How the importance of clothes has changed as I grow older
Photo by Victoria Bodonova on Pixabay.
I used to dress to impress. Spent time doing my hair and put on a little make-up, not much, but a little definition around the eyes and maybe a touch of lip gloss. Wore skirts and blouses and serviceable tights — sheer or fine denier reserved for special occasions. I couldn’t manage to wear high heels throughout a working day so smart kitten heel was the norm.
In the eighties, I embraced the shoulder pad and smart jacket along with an A line skirt. My ears were pierced so hoop earrings were favourites, though they proved impractical in the work environment.
Back in the early seventies I had a maxi coat, black and white herring bone pattern, worn with PVC white boots. I was warm and cosy throughout the winter.
While a 6th former, we were allowed to design our own ‘uniform’. We wore a brown mini skirt with matching waistcoat over a bright orange polo neck jumper. I remember standing at a bus stop in my mini skirt when an elderly lady hit me with her folded up umbrella, because I was a ‘disgrace.’I was never sure if she disapproved of my skirt or my yellow and green platform shoes.
Now I am classed as old. A pensioner. A nondescript older citizen. Someone you probably wouldn’t notice walking through the town. Actually, you might struggle to see me in the town because since the pandemic, I rarely go there.
I have no need to impress anymore.
My wardrobe is full of clothes I never wear. No more dinner parties or dress-up occasions. At least there have been none for over a year now.
I dress for warmth and comfort.
I have an impressive collection of warm socks. My Wellington boots are needed most days when I go out to feed the chickens, or walk the dog through muddy fields.
Knitted hats are essential. I never owned such a thing when I was younger, but have a drawer full now. Jeans and warm trousers take preference over skirts. What is the point of wearing a skirt when the wind whistles around your legs?
I have little pride in my appearance now. Why waste time putting on clothes whose purpose is to draw attention ?
People must take me as I am. I have plenty of life experience to talk about. I am not uninteresting. If you judge me solely by my way of dressing, you judge me falsely.
I am not averse to making an effort for special occasions. At Christmas a year ago, I wore a black lace Victorian dress with a pillbox hat with net covering my face. We ate Christmas dinner in candlelight and exchanged gifts bought from charity or thrift shops, followed by a puppet show and individual musical interludes.
So don’t write me off as a country bumpkin.
I might surprise you.
I can still use clothes for effect, but they are no longer a part of my projected personality.
I do not rely on my appearance to carry me through an occasion.. As I have grown older, I no longer worry about making an entrance. I don’t need props for my every day life.
My clothes are functional necessities in my present life.
But I have many memories that are intimately connected to clothes that I wore in the past, and I can look at photographs and think ‘what was I doing wearing that!’ Fashion had its place.
I have no regrets. I can still appreciate beautiful cloth and perfectly tailored suits and dresses, but I do not need to own them. I spend my time and money on outdoor pursuits, writing, and appreciating the beauty of nature. What I wear is a secondary consideration.