We loved the Sears and JCPenney catalogs when we were little girls. We enjoyed the colorful pages all year long, not just at Christmas when the Wish Book came out.
My sister and I would play the game of “if you could pick only one item on this page, which one thing would it be.” We would take turns picking first because, of course, you couldn’t pick an item if the other one had already chosen it. We then would turn to the next double page spread and start over, all the way through the clothes, shoes, and jewelry sections.
I don’t remember that our mother ever actually ordered any apparel for us from those catalogs. The only time I ever remember getting something that came in the mail wrapped in plastic was a dress my Grandmama Martin ordered for me. I was in the second or third grade. It was a made of heavy, thick, synthetic fabric. It was gold with brown and rust colored trim. I wore it to have my school picture made that year. I was so proud of that mail-order dress.
Most of the other clothes my sisters and I wore, our mother made on her sewing machine. She made a lot of short sets, pant suits, and dresses for us to wear to school. And if ever there was a special occasion, it most definitely called for a dress handmade with that extra touch of love. We spent almost as much time looking at Butterick pattern books as we did the department store catalogs.
My two sisters and I still like to study fashion catalogs as if we’re preparing for the bar exam. We thumb slowly through the same 25 pages over and over again, memorizing colors and styles, turning down page corners, creating wish lists, and circling potential purchases.
But somewhere along the way, it all got lost in translation for me.
I have not been able to make the transition to shopping in real life.
The recent shopping trip with my sisters has confirmed that for me. If I ever had any fashion sense, I realize now that it has been lying dormant somewhere in the back of my closet full of clothes I never should have bought in the first place.
I do not own a single pair of capri pants. This is partly because I do not like to wear shoes without some kind of sock/hose. My feet get cold very easily without socks, and when they do I am miserable. The other reason I don’t own a pair of capris is because they do not look good on EVERY body type. Ahem.
I own only one sleeveless top. It is a white tank top that I wear underneath things, never by itself.
I have issues with flip flops. Flop rhymes with slop, and that’s what they make me think. Sloppy. And there’s that annoying slapping noise when you walk. I do own one pair. I bought them after some coaxing from my husband that I needed a “treat” (his word for something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself). They are metallic and beaded, so they are not quite so sloppy, but they still slap. They are fun, but I don’t wear them that much.
And, I don’t see anything wrong with pantyhose. Except that no one else is wearing them.
See. I AM a fashion weirdo.
I know that the last 10 years living an hour away from a mall, and four hours away from a GOOD one has had something to do with it. And then there’s always the budget too. Ugh. Somewhere along the way my fashion confidence got left behind.
But I’m ready for a new do-over challenge, so, last night I took everything, yes everything, out of my closet. I loaded up yes-sir-yes-sir-three-bags-full of “what was I thinking?” shirts, skirts, pants, and shoes.
And of course, all the things that were two sizes too small got tossed as well. No sense keeping those things one minute longer.
The things I put back in my closet were things that have a glimmer of hope. I still have plenty of clothes, but I also have some work to do. I think it has more to do with my attitude - - learning to believe that it is OK to step outside the narrow safety zone. Don’t worry so much about it. Take some risks.
I don’t think I’ll ever make it to the fast lane, but hopefully I will at least find my way into the current traffic/fashion pattern.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:24-25