Perhaps the current styles in women’s clothing aren’t really any more ridiculous than the styles of last year or last decade. Having spent more time than usual in the mall over the past couple of weeks, however, I have my doubts.
We do, at least, seem to be moving away from the stomping-bugs-in-the-corner pointed shoes of the last few years. That would be a good thing, except that they are being replaced by shoes with rounded toes but three- or four-inch heels. The new ones may not be quite as ugly, but they aren’t any easier to walk in.
Then there is the "layered look." One is apparently supposed to wear sweaters over tank tops over short skirts, narrow pants, or leggings. This layering can be done with either long, skinny sweaters or sweaters that stop several inches above the waist. These abbreviated sweaters make no sense to me. I do understand the need to show off one’s belly-button piercings. Still, the whole point of wearing a sweater, which I have always naively imagined to be warmth, seems negated when said garment doesn’t come close to covering one’s tummy.
The layered look, of course, solves this problem with a long tank top that hangs out beneath the sweater. This provides just the right air of sophistication—the same look one might achieve by borrowing from the closet of a small child or wearing a hand-knit sweater from one’s grandmother even though she ran out of yarn before she got it finished.
To some people, the solution is simple and obvious. If you don’t like the look, don’t buy the clothes.
Most of those people are male. The average guy—even the above-average guy—can’t understand why women allow themselves to be such slaves to fashion. They have a point. There are certainly women who seem determined to be fashionable, no matter how awful they may look in the process.
Most of us, however, resist the most extreme styles. We would agree wholeheartedly with the strategy of, "if you don’t like it, don’t buy it." Our preference is to buy more classic styles and stick with them.
There’s just one problem with that approach. It’s finding those classic styles.
For example, I need a new pair of jeans. For the last month, I’ve been trying to find some—ordinary, inexpensive, dark blue, boot-cut jeans, with the waistband located somewhere in the vicinity of my actual waist. It shouldn’t be that hard.
This is what I’ve found in the stores: Low-cut jeans designed for skinny teenagers—not a good choice for those of us whose navel enhancements are stretch marks instead of belly-button ornaments. "Relaxed-fit" jeans that are way too loose. Stretch jeans that are way too tight. "Distressed" jeans that are half worn out—some complete with patches—and look worse than the ragged ones I need to replace. And everywhere, jeans so narrow at the ankle that you almost have to be Cinderella just to get your feet through the openings.
The gods and goddesses of fashion have spoken. These are the jeans that are "in." The stores bow in reverent obedience and order these jeans. And lonely heretics like me wander in the wilderness, hoping to find a stray pair of last year’s pants that might accidentally fit the way I want them to.
I do have one hope left. In January, we’re making a trip to the Southwest. On the way down, we’ll stop at Sidney, Nebraska—the home of Cabela’s, the outdoor outfitters. Maybe, just maybe, I can find a pair of real jeans.
If not, I may have to give up and embrace the newest look of skinny jeans. Or maybe I’ll just go all the way and opt for leggings. They do have leggings at Cabela’s. They just call them "long underwear."
I wonder. Do you suppose one of the "in" colors this year will be camouflage?
As I was reading your last column, and you made reference “distresed” jeans. This reminded me of the sale I made once a few years ago. We saw a pickup with a camper in K Mart parking lot in Yankton, SD. A man was buying used Levi jeans, and he was paying all the way from $4.00 to $20.00 each,but he wanted the button fly only. We just happened to have great pile of them, out in a shed that was a haven for Ginny’s many cats. She had my old, ragged Levi’s in boxes. I brought them to the man and went away from there with $145.00. The cats left the farm shortly after we did. They didn’t need the Levi’s any more either. I wonder what the people would have thought, had they known they were wearing cat’s bedding.