I spent much of my younger life dressed as mutton not lamb. Bringing home new clothes and showing them to the Captain, he’d say, ‘Lovely darling, but why don’t you buy something younger looking and more, well, you?’
In my first proper job we had to wear business attire, preferably a suit. This look worked surprisingly well when accessorised with 4-inch heels. With the arrival of children I dressed how I thought a mature and responsible mother should do, ie. bland, boring, and inoffensive. Not a high heel in sight. Think Princess Diana before she got into her groove.
As I’ve got older I’m more tempted to screw what I ought to wear and go for what I like.
Not as easy as you think. Most stores seem to cater for our daughters – you look great but the face doesn’t fit, or our moms – nofurther comment necessary. And whilst I’d love to swan around in designer clothes the practicalities of dog slobber and dog hairs makes that a no-no except on special occasions.
Day to day wear now is jeans. After 10 years in New Orleans when wearing jeans in temperatures below 80*F happened maybe a week or two a year, I’m enjoying being in a four season climate again and wearing sweaters and – yay – jeans.
So today, excited by an express shipment from the UK I tried on my new jeans in front of the bedroom mirror – one of those awful ones that seem to add at least 10 lbs – and stared at my reflection in dismay.
I’d had a discussion recently with my son Harry about mothers wearing what he scathingly referred to as ‘mom jeans’. I’d assumed he meant they were the wrong label or leg cut. I hadn’t expected the answer I got when I asked him to explain what he meant.
‘Well, you know, the waist on the jeans is too high and the pockets on the back are too low.’ I’d snorted in derision and the conversation had stopped right there.
Now looking at my reflected gluteus maximus in fascination I understood what he meant. The pockets were lower than they would have been on perfectly pert buttocks so I’d have to oik them up for the perfect fit.
To do that, and move, I was going to have to spend the day totally rigid, breathing in and walking like C3PO rather than Kate Moss. I knew from experience that a larger size would be too baggy on the legs. Oh shoot, they would have to go back.
Feeling queasy and faint, due to the tight waistband, I decided to go find Harry and ask his opinion. Sixteen, and brutally honest he had, on one memorable occasion and without prompting, uttered the words, ‘Mum, I really wouldn’t go out of the house dressed like that if I were you.’ I figured he could be trusted to tell me the truth.
He was in the kitchen ears plugged into his Mac book.
‘Harry, what do you think of these jeans? Honestly.’ He pressed pause on the keypad, looked me up and down, and then nodded slowly with the due gravitas the situation demanded.
‘Mom they’re fine.’ I’m stunned. Where’s the brutal honesty? The esteem-shrivelling blow?
‘What – even the pockets?’
‘Yeh, honestly. Why would I lie? You know I’d tell you if you didn’t look right. I’d hardly want you walking around in public like a total embarrassment. You really need to get over yourself,’ he grinned and I realised he was being straight.
Surprised and, I have to admit, a tad pleased, I went and stood with my back to the mirror, straining my head over my shoulder trying to get a clearer view of my tightly packaged rear. Not so bad as I thought. Harry’s right, sometimes we need to get over ourselves and have fun with what we wear.
The jeans are staying.