sjp_vogue.jpg Never in my life have I been called a "city girl". That's just not me, right? City girls move dextrously through bustling crowds, strutting long-leggedly in three-inch high Calvin Klein boots, perfectly balancing a fat-free mocha in one hand and a blackberry in the other, with her fabulous Gucci bag tucked neatly under one shoulder, slim-fitting trench coat flapping purposefully behind her. Inumerable simultaneous talents exercised simply on the way to work. Yes, that's a city girl.

She's stylish and goal-oriented. But who really understands style? I bet if you stopped one of those city chicks in there tracks (Careful! That coffee is hot!) and asked her to define style, hers or anyone else's, she'd have some trouble. It's transient, trendy, unstable. What is "in" now, even if we love it to death, will certainly be gone or tweaked tomorrow.

In magazines and television adds we girls are shocked and awed by torrents of fashion jargon. Kate Hudson is personifying "bohemian chic" while Katie Holmes attempts a "nouveau romantique" look and Catherine Zeta-Jones is the ultimate "Urban Sophisticate".

Besides, we non-City-Girls tell ourselves, style isn't only passe, it's downright shallow. A complete waste of time, trying to keep up with speed-spenders like Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson. Not only can they afford it, but it's part of their job. And they weigh a thousand pounds less than we do. No matter what the style, it'll caress their curves... while the same outfit would widen our hips, flatten our busts, shorten our legs and put more plaque on our teeth.

Why try?

Here I will admit that I like the concept of changing fashions. As an adult (which sometimes makes me want to cry because everything seems to be in fast-forward) I've developed an appreciation for all things feminine and lovely. Thanks to my job at Banana Republic, I learned something about the tricks to picking the best outfits, etc. And I started picking up the names of designers, their products and trade marks. It can be fun!

Now I am wise enough to keep some of my Livermore-practicality in my purse when I go shopping. I cannot afford name designers. And I won't pretend that, in the shade of San Francisco skyscrapers or in the midst of a crowd, a Mervyn's jacket could pass for Juicy Couture. However, if you like something enough, you can find an affordable version somewhere! And when dealing with fly-by-night trends, it's best to deal with accessories exclusively. When you choose classic basics and pair them with the big, shiny wood beads that are in now, it'll feel like you're up to the minute. Then, when Sarah Jessica Parker decides the beads are "so last Saturday" and starts wearing eagle feathers in her hair... and every single person in southern California does the same, your whole outfit needn't change with the wind, too.

Where is this going? Nowhere. I started my Broker's License class in San Fran today. I took BART in at 7:20am and started class at 8. Done at 5. Back on BART bound for home at 5:20. Traffic from Dublin to Livermore. A hard-knock life. Not really. I got to read, a brainless airy novel about an enthusiastic British girl living in Notting Hill, working in a trendy boutique on Portabello Road, meeting people and coming into her own. Maybe that's what got me thinking about all this stuff. Or maybe I just wanted to write about something besides insurance.

At any rate I'm slowly coming into my own version of style. But I think I'd describe my goal as Suburban Chic. It's slower and more comfortable than its edgy urban counterpart. Snapshot of me: slim fitting, dark blue jeans (Banana Republic... some habits die hard), a white button-front shirt, short black Nike jacket, lip gloss, driving a khaki-colored Jeep Liberty, listening to Jackson Browne on her iPod mini (Suddenly wishing I hadn't even facetiously mentioned "hard knocks" since I'm coming off as a total preppie here... but for honesty's sake I'll let well enough alone. Lucky isn't description enough for my life.), going home to her hard-working husband at the end of the day, making a quick trip to the super market for grape juice and a magazine. That was me.

I walk fast enough to make it to class on time, not fast enough to pass the homeless man covered in newspapers without noticing and saying a quick prayer. But that's a suburban thing, right? Less callous, more compassionate. Not that all city dwellers are the opposite, they are simply used to the pull of the urban tide.

On Friday Jon and I are hoping to meet up with Cindy and Jason for dinner and fun in downtown SF. Just because we're not "city folk" (though I think Jason is, and Cin is borderline... all those years in Livermore set her back severely!) doesn't mean its volatile night life can't entertain us once in a while. And I'll be going to class for another six days. Let's hope I last. There's always the chance that, by the end of this, I'll be able to navigate the block from BART to my class on California Street in heels, while holding coffee (just for aesthetics... I wouldn't actually drink the stuff!) and talking about all sorts of slick stuff with Cin on my cell.

Goodness! Let's hope not! I'll take the slow amble down First Street from the Independent building to Donut Wheel, wearing flip flops and holding Jonathan's hand any day.