Dressing for Comfort

In the 1940’s, it was common for senior citizens to live with their children. My maternal grandmother came to Kansas City from Denver to stay with my parents. My mother was thrilled and my father treated both women like queens.

My grandmother (we called her Oma Rose) was a prim, proper lady. She had her own neat-as-a-pin room and bath. She emerged for breakfast every morning fully attired, ready for her coffee and her Wall Street Journal. She looked lovely in a dark dress, black shoes, and hose that I knew were attached to a bone-stiffened girdle. She always wore her pearls, two-strands at her neck with a diamond clasp. Her gray hair was fashionably done, and an ever-present linen hanky stuck out of her sleeve.

How times have changed. I am now of similar age as she was then. My Oma Rose would not approve of the way I dress — no girdle, hose, hat, or gloves. Instead, I spend a lot of my days in jeans or sweats. That’s not to say I don’t like to dress up, but it’s gotten harder to find age-appropriate clothing.

Each week I eagerly await the Sunday New York Times with its full page Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Versase ads. I’d kill to have my youthful body back so that I could wear the mini skirts, tight pants, and sleeveless silk tops of today.

Did you get to see the Oscars? All those gorgeous figures with flat tummies draped in glittering, bejeweled, skintight gowns.

Every once in a while, we are invited to black tie events. My husband’s only problem is deciding which to wear — his thin, fat, or fatter tux. For me, its harder. I must go through the painful process of rifling through gowns of the past ‒ St. Johns that look like old St. Johns (I need to give those away), Evan Picone (I’ve shrunk so it’s too long and draggy,) and some brand I’ve never heard of which is so ugly I don’t know why I bought it in the first place. They are all hopelessly out of style and don’t fit. I give up and head out on a shopping expedition. No longer a 34-24-34, I must find something that will cover my arms, my legs, and the rest of me. I never could walk in high heels so the spiky look is out.

I aim high. I want to look like Pink, move like Christina Aguilera, and sound like Beyonce. The whole trip is doomed to failure. There are some pretty things out there ‒ bright colors, filmy dresses full of sequins and glitter, but have you checked out those prices? I may just wear the old St. John after all.

I am in shock over today’s lack of modesty in women’s clothes ‒ men’s, too, at least at the beach, but I love the easy, carefree fashions that are available in my size. No more girdles and garter belts. Great looking blue jeans and long sleeved tops. I’ve checked out the beautiful scarves that dress up anything, even my old college sweater. I’m crazy about Pilates so I’m cool with those clingy outfits. I like stripped T-shirts. I think sandals are the greatest.

Note to the grand-kids: Be glad you live in this modern era. Show off your cute  figures while you can. All too soon, those pointy little ski-slope breasts and 19″ waists will be gone. Flabby arms and Cellulite are on your horizon, but here’s a taste of what’s coming this fall.

  1. Lots of skin showing. Low necklines.
  2. Skirts are shorter than ever (how can that be?)
  3. Boots.
  4. Sparkles.
  5. Fur.
  6. Hats and gloves.
  7. Crazy, blocky colors.
  8. Stripes

The good news is that blazers are being layered over sweatshirts or sweatshirts are shown over dresses ‒ “an outfit that marries comfort with style.”

That’s for me.

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