I don’t shop for clothes often. The joy of clothes shopping left long before I started buying things with Xs and Ws on them. The loss of that joy dates way back, even before I gained these curves that identify me solidly as Woman! (Perhaps not so solidly in some areas.)
But I did take my two eldest girls shopping for undergarments the other night, then let them browse in the juniors dept. with their Christmas gift cards burning holes in their hot little hands. While they looked at t-shirts and baby-doll shirt/dresses, I headed over to the dept with all those Ws and Xs on the tags. Sale! Sale! Sale! I found two sweaters on sale and just bought them—no trying on or nothing. (I still haven’t learned the lesson the hard economic lesson that sale + not trying on = an item you’ll wear once, hate, and then donate to Goodwill once it is solidly out of fashion. Perhaps this time?)
I didn’t realize why I was sort of dissatisfied with my purchases before I even tried them on until this a.m. I was cruising the websites I sometimes frequent and headed over to Olinka’s site and saw on her blogroll Vilnius Street Fashion. For some reason, it piqued my interest. I clicked and found myself not only in a literal foreign land, but a fashion foreign land, as well. I’ve never been a particularly hip dresser; not that I didn’t try, but it was the 80s, I was young, fashion was bad, I had a rear end when fashion dictated that young women should not, yadda yadda. But I realized as I was looking at all the happy faces in Vilnius this a.m. that I am a particularly boring dresser. I never wear patterned dresses; I never wear cobalt blue tights; I never wear skulls; and I would never even think of buying, let alone trying on a cute green coat like this. I’d never even try to pull off a look like this.
I’m a BORING dresser. My sale items bear that out: red sweater; blue sweater twin set. I wear black pants or skirts most every day (because of that rear end that grows ever more in need of dark draping as I age less than gracefully). I look like a contestant on that game show with all the briefcases with money in it.
I don’t see a way out of it, really. I try to dress funky and I just feel wrong. I’m most comfortable in a black suit with a decent heel when I’m at work–except in the summer when I must remove layers because of the humidity and the heat (both external and internal–another blessing of being a WOMAN) and I feel incredibly uncomfortable with skin showing. Casually, I’m most comfortable in a dark pair of jeans, a jacket-y type shirt that covers my midriff, or a sweater that does the same, and Land’s End clogs–or any clog that covers my dumpy, short toes. I know even this look, jeans and a jacket, can be funky, but on me it just screams Midwest Mother Frump!
I’m not trendy. I am so typically American; so typically fearful of fashion, of difference, of color.
It’s good to leave the country every once in a while, I think, even if it is only on my computer. Good to see what people elsewhere are wearing, are comfortable in, are LIVING in, and remind myself that clothing sometimes needs to be something other than functional, other than safe, other than a solid, dark, backdrop.