Monday, March 24, 2008

"I Base Most Of My Fashion Sense on What Doesn't Itch"

Fair warning: I have no sense of taste when it comes to clothing. My daughter and my sisters and even my son can attest to that. I have a horror of going out in public wearing old-lady clothing, but I don't always know when I do it. My tastes somehow never graduated from Spencer Gifts and little boutiques and shops that carry only sizes so small I could wad an entire dress up in my hand and still have room for a cheeseburger. I can't wear the clothes I still gravitate towards: for one thing, it would be ridiculous, and for another thing, they only come in size negative-ten. They're still the clothes my mind likes best, though. In my day, we couldn't wait to grow out of the "girls" sizes and into the junior sizes. Girls today brag that they "have" to shop at Baby Gap. Size zero, with Victoria's Secret underneath.

Me, I love hippie clothing; broomstick skirts and long low-necked tops, but fat women don't look good in broomstick skirts; I think you have to be shaped like a broomstick to look good in a broomstick.

I am happiest in jeans and old t-shirts, but the t-shirts I like best - my Broadway shirts and a few select sarcastic comments about other people's mentality - I can't wear out in public. Why can't I? Because I think people over a certain age really can't wear "See me, feel me, touch me, heal me" Tommy shirts without people wondering who would want to do that in the first place. If you're 70 years old and wearing a "Truckers do it in the road" shirt at Marsh, people will laugh. Well, I do. I have a drawer full of favorite t-shirts that I can only wear around the house for fear of my own critique. Fortunately for my fashion sense, I spend a lot of time around the house.

I'm also way too large to wear what I like best in "dressy" mode. I used to wear dresses and skirts almost daily when I taught; now, I usually wear black slacks and, I dunno, some kind of top that looks teacherish.

That's why I let WalMart and Kohls guide my fashion sense much of the time. Heaven knows I need a guide.

I had a favorite dress once. It was green, pale-ish green, and was made of some soft fabric that was, at the time, quite unique. It might possibly have been a forerunner of those microfibers, but a little more silky and less like a blanket. It had three-quarter sleeves - still my sleeve of choice - and a rather low, narrow v-neck with those curvy 70's "woman" lapels. I recognized the lapels as monstrosities even at the time, but as they were a part of this dress I embraced them, too.

The dress hit me between knee and ankle, and had a wide sash that tied in the back. I felt so good in this dress. That dress emphasized my small waist and hid my skinny chicken legs. It showed just enough cleavage that I could wear it to school and still feel sexy. I bought it with my first teacher paycheck and I wore it at least once a week.

I have no pictures of me in this dress, and I'm actually glad, because that frees me to picture myself looking so fine, feeling the dress swish around my legs as I walked around the shared teachers' office space, knowing everybody else in there was over forty while I was 23, and I am not even embarrassed to tell you all that when I wore this dress, I would occasionally spin around so I could feel the skirt breath with me. . . . yes, my dress and I liked to twirl.

When I remember this dress, I can't really picture the entire thing. I remember parts of it, but not the parts fitting together in any logical way. Possibly that's because my brain is protecting me from seeing the dress as it really was: a 70's horror, complete with extra-long attached sash and lapels that would make me gasp and back away if I saw them today, made of slightly ribbed blanket fabric and the color of green goth Big Lots nail polish.

That dress and I were both a size 5. I bought it at the Diana Shoppe, which burned down shortly thereafter, possibly sparing the world from similar dresses which I probably would have bought and worn and twirled in as well.

Perhaps some disasters were meant to save us from other disasters.

I do own a dress now but I can't for the life of me remember what color it is.

Maybe I need to start getting out more.

The title? Gilda said it.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:33 PM | |


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