The Great Lie Told to Actors, and 3 Days of High-Low Outfits


There's a great lie told to most actors.

I was 18 and in my first year of college when the lie was told to me. Sitting across from my academic advisor, the head of the Theater Department, she looked at me and said, "Acting is a hard life. If there's anything else in the world you can do and be happy, don't be an actor. Only be an actor if it's the only thing you can do."

Immediately, I felt ashamed of my other interests. Did my love of clothing, and art museums, and reading historical fiction mean that I wasn't truly an actor? Should I shelf my excitement about all of the other non-theater courses on my schedule? Was I already flailing and failing as an actor, before I'd really begun?

Some people might disagree with me.  Some people might exclaim, "But that's no lie! Acting is hard! Anything else would be easier!" I don't negate that the life of an actor is hard. It's very hard. I disagree with the idea that actors should only act. Throughout college, it was pumped into every acting class that to be an actor you must be laser focused. If you're not constantly training, your competition will be.  

I drank the Kool-aid. I shelved my love of writing and took hours of vocal lessons. I put aside my love of fashion and rehearsed my monologues countless times to my bedroom wall. And now, as I near the age where I'm too old to play an ingenue but too young to play a mom, I regret it. I'm sad to be staring down the possibility of fewer and fewer roles without a seasoned creative outlet to turn to. 

This intro is even longer than normal, so here are some tacos and sangria to help you get through it. :)

This intro is even longer than normal, so here are some tacos and sangria to help you get through it. :)

Putting my own experience aside, I disagree with "the lie" on a fundamental level. Don't tell actors not to have interests, tell them to be interested in everything! The more actors explore, the more actors talk to people, and read, and have different jobs, and dance to new music, the more nuanced and honest their acting. (Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist's Way, calls this process "filling the well." I love that description!)

Some months ago, I attended a blogger event. This world of blogging and Instagram photography and internet creating was still very, very new to me, and after the event something specific stuck in my brain. One of the speakers (roughly) said, "If a project or a style isn't working for you anymore, create something else. That's why we're called creatives. You don't need to stick to one thing." 

Then, I ran across this article from Cupcakes and Cashmere about High-Low dressing. (Before we continue, give it a good scan. Or just scroll to the bottom to the chart of High and Low items so you get the gist.) This idea of combining casual wear with fancy wear seemed so fun, and not only that, it reminded me of the "creative" idea- you don't need to stick to one thing. Heels don't need to be worn with cocktail dresses. Sweatpants don't have to be paired with sneakers. Actors don't have to only be actors.

As I'm trying to embrace the idea of being a creative, and less of just one thing, I thought this would be the perfect addition to the experiment. I took three days, I pulled out the majority of my closet, and I made some High-Low outfits.

Here we go!



THE LOW: Beach dress - This is an unconventional low item. I purchased this dress for the beach - its entirely backless, and ties together with two strings. The material is on the thin side.  

THE HIGH: Longline lavender vest

THE EXPERIENCE: I loved this outfit. Like a mullet (business in front, party in the back), my outfit was ready for anything. The long layers felt unexpected and breezy and fun. Christian and I tried out a new tiki bar for dinner and drinks, and I felt just right: not overdressed, but still snazzy and comfortable.

REPEAT-ABILITY RATING: 5/5 - I'd definitely wear this again!

Outfit #2


THE LOW: Christian's old Caracas t-shirt

THE HIGH: That proposal-midi skirt that I wear often, red lipstick (Glossier, of course!), and turquoise platform sandals.

THE EXPERIENCE: I was hosting an open house this Saturday morning, so I wanted my outfit to have a few more high than low items. Post open-house, we went to Home Depot (oooh, glamour!), and then grabbed some tacos and sangria in Georgetown. I loved this outfit, too. While navigating a cart through Home Depot in platforms wasn't the easiest, everything else was grand. I loved how the colors in the t-shirt brought the skirt and shoes together, and I loved how the outfit looked fun and thoughtful, but not in an obnoxious way. 

REPEAT-ABILITY RATING: 5/5 - I'd definitely wear this again!

Outfit #3


THE LOW: Athleta racerbank tank - The article embraced mixing sporty items into daily wear, and even though athleisure has been a thing for some time now, I'd never really considered it. Enter this top- I love it! While it's made for excercising, the lines remind me of armor, which in turn reminds me of Joan of Arc. (Read my Inspired By | Joan of Arc post, here! It's one of my favs.)

THE HIGH: Black long skirt, dark statement lip color.

THE EXPERIENCE: It was a scorcher of a day in Seattle, and I spent most of my time in this outfit working in our basement and convincing the dog to drink water. (I did notice that the top kept me cooler! Not surprising, I suppose.) Later we went to Trader Joes, and my outfit wasn't of too much consequence. I liked it, but it didn't feel as fun and surprising as the previous looks. 

REPEAT-ABILITY RATING: 4/5 - I'd wear this again, but I'm not singing from the rooftops about it.

This was friggin' delightful. I had so much fun mixing up the categories in my closet, and I really loved the outfits that resulted. Have you tried High-Low dressing? What are your favorite fancy and casual combos? 

Do you have thoughts and opinions about the great lie told to actors? Was it told to you? Do you consider yourself a creative, or a Jane-of-all-trades? I'd love to get into a conversation about that, too!

Happy Wednesday, friends! We're halfway to the weekend!