Monday, September 17, 2012

A Dated Fashion Find Refashioned

Warning: Men may find this post boring. Or silly. Or both. 

Last night I had to ‘dress up’. I have not worn good clothes in weeks, and probably months, and cannot remember the last time I wore a skirt or dress. I have a pair of black slacks I pair with a top that takes me out to dinner, and even to a funeral recently.

But I could no longer avoid the inevitable. It was time to don a dress and real shoes.

First I had to find something to wear. Scrounging around my closet, filled mainly with summer attire, I rummaged through lots of T-shirts and cheap summer tops, shorts and capris and jeans. I am attached to a couple of long peasant skirts, but they were too summery and unsuitable.

When we relocated and downsized a couple of years ago, I threw out and gave away stacks of clothes. I exchanged my professional job and office-focused, daily dress routine for a career spent sitting and writing at my kitchen counter. Nowadays any attire works, but the looser fitting and more casual the better.

I finally found a knit suit that dates back to the last century. But it was in excellent condition and timeless, probably the reason I did not get rid of it in the first place. Actually, a more important reason I kept the outfit is undoubtedly because the skirt has an elastic waistband.

I refused, however, to wear stockings. The skirt was long enough that I could get away without them, and it is still September and very warm.

My heels are also dated, but I do love feeling tall. I was not walking too far or going to stand a long time, so my feet successfully survived the evening.

I dressed and threw the jacket on as we walked out the door. At which point I realized the problem with the suit –

It had big, wide, thick shoulder pads.

I do not believe shoulder pads have been in fashion for decades, unless they are in again and I am, as usual, way behind the fashion curve. But I doubt it.

I grabbed a scissor from the kitchen drawer and ran out to the car. I did not have a lot of time - about 20 minutes. The pads were thick, with what looked like a piece of carpet padding embedded between two securely sewn pieces of knit fabric.

I tore, I snipped, I sweated and feverishly worked to get rid of the pads. I did not want to rip the jacket and end up unable to wear it. Then I would really be in a jam.

I succeeded with a couple of minutes to spare. I got out of the car, tossed the jacket on, wiped the sweat from my brow, attempted to fix my hair, and was good to go, or at least as prepared as I ever would be.

It certainly is hard to put myself all together when the occasion demands more than jeans or sweats. I am just not used to doing it anymore. And I did not even mention the makeup experience. Practice makes perfect, and little practice results in imperfection. That about summarizes my makeup ability and the final results.

I guess the moral of the story is to try on an outfit before an event to ensure it fits properly, allowing time for adjustments or finding another one if necessary. And practice putting on makeup, actually wearing makeup once in a while.

And perhaps the most important lesson of all. Take any clothes remaining in the closet with shoulder pads to the nearest vintage or thrift shop.


  1. I have a wedding in Mexico next month. I have nothing to wear. Really. I hear you!

  2. I can associate with your dilemma!! My closet is very similar to yours. Just a dress pair of black slacks!! You seemed to pull it off OK. Thanks to thinking quickly. I still put on makeup on occasion, like when we stop for a pizza and a few beers.

  3. I really need to do a closet clean out. I have two suits. One has been worn once and the other not at all. I still wear skirts quite often though. Also if I would just decide what size I am going to be, I could get rid of 2/3 of the things in my closet.

  4. I say go with black slacks and a dressier top -- and maybe a jacket. Where on earth were you going that a dress or skirt and heels were required? I haven't done that since your shoulder pads were new. But maybe I just haven't been invited. Good!