Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fashion Faux Pas

A couple of days ago, I looked out of my window at work and saw an older woman walking by on the sidewalk. She was wearing a sleeveless cotton print blouse. She was somewhat overweight. "Why on earth would anyone choose to wear such an unflattering style of clothing?" I thought (uncharitably). I have never liked that style of top. They remind me of small town department stores, gossipy neighbour ladies, older women, and dead ends.

Why indeed? On second glance, I realized that the woman was probably was about my age -- middle-aged -- and not any more overweight than I am. It was a hot day. Perhaps she had chosen a sleeveless blouse to try to stay cool. Cotton is certainly a better fabric to be wearing when you break into a huge sweat every few minutes because of a hot flash, and she appeared to be at the age for hot flashes. Moreover, a crisp loose cotton blouse does not cling to unflattering waistline bulges the way a knit top does.

So there you have it. When we get older, it is not the lack of fashion sense that betrays us so much as the body itself.

I have taken to wearing a type of sunglasses known as cocoons. They are great big plastic sunglasses that you can put on over top of your regular prescription glasses. They are not at all flattering. They make me look like I have giant bug eyes. I am certain that my beautiful daughters are embarrassed to be seen walking through town with me when I am wearing my cocoons.

But I like them. I like them because they fold over the tops and bottoms of my prescription lenses and wrap around the sides, thereby blocking out the sunlight from coming in around the edges. My previous preferred sunglasses option was clip-ons (also not fashionable), but I have found that they don't block the light adequately. In the past, for outdoor sports, I used to wear contacts, and normal fashionable sunglasses. But now that I am in my progressive lenses years, if I wear contacts I cannot read at all or do any close-up work. As I like to see well, I find myself wearing the contacts less and less, and choosing instead the prescription progressives and cocoons. Function over fashion.

Another fashion choice that I have always disparaged are elastic waist pants. I remember, as a young girl, reaching the important developmental milestone of leaving elastic waist pants behind for more fashionable and grownup pants with a zipper or fly. I have always thought of elastic waists as a fashion style appropriate for very young children, infirm elderly people, and those with a tacky fashion sense.

But what I have recently discovered, now that I have a rounder middle, is that pants with elastic waists are actually a lot more comfortable to wear now that my waistline has disappeared. It started innocently enough with "invisible" elastic stitched inside the waistband of normal looking pants. Then I moved on to "comfort waists" which are normal looking pants that have just a small two or three inches of elastic on each side, disguised to look like a regular waistband. Finally this summer, I broke down a bought two pairs of capris that have a full on elastic waist. I figure that as my tops hang down over the pants anyways, no one will notice the elastic. And no, the tops are NOT sleeveless cotton print blouses.

It is sad but true. I have reached the age of embracing the fashion faux pas. Next I'll probably start wearing a red hat and quoting the poem about wearing purple to anyone who will listen.

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