Things Alma Can’t Wear

Oh joy. Jumpsuits are back in style. Yet another thing to steer clear of this fashion season. I should have known they would reemerge, since we also have maxi-skirts (at least worn with flats, this time around, not 4″ platform sandals or spiked heels), maxi-dresses, and peasant-look stuff again. Yes, the 1960s are still around, leaning into the 1970s. I’m waiting for the leisure suit and Nehru jackets to slouch down the designers’ runways next.

I don’t do jumpsuits. I remember them, and *shudder* rompers.

If you were slender, and cute, and either very fair or very dark, you could do this.

If you were slender, and cute, and either very fair or very dark, you could do this.

Aside from the dangers of short, round people in large floral prints (the one above is very small compared to some I recall), the logistics of using the ladies’ lounge made rompers (and jumpsuits) low on my fashion list. Yes, I wore flight suits and work-coveralls. Yes, I can keep one clean while using an airshow port-a-let. No, I don’t wear them now, even if they are the height of fashion and convenience.

Your humble author's sort of thing.

Your humble author’s sort of thing.

Another Alma-Won’t-Wear-That must-have from the late 1980s was the peplum variant of the prairie dress. These were floral dresses with a ruffle on the hip. And I don’t mean as part of the jacket and thus nicely covering one’s asset. Oh no, I mean a ruffle on the rather straight skirt Right There. And then there were the unfortunate coincidences of peplum ruffle and a large floral print. Imagine peony blossoms on one’s posterior, with a ruffle to attract the eye. NO.

Lower the peplum just an inch or so, so it hits at the widest part of the hip, and you will see the problem.

Lower the peplum just an inch or so, so it hits at the widest part of the hip, and you will see the problem.

Miniskirts are also a no for Alma, as much for logistics as because I know what my lower half looks like but no one else needs to, thank you. The Panhandle is known for high winds. In order to wear a miniskirt that allows me to get into the pick-up without needing to repair a seam when I get out, that means a loose, ruffly skirt. High winds plus shirt, loose, ruffly skirts equals a serious loss of dignity, even if one wears tights under said skirt. Plus women of a Certain Age should not wear short skirts, in my opinion.

If you are starting to get the sense that I try to dress with a certain amount of room to move, and perhaps an eye for the worst-possible-moment, you’re right. I’ve been bitten in the posterior by clothes a few too many times. Like . . . a snug skirt-suit that kept me from getting in and out of cars? At least the sales lady realized instantly that a compromise was needed and found an A-line skirt that looked as if it belonged with the jacket. Drop-waist trousers? Not when I can’t bend over without simulating the “plumber’s moon.” Weskit blouse? Not after I raise my arm as if I’m writing on the board and the world sees my belly button. Chinese-style dress? Sorry, if I get one large enough not to rip in certain places, I might as well be wearing a mu-mu. Sheath dress? Same problem, but worse because I must have sleeves. Sleeves are non-negotiable, and I want them on the dress as well as on the jacket. Is it labeled “skinny” or “slim fit?” If so, it won’t be in my closet.

I also learned the hard way that pink gingham with white eyelet trim is not Alma. A dear, very sweet relative bought me a very cute dress in a cut that I usually could wear without difficulty. Alas, the material was a lovely pink gingham, very, very pink. The trim on the short sleeves, neckline, and in two rows above and on the bottom hem was white eyelet. Maybe if I’d been the same Alma I was at 8 or 10, but not the age 18 Alma. It looked good on me, but I don’t have a pink-gingham-with-white-eyelet personality. I wore it two or three times and gave it to someone who loved it and wore it well.

Add short sleeves, make the neckline a little more square, and trim on the bottom hem and you have The Dress.

Add short sleeves, make the neckline a little more square, and trim on the bottom hem and you have The Dress.

I’d love to wear the old Jessica Mclintock and Gunne Sax dresses again, if they didn’t look quite so 1980s. And if the ones I found didn’t all seem to be size 0 or 4. I’ll stick with my German-Austrian suits and Victorian-inspired skirts, thanks.

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3 thoughts on “Things Alma Can’t Wear

  1. Sounds like you’d also enjoy the 40’s and 50’s clothing that is having a minor revival among the young over here in the central eastern coast. Swing dancing is becoming more and more popular, with styles to match.

    My daughter loved watching The Murdoch Mysteries, just to sigh over some of the women’s dresses in the show.

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