The Revelatory Wardrobe
by Bella Rum
She caught my eye in produce while fondling the avocados. Stalking her, I spotted her again in the dairy section, the frozen food section, and I saw her turn the corner as I entered the wine aisle. I told myself that if I should be so lucky as to run into her in the bakery, I would wrestle her to the ground and force her to divulge her fashion secrets.
An unlikely fashionista, she was round, slightly plump, only about yea high, and oh so fabulously dressed. I would estimate she was in her mid 60s. She had one of those slightly spiky doos. I say slightly because it was not over the top, but it had just enough edge to it. Even my unadventurous, conservative self liked it.
She wore a gorgeous, off-white sweater with an oversized cowl neck, and deeply cuffed sleeves. It was sumptuous, and stylish and even a little bulky. I would never have chosen it for my frame, and she was considerably rounder than I am. A colorful scarf draped around her neck, and her makeup was perfectly applied. She had taken time and care with her appearance that morning.
Even though she was short, she wore caramel pants with two-inch cuffs, and matching boots that were not bought only for service. She broke a lot of the rules (the rules that live in my head), and it looked smashing on her. I wanted to ask her to be my friend, and to mentor me in the art of personal style. I imagined shopping sprees and lunches and expert fashion advice over dessert. This gal ate dessert. Of course, she’d have to give me the nerve to carry through.
Don’t you admire women like that. They do as they wish, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it. This woman dressed for herself. In spite of the extra pounds, she looked healthy and happy, and oh lordy, didn’t she have style. I don’t know what was going on with her internal organs, but she looked like she had ample zest for life.
There was a time when I wore flowing, batik skirts, scarves around my waist, loopy earrings, multiple bracelets and strappy sandals. When we lived only a few short miles from Annapolis, I used to find them in a wonderful, little shop on Main Street. At some point, I went in a more conservative direction. Did I think I’d outgrown all those playful designs, that they couldn’t flatter a widening waistline or graying hair?
When did that happen? All I know is that those things are gone from my closet now, and a lot of blacks and neutrals have replaced them. A decade of fun, lighthearted style, all gone to Goodwill. Someone else is wearing them now, or maybe they’ve become curtains and tablecloths, or perhaps they’ve been torn into swatches and draped over small lamps that chase the darkness away form the corners of bedrooms. Where are my fun clothes today?
We watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel yesterday. It’s a simple movie with a big heart. You’ve probably seen it. We are always terribly behind on movies.
There was Judi Dench, traipsing around India in that comfortable, feminine, free-flowing style. It was an older lady’s version of my former wardrobe. There it was. There were no scarves tied around the waist this time, but draped around the neck of loose-fitting tunics instead, and the tunics were paired with comfortable, relaxed pants rather than swirl-worthy skirts. It was the senior version of my long-ago style.
That’s what I call a revelatory wardrobe; it reflects the insides of the wearer. My interior does not look like my current wardrobe. Methinks it’s time for a change.