The last role I played in the ensemble theater I was part of in college was that of Doris Sawyer from Kurt Vonnegut's "Who Am I This Time." In the show, Doris is a kooky septuagenarian who runs a small-town community theater. I didn't know how to feel about the fact that the costume designer told me they planned to base my character's wardrobe loosely on how I, Whitney, dressed in real life as an undergrad student. In the end, what they curated included a lot of amorphously-shaped tops and weird statement jewelry (and one gorgeous vintage beaded kimono that I would still like to steal from the costume shop).
As much as I may have wanted to protest that I did, in fact, dress like an actual young person, and that I often wore things that showed the shape of my body, the truth is that they were right in surmising that I really loved oddly shapeless pieces of clothing. It's a love that's continued past college. Do these things now remind me of Doris, the 70-something-year-old fictional weirdo? Yes! Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily! Creative, off-kilter old people are kind of my scene, tbh, and eventually morphing into one of them sounds just fine to me.
Which is why pieces of clothing like this glorious black blob of fabric from ethical New Zealand-based brand Kowtow draw me in so effortlessly. Though Kowtow calls it a "cape," the on-model pictures make it clear that it's actually long enough to be worn as a dress on its own, though it would also look great over some faded black jeans with fresh white sneakers or my trusty Doc Martens. The best part, though, is that the forgiving shape means I really could presumably wear it for the next 50 years until I'm Doris' age. And as someone who increasingly wants to opt out of the buy-wear-trash-repeat cycle for the sake of the planet, that's good news. So, look out, Doris — I may be comin' for your swag.
Kowtow building block cape, $189, available here.
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