When my oldest was born, my mother came bearing gifts. Not for the baby, but for me. A pair of brown polyester trousers and a 3-pack of underwear. Those HUGE kind that double as a shirt. In fact, you don't really have to wear any other clothes, you're all covered.
Mom said, "Now that you're married with a baby you'll need to stop wearing jeans and dressing like a kid."
Never mind I was a kid and she was wearing jeans paired with a puff painted cat sweatshirt. I got the message. You're judged by your outfit. This is a concept I still struggle with, particularly as I get older.
Not long ago, hubby and I attended a work shindig - his work. I'm a writer, we don't have shindigs. Unless you count group therapy.
We had to travel there so I packed a way cute dress that I'd bought last December and still hadn't worn.
That's what a great wife I am. I make sure I always keep a stock of way cute stuff to wear whenever duty calls. I know, I know, I'm a trouper.
Anyway, last December was...a while ago. Perhaps...a few pounds ago.
I remember when I tried it on it was a hair snug. "I'm gonna lose a few pounds right after Christmas so it'll be perfect by the time I wear it."
Turns out that standing up while eating doesn't burn as many calories as I thought. Wine apparently doesn't count as a fruit either.
I realize I'm not gonna get much sympathy here as I am not a big person. But, I will say that as a small person, five pounds is a whole size. Menopause is no respecter of persons. After a certain age...thick frequently turns up in your body description.
And too tight is too tight no matter what.
I was dismayed to discover that the way cute dress I'd packed for the shindig resembled a sausage casing. I might've doubled up on the Spanx but then I'd never have gotten the dress on.
You know you've got problems when the girdle actually makes the dress tighter.
Anyway, after I tugged, yanked, sucked in, and spanxed my way into the dress I looked myself over in an, unfortunately, full length mirror. It got me thinking...
Maybe the dress wouldn't have been right even had it been, well, bigger. I'll admit, the oxygen getting cut off to my brain might've influenced my thought process.
Still. Those brown polyester pants and chin hugger underwear popped into my mind.
Am I dressing too young for my age?
We all know those women. Saggy knees, baggy arms, spandex mini dress. Ack.
Then there's the snowflake sweater, navy knit trousers (yes, there's a difference between pants and trousers and it's not good), serviceable Easy Spirit flat shoes kinda woman. Double ack.
Isn't there something in between?
Does age appropriate dressing equal frump?
I set out to re-vamp my wardrobe.
I started with jeans. Sorry, Mom.
"I want some jeans that don't show my butt crack," I said to the 16 year old salesgirl at Nordstrom. "Those are for kids. I'm getting older, you know."
She looked me over with that, "You don't have to tell me, sister" kind of face. She announces, "I know just the thing. You WILL LOVE them."
I head to the dressing room with a few pairs of decent looking jeans. I noted the brand name stamped in leather on the back - NYDJ. Never heard of it.
I pull them on. And keep pulling. They stopped somewhere around my armpits. The zipper was about 3 feet long. Another version of those underwear.
I creep out of the dressing room, hopeful no one I know sees me.
"Those look darling on you!" 16 year old crack smoking salesgirl says.
"Are these pants or a jumpsuit?" She hasn't noticed I'm not wearing my shirt. No need.
She stays mum, a dental ad smile glued on her face.
"What does NYDJ stand for anyway?"
"Not Your Daughter's Jeans." She chirps.
I look in the mirror. Nope, they're not; they're my grandma's.
I put the jeans back and bought some longer shirts.