Friday, 4 October 2013

WordPress Daily Prompt: The Clothes (May) Make the (Wo)man

How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself. 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us STYLE.


The photo was taken on our monthly market in Solothurn, Switzerland where they might even have my size. I could hold a lecture about being well dressed for the office, having the correct clothes for the correct occasion, and when casual is written on the dress code, that is not as easy as it sounds.

Of course in my teenage years when it was all Beatles and Stones, you did what you could. Just dress as the others do, because personally I did not have a clue. Mum’s idea was a nice blouse bought on the market in colours of the rainbow. “Look what I found” she would say with pride in her voice expecting me to wear it, which I definitely did not. We just did not have the same taste. Life at that time was not as easy as today. There were no styles of jeans or t-shirts, you had to be dressed for the occasion.

A Saturday night dance at a dance hall in London was men with ties and woman with a “nice” dress. I did my shopping in the lunch hour in the dress shops near where I worked and picked up a few good things. It was the time of Swinging London. I was earning money and could make my own choice. I even had a figure that fitted the clothes I bought; although I was on the tall side, no problem: mini was fashion.

In the office you wore a suit or dress. I remember the discovery of synthetic material, crimpelene, nylon and whatever. That was a blessing. Wash it, hang it up and let it dry: no ironing necessary and above all it was fashion. Today I would not be seen dead in anything like it.

One day I married had my own children, and they were boys. An entirely different dress code appeared on the scene. I found myself shopping for shirts, pullovers, trousers and jackets. At the same time my figure was changing. Two pregnancies left their mark on the body landscape. I was lucky that trousers were becoming more and more dress code for a woman. You can hide so much with trousers.

I was a working mother, wife and housewife eventually, so I needed clothes myself. Unfortunately life expects you to look good at all times as a woman. I often thought how easy it is for a man. Just wear a suit with a matching shirt and tie in the office and that does the job. A woman: oh we are poor things. We are expected to dress in clothes that fit perfectly, follow the fashion and look good into the bargain. I decided to take things in my own hands, literally, and enrolled for dressmaking classes. What began as an eight week course, became an eight year course. We were a happy bunch, had a good woman to show us how to do it (who I still see now and again, although she is now nearing her 80th year) and I learnt something. I learnt how to turn a cheap piece of material into something original that would fit. I made a costume of pure silk, made a dark blue cashmere coat. I could never have been able to pay the price for one from a shop on my income, but do-it-yourself was the solution. I even bought corduroy for making trousers for the kids (it was then the normal dress wear for school). That was my solution and above all I could pay for it.

Today as a golden oldie, I live at home. Now and again I am let out for shopping, once a week a Tai Chi Class and now and again I might be invited to a special occasion (which Î hate). My waist is no longer a waist; it is there but seems to drift north, whilst everything else sinks towards the South. The solution: jeans, they can be bought in all shapes and sizes, although the local supermarket still seems to think that women only grow to size 44 (speaking on continental sizes), but I have found a shop in town that does cater for larger sizes. Of course jeans follow a fashion. Sometimes they are slim line, sometimes they are wide, but you can always buy straight, so straight it is.

In summer a t-shirt serves many purposes. The design on the t-shirt shows your character perhaps, although there again I have to go for the wide expanding XXL size. I have found interesting designs on Internet, but Internet still thinks we all have figures like a Paris model and the disappointment arrives when you open the long awaited parcel and find it would only fit your teenage daughter (if you have one). My lesson is learned; buy what you can try on in the shop.

Shoes are another problem, although none really. As long as Puma, Addidas, Reebok or whatever they are called exist, then I can always find something (provided that size 42 continental exist and are available). With disappointment I noticed that not only the figure expands with age, but the feet as well. Sometimes I understand the Chinese parents that bound their daughters’ feet in cloth to keep them small. Not only is my body now XXL but my feet as well.

This year I had to have something new and nice, stepdaughter got married. She is in the boutique business and owns a couple. She had nothing to fit me in her shops (of course not, she caters for teenage figures). I visited the wholesalers with her. We left with a car full of clothes, all for her business: and for me? We found one pair of trousers large enough and she had a nice large jacket in her shop. Otherwise, I did my usual two hour tour of the local shops and eventually found something my size. There is one shop in our town that caters for women that expand with age. They know me quite well.

Today I am happy in my jeans and t-shirts. At home I wear nice wide expandable trousers (not exactly leggings, I gave them up a couple of years ago) and a comfortable t-shirt. I leave my feet to themselves, we have floor heating. When the going gets rough I can always find something comfortable for my feet.

My style is quite easy to define: my style is what fits.

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  1. For me there are just two types of clothes: work and not work!! LOL. At work, it is usually white shirt, black trousers, black shoes (except on the rare occasions we are allowed a 'dress-down' day). Outside of work I'm pretty predictable. Either jeans (outdoors) or joggers (indoors) with a t-shirt. I have LOTS of t-shirts, I always buy several when on vacation in the US. I wear them all year round, no matter what the weather. I just add a sweatshirt over one if the temps are cold.

    1. I am similar with the t-shirts. Indoors I always wear short sleeves and mostly barefeet, never socks or nylon - I hate them. In Summer it is always shorts indoors, 3/4 trousers outside and in Winter long trousers indoors.