One of the literary geniuses I used to talk to regularly advised me that if I want to write something intellectual, I must feed myself with intellectual stuff. By this, he meant, those cryptic and challenging literary pieces of prose that I do my very best to keep reading. Sometimes, though, I prefer to suspend that reading ideal by surprising myself with something I don’t normally read. I know that I have posted previously about a fashion book by Karen Homer, so I felt that a perfect follow-up to that is a fashion-savvy and contemporary novel. I curled myself up in bed each night for three nights until I finished every chapter of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada. It did not disappoint. It made me relax, escape the harsh world of seriousness, and appreciate a classy cabinet all the more.
I watched the film some years back. And the novel was startlingly closer to home than the ultra-glamorous Anne Hathaway starrer. I was so shocked to find that I was able to identify myself with the character of Andrea Sachs, save for the perks of having signature outfits and first class access to the world of fashion. It was not just about rattling off brands and making out with random guys; the novel actually had substance as much as it had the fashion savoir faire that I sorely lack (and I am somehow presently making up for now).
Despite the fact that it’s fiction, it strongly influenced me to get myself a new pair of shoes after and prioritize overhauling my cabinet to discard the unusables. (I confess: I got three new pairs and I need to work very hard to make it up to my wallet. Sheesh.) Again, this is part of this year’s personal project to discover myself and the appropriate style or fashion that expresses that discovered self. I have learned to be more kind to myself and to revisit things I used to absolutely abhor.
I realized that to enjoy intellectual pursuits does not mean you have to dress in shirts covered in barbed wire. At work, I realize that while you need to up your game mentally, you also need to somehow dress the part to make yourself decent enough for meetings and whatnots. Reading chick lit does not make a woman a bimbo if she really has meat in her head. And this meat can actually be better off with the right pair of slingback peep-toes or painful-but-glorious stilettos. Probably this similar realization that Andrea Sachs learned by “simple osmosis” after her one year at Runway magazine is what made me love this character.
I no longer feel guilty that I ditched my supposedly next-in-line Kundera novel to read this first. I guess this is also not the last time that I will alternate a literary god’s masterpiece with a light but equally delightful contemporary reading material like Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada. And while I evaluate what I feed my brain, I also think of what ensemble should best fit my new peeptoe addition to my humble shoe collection.