Style Conscious

The last few times I’ve been in Florida,  I’ve been trying to spruce up my tropical wardrobe.  People dress differently here in “paradise” than they do in Michigan, and the clothes I brought down here with me seven years ago are now in various stages of shabitude.   Even worse, most of them are simply too tight, and I’ve given up blaming it on shrinkage from the dryer – although I still think that’s contributed to the problem – or trying to hold out until I lose these unwanted 15 pounds.

How many of you have bought new clothes lately? And if you’re under 35 or weigh less than 130 pounds, go read another blog because this will not apply to you in the slightest. (Just wait, my pretty, your day will come…cackle, cackle)  Everything I try on, even those items ostensibly in my new size, either refuses to pull over my thighs, button around my waist, or cover my meager cleavage.  What the heck is a mature woman, who wants to remain fashionable, supposed to do?

I can’t remember having this much trouble with clothes since I was a pre-teen, and forced to shop in the “Chubbette” department at Sears.  Those shopping expeditions were ridiculously painful, because of course I wanted to wear the same little short skirts and tight bell bottoms that all my friends were wearing.  My mother set me straight every time, and though she tried to be kind about it, I was bright enough to realize that I resembled nothing more than a stuffed sausage.

Sadly, I’m beginning to feel distinctly porkish, and I really don’t think it’s entirely due to the few extra pounds that menopause has so kindly settled around the lower half of my body.    Even when I find clothing that actually fits they way I assume it’s supposed to, it doesn’t look right  – it makes me feel like one of those dreaded women who are trying to appear young and sexy when they’re really old and frumpish.  It’s “not appropriate” as today’s moms would likely tell their young daughters who wanted to dress as Brittany Spears look-alikes.

As an adult, my clothing style has always favored classic over trendy, but it feels like the clothes which fall into that catgeory are verging awfully close to “old-lady” looks favored by women much older than myself.  As tempting as those Alfred Dunner elastic waist and over-blouse ensembles might be to my figure, my mental image is just not ready to go there.  Even Talbot’s -my standby store for tasteful yet stylish apparel – has failed me this season.  Not one pair of slacks in that store formed themselves properly to my figure.

Maybe it’s just a matter of attitude, and admittedly, mine hasn’t been too forgiving of  late.  There’s a line in one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems that says it best – “I am so far from the hope of myself…”

When I was 12, the hope of myself included a denim mini-skirt and white go-go boots.

Now, I’d settle for a nice pair of white linen slacks and a navy blue twin set.

How about you? Anything new in your closet these days?


7 thoughts on “Style Conscious

  1. Clothing! Bah! I’m ready to move someplace warm enough that clothes are unnecessary, and I’m grateful for a lifestyle where a long denim skirt and a collection of t-shirts from Territory Ahead (currently on sale for $15 ea) can get me through the summer. Shopping for clothes always makes me wish I could sew.

  2. After dressing in boring dark colors for years, I found a store that has clothes that actually fit me, and they are bright and cheery, and I always get comments when I wear the cheery clothes. And I think I feel cheerier when I am wearing them!

  3. Oh, this is just a nightmare for me. I can not tell you how this resonates with me. In our defense, the fashion world could do much better by women in their middle years. Bah!

  4. As a kid I was painfully thin – couldn’t gain a pound to save my soul – then somewhere around 35 (yep, the magic number) it changed. I’ve got a closetful of clothes that won’t button or zip or even meet anywhere in the middle. Not feeling so stylish these days either. I’m blaming it on stress, hormones, and having developed some bad eating habits. So I’m back to the gym and eating lots of vegies so that gorgeous wedding dress will fit properly.

  5. It is indeed soooo sad that the fashion industry is not paying attention to the needs of women in our age group. Hello! There are a zillion women in this country aged 50+ that would like to be fashionable without looking, as you said, an older women trying to look like a teen. I think it’s out there if you have the big bucks. One only has to look at O magazine to see lots of pretty stylish things….with enormous price tags. Ridiculous. I guess I am glad that in my small town, and my lifestyle, I don’t require a lot of “fashion” … but I still like to look nice in well-fitted clothing.

  6. Oh, boy — does that resonate with me! We really are on the same wavelength in these posts I’m catching up on! Yes, I’ve recently shopped for clothes, the ones I have had being to frumpy or boring or heavy or casual for Paris. New shoes (talk about frumpy, but that’s a future post!) Lots of black (which won’t show soil, and hopefully slim the hips and who am I fooling…) All this, and costly, too. And I realize, it’s not really the clothes that are the problem — it’s the hips and waist and so-non-Michelle arms going into them… heavy sigh.

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