Monday, January 11, 2010

Fashionista ~ Not !

I have often dreamed of being a fashionista. Daydreams are filled with visions of stylish colors, textures, accessories fitting and matching perfectly – no lumps, no wrinkles, no mismatched tops and bottoms. Whenever I spot a well-dressed human I come to a stop and try to soak in their fashion know - how. I go through a mental check-list so that the next time I have occasion to get dressed up I will have stored the knowledge I need away for safe keeping.

As a child I gave no thoughts to what I wore. I grabbed whatever was at the top of my bureau drawer, threw it on and went out to play or else my mom would tell me what to wear and I wore it, no questions asked. As long as I was comfortable and could run, jump, and ride my bike, I didn’t even think about what I looked like.  I became more aware of clothing and fashion in my early teens. When I was 13 we moved to a new town and I had to go through the  process of making friends. I just wanted to fit in and be liked – how difficult could that be? I met a girl who lived around the corner from me and she spent that summer helping me learn the ins and outs of my new community.

We spent a great deal of time discussing the first day of school and wondering what to wear. I daydreamed about entering the sacred halls of junior high, people turning to watch us as we walked in, rushing to meet the new girl in town. My organizer would be filled with names, addresses, and I would be overbooked with invites to slumber parties and dances. The golden glow of my daydream quickly vanished and a dark cloud moved in with my new reality. My new friend and I , after much discussion, had decided to wear plaid skirts with crisp white blouses for that infamous first day. I even convinced my mom to let me wear a training bra. A training bra ? What the heck was it training? Okay, girls, sit up and look perky ! At 13 I didn’t have a lot of perky. Who named it a training bra ? I can only guess. Then there were the legs. This was before the days of pantyhose so mature women wore garter belts and stockings. So while I convinced mom to let me wear the ‘training’ bra, there was no way she was letting me wear a garter belt. Now my legs at that point in my life were  thin super skinny, very shapeless, really pale. Many a heated discussion was held with mom about what my leg coverings would be and she assured me that she would find me the perfect socks. Trust me, she said. So I did. And off I went to my first day of junior high with my pleated plaid skirt, my crisp white blouse, training bra hanging around waiting to train and my little white ankle socks. Yep. White ankle socks.  My golden glow quickly disappeared when I noticed that many of the girls were wearing fishnet stockings. As hard as I tried to make my legs invisible it didn’t happen. Red fishnets, green fishnets, even black fishnets…and my brilliantly white ankle socks. And while I have repeatedly tried to erase the memories of that day, I have not been successful. From that day forward I was a marked target. My label had been cast in stone for the rest of my school days. And my label was not fashionista.

 

So now flash forward. For the last thirty years I have been busy raising children, teaching, playing, and my closet is full of blue jeans, t-shirts and sweatpants. I have my ‘teacher clothes’ and fancy dresses for those special occasions. On a day to day basis I dress rather plain jane. Until now that has not bothered me but maybe it is my age, maybe it is THE menopause, maybe I just need a change but I am starting to think that I want to be a fashionista. I want people to take a second glance when they notice that my blouse, skirt, sweater, and shoes all match. My accessories will be  the perfect finishing touch. My grandchildren will be proud and never embarrassed.

