Thursday, March 27, 2014

True Life Stories: How I Fell Out of Fashion. It Could Happen To You!

In the check-out lane at the grocery store this morning, I tossed the latest issue of Reader's Digest into my shopping cart without giving it a second thought. It was the "Special Humor Edition" and I couldn't wait to get home, put my feet up, pour the decaf and get reading because the special humor edition means "Humor in Uniform" would be extra funny this time.

The cashier finished with my order and I dug around in my brown leather winter purse even though it was now spring, fishing for my eel skin wallet (left over from when eel skin was a thaaang at our 1998 state fair). I paid for my groceries and while slipping on my husband's snow blowing gloves, my fingernails snagged due to the chipping of my neglected two and half week old cherry bomb red manicure. Pushing my cart outside, I thought about how there was a time I would have been going home with the latest Vogue or Glamour instead of Reader's Digest Fun! edition.

But that was before.

Before my life I have now, of me marching out into the spring rain with rain boots on that I borrowed from my 11-year-old son. My Putin-style overcoat was conveniently hanging on the kitchen chair this morning so that's what I grabbed on my rush out of the door. My coat was blowing open in the wind because I never have time to button anything and my hair was soaked by the time I got into the minivan so why even bother with the flat iron. Once to the car, I stopped to readjust the purple rubber band in my hair from last night's broccoli. As I loaded the trunk of the van with groceries that would probably last two days--three if I hid the bread in the freezer--I saw a woman about my age walk past me. She wore an insanely trim tan coat, and it was buttoned. She was clicking along in shiny scuff-free black boots that were HEELED. Her hair looked like she made her salon appointments according to her hairdresser's suggested 8-week rule, not like my "Free afternoon! Is there a place that takes walk-ins?!"

I watched her walk. wondering when I veered off the fashion track.

Once upon a time, I used to look like that. I carry a picture around in my wallet from 1996 in case people don't believe me. "See, here? See how cute I was. I can prove it." I started my car and while I drove, I tried to pinpoint when it was exactly that I took that turn, the one that led to this, the land of the Out of Fashion.

It's a hard fall, and one that leaves your once size four rump sore. When I was in high school and a budding fashion queen, I took a notebook and just to see, I kept track of how long I could go without repeating an outfit. I made it three months.

Three months of looking better than any mannequin in a Jean Nicole store window.

So, when did I go from thinking of the 3C's of my new engagement ring to the 3C's of this morning's clothing choice;  comfort, convenience, clean?

I think I can dissect the genesis of my Fashion Fall this way:

2003 - I choose a jacket I like over a jacket I love, merely because it had a hood, and the other one didn't. First step in "If it keeps me warm I'm gettin' it" lifestyle.

2004 - Gap khakis start to look good one day while I'm at the mall. Six pairs later, they still look good. ::this one, I did not see coming::

2005 - Stretchy pants make their first appearance in my closet. I wear them to exercise class and haven't taken them off since.

2006 -  I decide those dusty rose pajamas I'm wearing can pass for comfort clothes. It's okay to run to the drugstore in them. Only the drugstore, I promise myself.

2007 - I choose the free sunglasses they give out at the 4th of July parade over sun blindness.

2008 - Terrycloth slipper socks with jack-o'-lanterns on them work just as well as normal people socks when you're in a hurry. They even add an extra layer of cush that feels like comfort. And love. All in one.

2009 - I won't give up even one pair of the six pairs of khakis in my closet, not even for a Goodwill donation purge. I might need them, if I ever need to go somewhere. It might happen.

2010 - I quit googling "Are round-toed shoes/capri pants/racer back tanks/take your pick still in style?" before I leave the house to go anywhere anymore.

2011* - I make the decision one morning to leave my house in slippers, telling myself they could pass for clogs at a quick glance.

2012 - For the first time, I desperately try mascara over the new grey hairs on my temples. It looks pretty good, until a day like today when it rains, making me look like I just crawled through a mudslide.

2013 - My friend from Chicago visits. So what if when she sees my clogs she calls them hausfrau shoes then backtracks by telling me they're good for walking through fields of cow shit.

I'm mulling over each of these events and dates as I drive, muttering how I only have myself to blame. Then, I am blessed with the light of realization--my state of fashion isn't hopeless.

I still have one saving grace.

Though I am precariously perched in the Out of Fashion chasm, I have one move left, and this is it:
I haven't given up my cow pie field walking clogs but neither have I paired them with my skinny jeans yet. Uh-huh. Because we all know that one is the nail in the coffin. 

It's the one fashion move you never come back from.

Make skinny jeans with clogs your go-to outfit and that right there, is setting sail down the River Styx.

