It’s always the badly dressed people who are the most interesting. ~Jean Paul Gaultier
Even so, it may be time to think about a new wardrobe. Mine is, after all, largely from the previous century, and I mean that literally. I’ve just never been much of a fashion maven. My weight over the past few decades has stayed fairly consistent, which I guess is the good news, and the bad news is that means I never HAVE to buy any new clothes, so I don’t.
Occasionally I’ll buy something current because I’ll notice that my collars are way huger and pointier than anyone else’s in the room (think Elvis Presley), or I’ll go to a meeting where I’m the only one sporting Alexis Carrington giant shoulders (Google it). Or I go to a class at the gym and I’m the only the one wearing a headband, tights, leg warmers and a fuschia high-cut leotard.
People talk about fashion faux pas such as wearing white after Labour Day and stuff. Mine have always been a little more basic, and obvious. Like the day I arrived at work wearing panty hose that had another complete pair of panty hose balled up in one of the legs. It looked like a tumour. Or the time I was performing a last minute button repair to my black silk dress in the car, enroute to a wedding. (Hmm… black to a wedding? That was probably bad too.) Things seemed to have gone okay, the button was back in place, until I stood up to get out of the car, and my glasses, which had been on my lap, were now firmly attached to the bottom of my dress.
Or the day I wore two different shoes. In my defense, they were both black. I had to stop on the way to work to drop the kids off at my moms, and she looked all concerned and asked, “Are you limping?” It seems that the heels weren’t even the same size. (Note: I was extremely busy and tired throughout the nineties.) Of course, I couldn’t go to work like that, so we dug through her closet to find a pair that I could borrow. At that stage of Mom’s life she was mostly wearing house slippers, so I opted for her “Christmas” shoes – a lovely pair of black velvet pumps, complete with some shiny bling on the toe. Did I mention it was July? Looked fabulous with my summer dress. Nobody at work batted an eye. They were used to my “unique sense of style” by now.
I guess I just don’t have a good grasp of the subtle nuances of fashion, such as accessories and whatnot. Like I get confused when I hear someone say something is too “Matchy-matchy”. What???? I thought that was the idea? Crap. There go my themed, all beige outfits that make me look thin AND naked. Plus, what’s going on with belts? I had one thin belt that served me well through the seventies, but then I needed a giant version for the eighties and then in the nineties I think I mostly wore bib overalls and suspenders … so now that it’s 2011 which belt should I even keep?
And once we figure out the belt situation – what pants can I wear? Are the ones with the huge wide legs and cuffs out now? How about the pair with the built in fake seam right up the middle? Are my Steve Erkel jeans that go up to my rib cage okay, or should I be wearing the “low-rise” ones that proudly display a plumber crack if I drop something? Am I supposed to be wearing skinny jeans? (At some point things got blurry when my girls and I started wearing the same size, and I wouldn’t let them get rid of any clothing items that fit me and had perfectly good wear left in it.) I’m now either embarrassingly outdated or just plain embarrassing as hell with my low rise jeans and my West-49 belly top.
And once in awhile it seems a fashion memo goes out that I have simply not been copied on. Like a few years back when suddenly it was okay by “business casual” standards to wear an untucked shirt under a pullover v-necked sweater. It was an outrage, and I couldn’t do it! It was all I could do to resist tucking OTHER people’s shirts in. I continued to tuck, fashion police be damned. Eventually I finally conformed, but still felt like a sloppy rebellious adolescent, with my shirt tail flapping in the breeze. Compliance was made easier by the fact that it is physically impossible to tuck anything into low rise pants.
And finally, what’s with the whole movement toward scarf accessorizing? I love the way they look on the magazine people, all chic and sophisticated, outfits with a matching scarf (but not TOO matching) casually slung around the neck area all elegant-like. So I buy them, or I ask for them as gifts – and unless my daughter arranges it for me, I always just end up with a giant knot tied at my throat, looking like a croupy toddler all ready to go outside and build a snowman.
It’s not easy being this interesting.