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Wardrobe “Dis”Function

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Another shirt had watermelons all over it and some man in a grocery store line had the nerve to tell me he loved my melons.

I admit it. Sometimes I feel like I am only half woman. You see I am not much of a shopper. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy the experience of trying on clothes because it only depresses me when things don’t fit. That’s why I have tons of earrings as they always fit!

This is not an age thing; it’s been like this my entire life. My upper torso has been the issue. Shirts had to be baggy as to not hug and accent my breasts, but then I looked pregnant making me appear even bigger than I was! Lucky for me, twelve years ago after a mammogram showed a benign mass in one of my breasts, I had to have the mass removed and was offered breast reduction surgery by the surgeon. It was very painful, but worth it – I only wished I had been able to have it earlier in life.

Many of my shirts way back when got me in trouble. In the eighties I had an adorable pink top with Laurel and Hardy faces on it. But the problem was that it looked like one boob was Laurel and the other Hardy. Their faces matched up with my form perfectly. Another shirt had watermelons all over it and some man in a grocery store line had the nerve to tell me he loved my melons! That was the end of that shirt. Off to the homeless center it went. And all the women at the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art who bought that cute tee shirt from country crooner Barrett Baber that read “Kiss Me Hello,” as that was his new song release, probably got the same dirty looks from strangers that I did. No more tops with script, faces or fruit!

Handbags or pocketbooks, whatever you want to call them, have to fit right on my shoulder. I prefer one strap as the second always slips off, and it has to have the right pockets for glasses, phone, keys and makeup. Cost is important. For years I emceed the Bag Lady Luncheon for the Art Museum, and I was amazed at the high dollar name-brand purses. Ouch! And I was somewhat embarrassed that I walked into the venue with my TJ Maxx bag!

Can we talk shoes? They are not making them like they used to. Between plantar fasciitis and sciatica who needs the aggravation and pain just to look good? I tossed out all my high heels. Even low heels. I have chosen to FEEL GOOD instead of looking good. Don’t throw stones. It happens at a certain age. And for that reason, I no longer wear dresses of any type. When I am asked to emcee an event, it’s black pants and a glittery top! I gave away all my dresses to my younger friends. Gave them the slips and stockings for underneath as well. The only stockings I wear now are black control top tights. Love ‘em. They look good with everything I own and help to smooth out the bulges and cellulite that seem to be multiplying daily. I wear them over my bodysuit. I figure the bodysuit hides the jellyrolls at my waist and the tights hide the jellyrolls that appear when the elastic of my body suit hovers too tightly and raises up and over my butt cheeks. (Men, you may not understand this, so ask a woman close to you to explain this odd phenomenon.)

I’m really lucky. My husband, Chuck, tells me that he doesn’t care what I buy, but if I come home with another pair of black slacks he will have me committed. You ladies understand this. Depending how long your shirt is, or where it falls on your body determines how you want your pants to fit at your waist. I have eleven pair, some sporty, some dressy, all of which are worn without a belt as I tossed that accessory out the window twenty years ago.

Now you aren’t going to believe this but my very favorite black pants were bought at CVS, and make no mistake, I am most assuredly talking about the drugstore chain. I was in there one summer day buying some nail polish and saw the rack that hits you in the face when you enter the store. No woman can walk past this! What a concept, buying clothes while you shop for menopause meds, suppositories and tampons. Pure genius on behalf of the board of directors of CVS! They hooked me. On the display were some funky Hawaiian tops, tie-dyed moo-moos, and comfy black palazzo pants made of 97% polyester, and 3% spandex made in China. Okay, I hated that part, but for $9.98 I wasn’t walking away from machine washable, tumble dryable slacks! I knew the size large would fit without trying them on, as there is, unfortunately, no dressing room there, and I was assured that if they did not fit, I could return them within thirty days with my receipt. However, not only did they fit when I got them home but I went back the next day and bought another pair. I mean for $9.98 I couldn’t go wrong and best of all there are no pockets or a heavy waistband that adds extra fluff I sure don’t need.

Yet my very favorite thing to wear is my black slim-line stretch pants topped off with a fleecy, cozy sweatshirt, of which I have many with various nautical motifs: turtles, sandpipers, shells. If I’m in the mood to jazz up the look, I’ll pair this with black boots. If not, my denim Blowfish tennis type shoes are the most comfy of all.

It’s not just that I have finally settled into the relaxed, laid back, informal period of my life, I have always been there, even when it was not “fashionable” to do so. Please honor this pun!

I just want to go through life wearing things I love, being cozy and comfy, and not caring what others may think. And I always top it all off with a smile because as they say in the Broadway musical Annie, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

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