Thursday, April 05, 2012

Fashion for The Rest of Us

I submitted this column to the Charlotte Observer for consideration for their Guest Fashion column.  It hasn't shown up, so I'm thinking it was rejected.  It's not a surprise for a variety of reasons, the main one being this is an anti-fashion column.


I walked back to the front desk to tell my friends good-bye.  One said, “Your former student?  The one from 10 years ago?  She held up her pinky finger and said that you used to look like this!  And you were Ms. Corporate America that first year you were teaching at UNC Charlotte.”  We all laughed. But I let out an inward sigh.

When I moved here 10 years ago, I was very thin and in shape, running marathons and eating all I wanted because all I wanted was healthy food.  I was not yet married and not yet a mother.  I loved dressing in nice clothes because I had the money and the body to do so.

Then I became a mother and learned about sleep deprivation and crack-of-dawn nursing.  I apologized to all my working mother friends for wondering why they couldn’t find time for a 3-hour run at 5 am on Saturday. And then we had our twins.  And I wonder why we didn’t recognize all that time, money and sleep that we actually had with just one child.

So when my former student commented on my former body and former fashion style, it reminds me that it used to be a lot easier to look nice.  After the twins, my body took a completely unrecognizable shape.  Let’s just say that I am pretty sure my pre-twin pants fit better if I put them on backwards.  Yesterday, my new fancy scale, which provides information about muscle mass and bone density in addition to my weight, just called me fat. 

But it’s more than that.  My fashion choices have devolved into two: 1) Try To Be Fashionable or 2) Try Not To Be Naked.  Occasionally, the right clothes are clean at the same time in my closet and I have an opportunity to fiddle with the accessories. I can meet Fashion Choice 1. But most of the time, I just try to find some pants that that I haven’t worn twice already in the last week and a top that doesn’t have too many stains on it. My one accessory is my trusty athletic watch that serves as an alarm clock instead of a run chronometer. I have met my fashion goals for the day.  I just have to convince the rest of society that at some points in life, Fashion Choice 2 is also valid. 

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