While walking on Connecticut Avenue in DC recently, I made a beeline for took a detour through Filene’s Basement, just for some retail therapy to see what was on sale. I was feeling like my work wardrobe was suffering in the “tops” department, and also in need of a basic black skirt in a size that fits me. My time was limited – I had to get back to work – no time to try things on. So, I grabbed one of these off of the rack:
It was a dark heather gray, with a matching sleeveless top in the same color. For layering. It looked comfy, and stretchy, and I was sure it would match the rest of my drab wardrobe. And that, I was okay with. I don’t dress to impress when I head to the office. I dress so that my attire does not distract from my mad human resources skillz.
The first day I wore it, I declared it the Most Comfortable Sweater Set EVER. It was flowy. Swingy. Maybe even almost Sassy! I liked how the shawl collar draped, and was pleased with the layered effect. It looked fine with a long skirt and boots.
But when I wore the ensemble again today, with a pair of plain black slacks and black clogs, I made a startling discovery. I entered the office ladies’ room, with its large mirrors and unforgiving fluorescent lighting and was horrified to see this lady staring back at me:
“GAAAH!” I screamed inside my head, and flinched, for only then did I realize the sad truth: I have started dressing like a Golden Girl.
I am becoming Bea Arthur
I squinted at my image in the mirror. No gray hair – but only because I’d recently applied an all-over brown-hued color. Underneath, it’s closer to Bea’s color than I ought to admit. My facial skin is starting its inevitable surrender to the relentless pull of gravity. And – let’s be honest here – that swishy, swirly sweater? Is designed to hide my spare tire muffin top and my expanding rear end.
It occurred to me that I’m not fooling anyone in my strategically-draped garb. But my subsequent thought, that should have been an epiphany, was actually anticlimactic. And here it is: Meh. Big deal.
I have accepted that my body just ain’t what it used to be. I mean, I’ve been travelling around in it for more than four decades; it’s bound to be showing some wear by now. To the extent my health is not compromised, I’m content to drape flowy gray knits around my midsection. I accept that the jeans at J Crew and Banana Republic just aren’t made for my body type. I don’t mind, really, that I can’t wear cute high heels or strappy sandals, lest I risk further damage to my already-messed-up feet. I know that capris are more flattering (or less unflattering?) for my body type than shorts. (Even long-ish shorts.)
Of course, this means accepting that I’m not getting any younger. I’m hurtling towards middle age, and it shows. The wheels are slowly starting to fall off… but as long as they can be repaired, and the vehicle remains in good, functional condition – WHO CARES WHAT I DRESS IT IN? I have read that women reach a certain age and begin to accept and even love themselves, and I think I’m just about there. And I can smile as I write that. Sincerely.