I like to think I have a unique personal style. Floral print dresses and granny sweaters, zany vintage pieces, and frumpy thrift store pullovers. Dressed like a doll, dressed like a movie character, dressed like a raggamuffin, dressed like a goth tomboy, dressed like my fifth grade self, dressed like grunge Elaine Benis, it doesn’t matter. I dress according to my mood. I feel like Ms. Frizzle in that way. Every outfit is a costume of sorts. This is why I have a hard time packing when I travel: how am I supposed to know what to bring if I don’t know how I’m going to feel each particular day? I always end up bringing three times the amount of clothing that I need. It’s a problem.
Sometimes I see other people wearing very similar outfits to what I have on. And I actually love it. I often see pairs of people out together who are dressed very similarly to one another and I wonder to myself if they planned to coordinate, or if it just happened happily accidentally.
Ever read a celebrity gossip rag or watch a show about celebrity fashions? One trope the industry loves to push out is ‘who wore it better,’ showcasing two stars wearing the same outfit, or similar-looking pieces, and rating them against one another.
That’s mad corny. Why not celebrate the fact that another person had the same idea as you? ‘Hmm, feels like a multicolor plaid day!’ Don’t you think it’s special that someone else felt similarly inspired, like you may be both wearing the same thing but maybe for entirely different reasons? Wouldn’t you want to find out? Wouldn’t you take that opportunity to connect with someone on the same level? Or at least silently revel in the fact that your style is chic enough to share, relishing in that other person’s obvious good taste?
Sitting at my gate wearing brownish red corduroys and a gray pullover sweater, hair tied back into bun. There is another girl sitting at my gate wearing reddish brown corduroys and a gray pullover sweater, hair tied back into bun. Do I go and make friends. We both have our headphones on.
It’s a true story. I posted it on facebook.
I ended up chickening out. Because I didn’t want to seem creepy. I think if I had had a friend with me at the time I probably would have approached the girl with the similar outfit to pose for a photo. But I’m kinda shy and it keeps me from doing certain things, like composing spontaneous photo shoots. When I was 15 I was sitting on a rooftop watching the Core States bike race with my friends Will and Ian and saw a girl on the sidewalk below who looked a lot like me. Similar body structure, similar face shape, similar hair color. Will noticed her too and said, ‘That girl looks just like you.’ So I shouted down to her ‘Hey! You look like me!’ Even with three stories of distance between us, I probably would not have done that if Will and Ian were not there. I need backup. I always need backup.
One day I met up with Kath Duckworth, a fellow poet out of Oakland. It was the first time we hung out together, though I had been wanting to meet her for a while because I like her writing and facebook posts. We met up after we got off work to go to a poetry reading. I couldn’t believe what she was wearing: dark denim, collared long sleeve shirt, and a white oversized sweater. I was wearing white denim, collared long sleeve shirt, and a dark oversized sweater. We were wearing the inverse of each other’s outfits. We even both had on chain necklaces with pendants. I’m not sure if I made a big deal out of it at first, but after the poetry reading I asked if she wouldn’t mind posing for a photo with me. ‘Can we do a photo where we look like the Shining twins, because of our outfits?’
It happened again, at another poetry reading, with another poet I had never met before. Lara Hannawi and I were talking about the reading which was about to begin when I noticed we were wearing almost exactly the same outfit– red plaid, red scarfs, corduroy, Oxford shoes, frumpy knit sweaters. I asked her if it would be okay to pose for a photo together. I gave Andrew Dugas my phone and we got in position. I think she thought it was weird, but she was a good sport about it.
It happens to me and Amy Berkowitz a lot. Because we’re friends and have similar Clarissa Explains It All styles. We love leggings and oversized tops, funky jewelry, layers, and comfy clothes. Sometimes we cheat and coordinate our outfits over the phone before leaving the house to meet up. We didn’t on this occasion, however.
Back in February, I was at a birthday party for my friend Jillian Knox when I asked two other partygoers, Ann and Kirstyn, if I could take their photo standing next to each other. ‘You two have the same hairstyle right now,’ I said, ‘it’s super cute.’ I told them about how I like to take these ‘Shining twins’ photos when I find similar outfits in the wild, and they complied with my photo request.
‘It could be a blog,’ I said, ‘but I don’t really have time to maintain another blog. I just like it as a concept.’
‘You could call it WHO WORE IT TOGETHER!!’ someone at the party said.
‘Yes!’ I said, adding it to the list of neat art ideas I will probably never actualize.