A victim of fashion

. July 30, 2013.
Mary-Helen

Until I got hips, I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs. It was actually a blessing since back in the day there were hardly any others that would fit. I towered over the “you must be this tall to ride” sign at the amusement park and could experience the scariest of coasters in the second grade. I loved skirts, not out of a burning desire to be feminine, but because I didn’t have to deal with my “Jolly Green Giant” inseam. Things have improved since then. However, the last time I was in Ann Taylor, I commented to the saleswoman that I had never seen capri pants made of corduroy. She curtly responded, “Those are NOT capris.” Eddie Bauer recently shortened their “tall” pants an inch so I guess I am destined to look like I am anticipating high water at any given moment. At least I have progressed from wearing holiday sweaters and homemade sweatshirts my girls decorated for more “toned down” options, but I refuse to give up my “critter attire” including my moose boxers and the ones with the big fish on the behind that proclaims “NICE BASS.”

I have somehow managed to rise above the “fashion faux pas” moments of my past. The most memorable was when a gentleman came up to me during the intermission of a theater performance and asked “Are you having trouble telling them apart?” I had no idea what he was talking about until my child pointed out the big “L” (for large) sticker that I neglected to remove from my left breast.
I am still recovering from the trauma of not trying on a swimsuit my friend lent me before a pool party I was to attend. She was adamant that my one piece Speedo was far too conservative. I had a “Meet the Parents” moment in a bikini as I spent the night hiding behind any and all objects that would cover me. Thank God for that well-placed ficus tree.

In need of an exit strategy
It is important to check and see if garments have an “exit strategy.” My friend Claudia kindly came over and helped me get into an “Alice in Wonderland” dress for a photo shoot. It wasn’t until everyone departed that I realized I couldn’t get out of it solo. There is nothing like spending eight hours as a Disney character to find your “inner Alice.” My friend also experienced a terrible case of “stuckness.” She had the brilliant idea of safety pinning her Spanx bodysuit to her strapless dress—as if a garment containing the chemical components equivalent to a seal suit would budge. She discovered when she was trying to go to the bathroom that she had pinned the zipper as well. She lost her balance when she tried to get free from her self-imposed bondage.  Needless to say, her physical pain healed far faster than the emotional ordeal of being found spread eagle on the bathroom floor still wrapped in the shower curtain she had grabbed to break her fall.

A family matter
Other family members have had their fair share of dressing disasters. My usually conservatively dressed father was convinced to step “outside the box” by a persuasive salesperson when he rented a tux for a charity event. He received numerous comments and questions about his attire most notably, “What instrument do you play?” He was wearing the same tux as the band members.
My daughter showed up at a family event wearing a t-shirt she got for free during spring break. Working in the medical field, she has been exposed to Latin, but her Greek still needs work. This became evident when her great-grandmother read her t-shirt with Greek symbols that said, “I love Sigma Epsilon Chi” or in English “SEX.” All Gram could do is give her a knowing smile—especially since she once looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame after one of her blouse’s shoulder pads came loose during a church service. It ended up taking up residence in the middle of her back. Gram and her new “hump” ended up on the prayer request list.

A bit of wisdom
I have learned a lot of fashion wisdom over the years. Remember, even if the chart on the back of the panty-hose box states, “up to six foot” the crotch will be four inches south from where it should be and if you hear a strange swishing noise while walking in the woods, it’s most likely coming from your 80’s parachute workout pants and not some unknown creature. In the future, I will desperately try to keep the Canadian mammal attire to a minimum (my Mom has a loon and wolf wardrobe that defies explanation), check my view from the “rear” for any unwanted external cling-on undergarments, and do what I always do: Rely on my inner beauty and sense of humor while wearing comfortable shoes.

Contact Mother Mayhem at mothermayhem@adamsstreetpublishing.com