Monday, September 14, 2009

The Capitulation Wardrobe

7:15 a.m. and already at my desk.  But with a feeling of great accomplishment, which is amazing for a Monday morning. When Mr. Simone B. is traveling, which he often is, I am up and at 'em early and against my will. But up I am, the kids are ready to go and gone, a load of laundry is in the machine, the dishwasher is empty and everything is quiet. I sit here with my first can of the day in my hideous Monopoly pajamas and contemplate the day. And with that, of course, is the question of what to wear.

Those who have actually seen me probably marvel at the fact that this actually requires some thought. I have seasonal uniforms and rarely veer from them. And, shockingly, it involves a t-shirt and jeans. In cool weather, there is a v-neck sweater and a pashmina added. The shoes are the wild card--boots from Fall to Spring, flip flops for the summer, and my Chuck Taylors interspersed. When I look at the 8th graders at my kids' school, and realize I dress almost exactly like them, the question of whether this is appropriate dress does cross my mind. I do know that I need to address the issue of "dressing my age", whatever that means, but part of this stubborn dress code is my fear of the Capitulation Wardrobe. The moment when I don't care what I wear and I've given up. The moment I look middle aged. The day that I shop at Chico's.

This is in no way meant to malign Chico's or the lovely women who shop there. But Chico's is my personal point of capitulation. The minute I look at rectangular linen jumpers, square cardigan sweaters and quirky earrings as my new uniform is the day I will have moved into middle age and beyond. The day I dress STRICTLY for comfort, as I did when I had babies, is the day I know that Naot sandals and Vera Bradley purses/publicly carried toiletry bags are close at hand, as are bad, short haircuts and going gray. That will be my official, personal, expiration date. Simone goes bad, like an old carton of milk.

My BFF had an intervention in order to stave off the Capitulation. Her husband put the kibosh on her denim overalls. Yes, she is busy, and yes she is a mom (the arguments she used in her defense) but she also happens to be an absolutely gorgeous woman who had stopped looking at herself in the mirror. Somehow, he wrestled her away from her urban farmer attire and saved her. He risked his own hide for that, but then BFF's husband is unusual that way. He actually notices what she wears, and complains when her jeans are too loose. True love!!

And then there are those that never Capitulate, because the Capitulation Wardrobe IS and has ALWAYS BEEN their uniform. If you have been wearing slacks, walking shoes, carrying a "handbag" and have had the same haircut for years, you have been living on the dark side for so long it feels like home. But these things are, and have always been, WRONG and you should not do them!  Style has morphed into habit, and a habit, unless it comes in a frosty red and silver can, is a bad thing.  A recurrent, often unconscious, pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition is NOT the way life should be. That is something I have come to realize and embrace in my forties. And if my way of not capitulating is to wear a Nirvana t-shirt or a pair of jeans that do not make my ass look huge, then so be it. So be it.

1 comment:

  1. I am inspired. Not just by your sassy 8th grader style (I mean that in a GOOD way) but for your plea for non-capitulation. I must, at some point, go through my drawers and closets and ferret out a few rectangular sweaters from J.Jill and Eileen Fisher, for therein will lie my salvation.