Posted tagged ‘Dress’

“She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.”

May 22, 2012

I heard the rain through the open window when I woke up this morning. The rain is steady but it’s a light rain, the sort where the drops from the roof make more noise than the rain. I love days like today when the room is dark and all is quiet except for the raindrops.

A lot of the pine pollen has been washed from my deck, but under the deck chairs the yellow-green spots are protected and only pitted by the rain. They look like paintings, like Pollacks dripped from brushes. The umbrellas are back to being red. The deck will soon be in its summer finery.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t need or want much. I had my sled for the winter and my bike for the rest of the year. I wore sneakers all summer, the same pair until I either out-grew them or they finally wore out. I wore shorts and blouses, the summer uniform for girls. Fashionable hadn’t yet become part of my vocabulary. Whatever I found in my bureau drawer was what I wore for the day. I don’t even think I worried about matching colors.

When I became a teenager, clothes were paramount. I had to have what everyone else was wearing. Individuality was a concept none of us espoused. I remember one Christmas getting black stretch stirrup pants and a fluffy, almost Angora like pink sweater. That outfit was so much the rage you’d think it was a uniform for a strange band. I loved that sweater and wore it until it was unwearable, worn and no longer fluffed. We wore our cardigans backwards, the buttons down our backs. They were best worn with tightish skirts which zippered in the back. I never had enough clothes back then-at least I thought so.

In college, for my first two years, we were required to wear dresses or skirts. None of us liked it but we didn’t have a choice. The coldest winter in years occurred during my junior year and the clothing rule changed. We could now wear slacks to help keep us warm. The horse had been let out of the barn, and from then on we could always wear what we wanted though shorts were not part of the deal.

In Ghana, in those days, women had to wear dresses, never pants. I wore a dress every day to teach. I travelled for hours on busses in a dress which actually made pit stops easier as most places were holes in the ground in sheds. Pants would have been complicated. I had a pair of jeans I wore for long rides on my motorcycle, and I had a couple of pairs of shorts I wore around the house, never outside. The good part of all of that was my dresses were made in Ghana of Ghanaian cloth and were bright, colorful and beautiful.

Teaching here started in dresses and went to pants at some point in the late 70’s or early 80’s. My casual clothes were jeans and flannel shirts in winter and shorts and polo shirts in summer.

Now, for the most part, I wear pants and all sorts of shirts. When it’s cold, I wear a hoodie. I have two summer dresses and a spring-fall dress. Seldom do I go places where dressing up is demanded, maybe a wedding or two. My life has slid back into the comfortable. Fashionable is no longer part of my vocabulary.

“Clothes are inevitable. They are nothing less than the furniture of the mind made visible.”

April 3, 2012

Today is a perfect spring day on Cape Cod: a bright sun, a deep blue sky and a bit of a chill in the air. My grass is turning green. The forsythia has yellow flowers as bright as the sun. The springs bulbs have all bloomed, and the green tips of flowers are appearing in the front garden. The male goldfinches are almost brilliant yellow. All of the signs say spring.

Even when I was a kid, I didn’t love pouffy dresses for Easter. I remember one year I had my mother buy me a Lois Lane sort of suit. At my grandmother’s I overheard my mother tell my aunt that’s what I wanted when my aunt questioned my choice of an Easter outfit. My sisters and my cousins were bright in pastels with pouff, and I guess I seemed out-of-place.

When I worked, I wore dresses and skirts every day. One time at lunch in the cafeteria, a student came up to me and said she wanted to wear clothes like mine when she grew up. I was thrilled by her compliment. Most of my clothes back then came from small shops which sold dresses from Mexico and India and countries with similar styles. Afer I retired, I seldom visited those shops as I didn’t often have an occasion to wear a dress, but I did buy a new one for a wedding last October. The dress had the same look as back when especially when I added Ghanaian beads and matching earrings.

The clothes I wore in Ghana, always dresses, were mostly made in Ghana. The cloth was beautiful and the colors amazing. I’d sometimes have a dress made with elaborate stitching around the neck called jeremy in those days. Tie-dye was another one of my favorite cloths for a dress. The patterns were intricate with stripes or squares or dots and back then the die was natural. I also had dresses made from batik., and I still have batik I brought back forty years ago.

For Easter this year, I’m wearing the dress I bought for the wedding. It’s a green color which reminds me of spring. I’ll wear the necklace and earrings. I think together, the dress and jewelry, are  smashing!

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

February 3, 2012

It is so cold (how cold is it?) that my computer has been freezing on me, and the air turns blue when it does.

It has been a struggle this morning to get up and running. Gracie is so used to me and my computer tirades that she slept through it all. Now the computer wants to turn itself off to update. I won’t let it. I am in charge. So there, HAL.

Winter has returned, and it really is cold. The temperature says 30°, but the weatherman said it feels more like 20°. It is, of course, my dump day. Because the dump is the coldest place in the state on a day like today, I fear I have annoyed Mother Nature in some way. Solzhenitsyn would have been able to stay right by the newspaper recycle bin to write his novel. I wish I didn’t have to go out, but I need some groceries and some cat food. I’ll put Miss Gracie’s lovely Pendleton coat on her so she won’t get too cold in the car. The dog dresses better than I do.

I really don’t get dressed up very often. I have few reasons. The last time was a wedding in October. Before that I wore a dress in August in Ghana for the swearing-in ceremony. Both dresses were new. One is my summer dress and the other is my fall dress. I only hope there are no events in winter requiring a dress.

The dress requirements for women have changed dramatically since I was a kid. Back then I had to wear a dress to church, and we always wore uniforms, skirts and blouses, to school. Even in college, skirts or dresses were required until my sophomore year. When I was in Ghana, I also had to wear a dress. We were told only women who worked street corners wore pants, yamayama girls.

Pants suits came next, and they were acceptable dress substitutes at weddings and other once formal gatherings. Everything went downhill after that. My grandmothers never gave in and always wore dresses, but my mother easily accepted the fashion of wearing pants. I think that was an indicator of the anything goes fashion trend.

Now, women wear shorts to church, and I wore pants in Ghana. Many women there, including a couple of my former students, wore pants. I hate getting dressed up for anything. Panty hose is a remnant of the torture devices used during the inquisition. Heels are potential ankle breakers. The only ones I have are short and chunky like the nuns used to wear only mine have colors and no ties.

I am happiest wearing cozy clothes which keep me warm in winter. I wear slippers in the house all the time. Sometimes I even wear them outside: they look a bit like clogs. When I’ll get dressed to go to the dump, I’ll wear corduroy pants, a long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt with a hood. That’s about as dressed up as I ever get.

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