The other day I rode past a woman walking down street. It was a beautiful and warm Spring afternoon, and many, including this woman was dressed for the warmer temps. It was that attire that caught my attention. She was wearing sandals and a tube top dress, the top of which she continually tugged upwards, as her upper half was failing to keep the tubed structure in place, She was better rounded in her chest compared to me. You’d think such a body style would help keep stretchy material in place. It didn’t.
I used to own a dress like that. I was fifteen and had the figure of a dehydrated willow sapling. When I sneezed I risked that dress falling all the way to the floor. I lacked much for the fabric to grab a hold of. I too continually tugged the dress upwards. I don’t think tube tops were ever designed with stability as a factor. I now have the figure of a badly neglected and quite overgrown hydrangea. I don’t dare let that much stretchy material near me.
One would have thought that such a “comfortable” article of clothing would have let it die its deserved unnatural death; But for some reason, fashion designers and buyers deemed it perfect for a renewal. It was comfortable, as long as you didn’t move, or breathe. Its not the first time they’ve used some design of the past to spur the fond memories of nostalgia upon us female purchasers. Interestingly, our male counterparts are essentially immune to the fickle trends of fashion. Sure they’ve subcummed to the leisure suit, skinny or ultra wide ties, permed faux afros.
I remember the leisure suit. It was part of the double knit era. Double knit was a kind of polyester impervious to any destructive attempt, except fire, where contact with an open flame would melt it into an impervious mass. My dad had a denim looking Leisure suit. It sort of looked like denim, with white yarn for stitching. My step-mom bought it for him, deciding he needed something decent to wear to church. “Decent” likely meant, a suit not from the 1960’s. I also remember an elder at our church. He had a salmon colored one with white patent leather shoes to match. He was a grandfather. I got the feeling that wearing such an obviously gorgeous outfit made him the envy of all the other men, and the object of admiration of all the women, or so he must have thought. I thought he looked ridiculous.
Men don’t seem usually to care about fashion. Most ignore hemlines, fabric patterns or whether rhinestones are in style or not. Ok, maybe most emphatically draw the line at rhinestones and anything zebra print. One of the few lasting men’s fashion changes in the past few years are boxer briefs, which many women promptly borrowed right out of their men’s underwear drawers. Designers understand that men cannot be as easily swayed as us so sneak in fashion changes bit by bit. So men have had boxer briefs and some younger men have accepted wearing pants designed for the waistband to fit somewhere above the knee.
I know I haven’t cared for a lot of the style changes over the years. I hated low rise pants for example. I’m long waisted and there wasn’t a single pair of low rise pants that were designed to completely cover my butt. To me they were too much like tube tops, prompting me to constantly tug upwards.
Skinny jeans is another fashion I don’t get. I never have had skinny calves. Its why I can’t wear knee high boots, or knee high socks.
Shoulder pads. They are actually trying to sneak those back in…sigh. Just what women need, to look like their jackets are still being held by a clothes hanger.
Leg warmers. Actually, they weren’t revived, they just have never completely died out.
Push up bras, water bras, t-shirt bras, wonderbras, water-bras, sports bras, genie bras…I wish they’d stop trying to re-invent them, and make one that not only fit correctly, but was also comfortable, or better yet, design tops so such torture devices are irrelevant.
Sure, fashion can help give us a bit of individuality, at least that is what we tell ourselves. Few of us were truly one of a kind garments, Most of us have picked something in our size and color from a rack of at least 15 others just like it. Sure fashion is diverse in whom it targets, as long as you consider yourself in one of six categories, pre-pubescent, forever 16, too tight-too little of, “when is the baby due?”, AARP, and “I’ve given up”. These days I find myself increasing wavering between the latter two. They seem to be the safest options. Plus that’s where all the elastic waistbands reside.
I’m not immune to the sea-tides of fashion, I like cute shoes, even if I know better than to buy a pair, much less walk in them. I love camisoles I can layer under v-necked shirts or a jacket. I enjoy wearing soft cropped pants with a pretty blouse in the summer. I like pretty dresses, but I have a hard time finding one that won’t cause my lip to curl in derision when I try one on. However, I’m happiest in an oversized t-shirt and yoga or sweat pants with fuzzy slippers on my feet. I pray such clothing items never disappear from my apparel options. They are what give me fashion respite and the courage to wear “be seen in public” clothes.