“Those boots are so ugly, and yet, they’re so you.”
That’s what my daughter said the first time I wore a certain pair of rubber booties in messy weather. I disagree with the first part but agree with the second. They spoke to me when I spotted them in a lineup of colorful short boots.
“Hey! Buttercup! Get me and we’ll splash in puddles, slop through slush and I’ll put a smile on your face while I keep your feet warm and dry.”
Take my money, Shoe Store!
I recently saw a segment on my preferred Drink Coffee and Eat Breakfast TV show about the newest trends in fashion for 2018. I’ll take a pass on feathers or rainbow stripes for my clothes, yellow-eyeliner or a Pixie haircut. I may consider a fanny-pack and I already have a textured bob ’do.
But I’m definitely going to embrace one 2018 trend. Every year the color design experts at the Pantone Color Institute choose a shade that they believe will be leading all design for the upcoming year. This year’s color is one that I look very good in, that color is ultra violet.
I heard the name before I saw the color — it’s not psychedelic or iridescent; it’s a medium-dark purple. It reminds me of Prince and princes ... literally. As part of an attempt to give the country a dress code based on their social rank, Queen Elizabeth I of England forbid anyone that wasn’t royal to wear, among other things, purple. (Her official “Proclamation Against Excess” is quite detailed, Dukes and Marquesses, for example, could wear purple accessories only.)
Ultra-violet suede pumps would have been a no-go for middle-class me under her rule, but what would she have said about my very practical and wildly colored rubber booties? We have come a long way since the late 1500s, but some people still think that they can make proclamations about what we should, or shouldn’t wear.
How many What You Should Wear Over (insert age here) lists have you ever read? Go on, Google it, I’ll wait. I’m over 40 and found search pages of them ... even Oprah.com had one! Oprah! The Queen of Be Your Best Self has a dictatorial list of what I shouldn’t wear.
Part of me rebels, “I’ll wear whatever I darn well like thankyouverymuch!” I wear my t-shirts with messages on them with pride, Keds with casual dresses with sass, and tights with a smile.
A reoccurring theme on many of those lists is to not wear something that you wore the last time it was in style. My closet holds some vintage clothing that I won’t stop wearing even though it stings to learn that clothing I wore in high school is considered “vintage.”
But I realized that time had taught me to not wear a lot of clothes on those lists. I know I’ll curse a jumpsuit or pair of overalls when I go to the bathroom, that ripped denim is messy as well as drafty, and “short, short” anything is never, ever going to be comfortable. It’s not that I can’t wear these things, it’s that I know better than to wear them.
Except for the Mom of Very Small Children years when “Is it sort of clean?” was the sole selection tool and spit-up was an accessory, I’ve learned to wear clothes that project the me I want the world to see. From Professional to Artsy to Beachy to New Englandy or any combination of those, every day I dress like me.
Experience taught me that. It wasn’t dictated by a list someone else wrote or a news story; it can’t be taught, it can only be learned through living.
Susan Vollenweider lives in the Northland. To listen to the women’s history, or The Recappery media recap podcasts that she co-hosts and to read more of her writing visit www.thehistorychicks.com or www.susanvollenweider.com.