaaat? I just said “thanks” with an air of pure surprise. Little did they know...
So here are my lessons from all of this: If you don’t know what to wear, do ask your friends. But if they don’t know or can only offer ideas of things you don’t own and can’t borrow, just pick one thing that WILL work for the situation and built on that. If it’s the shoes, great. If it’s a bracelet or top that needs to show up at that place you're invited to, go for it. If it’s the one thing that makes you feel comfortable in that situation, nothing else matters.
Finally, if you get invited to go somewhere you’ve never been before or do something you’ve never done before, just say “Hell yeah!” and go.
How do you do it?
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Clarissa Cooper of Portland OR is the founder of WeFiTMe, an online community of like-bodied women helping each other find clothes that fit. Clarissa has over 30 years of experience in the women’s apparel industry as a CONSUMER, as well as a background in finance in the energy industry.