No turning back from that voyage and even more fashion damning than the winter Colonial Pantaloon look here. [2011: Pivotal point in fashion fall timeline. That's the day I swear I felt a tear in the fashion fabric of my life]

* * *

Other Places You Can Find Me This Week:


  1. At least you were ON that track at one point and have photos to prove it. I never have been!

    1. Ms. A, I'm glad I took photos when I did!!

  2. Slippery slope, indeed. I wore my blue bathrobe for my entire "work at home day" yesterday.

  3. I have never been remotely fashionable, so I have nowhere to go but up!

  4. LMAO!!!!

    Omg, Alexandra. I heart you so much. Is it bad that I'm drooling over your hausfrau clogs?! Like, I haven't unearthed that level of comfort yet and think it would be a really great addition to my shoe rack :)

    Love you. And this. Don't ever change!

    1. You're one of my long long long adored internet friends, Charlotte. I'm so happy to know you.

  5. I was really enjoying this post, until I got to the part about how clogs paired with skinny jeans is the rock-bottom depths of Fashion Despair from which no recovery is possible. Now I'm just depressed. Would it be an improvement to pair my clogs with baggy jeans? Because the skinny ones really aren't that comfortable anyway.

  6. I am unable to be unpantalooned at home. Just walking around AND when going to sleep. It's a must. A must.

  7. You. Oils also say that you have developed an offbeat personal style of tour own. Who needs to look like someone in a beige coat? Please deliver me from a beige world....

    1. ^ I clearly typed this comment on my I phone without wearing my glasses. Let's not forget how that style icon of middle age -reading glasses, adds to the overall fabulosity.

  8. I have strong feelings about clogs. But my mother always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

    You, however, I adore. Clogs and all.


  9. It all happened so fast, kind of like the scene of an accident. xo (I love you guys_

  10. Ok, I have to call a little bit of bullshit here because the first time i met you and you read at VOTY 2011, you were wearing the gorgeous coral and looked like a million bucks.

    That said, do not I repeat do not wear colonial pantaloons out of the house. As for the hausfrau shoes, when I wear mine my sister says, very diplomatically, "Well you definitely look like you live in Northern California."

  11. seriously, socks over jeans....its not too late, we can get you help....smiles...
    comfort is where it is at, really and if it makes you comfortable
    it really doesnt matter how uncomfortable it makes the rest of us feel...smiles.

  12. Ack! I was just thinking about this today while wearing an ugly green sweater that I actually hate but won't get rid of because it still fits and is warm. And while opening my wallet that's falling apart and embarrasses me every time I get it out of my purse that's also falling apart (and is dark brown, btw). But I can't stand shopping so....

  13. I'm wearing fisherman pants from Thailand I bought 8 years ago. They're loose and the only thing that fits me now.

  14. I feel like a tween lately, as in slightly too old to really rock that Old Navy stuff (am too far gone that I even find Old Navy fashionable to begin with), yet too young for that bedazzled track suit at macy's!

  15. You look amazing every time I see you. You're stunning. Even when mopping up coffee off the floor. Now I have started wearing my pj pants to the bus stop with my UGGS. But I'm blaming that on this ridiculous winter. I hope to rebound in the Spring. xo

  16. I'll never look at broccoli bands the same way again.

  17. Haha I love this. Honestly I can completely see myself getting there. I'm not there yet, but there have already been fashion faux pas I promised never to commit but I 100% have bc of comfort!

  18. I am more fashion bipolar - some days I actually put some effort into looking good and feel great. Other days I run to Lowes in my paint clothes because screw it, I don't want to have to change and then change again.

  19. Love, love. Broccoli band? Nice! I wear slippers as my shoes, too. The scariest thing about me when I drive my kids to school is my hair. Good Lord. The hair.

  20. you know, I caught myself wondering this same thing the other day. I was wearing a pair of army pants, sneakers, the first coat I could throw on, the shirt my father in law gave me for Christmas and let's face it - he doesn't get my fashion sense, my hair was tucked under a baseball cap and I was wearing a nylon reebok bag on my shoulders. There was a time when I wouldn't leave the house without a cute outfit, full makeup, hair done, and a nice Lucky Brand bag. Now I'm tired and I want to be comfortable. I'll get back on track at some point, but right now these yoga pants and this ratty sweater feel cozy.

  21. I like your idea of carrying a cute picture of yourself around for proper identification. I think I'll get a button made and wear it as my trademark accessory. Perhaps it will have the caption "How I could look." Or maybe I'll just get T-shirts made with my favorite picture of myself on it, one for every day of the week.

  22. As I've gotten older, I, too have traded couture for comfort. I'm sure you were tres cute when you were into fashion!



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