Next stop: Frumpyville

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: August silk drape collar cardigan

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: Beaarthur

“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.


7 thoughts on “Next stop: Frumpyville

  1. The thing I hate most is conceding to the next size. Aaacck! I’ve always been a frumpy dresser; blazers and slacks or wool skirts, and blue buttondown Oxford cloth shirts. But they were a size 6 dammit, not big plus size things. My only consolation is that the chicken skin didn’t migrate to my neck — yet.

  2. You are NOT Bea Arthur/Maude/a Golden Girl! No siree, not even close.
    However, I hear you on the aging thing. Ordinarily I don’t wear much makeup that doesn’t say Wet-n-Wild on the label (I’m as serious as a heart attack – I’ll pull out my bag next time I see you). But staring back from the mirror is ruddy skin, wrinkles, pimples here, other marks of some sort there, permanent creases from furrowed brows, etc. So I decided it’s time to buy some big girl makeup. Going to hit Foolery up for some Mary Kay if I can ever figure out the technology.
    You look great – don’t throw in the towel just yet. The best is yet to come. I’m not going down without a fight. Dammit.

  3. CBW, you are kind! I have seen "throwing in the towel" and I'm not close to there… I think I'm experiencing more of a shift in philosophy. As it gets harder to maintain things that were easier when I was younger, it starts to seem like a LOT of work. Like, say, flat abs. I never really had 'em to begin with, and the times I almost did I about killed myself with the effort. Not worth it to me anymore. Hence – the gray flowy cardigan twin-set.
    I know Foolery would be thrilled to place an order for you!

  4. Do they sell those flowy cardigans at Target? I’d like one in brown, please:)
    I’m right there with ya, girlfriend!! When I look at my skinny little teenager, and I see how fantastic she looks in her clothes, I just say, “Well, it’s her turn now. My time has passed.” I think there is a HUGE difference in dressing your age and dressing frumpy. I’d like to think of myself as age-appropriate:)

  5. There ya go BHE, I like it. It’s why I can’t even look at the stuff they sell at Old Navy. No longer appropriate for my age. Or my hips, but that’s a different story.
    You do have yourself a little hottie, don’t ya? ;-)

  6. LOL, as those teeny-boppers say. Totally reminds of me that Seinfeld episode where Elaine comes out of the beach house wearing some kind of similar get-up with a large brimmed hat and Jerry says, “And then there’s Maude.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s