Wrinkled Wisdom – Fashion: We’ve Forgotten How to Dress

As we’re feeling a bit more positive about Covid’s fading future and venturing out, there’s just one problem. We’ve forgotten how to dress. Sure, one leg at a time. But we’ve spent two years simply pulling on those sweatpants and leggings with elastic waists. Have those muscles needed to fasten buttons and zip zippers atrophied? Does it still fit? Is it still in style? We haven’t been challenged to dress for the occasion since there’s been no occasion.

We used to stick to the axiom that if you haven’t worn a piece of clothing for a year, it’s time to get rid of it, donate it, repurpose it, or downgrade it for wearing to clean, paint, do yard work, or sleep in. That’s a problem in light of the pandemic. It literally describes a huge chunk of what’s in our closet, plus most of our accessories and shoes!

Speaking of sleeping in it, fashionistas are freaked by people wearing pajamas in public during the pandemic although people have long been doing it. Years ago, Teen Vogue published an article titled “Stylish Ways to Wear Pajamas in Public.” Another old article opened, “If you’re a grown-up person who has not recently been diagnosed with a mental disorder and you’ve gone out in public in your pajamas, you need to know two things. First of all, you look like an idiot; and, secondly, stop doing this. Immediately.”

We all want to be fashionable or, as with some of our younger relatives, be deliberately unfashionable or retro or artsy or Goth or hipster, or rapper, or Lady Gaga or Pharrell, or imitative of other trends we “seasoned” citizens don’t always get.

And, think about it. Fashion is cyclical. It’s promoted in magazine ads, introduced on runways, and flaunted on TikTok. What have we missed during two years of lockup? Clothes are a form of self-expression. They make a statement. We are all guilty of making split-second judgments based others’ appearance.

Yves Saint Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” We’re giggling. Yes, wide-legged slacks, tie dye stuff, bell-bottoms, maxi skirts, minis, and hot pants have faded from our closets. Remember Saturday night parties with black velvet hot pants, fishnet stockings, and heels? We do have clothes from the ‘80s we still wear, but did take the shoulder pads out of the jackets. Thankfully, jeans have survived since James Dean popularized them in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause. Entertained by the articles saying we’re too old to wear the trendy ripped jeans? And, we’d want to????

That brings up the question many ask about dressing appropriately for our age. Stop worrying! Of course, there are limits. Don’t wear that dress Cher wore to the 1986 Oscars. Or look like someone who still has a landline, as the kids say. “Dress your age” is a line more appropriate to throw at that teenager who spends her time taking photos of herself in suggestive apparel and posting them on internet sites. Be a kid while you can.

Staying fashionable requires shopping. We like hands-on shopping. We like to feel the fabric.  We like to try it on. But we are finding, like many people, we don’t have our old shopping stamina. Shopping online surged during the pandemic. But, beware! Companies are cutting corners, using cheaper, synthetic materials for clothes that are poorly made.  Make sure you aren’t shy about returning!

We like timeless clothes. We like black. We like well-fitting jeans, though that may be an eternal quest. We like a flattering bathing suit, which is probably an oxymoron as we age. And, that’s if you’ve got the guts to wear one.

And, some fun news! “At Prada, It’s in With the Old” shouted a recent headline. Instead of waiting for us to check into an old folks’ home, Prada’s Milan show featured actors Kyle MacLachlan and Jeff Goldblum, both old enough to collect social security. The point, the article’s author underscored, is that Prada is recognizing that people are living longer and baby boomers outspend consumers from any other age cohort. Finally, a market-driven decision that recognizes “vintage humans.”

So, our Wrinkled Wisdom for today?  We’re not suggesting you buy Prada’s Re-Edition 1995 brushed-leather medium handbag for $3,050. Just smile smugly in appreciation of the fashion brand’s recognition of us in marketing. Never ever be a slave to a fashion trend that looks terrible on you. Clothes in your closet should be items that fit and that you look forward to wearing. Starting to again wear clothes that need dry-cleaning is a positive. Reintroduce yourself to your favorite dry cleaners and keep it in business. They’ve had a tough time surviving Covid since everything we’ve donned during the pandemic can be tossed in the washing machine.

One thought on “Wrinkled Wisdom – Fashion: We’ve Forgotten How to Dress

  1. Tom Hipple says:

    Merrilee

    No one told me 5 years ago when I paid $15 to have my blown out Levi jeans patched that I was supposed to wear them with a hole at the knee. Now I see you have to pay an additional $50 to get your Levi’s with knees worn out for you. Personally I prefer 60-year-old worn three times British cashmere sweaters off eBay for $15. The feel of a 60-year-old British cashmere sweater compared to a new British or Italian cashmere sweater makes me feel sorry for people who are spending $380 for a clearly inferior product. Everyday a new cashmere sweater goes up on eBay. The owner has died and he never wore the sweater because it was too nice and he didn’t want anything to go wrong with it. And yes I do remember you telling me that one of my favorite sweaters made me look like an old man and that was before I was an old man.

    Tom

    Like

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