In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.
Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at email@example.com
Find more columns by Palmer here.
I am hardly a slave to fashion. And so it was no big surprise when I left the house in my pajamas.
True, I threw a zip-up sweatshirt over them and pulled a pair of warm-up pants on underneath them, but still, had I been struck by lightning or merely keeled over in the driveway, the authorities would have arrived to discover me in my lilac night shirt.
I'd like to say I had a good reason to wear my PJs in public, but I didn't. The truth of the matter is that I didn't see a good reason not to wear them. All I had to do was drag a garbage can down a driveway and return home. For this 10-minute call of duty it did not seem worth it to take the trouble to get fully dressed, only to come home and get back in my pajamas.
One of the many things I love about living in Steamboat is that I don't have to dress up to go anywhere. Jeans and shorts are appropriate for almost any function, including the biggies: graduations, weddings and funerals. This took some - OK, a lot - of getting used to. When I moved here, from New York City where most everyone is a slave to fashion (think "The Devil Wears Prada"), I was invited to a wedding of a couple I did not know. I thought this strange but not as strange as the requisite casual attire.
"Time of day?" I barked. (I was still a hyper East Coast-type).
"Oh, I'm not really sure, I can't find the invitation. I think any time after 1 p.m.," said my decidedly laid-back Steamboat friend.
"So, a linen dress or silk pants?"
"Ah, shorts," my friend said.
"Shorts! To a wedding?" I was incredulous.
"Yeah, we'll be playing volleyball and the wedding is outside, so, shorts."
"Shorts?" I repeated.
In the end, I wore the shorts, but only after I ironed them - with spray starch. That was 20 years ago, and I haven't seen my iron since. And although the good news is I save beaucoup bucks not buying clothes, the bad news is there are times I have to leave the valley and I realize, with horror, that I can't wear my pajamas, or Crocs.
However, when the occasion dictates citywear, I rely on my tried and true strategy of the three B's: Beeline, beg or borrow. Here's how it works:
1. Beeline. I head straight for DejÃ Vu, the nice new consignment shop with an equally nice owner. I almost always find exactly what I need at the right price.
2. Beg. Twist the arm of a friend to host a clothes swap party. Yes, I could host one myself, but then I'd have to clean my house. What could be more fun than drinking a little wine, whining and trying on clothes with my gal pals?
3. Borrow. I have tall friends who live in the real world who have been kind enough to FedEx me evening wear, cocktail dresses and wedding wear. Bless them. I pay the shipping, dry clean it and send it back.
Best of all, the three B's strategy frees up funds for other things : like new pajamas.