Friday, March 18, 2011

The Stable is Empty

I have been called many things in my life, but "clotheshorse" is not one of them. I am widely known through my circle of women friends as being the last person with whom to go shopping or discuss which pair of shoes to wear with which pair of slacks. (You mean to tell me others routinely own more than one pair of slacks?) My friend Patricia interrogates me to make sure that what I am wearing on high occasions (my wedding, Ben's wedding) passes fashion muster. My closet has, on at least one occasion, made a girlfriend scream in total shock, "April, this is it? This is all you own?"

So why is it I read a blog devoted to dress and fashion regularly?

The blog is Rags Against the Machine. I met its writer, Terri, in Blogville when she popped up on my blog and I returned the favor by visiting hers. We are of the same generation, so I tend to "get" her cultural references. Despite my lack of couture savvy, I could immediately supply the name of the 60s era styling gel she once alluded to (Dippity-Do).

Terri recently blogged about her changing style through the years and her clothing choice as a reflection of feminism, socio-economic status, personal values, and community. After reading it last night, I noted that I wanted to comment about my own journey through the decades. I then wrote: But not tonight. This is week one of new job with the accompanying wardrobe complexities including realizing I preferred to wear my lone jumper (I used to have a whole stable of them) over my slacks, and breaking the heel off of my only pair of dress shoes and it not being repairable. Sigh.

Terri's comments about herself through the years did stir a raft of memories. There was the college professor, a new transplant the same year I was, calling across a crowded walkway to me, "April, you are such a slob!" because I was such a contrast to my impeccably attired classmates. I thought of my "young mom, older attorney" years here in town, the height of my jumper days, when one little girl walking to school stopped me and sighed, worshipfully, "you dress just like a teacher."

Oh, there are lots of fashion memories to sift through, from the miniskirt years right up to the broken heel on Wednesday.

It is early Friday morning as I type these words. I have been awake since 4:30 a.m. for lots of reasons, including the Symphony. I plan on swimming this morning before working a little more than an hour today to fill out my 24 hour week. There is the gas line problem here that will keep me tethered to the house this afternoon until the plumber arrives. 

Somewhere over the weekend (Saturday probably as the Symphony already has a claim to Sunday), I will have to apply myself to the task of expanding my closet, or at least finding another pair of shoes. My enthusiasm for shopping is on par with my enthusiasm for waiting for the plumber. (Truth be known, I would rather wait for the plumber than go shopping as the former activity allows me to be home and tend to other matters.)

So why do I read a blog devoted to fashion?

Because. Because I hope a little of Terri's observations rub off on me, just like Patricia saying enough times "no, you can't wear that skirt to that event because…" eventually sinks in. Because maybe as I am looking in despair at all the clothes that aren't me, I hope to hear Terri's voice in my head pointing out the lone combination that does appeal to me. Because I knew what Dippity-Do was.

And because the clothing stable is empty. And even a non-clotheshorse like myself knows that sometimes you just have to saddle up and ride.


see you there! said...

Hahaha! Hope you find something you really like. The older I get the less I like shopping. It isn't "age" exactly but more that I'm just not interested and the quality of clothing in stores has deteriorated in my opinion.


Ashley said...

April -

Call me when you need to shop, as my desire to do so is as strong as yours, so I won't keep you out for hours dithering over which pair of shoes to buy.

I have developed a short list of "types" of clothes that I like and rarely stray from, as they are both comfortable and moderately flattering. Watch what I wear over the course of one week and you can probably tell me what those types are!


Alise Marie said...

Were I less than 1,000 miles away, I would love to come shopping with you (though I'm not sure you would relish shopping with me haha). I really enjoy the process of finding a few solid pieces that speak to a personality and a lifestyle.
Not to get all fashion-happy on you, but I have to say, that I could see you in some Katherine Hepburn-inspired silhouettes. Simple, classic pieces with no real bells and whistles. Try on some pants with a slightly wider leg, and blouses with a menswear feel to them. Her look is just so effortless and strong, and I think you would look beautiful in those types of garments.
Sorry to ramble, I just find the subject of fashion, and the process of establishing a "look" to be just fascinating in the context of feminism and performativity. Good luck with your shopping expedition!

Sharon said...

Oh April, I hear you. As I try to squeeze into all the new clothes I purchased when I lost weight 2 years ago, and now that I gained nearly 2/3's of it back, I would rather not shop for clothes.

There are some really pretty outfits out there, though, and if you have a Dress Barn, I would try there first!

Terri said...

It's so cool to come across this. When my own blog began last summer, it was because I was feeling invisible and everything in my closet was grey. Yet, I am still a vibrant woman and didn't want to succumb to old age prematurely.

underthebigbluesky said...

"The Spirit of Food" is currently on my "to read" to list, I love what you wrote here.

Sometimes we forget there are those simple little things we can do.

Feed just one.