So January 2010 seemed like the perfect time to begin my transformation. I have been more mindful of what I am wearing and have started to weed out my closet. I have been studying fashion magazines and looking closely at women who have already attained the status of fashionista. I can do this. I am capable. I will finally be able to wipe out all memories of that disastrous day in September 1969.  Last Monday was to be the unveiling of Fashionista Debbie. I went to the gym first thing in the morning because I think that is what fashionistas must do. I sweat just a minimal amount, trying to move with grace and poise on the machines. I am not the most graceful of exercisers so this was a taxing situation. And I was really missing my baggy old sweatpants which I had retired. These new black too tight spandex yoga type pants were giving me a wedgy and since mirrors surround the gym I was stuck with it.  After a not so rewarding workout I went to the locker room to change. So maybe the gym experience hadn’t gone as planned, I now could proudly display my fashion abilities. My maroon skirt, jacket, with silky black top accented with my snowman pin pearls,finished off with my sexy black leather boots. These boots were a treat to self, a splurge, part of the white ankle sock healing process. I pulled the boots out of my gym bag and went to put them on. I then stopped breathing for a second or three. I furiously reached for my gym bag and pulled everything out. I swallowed hard. I had two different black boots. Not a pair of black boots. I felt like I was on Sesame Street playing the ‘one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong’ game. I sat down on the bench. I regrouped. Crying was not going to help me in this situation but that was my first impulse. I could wear my sneakers but I just kept wondering what would a true fashionista do? I really had no clue since this whole fashion thing was now giving me a friggin’ headache. I looked at the boots.They were both black, both had zippers, one had a silver buckle, one had a stiletto type heel, one had a chunkier heel..I don’t even know who belongs to the stiletto heeled boot – I don’t have too much experience walking in stilettos. How often do people look at my legs or feet? My guess was not very often so…screw it. I am wearing these mismatched boots. I would pretend I was doing a social experiment. How many people would mention to me that I had two different boots on ?  So I put them on and then started to do what I always do when I am nervous, I giggled. I then took a deep breath and entered the locker room. Whoa. I had not taken into consideration that walking in boots with different heel lengths could be challenging. I strolled casually around the locker room trying to establish a gait which felt normal. I looked in the mirror at myself walking and my nervous giggle erupted. I looked like the horses on a merry-go-round. Left side up, right side down, my hips were getting a workout as I attempted to be graceful. I ventured out of the locker room which is on the second floor of the gym and approached the stairs with hesitation. I took the first step and made the necessary adjustments with each step. Clip, clop, hang on tight to the rail, slowly I approached the first floor landing. I found a bench and sat down. This social experiment was turning into a physical challenge. I made it to my car without making a scene and no one commented on my boots. I had planned on stopping at a store before heading to the office and for a second I considered nixing the plan but is that what a true fashionista does? No way. So into the parking lot I pulled, stepping right into a huge slush pile upon exiting my vehicle. Stiletto heels do not maneuver well in slush and I am thankful that I had one chunky heeled boot on since it saved me from an embarrassing fall. My hips were starting to ache from the uneven up and down stride but I kept on walking. A man in a walker passed me, head down and then, his head abruptly lifted and he made eye contact with me. I smiled. He looked down at my boots again. Eye contact again. I smiled my best fashionista smile, and choked down the giggle which was working its way out. He shook his head, smiled and we continued on our path. I entered the store and found the tiled floor to be a bit slippery. My stiletto heel slid out of control to the right. Chunky heel held his ground, and my thigh muscle tweaked. I had grabbed onto the store shelving to balance myself and I slowly regained my composure. I looked around to see if anyone was watching and found a true fashionista staring at me. Go ahead, I thought, say it, you know you want to. She glanced stared hard at my boots. I begged her to talk to me, to make mention of my mismatched, wicked uncomfortable pair of boots. I wanted to tell her that I knew where she could get a pair just like mine! But she said not a word. She shook her head quietly in disbelief. I started to giggle.

I finally made it safely to the office, pulled my boots off and went barefoot for the rest of the day. I filed all dreams of being a fashionista away. I filed away September, 1969.   I am finally comfortable with who I am.

028

14 comments:

Kim Mailhot said...

Love love love this !!! I have a September 1969 story only it is titled "Kim de Broin - Clown" and has to do with a Halloween costume competition in high school...oh the shiver of shame that comes with even typing those words...
I think the one joy that I am discovering with this over 40 thing is that I only have to please myself with what I wear. That doesn't always happen but with that as my goal, life is sure a lot more comfortable !
You are a Life-a-nista, Baby ! I will follow your trends anyday !

The Muse said...

BRAVO...Bravo....
And another resounding Bravo!

I am glad you like who you are, I am rather fond of you as well!

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the chuckles...and i am glad you are happy with who you are. those boots look like torture...i'd rather be comfortable, but maybe thats just me.

Akelamalu said...

OMGG you are so funny and brave! I'd have had to go home in my gym kit and match the boots up before venturing out again.

Deb thankyou so much for making my chuckle today. x

Melissa said...

