Updated: Jul 27
I know there are huge problems in the world right now, but are we allowed to talk about the little ones too? Like getting dressed. Like, does anyone remember how?
Personally, I can figure out how to zip my jeans and clip my bra. I just can’t figure out what goes with what and why. Also- I confess. There have been no jeans. There have been shelter-in-place flowy pants. Still. Can they be paired with flip flops, a tank top, and a summer cardigan from 4 years ago?
I’ve been here before. In fact I get to this fashion-challenged place often, which is the real problem. Because like most issues I carried into this pandemic, this one pronounced itself as here to stay. And worsen.
I’ve wondered if part of the trouble stems from living in suburbia, where by the time fashion trends migrate from high-end shows to metropolitan cities, to finally shopping malls and strip-mall boutiques, I’m already behind. Add my fondness for discount shopping, and you’ll understand how I’ve fallen fashion eons behind.
The other issue might just be my progression forward into midlife, and the increasing indifference to pleasing others that comes with this era-- a condition that will likely worsen. Recently, I was listening to Jerry Seinfeld’s new standup. At age 65, he found himself declining invites, no longer interested in appeasing others. At 70, he thinks he won’t even answer invitations-- he’ll simply wave people away and keep walking.
I don’t know if socially I am ready for that, but aesthetically, I have felt a shift: a newfound affinity toward the frumpy and comfortable that frankly has my family worried.
Pre-COVID, I was already growing curious about the NYDJ rack at department stores. For those unaware, this acronym stands for “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans,” suggesting a technology of tummy-tightening and butt-sculpting. Or said another way: Mom jeans. And here’s what I shouldn’t admit, but will anyway: that the pair with the white side-stripe lined with rhinestones called my name. Loudly.
I didn’t succumb to those jeans, but I did purchase some other doozies on that shopping trip that turned out to be the last shopping hurrah before lockdown. These included a handful of genie sweatpants that look fabulous on teenagers, and, let’s just say, derriere-challenging, and diaper-suggestive on anyone over 40.
Before isolation, my fashion funk would have sent me to the city for inspiration, where I would have met up with my more fashionable friends—later checking in before an event. This dress or this one? In a pinch, I’d visit a handful of local boutiques, happy not to shop online. Or as it happens with me, spend money to ship clothes back and forth between the retailer and me, the only beneficiary being UPS.
At the writing of this, however, none of those options exist, which is scary, as we continually enter new phases of reopening, and the socializing ring-of-fire looms.
So I guess what I’m saying here is that if I show up to a restaurant at 25 percent occupancy wearing diaper pants, know that I do not yet need said undergarment; I just need a little more time to pull it together.
In return, I promise not to judge your pilled golf shirts half-tucked into tuxedo pants, or your bell-bottom jeans paired with Fit Flops.
We could also just wave each other away?