Nothing to wear!
'I've nothing suitable to wear' may be the ‘cry’ of many women, but in my case it has been true – until the last few days.
Call me old fashioned, but I do believe that a 74 year old needs to wear clothes. Maybe the fashion houses, designers and the stores could take heed.
I don’t feel old and I have good skin genes - both my mother and grandmother , even in their 90s looked much younger than their chronological age. But I accept that I am elderly , and there are certain criteria, besides price, that affect this age group’s choice of dress. The sleeveless are out except in the privacy of the garden or house. The ‘above the knee’ are out.
I saw dresses in thin, lifeless materials and ones that crease easily. Virtually all were either very short or very long. Many were in drab colours, shapeless, and with wide, open necklines or ones that plunge nearly to the navel.
What’s left in the market? After many weeks of searching I found precious little and I'm not alone.
To be honest, I have different sorts of accumulated ‘occasion’ clothes in my wardrobe which fill the space. These can be defined as old, very old, and 'ridiculous to keep clothes' i.e. the ones you liked to wear and hope will be worn again – but, alas, only in your dreams.
In brief, the underlying reason for this state of being is that I have been severely ill for the past 13 years and have not had either the need or desire to buy new clothes. In any case, I have been nowhere to wear them.
Apart from pyjamas, and a few pairs of elasticated waist jeans with t-shirts and jumper, I have had no need of further outfits. My numerous pairs of shoes are now uncomfortable, as indoor slippers have spoiled my feet for firmer gear. Being restricted to my bed for long periods of time has not increased my weight (I recognise just a hint of denial here) so much as redistributed any deposits! Anyway, whatever and to my regret, I can’t now wear the exhibits I see when I open the wardrobe doors. I have given a lot away.
But, time moves on, thank God, and I am now able to go out and about more.
We’ve recently been invited to a family wedding. My husband has declined the invitation, as he too has been very sick. The grim reaper tried to take both of us, but didn’t succeed, but it has been ‘the ill caring for the ill' scenario’ for many years. He still has not found the enthusiasm or energy needed for such a trip.
I have recently been shopping several times in the search of a dress and each time has been a trial of necessity versus energy and strength. I eventually bought three, sequentially, on-line. I sent two back. Of those one was lovely, the other 'fitted where it touched', but both were far too short.
The third is a silk dress of a lovely indigo colour, but I have had to shorten the sleeves, as they were uncomfortably tight. Never before have I altered a dress that cost me dear. But needs must.
Being retired I have, at least, plenty of time and I remembered the skills I learned and practised when younger, when we had little money and our children and myself needed clothes. The application was initially a bit rusty! But, necessity can find solutions.
So, rather in despair, I took one of the ‘ridiculous’ items, a skirt, and have conjured a lovely, straight dress from its voluminous folds. With trial and error, it fits perfectly. Apart from buying a small amount of contrasting material to make up the shortfall from the skirt, it cost nothing. It’s not quite right for the wedding, but would stand next to any at a less auspicious social gathering, without being out of place and is superbly comfortable.
Then I found a two-piece in the wardrobe - one of the 'old' sort, and, having altered both the skirt and the top, my wedding outfit is ready. In fact it has been chosen by my family as superior for the occasion to the newly bought dress and won't crease when packed. So, there is some wisdom of not disposing of old clothes.
So, dress sorted. Shoes -hmm - ‘tentative’.
I have decided against a hat so that is easy. I tried on a few fascinators just so that my grandchildren, who accompanied me, could have a good laugh. They did - along with me!
The weathermen predict ‘showers’ and 12°C for the summer wedding weekend. In other words it is likely to be wet and cold, so anorak, jumper and boots will no doubt be more appropriate!
I hope for the bride, on her special day, that this forecast is wrong.
In the real context and as a minor guest, what was I bothered about?
At least I have an umbrella.
See other articles by Audrey Coatesworth on 'Topics- food for thought' and in the book " 'thoughts' of a retired psychiatrist, BOOK 1 "on Createspace.com