I like the small heel! Do you have the other one? what size are they? ;-)

Daryl said...

LOVE this post .. eons ago a co-worker came to work and stopped at my desk .. she said "look at what I did. I overslept, I threw on my clothes, shoes and ran for the train .. it wasnt til I sat down, she said, that I noticed I had on one navy blue stack heel 'loafer' style shoe and one black stiletto .. can you imagine?"

Well honestly I couldnt because I was sure even if I walked across my small bedroom I would notice the heels were different..

BTW . she wore those mismatched shoes all day!

Take it from me, its not what you wear, its how you wear it ... I am betting that woman who shook her head at you is now trying desperately to fund a mismatched pair of boots too!

xo

Maggie May said...

Well heads are turning these days with my funny head gear. It doesn't really matter what else I wear, except when I put cloth round my boots and that gets some funny looks but it helps me not to slip.
So you see...... it matters not what I wear........
Glad you are happy as you are. I suppose I am too.

Nuts in May

Lauren said...

oh Debbie. I hope your story can help me forget my horror stories about dressing "cool" in middle and high school. I really think that some people are born to be fashionista's and others are not. Sadly you and I are in the not pile. But we can do others things much better than those fashinista's, for example I know that a fashionista wouldn't be as great of a grandmother as you are :)
Lauren

blueviolet said...

Well, at first glance they do look really, really similar! You did your best that day with the tools you were given. Bravo!

Katey Kintzer said...

Number one: Let me make this perfectly clear that even though Debbie tells every one that I am her oldest friend, the girl she talks about in this piece is not me

Number two: I moved to Debs town in 1970. On my first day, I walked into school as the new kid wearing what My MOTHER thought was a good idea, a plaid skirt and white blouse (I think I took the ankle socks off on the bus). Well when I was paraded into the front of my new homeroom KNOWING that I looked like a dork, the teacher asked the class who wanted to help the new kid out. Well guess who jumped out of her chair waving madly saying "I do! I do!"? Debbie. We have been friends ever since.

Number three: I for one am glad Debbie was not a Fashionista. And some day ask her about some of her other wardrobe malfunctions like shredded pantyhose,a broken shoe heel at the prom, knickers and bathing suit tops...

Number four: I love you Deb, just the way you are. xoxox

Willow said...

Oh I'm laughing laughing laughing with you! In 2009 I not only wore mismatched earrings to First Grade (yes, one of the girls stared and stared at me but forebore telling me I was wearing one black dangly earring and one blue one) and brown shoes with navy slacks to church! Mostly I just giggled at myself and nudged my husband so he could giggle with me. You're a Laugh a nista, Debbie-- the best kind of ista-- you make us all laugh at ourselves!

Deb said...

Hi Kim ~ Comfortable is my fashion statement! And someday I do want to hear the Clown story ~ please.

Hi Muse ~ Right back at you ! And I have missed you - glad we are reconnecting !

Hi Brian ~ Comfort is key! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Ake ~ My sister told me I should have gone and bought new boots - I never thought of that!

Hi Melissa ~ Your boots are sitting here, waiting for you. xoxo

Hi Daryl ~ You are correct - it is all in the attitude and I usually have an abundance of that !

Hi Maggie ~ We'll just keep on walking with our heads held high!

Hi Lauren ~ Someday I'll tell you about the blue corduroy skirt I made - disaster ! And you always look marvelous, dahling!

Hi BlueViolet ~ You are correct - I can only work with what I've got!

Hi Katey ~ Too funny. So many memories. I could write a whole blog about my wardrobe malfunctions! And I love you ~ just the way you are!

Lilly said...

Being a "Fasionista" is overrated; style is all about attitude and you've got it! Life-a-nista indeed.

P.S. Google socks (+ heels!) on the runway, and you will find some white ankle socks.

Marg said...

Well I was wondering whether or not you really had changed....I dream about being all of that...but I prefer to stick with what works best on this old figure....A bit more of a relaxed look to hide all those bulges...
I still dream of what I will wear to the Olympics and just so you know, I knit two red touques, one for my friend and myself, with our red Olympic mittens. That will be my fashion statement.

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