The other day I went for a walk, and decided to wear the new top I bought a few weeks ago. It’s one of those great three-quarter length sleeve tops with long slits from shoulder to elbow, and with a longish hem. It is striped with lime, turquoise, pink and white, and I wore it with my white denim capris and a new pair of pink sneakers. I looked in the mirror, and thought it looked nice.
Wait—maybe too nice. After all, I was only going on my usual down-to-the-pond-and- back walk. Then I thought, ‘well, how ridiculous….didn’t I buy this because I liked it and knew I would wear it?’
So off I went on my walk, looking good and feeling good. After all, I’m old enough to wear whatever the heck I want. I recognized this ‘wait, I may be too overdressed’ feeling from childhood. Whenever my grandmother and I were out together (usually on a food shopping trip) and she saw someone “dressed to the nines,” she would always mutter the same thing: “humph! Just who does she think she is?”
That always baffled me because I always thought that the lady in question looked good. More confusing was the fact that whenever my grandmother went out of the house, she always wore a good dress and her best shoes, and put her makeup on. She then spritzed on her “White Shoulders” perfume, and she was ready to go. In other words, she dolled up when she knew she was going to town.
Shortly after she died, my mother and I were cleaning out her closet. We found a brand new London Fog raincoat she never wore; it made me sad to think that she might have thought someone would talk about her, saying ‘who did she think she was, anyway?’ What a waste of time and a perfectly good raincoat!
When I was younger, I dressed for other peoples’ approval. But as I got older I began to wear the things that pleased me. Years later, I laugh remembering the people who would ask me why was I so ‘dressed up.’ If that means wearing some great clothes and lots of jewelry, well—so what?
I’m a theatrical sort of person, and enjoy making my own wacky statement to the world. I always love finding fun “costume-y” things such as my lavender velvet ruffled jacket I found in a thrift shop, or the teal and gold “Bollywood” coat I bought on Etsy. Clothes ought to do the following for us:
- Compliment who we are
- Be comfortable
- Make us happy
Looking back, I think that the people who asked me why I was so “dressed up” might have said this because they were not comfortable yet with themselves. It wasn’t because I was so outlandish, it’s just that at a certain time of our lives we want to fit in with others and not stand out.
Speaking just for me, I’m glad I’m past all that and finally can just let people think whatever they want. After all, most of us are too concerned with ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world to worry about others anyway—am I right?
If that’s so, then bring it on—if you like cowboy boots with a leather skirt, go for it. If ripped jeans and lace tunics are your thing, good on ya. If you swan around in a hot pink sari with embroidered slippers, strut proudly. You and your style are you, and there’s not one thing wrong about that.