Sixty-nine. It is every middle school boy’s favorite number, the late ’90s official sex position (apparently) and the exact weight of my suitcase, in pounds, as packed for a week away in Nantucket. Sixty-nine is about eight pounds heavier than normal because, this time, the heat was turned up an extra few degrees thanks to Leandra Clam Digger Medine.
We had this brilliant idea that she’d pack me for two of the six days — a sort of simulated weekend. She’s known for her monastic outfit editing and origami/camp mom folding as learned per a life lesson her dad still repeats: “Stuff ruins trips.” Meanwhile I’m known at airports and broken back clinics worldwide for the dreaded orange “HEAVY!” tag.
I packed 61 pounds of red, blue and white.
Leandra packed me eight pounds of good old fashion.
If this experiment were equivalent to know-nothing Goldilocks and the varying degrees of fashion bears, outfit #1 was clocked as COLD PORRIDGE according to 100% of my male housemates and two girls. We had previously agreed upon a numbers system, like that of American Idol. This outfit received:
One 5, two 6’s, one 7, multiple failures to participate and an “OMG.” (There were exclamation cards ready for when words failed.) The swimsuit on its own got a few 10’s. I should also note that cards began at 5 and went as high as 10. So.
Comments: “You look like Professor Trelawney.”
“You look like one of the Pajama People.”
“You look like someone’s burnout aunt.”
Readers: ^ We consider these responses an MR win, no?
Score: Two 5’s, one 9 (from a girl), and multiple failures to participate properly because they were too busy trying to think of creative comparisons to hold up a number.
“Is this a joke?”
“Where are your legs?”
Score: One five, two nines, “You look like Eloise” (the highest compliment one could pay another human in our modest home — Eloise is our mascot pup and she’s considered a great beauty) plus a whole bunch of gladiator-related questions thanks to the lace up sandals (what time is the match, who is my opponent, where is the area located, am I riding my dragon there).
So those were the insular opinions of people who are used to me and my standard way of dressing. (On vacation: a plain swimsuit and a striped button-down, basically.) Out on the actual island, where the photos were taken, no one bat an eyelash. I guess that surprised me but also, it didn’t?
In Nantucket, there’s a pretty consistent way of dressing. It’s part-prep, part-beach, part-dad and part-hippie. Lilly Pulitzer blends with Grateful Dead, sport coats with pastel shorts, and the traditional sun-bleached salmon shade of “red” named after the island is paired with just about everything.
What’s always been fun for me is blending my own pieces of personal style into this mix while sinking into vacation. You know, where you care, but you also kind of don’t? Self-expression is not the main goal. Relaxation is.
Leandra had slightly different motives. She wanted me to look cool in a New York context — a place where anything goes because everything happens. And what’s weird is that the meaning of the two kind of worked. Some of her ironic choices found their original homes and reunited with their navy brethren. The other stuff refreshed the classics like a salty ocean breeze.
What’s worse: swallowing sea water or that sentence?
The final verdict: Leandra packing me for a “weekend” was a success. Easy. Besides, isn’t the other point of vacation — beyond relaxation — and the main part of getting dressed to have fun?
Product images photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.