Friday, September 7, 2007

Power dressing – you let me be!

I have more articles of clothing than anyone else currently alive on the planet. However, I only wear a very tiny percentage of these clothes. This is due to a wide variety of factors, including the sad fact that an even smaller percentage are the right size. After 12 years in America, I have managed to translate the clothing size system, but that still means that I have over a decade of clothing ignorance.

Since I do not like shopping, buying clothes is in the category of chores, definitely aversive. More often than not, my method of buying clothes is to visit the shop, pick up a few items that are the right colour and size, pay and leave. Later when I experience my next laundry crisis, I’ll rip off the labels only to discover that they are hideous in daylight and don’t’ fit very well. I always planned to improve this scheme during our annual trip home to England, when I mistakenly believed that I would have free time and possibly child free time.


I snip a loose thread from my clean shirt and then grab a blue pen to colour in the bleach spot on my jeans. I drape a scarf around my neck and arrange it artfully to hide the stain that refuses to budge. I flip flop flip out to the car to meet my pal for a chat, now that I have reached chatworthy status. We arrive at the same time at the car park. I scramble out over the bags. We greet each other like school girls, but without the noise, just the sentiment.
“What’s all the stuff?”
“Recycling, Thrift and trash.” I congratulate myself on using all American words in a succinct sentence.
“Wow you are productive.”
“I can walk into my walk in closet!” I announce with glee as we skip inside the coffee shop.
“Geez Maddy, what are you wearing?” she plucks as the collar with the disapproval of a professional adult.
“Um….my favourite T-shirt?” I know that this is the right answer, but it also sounds unsatisfactory. She purses her lips.
“Well I could tell that. I meant why are you wearing it outside of the house?” She leaves out the ‘duh,’ for which I am extremely grateful.
“I was in a hurry,” which seems truthful. “I didn’t want to have you wait,” which sounds unnecessarily ingratiating. She gives me a whack of her crooked smile and one raised eyebrow, the face that crumbles defendants.
“O.k. You need to get out more, specifically to a decent clothing store.”
“That’s far too specific. Couldn’t I just buy some on line?”
“You and that computer need to be parted. You’re gonna have to cut the cord or pull the plug!”
“Umbilicord! But we’re wireless, if not clueless. Anyway, I’m here aren’t I?”
“Physically yes, I’ll give you that. But I’m sorry, someone’s gotta tell you the truth. Ratty T-shirts and threadbare jeans do no project the real you.” I am slightly alarmed by this revelation. I dare not ask what ensemble she deems appropriate, as ‘white’ and ‘straight’ and ‘jacket’ does not seem a good combination, before or after Labour Day.
“I probably just need a few more scarves,” I offer in defense. She lifts one end of the scarf before I can smack her hand. “It’s not really hidden unless you stay completely still you know Maddy?”
“I can be still,” I snap, my secret discovered, or maybe not. “Anyway, they disguise my neck,” I add, stretching it out like a tortoise, slowly, as I wish to visibly demonstrate my calm and mature nature. I ram my sunglasses back into my face to hide Grocho Marx eyebrows. She doesn’t miss a thing, but I rally, “it’s alright for you, you’re fair! I’m cursed with dark hair.”
“Grey actually,” she mumours without missing a beat, “but you know, no-one’s paying you for your looks.” Neither of us point out that I am not paid by anyone, an unkempt kept woman.
“You can’t go on all frazzled and frayed.”
“More dazzled and dazed. I think I spend too much time with Dr. Seuss, he’s beginning to bend my mind.”
“He was one of a "kind.”


The Anti-Wife said...

Perhaps you would benefit from asking this friend to go shopping with you and assist you in picking out some appropriate clothes. You are too funny!

Linda said...

As I sit here reading this in my worn jeans and t-shirt, quite comfortable I might had, and the same clothes I wore to go to the dentist, visit my mother, and go to lunch I have to wonder what the problem is??

Honestly I hate clothes shopping myself so avoid it whenever possible and at all costs. Therefore I have an array of out-of-date, no-longer-fits clothing hanging in my closet. Perhaps we were separated at birth??

Karen said...

I wear what my friends like to call 'the uniform'--khakis (shorts or pants), white shirt, navy sweater. I'm very boring. I am thinking I need to switch to black shirts, as they hide spills and spots better.

I want to come have coffee with you!

Are you getting much smoke from the fires? We even got it today, all hazy from the fires near Sacramento.

gettingthere said...

A kindred spirit. When I was childfree,young and slim and pretty as my son says, I took care with my appearance and made sure everything matched.
Now that I'm half-old, fat and ugly as that same troublesome child asserts, I no longer care. I shave my head, wear a dreary succession of dark-colored elastic waist pants, loose T-shirts and flat comfortable shoes. That way, I'm always ready in a flash.

Jeni said...

As one who, even in my much smaller, slimmer, younger years, was not good at shopping for clothes - no fashion sense, no clue about color coordination/contrast stuff -and now, with the contraption on my belly, thanks to the surgery a year ago, that seems to increase my girth even more, the "stuffed sausage" look just doesn't work with 99 percent of the clothes on the market today. So as a result, whatever I can find with an eased fit around the waist and hips, large tunic type tops or extra-extra large tee shirts, fill the wardrobe bill for me! Nothing seems to hide anything anymore, ya know.

mumkeepingsane said...

A few months ago I got a haircut...first real one since I had kids. It felt amazing. Clothes, however, well let's just say we'd make a great pair!

meno said...

I hate shopping as well. Plus nothing fits me very well as i am ridiculously tall.

What's wrong with jeans and T-shirts? I know i look FABULOUS in them.