I’ve hit that magical age of clothes shopping, when you’re no longer able to shop in the Junior department with a straight face but not yet ready to give up the fashion ghost to polyester tiger print slacks, a fanny pack and K-mart slippers and white socks like my grandma used to wear.
Because it’s next stop Alfred Dunner separates.
It’s the Twilight Zone of women’s clothing where trying to be too hip leaves you looking like you are pathetically clutching the shards of your youth. Catalogues offer the only thing that comes close to middle-age appropriate wear but that’s just not good enough to satisfy my inner-impulse shopper.
The clothing choices for us middle-aged tweens are pathetic. Because now inseams are now measured in centimeters rather than inches. Some of the skirts are so tiny that I’d need two, one for each thigh. I held up one of these microscopic garments, roughly the size of a car visor, and wondered who on earth could actually wear it.
Because if I tried it would look like I was wearing a neck warmer on my meno-pot.
Jeans are no better. The low cut, low riders, so popular in my teenage years have reemerged on the scene. While a thong may look cute peeking out of the top of these, it’s a safe bet that seven inches of the Granny Panty do not.
I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing those cutesy, tiny shorts with Cheer! or God forbid, Sweet Thang emblazoned across my rump. But now seizing the booty-licious advertising potential, everyone including the college marketing folks have gotten in on the act. Now I see young women at the gym sporting Bobcats on their fannies. My alma mater is no exception. Unfortunately those in my size are a little too informative: University of Louisville, est. 1798, Home of the Fighting Cardinals, For season ticket information call: (502) 852-5555.
They even dare to market belly shirts to women of my age. While there are about 4 of you out there who could pull it off, I think it should go without saying: if you have a belly, just say no. If I dared to don one of these and put my middle-age muffin tops on public display, I’d be cuffed and stuffed by the fashion police.
So in an effort to thwart my fashion felony-in-progress, in my imagination, my friends do what good friends will do: a Fashion Intervention.
“Someone simply has to tell her how ridiculous she looks,” Carla says with a tone of pity in her voice. “I’m not telling her, she’s hormonal,” says Caryl. “I just can’t believe she’s dressed like that,” Crystal says. “Ladies, you know what this means,” Reni concludeswith a sigh. My friends understand my fashion statement in the only reasonable way it could ever be interpreted: a desperate cry for help.
So they’ll lure me with chocolate, shove me in the back of a minivan and pull an all-nighter driving me to Coldwater Creek HQ in Sandpoint, Idaho. They’ll take me to the secret emergency entrance especially designed for hopeless, style-impaired cases like me. With chocolate drool still running down my chin, the Fashion Intervention Team meets us at the door and hooks me up to a coffee IV. “She’s been dressing like this for weeks,” Caryl tells the intake nurse. “I couldn’t bear to see her like this anymore,” Carla says, a tear slowly rolling down her cheek. “You’re our last hope,” says Reni.
The FIT team rolls into action. “I’ve got Malloy, 49. Dressed like Janet Jackson,” the FIT head nurse yells. “Get her into dressing room 7 stat!” The bright lights of the fitting room shocks me into consciousness and the whir of activity became a deafening roar. “Get me a Tiered Fiesta Skirt and Jersey Knit Tank,” the head nurse barks. An assistant stuffs me into the outfit and then spins me towards the head nurse. “No! No! No! She’s too hippy to pull it off and her arms look like two hamhocks hanging out of that tank,” the head nurse screams. “She needs more coverage, now move it!”
A few changes later, I stand in front of the mirror wearing the Gently Shaped Tunic with the Embroidered, Cropped Pants and black flats. I’m shocked at the tastefully dressed woman who stared back at me.
I haven’t seen her in awhile.
“Unhook the IV,” the head nurse says with a smile,” she’s gonna make it.”
On our way back to the minivan, I’m understandably emotional. “Thanks, you all,” I say, my voice cracking. “You saved me. I don’t know how to thank you.” Reni puts her arm around my shoulder and hugs me. “Don’t worry about it,” she tells me. “That’s what friends are for.”