All I wear nowadays are long-sleeve shirts with short-sleeve shirts layered on top of them. Every day. Some days it's a gray shirt with a black Believer baby-doll T on top of it. Some days it's a pink shirt with a Free Piper T. Today it's a long white V-neck with a pink shirt.
My children have all adopted this style, too. The three older ones wear it, and when they dress the baby, they put him in a little turtleneck with a polo over it, like some kind of tiny, floppy-eared escapee from Andover. When we go out together we look like those couples you see on vacation wearing matching Hawaiian shirts. In other words, stupid. We look stupid.
I'm trying to figure out why I've suddenly decided that this style, one that highlights the fleshiness of the upper arm is so compelling that I must adopt it despite its obvious unsuitability. Why am I dressing like a sixteen-year old? Why do my jeans rest at my hips, the better to force my four-caesarian-sectioned belly to ooze out over the top? What's the deal?
So many of the women I admire have innate senses of style. They know what looks good on them, they wear it, and that's it. I used to have, for better or worse, one fashion rule. Black. Only black. Everything I owned was black, everything I wore was black, everything I allowed near my body was black, with the exception of my lipstick and nail polish. This was an easy rule to follow. It brooked no compromise, and allowed for little flash, but it was hard to make too obvious an error. Now, I'm all about the colors (pink, green, etc.) and I fear I have become one loud fashion faux pas, wandering in search of a Queer eye. I am a fashion weather vane, pointy-shod when told to be, rounded-toed when told to be. All in the service of what? I always look more or less the same - fine. Except when I make some kind of terrible mistake. Then I look, well, ridiculous. Like, what was I thinking, a purple dress. Redheads should never wear purple, even when they become old ladies. Especially when they become old ladies. And that gold top with the ruffled tail? Gevalt.
The person I'd like to be has a small closet with just a few really "good" pieces. You know that woman. She oozes class, even when she's wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Maybe she tosses an ancient cashmere sweater over the ensemble, adding a little dash of expensive chic. Instead, I'm the woman with the bulging closet full of things purchased on sale, just a half-size too small (I'll shrink into them), in the color of the moment that just happens to lend my face a greenish hue.
What secret do those women know that I don’t? Sofia Coppola doesn't read "What Not To Wear," so how do she and her ilk just know this stuff? Is there a gene that I'm missing? Probably. You should see the pictures of my wedding. The only things more terrifying than my mom and grandmother in dueling knock-off Pucci prints was me in my wedding dress. I look like I dropped headfirst into a jar of marshmallow fluff.