These Purple Tom Ford Sunglasses Have Changed Me
I don’t remember how the Tom Ford sunglasses came into my possession. I know I didn’t buy them new. If my vague memory serves, one day I threw up my hands trying to figure out what to do with some credits I had on ThredUP or Poshmark — and because I had gained so much weight and really didn’t know my size anymore — I decided I was, in fact, a person who wore purple Tom Ford sunglasses.
Excuse me, not purple, but Dark Lilac. Some genius at Tom Ford who should probably be in charge of a lot more than coming up with sunglasses colors, decided that these glasses were not purple, but “dark lilac,” giving poets a run for their money. It’s the name of a superhero, a woman with superpowers.
And when I put these babies on I am indeed a warrior. I’m Dark Lilac. Don’t come for me.
Like any proper superhero story, it wasn’t always this way. For 99.99% of my life, I wasn’t someone who wore purple sunglasses, or Tom Ford sunglasses or any combination thereof. I was someone who wore basic tortoise shell sunglasses in an ill-fated attempt to maintain a classic style, to keep my wardrobe in a neatly rotating cycle of navy, brown, grey, white and black so I didn’t have to think about it, and because I have no imagination.
Every once in a while I’d take a stab at joyful fashion — a maxi-dress here when I was feeling like Stevie Nicks, a leopard shoe there. There was a phase that I decided I should dress like Claire Underwood, but then I read that the costume designers of “House of Cards” actually sewed her into those skintight Oxford shirts. Ultimately, I always ended up looking insane because no matter how hard I tried, the rest of me rocked a “Big Lebowski” vibe — t-shirts that rode up above a paunchy tummy, hair in a wild ponytail with wisps everywhere. (I refused to throw out those ill-fitting t-shirts because they had been through a lot with me and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. My anthropomorphizing of clothes is a story for another day).
Have you noticed that when a superhero first gets their new powers, they’re completely confused? That’s what happened to me when put on the glasses to walk the dog, becoming Dark Lilac without knowing it. Looking back, I should have known that they were designed to impart power: they look like part of a uniform someone would wear into a futuristic war (but only to achieve world peace, of course), something that only fearless people would wear. There’s something about their bigness, with little spear tip shapes at the side that scream “this design is so good, the bitch wearing these glasses is above all your petty earthly desires.”
And all of sudden, people started treating me like that kind of woman. On that first dog walk, people on the street gave me respectful nods and then made way for me and my dog. Please note that I was barely out of my pajamas on these walks, and yet people were treating me with deep respect, and as a zaftig short woman whose hair is always a mess, I can assure you this has never happened to me. Even with a law degree from a top twenty school, I never got respectful nods, no one made way for me on the street.
That is, until I became Dark Lilac, all thanks to Tom Ford.
Still mystified after that fateful dog walk, I got dressed for work and wore them to the office. Usually when I park my car in downtown Los Angeles, I have a groundhog day-like conversation with the parking attendant. He asks me how long I’ll be leaving the car, I always give the same answer, and he always pretends not to hear me. It goes like this:
Parking attendant: “How long will you be staying today?”
Me: “Until about six or six-thirty”
Parking attendant: “What?”
Me: “Six or six-thirty. Like always?”
Parking attendant: “So five or so?”
I’ve had this “conversation” for about fourteen years, and no matter how hard I tried to speak clearly, I was never heard, my gaze was never met. But on the first day I wore my sunglasses, the day I became Dark Lilac, he asked the same question, I took a deep breath — readying myself for the calm I would have to maintain for a conversation that took ten minutes that really should take thirty seconds — and answered. And he just took the keys and said “Okay, see you at six-thirty.”
Weird, I thought as I got in the elevator, where I steeled myself to be squished into a corner as more people got on at each floor. But instead, people gave me space and I got more respectful nods. “What is going on?” I muttered to myself, as I threw off the glasses and tossed them on my desk, not yet realizing that they were the key to my new superpowers.
And then I took a good look at them. The huge lenses that seem to hang in the balance of nothing. The little triangle of nothingness on the sides, ending in an elegant little spear-like shape before the arm-thingies (assuming this is the technical term) that go over your ears. The otherworldly, weirdly brave royal purple. The bad-assness, Thunderdome, La Femme Nikita, trashy Anna Wintour vibe of them.
And that’s when I knew: these sunglasses give me power. I no longer get squished into the corners of elevators, my dog and I don’t have to be the ones to do a shuffling dance on the sidewalk to make room for other people. I am Louise in “Thelma and Louise,” someone who would blow away a would-be rapist without messing up her hair. I am Geena Davis in “The Long Kiss Goodnight” after she realizes she isn’t a soccer mom after all, but a well-trained assassin.
I always thought fashion was meaningless, a catalyst of empty, cyclical consumerism. But I’m starting to reconsider: maybe there are those special pieces that give you power, a thick bracelet that reminds you of Wonder Woman, the denim jacket that reminds you it might not be too late to give it all up and work with horses, the red lipstick that distracts all the men in the boardroom, the french lacy bra that makes you know that someone loves you, and that person is you.
As Dark Lilac, I am now ready to start my new business as a pro-bono assassin, with a strict moral code, of course. I am ready to move through the world silently, righting wrongs —Dark Lilac will always use her powers to ensure that good triumphs over evil — while looking fabulous.
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