Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tight Squeeze With Skinny Jeans

     Can older women wear skinny jeans?” asked the headline on a fashion Q&A article in the newspaper. No way this “older” woman reader could turn the page on that kind of tease.

      One of my walking partners, in her late 60s only wears colorful skinny jeans. I'd like to hear your opinion and general consensus,” wrote the inquirer. (I’m not making that up about the walking partner—that’s what it said!) I scanned quickly for the verdict and found, more or less, what I had hoped for: A cautious warning from the fashion advisor.

       I breathed a sigh of relief. Frankly, all these high fashion skinny jeans in eye-popping shades of lemon yellow, bright coral, or lime green, scare me. My personal dress code leans toward the benevolent billows of Eileen Fisher or J. Jill. Mature looks, I suppose one could say. Yet, I’d like to think I haven’t entirely turned my back on fashion. And there was a hint of encouragement in the Q&A. Chosen carefully, the advisor said, skinny jeans could lend a youthful look to an aging wardrobe.

       So, I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me to find myself in a dressing room, surrounded by half a dozen “skinny jeans.”  Plain denim hues—no orange or turquoise—but jeans unlike the Levis I used to wear. At the urging of two fashion-forward friends, I pulled on pants that hugged my frame with lycra.

       “Cute,” they assured me.
       “Cute,” agreed the sales clerk, a woman of maturity herself.
         At home, I carried my purchase into the bedroom and tried the jeans again. I needed to reassess this unfamiliar look and pair it with items in my closet. I tried on sweaters, and linen blouses. Boots and sandals. I turned from side to side and cocked my head in front of the full-length mirror. I rolled the hems up, and then turned them down. I sucked my stomach in.  
        With half of my closet strewn across the bed, I took a long look at myself. Why on earth, I asked, would I buy an item of clothing that I end up hiding under long shirts and tall boots? Why would I spend money on something that makes me feel bad about my body?
       The trendy jeans went back to the store. Immediately I began to feel lighter. Maybe even younger., savoring the comfort in releasing a form-hugging pinch to my ego.  

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