Saturday, January 5, 2008

Clothes make the woman?

Before my grandmother died in 1986, she discovered the sweatsuit. You know the kind: pullover top, bright colors, knit with fleece underside, elastic cuffs and waistbands. I still remember giving her hugs and the feel of the knit fabric. I had grown taller than she was by that point and there was something empowering in giving my cute, little, sweatsuit-wearing MaMa hugs in which I had to lean down and not up. My mother was younger when she discovered the sweatsuit. She loves rainbows, so she had a different color sweatsuit for each day of the week--and crazy socks, too. Initially she just wore them for her daily walks, but when she retired and became a full-time grandmother at age 58, they became her uniform.
I have always loved fashion--watching trends, accessorizing, etc. But something happened when I made the break from going to a job to writing and painting full-time. I am not one of those writers who works in her pajamas, but T-shirts and sweatshirts have become a staple. I seem to wear either slip-on leather clogs with rubber soles. (I have not caved to Crocs yet, but am thinking about it) or running shoes. And make-up? Fuggetaboudit! I do feel like a real schlump most of the time. I am not sure how to rectify this. I walk or do yoga or lift weights. I paint. I cook. It seems pointless to wear "real clothes" that will only get dirty.
I have been looking through yoga catalogs. I'd like a daily uniform that looks like I am on retreat at Kripalau or Omega. Not quite sweatsuits, but stretchy clothes in soothing colors or some baggier over layers in natural fibers. The only thing is that the people wearing them are all long and lithe. I am built like a Hobbit. So while you contemplate a Hobbit doing downward facing dog in powder blue yoga pants, I continue the search for the best day wear.
In the meantime, my daughter dressed me for Friday night. Both kids were going to sleepovers, and she insisted that I get out of my husband's hooded college sweatshirt and don something presentable for our grown-up alone time. She was my stylist, picking earrings and makeup. We weren't going out. We had spent our fun-time allowance (both money and calories) on a steak dinner out on New Year's Eve. So it was just going to be Baja fish tacos at home by candlelight. But I did feel better--more grown-up, presentable. Maybe that's why my grandmother discovered manicures, red finger nail polish, and gemstone rings from Service Mercahndise around the same time she discovered sweatsuits. She had comfort and polish all in one personalized fashion statement.

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