Posted by Rhonda Temple

Forever 49?

“You don’t shop much anymore,” my husband said one day. Immediately, my mind became flooded with simultaneous thoughts, including:

Is that a complaint or a compliment?

Is it a hint? Is he suggesting that I’ve become boring and frumpy?

Is he trying to get me out of the house?

Why is he reminding me that I haven’t been spending money?  Is he ill?

These were just a few of the numerous questions that raced through my brain in roughly five seconds. I realized they all seemed negative, something my husband typically is not.  So I asked the obvious question: “What do you mean?”

“You don’t shop much anymore.”  he replied. Wait, did he actually mean only the words he was saying?

“No, not much,” I replied. “I usually can’t find what I’m looking for.” I continued (I always continue), “In my head I have a picture of my perfect wardrobe, but I just can’t find it. Other people (read:fashion designers) aren’t seeing what’s in my head. Imagine that!  I see a whole lot of almost-but-not-quites.”

Incredibly, he was still tuned in, so I continued explaining my fashion wants and woes.  They went like this:

  • I’m a grandma, but I don’t want to dress like one.
  • I’m not going to dress like my daughter and daughters-in-law; that’s creepy.
  • In addition to Forever 21, there needs to be a Forever 49 .
  • While it’s fine for the fashion world to be geared toward the young, those of us further down the road in life typically have more to spend on fashion.
  • I don’t like layering. Don’t make me layer. I’m lazy. One, maybe two pieces are all I can handle.
  • A little stretch is perfect. 100% spandex is not.
  • Cap sleeves are of the devil.
  • 3/4 sleeves are beautiful.
  • Boat necks, also beautiful.
  • Fitted garments are a must.
  • Tailored classic with a touch of something modern is a look I love.
  • Don’t make me buy another cardigan, shrug or -heaven forbid- a SHAWL. Sleeves are a necessity, and the right length is key.
  • That jersey, flimsy, printed fabric that most items are now are made of is overdone. And yes, it makes our butts look big.
  • Comfortable does not mean loose and peasant-y. Comfortable structure is possible!
  • A bit of a vintage flair is nice, but not so much that it moves into the costume category.
  • I want a wardrobe somewhere between teen/young adult and ill-fitted-grandma-ugly.

“So, what are you going to do about that?” my husband asked when I had finished.

“Complain?” That was the only answer that came to mind. “I’ve tried going to shops that cater to ‘my age.’  The vanity sizing is out of control, the garments are cut weird, and they have sparkly things on them.”

“So, what are you going to do about it?” he asked, again.

“I don’t sew,” I answered.  “I struggle with drawing a stick figure, so I can’t sketch what’s in my head.”

“There are people who  draw and sew who can help you,” he responded, adding, “You’re creative and you’ve got great taste” (told you he wasn’t negative).

“It’s easier to complain.” I thought aloud.

And so began my dress quest.