Books       Letters       Me

Books       Letters       Me


Apr 18, 2024

A few weekends ago, I traveled down the elevator of my best friend’s building wearing a flowy, maxi dress that looked like it’d been dyed with the colors of a sunset only permitted to shine in hues of pink.

The best part [other than being semi-drunk, which is the kind of drunk you want heading to a date that’s not a date. But what else do you call drinks with a hot man whom you spent the previous night with (FOR dinner!!!! My mom reads this y’all!) So, for ease, we’ll call it a date.]

Back to the best part. My bestie joined me on said date because it’s been about 4 years since a trifecta of perfectly timed events occurred 1) Both her kids were sleeping 2) Her husband was also lights out 3) She was wide awake after 9 pm and ready for a cocktail. Our plan for one Basil Smash turned into three with a side of interrogation.

“What do you do for work?”

“Business development.”

“I said what do you do for work…”


“You must be out meeting people a lot.”

“Not really.”

“So you’re not in sales.”

It was going…great? This is probably a good time to tell you she and I were sitting on the same side of the table, opposite of hot-but-def-not-in-sales guy, wearing the exact same long, flashy dresses, only hers flowed with shades of blue. I can only imagine what must have been going through this poor guy's head while two six-foot *adult women* gave him plenty of shit about the tiniest of his biographical details…while unironically wearing the exact same dress.

Actually, I don’t need to wonder. I have no doubt that he was internally shouting some form of “THIS f*cking chick.” Meaning, me.

Well, this f*cking chick loves matching clothes but not all of them. I want to wear the same caramel brown corduroy cap with “Bom Dia” embroidered in mustard yellow with my three best friends. But I swear if I have to wear matching gold-foil-lettered t-shirts in public with a bachelorette party where I don’t know anyone but the bride, I will swallow my internal protest in the name of supporting my bride-friend. And just yesterday I saw a group of nine women in black one-pieces with matching sarongs and ballcaps and I prayed they wouldn't be seated next to me at the restaurant. (Is this where you unsubscribe because I’m a hypocrite? Or where you shout, “Same girl same.”)

It’s precisely my hypocritical attitude toward matching clothing that got me thinking about matchy-matchy women, to begin with.

As it would turn out, the pinnacle of matching dresses – bridesmaids dresses, of which I own approximately 19 – dates back to ancient Roman confarreatio, a wedding ceremony of patrician (elite) families. Unlike today, their dresses weren’t for the sole purpose of wedding brands draining your bank account in the name of ritual...or an aesthetically pleasing photo. Rather, it was for the practicality and the power. The bride and her ladies wore the same dress because if ole jilted suitor Jay tried to get back at his rival by stealing her away, the bride would be so camouflaged by the women around her that he wouldn’t be able to. BYE JAY!!! Oh and let us not forget she’d also be hidden in plain sight from “evil spirits”. Although, it’s hard to deduce from historical Roman literature if that’s a euphemism for radio-active dick. But I digress.

The lineage of matching dresses doesn’t stop there, as we know. The Victorian ladies gathering in the salon of great estates wore coordinated outfits like it was their job, both to visually identify their social group and to reinforce their status as a part of said group.

Sounds eerily similar to a uniform, of which I’m very familiar.

From the time I could underhand-swing my little fist hard enough to soar a volleyball over the net, large swaths of my wardrobe have matched at least seven other women at any given time. Nowhere was this more true than in college, a time when our coach was out to make us look as gross as possible. The only other explanation for her bad taste is my conspiracy theory – that our parents banded together and paid off the coaching staff to choose uniforms that made us resemble poop-brown sloths on and off the court. Why would they do that you ask? Easy. Contraception.

As a result, we played each game of our freshman year in teeny-tiny brown spandex light enough to show every drop of sweat and short enough to make any rally a freedom run for the bottom of my butt cheeks. The only time it was hidden was off the court, under head-to-toe brown sweatsuits. See *birth control conspiracy theory*

We lost a lot that year. Like a lot a lot. The coaching staff was a nightmare that we now laugh about. Imagine an air-propelled serving machine that rips ball up 50 mph pointed at your face from distances that shouldn’t be legal. I knew my mental health was on shaky ground when I fantasized about dropping a 45-lb barbell plate on my foot to sit out the season. Some never made it through; they were alive, of course, but no longer rostered.

But we had our poop suits and we had each other. And in fact, we still have both of those things. All six of those girls will be reading this when I text the link to the group chat that’s still on fire all these years later. They’ll remind me of three things when I do: 1) it was over a decade ago, not years 2) we already read it because we subscribe, ya dummy. 3) ha, right, like the poop suits kept guys from wanting us.

It doesn’t make sense to love matching outfits, not for me. Not for someone who prides herself on individuality (some of that chosen. Some of that genetically woven into me). My mother relayed a story recently of taking me to the doctor, so breathless with “what to do about my stubborn attitude” that she wanted to hear what the old white coat had to say during my annual check-up. He told her there was good news, and there was bad news. The bad news is parenting someone as strong-willed as me would be trying, to say the least. The good news was that as I grew into the peer pressure years of sex, drugs, bullying, bad decisions, and alcohol…I was more likely to resist what everyone else was doing.

And I still haven’t read Shades of Gray.

This returns me to why…despite dancing wildly to the beat of my own drum since I was too young to have a reason for it…do I love wearing the same outfit as the women I love? Last weekend it was sunset dresses with rose-quartz necklaces, in a month it’ll be hot pink cut-out one-piece suits and a hat with a high ponytail hole (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it, folks).

The best answer I can come up with is that somewhere in the camouflage of best friends is something glaringly obvious – that their threats and joys and sadnesses and celebrations are mine. And mine are theirs. Like walking onto the home court of an opposing team, it provides unity and strength, reminding me that I’m bonded with these humans. Mess with me and you will mess with them. I’m so proud to call the women who are my nearest and dearest, my girls. Like deeply, deeply prideful to point at any of them and say I’m with her. So in that way, I guess the matching outfits are an outward symbol of that bursting pride, reflecting a sense of security and confidence that comes with being surrounded by so many amazing humans showing up to their lives brilliant and big-hearted.

From that perch, the power of matchy-matchy is real. It’s indeed kept a jilted Jay or two at bay. Most importantly, it keeps us going. You're with the pack of neon pink one-pieces. You won't get left behind. But even if you don’t believe in carbon-copy textiles with your besties or it's ability to ward off the “evil spirits”, I can promise that they’ll indeed make Basil Smashes and stilted conversation far more entertaining.

Try it on, and if you do…snag me one in my size.

Woman on xx

My words are written just for you.