When the Ukrainian and I first met, I was easing out of my Boho chic into…well, I wasn’t sure what fashion icon to follow in this finicky, laid-back, yet sophisticated city of San Francisco. But I shouldn’t have feared. Through the Ukrainian, I learned how real Ukrainian and Russian women dress: short tight mini-skirt, stilettos (stiletto boots in the winter) and super-tight skin-baring tops.
As a male friend of mine commented that summer upon his return from Russia, “Russian women dress like hookers!”
I explained to the Ukrainian that I couldn’t exactly dress for work in the uniform he outlined above, but I wasn’t unafraid to add a few sexier elements to my fashion repetoire. I am open-minded and was willing to adapt to Russian-Ukrainian culture as he adapted to American culture. And so, upon his encouragement, I soon added pieces like a faux patent leather trench coat by Calvin Klein for my winter rainwear, patent gold stilettos strappys from ?Guess? for our civil wedding ceremony, a shiny black and royal blue halter top for our winter house parties and so forth.
I was comfortable with these choices and limited their wear to social occasions and kept my work wardrobe relatively professional. But then, tonight, by mere coincidence yet in keeping with our New Years resolution of not being too dependent and controlling, we found ourselves having separate dinner plans.
I was uncertain what to wear. It would be a quiet dinner for me with a friend in a local Mission restaurant. I’d been lounging/working all day in my navy blue grub cords and yellow waffle knit tee from from GAP and a big oversized grey sweater from Esprit — not exactly haute couture or cutting-edge Mission hipster-ware. But damn, it was cozy. I couldn’t bring myself to go all-out devushka.
And so I went to my closet looking for anything that could save my “I went to high school in rural Iowa and haven’t mentally graduated yet” look for a quiet evening out in San Francisco’s Mission District sans husband. And there I saw it: the prized posession of my Boho chic fashion days, a vintage yellow floral baby doll picked up at Ambiance on 24th Street for less than dinner for two. It fit my loose cords and yellow waffle perfectly. I added my Marc Jacobs sweater to keep warm. And to devuskha it up? Over it all, I wore my new Robert Rodriguez ink-colored leather jacket.
Actually, in looking at these two latter photos, I see the essence of my own personal style with hints of the Ukrainian’s influence. I think that is the balance of what we are trying to achieve in our marriage: one in which we are both still our own people, but positively influenced by the other.