Well, we’ve made it through another awards season and once again I have morning-after fashion bewilderment. Every time I think, “Now THAT’S a pretty dress!” I find out afterward from the style experts that in fact no, it is horrible in so many ways. Likewise, when I think, “Oooh, that woman’s astonishingly severe middle part and slicked back hair looks ridiculous,” I discover that it is actually “gorge.” (Excuse me, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth typing that because UGH can we please just go back to pronouncing whole words?)
Don’t worry, fashion pundits: It’s not you; it’s me. I am not known for my taste (in a good way, anyway). I’m not making excuses, but I am a child of the 1970s and ’80s, though my fashion sensibilities hearken back to much earlier times. The first trend I remember embracing was Little House on the Prairie chic. There was probably at least a year when I never went to church without a sunbonnet trailing down my back. Then one Sunday a bird pooped in the bonnet and that kind of ruined it for me. Shortly after that I fell in love with Gone With the Wind and spent inordinate amounts of time drawing ladies in enormous hoop skirts. When my mom found an actual hoop skirt at a garage sale, I was thrilled and planned to be married in it unless — better yet — hoop skirts came back into style for everyday wear. I can’t tell you how hard I hoped for that.
My dream came true (sort of) at my mid-’80s proms, when the Southern belle look was all the rage. (I think — or was it just me? Whatever. Like I cared.) My mom could sew, and therefore I got to design two gowns befitting Scarlett O’Hara (except for the tiny-waist part). Satin and ruffles and lace and a handsome beau with a color-coordinated cummerbund — what more could a girl want?
When it came time to shop for a wedding dress several years later, all I wanted was simplicity. I was a size 18 and did not want to look like a sausage bursting out of a frilly casing. I found an understated, body-skimming crepe dress in a catalog, but it was too expensive. So I walked into a bridal shop and somehow came out with a puffy-sleeved satin princess gown encrusted with lace and beads. The good thing about it was that I didn’t need to bother having it cleaned and preserved since I cannot imagine any of my girls will want to inherit that little number.
^^^I find that standing next to a ginormous cake is very slimming.
In the years since, practicality and semipoverty have pretty much destroyed any sense of personal style I might have developed, which is probably a good thing given my natural inclinations toward pink and flowers and ruffles and 19th-century couture. Being plus-size and hating tight-fitting clothing severely limits my choices — as my friend Kelly says, it’s not a matter of going into a store and thinking, “Hmmm, what do I like?” so much as finding something and deciding “Well, that doesn’t look TOO terrible” and then buying that item in every available color because who knows when I will ever again find something as unobjectionable (at least in my opinion — if What Not to Wear were still on, they could do a whole season on me). For a while I entertained notions of learning to design and sew my own clothes, but that dream died when I tried to alter my jeans (read all about that ill-conceived adventure here) and tailor a skirt (here). So for now I will sit around in my not-TOO-terrible uniform (jeans and a V-neck) and keep my fashion ideas to myself.