We gave Wednesday over to a men's club this week. Let's make today, Friday, women's day although men are as welcome to chime in as women did on Wednesday.
When I first wrote about “elder fashion” here in 2008, I labeled it an oxymoron. Here is a sampling from that post:
"I see more transparent blouses and even pants than much of anything that actually covers a human body.
"Designers just add fabric for larger sizes without considering differing proportions so that if a jacket fits at the shoulders, it is unlikely to button at the waist.
"Shirts...are missing proportion in petite sizes (I’m just under 5’ 2”). They are so long, I look like an eight-year-old wearing daddy’s shirt.
"And why do the few dresses designed without waists all look like muu-muus of the 1950s..."
Nothing has changed during the intervening seven years. Except me. I weighed about 160 pounds then; now, yesterday morning, I weighed 122 pounds.
Losing 25 percent of one's body weight requires a dramatic wardrobe do-over - total replacement for the most part - and that, beginning early in 2014, gave me an opportunity to see if anything has changed in the world of fashion for old women.
Nothing I could see.
I did most of my shopping in the two, excellent consignment shops where I live and found most of what I needed at bargain basement prices. Example: brand-new, unworn $150, lined cotton or linen pants for $20.
Of course, the price doesn't mean they fit this body as well as clothing did in my 20-, 30-, 40-year-old body. I mentioned a while back that my butt had disappeared and losing a bunch of weight only exacerbated that issue.
Those reasonably well-made pants in my new size, for example, are even baggier in the butt than when I was fat.
Recently, I have been trying to fill a few additional holes in my wardrobe – a medium-weight sweater or two, teeshirts, a couple of summer blouses. Nothing was turning up at the consignment shops so I checked a couple of the better known brand stores that cater to grownup – that is, older - women.
Teeshirts are impossible; they all are made with Spandex and even the largest size clings.
There is no such thing as a summer blouse (or, often, even heavier ones) with sleeves.
I blame Mrs. Obama for this. As soon as she showed off her toned upper arms during the election campaign in 2007, clothing manufacturers glommed onto the idea as a new way to increase profits without improving the product: just lop off all sleeves.
After two years of lifting weights every second day, I'm pleased with the little old lady biceps I've developed but even with the proper exercises, my triceps are still too bat-wingy for me to wear anything sleeveless.
(I know, I know. I'm old enough not to care anymore but I do. So shoot me.)
And don't get me started on the tacky, machine-made embroidery on so many blouses and shirts that might otherwise make the cut, if barely. Cheap, cheap, cheap.
Sweaters? Even in winter styles, the knit is almost as thin as gauze and just short of transparent so they do nothing for warmth. Plus, with Spandex commonly added, they cling like the teeshirts.
In general, it is all so shoddily sewn that garments are likely to disintegrate the first time they are washed or cleaned.
Have you noticed anything about this post yet? Aside from baggy-butt pants, I'm not even asking for anything that could even vaguely be described as high style. I'd just like it to fit my body, be opaque and last for more than a month.
Here in suburbia (where I haven't lived until now for more than half a century), most of the women in or around my age group seem to live in sweat pants and shirts. If that's what makes you comfortable, fine, but it doesn't work for me on so many levels.
Besides, sweats are what I wear to bed so I would like something a little nicer to change into when I'm vertical.
I'm not asking for clothing that would put me in the style category of the elder women Ari Seth Cohen features on his Advanced Style blog, book and video. They make fashion their hobby and they do a fabulous job of it.
But that's not my interest. I don't want to spend anything but minimal time thinking about clothes. All I need are a few reasonably priced pieces that fit well, are comfortable and not too frumpy.
How much is that to ask of a multi-billion dollar business?