When I sketched this post in the car, it was going to start with a definition set off in quote-format. Bourgeoise: from the French. A well-to-do woman, conforming to the visual and behavioral standards of her class. See bourgeoisie.
I had to make that up. None of the dictionary sites have a definition of bourgeoise. Maybe I should have looked harder, in French, because I know it’s out there and is a Very Real Thing. But maybe only in France. Anyway, I can’t be trusted on the interwebs any more tonight because I read three articles and checked two dozen statuses while not-finding my word.
I’m a bourgeoise for realz. I live in Austin, so maybe my look is a tiny bit edgy, but seriously. Today I’m not even pretending I’m anything but bourgeoise because I’m wearing one of my favorite sundresses.
It’s not the sundress per se. It’s super cute, and it’s in my favorite shade of yellow — sun-bright — but those things aren’t the bourgeoise statement.
It’s that it’s a Lilly print, and that I know and can spot exactly what a Lilly Pulitzer is. A class distinction like none other. The cut is LillyP, the lining and finishing details are LillyP… . My mother would say, “You can just tell.” Which is also a class distinction. And goes with my professionally polished toes. All the mamas get pedis, you know. Plus earrings, plus shoes…we bourgeoises are always “turned out,” as the phrase goes.
Yep, part of me rolls my eyes at this. Though I’m not sure what would satisfy Eye-Rolling-Me, since it also rolls my eyes at my extensive collection of Chuck Taylors…my New Wave days are long gone and I was never an actual punk (poser!). Perhaps Eye-Rolling-Me gets confused by the contradiction: I live life with as little artifice as possible. Except that I like to play dress-up. And darling, for me all clothes are dress-up.
The rest of me is just happy to wear a sun-yellow cotton dress with lions’ faces all over it. One that neatly fits again!