By Deana Nall
Published December 7, 2005
I’m a woman without a home. Or at least a clothing department.
During one particularly frustrating shopping expedition Saturday, I found myself wandering in that no-woman’s land of identity-crisis fashion common to thirty-somethings such as myself.
Here’s our problem: We have nothing to wear. We can’t — or at least shouldn’t — shop in the Juniors section anymore. But most Misses departments don’t really do it for us, either. Somewhere, between low-rise jeans and Sag Harbor Christmas sweaters, there has to be a place for us.
I almost found it in a local department store last weekend. Drifting along in the Misses section, with all the other wistful-eyed women my age, I spotted a pair of pants.
This was no common pair of pants. They were black and made out of some kind of poofy, crepe-like material. I tried them on.
Standing in front of the mirror, I had one of those confusing dressing-room moments in which I rapidly went back and forth between “I look great!” and “I look like a Halloween decoration!”
I consulted my mother. She thought they weren’t bad. But then, she was there to buy me a Christmas sweater.
This can be a touchy subject. A lot of people love Christmas sweaters. You could be wearing one right now. I just think this type of thing is a personal matter and, personally, I gave them up years ago.
TLC’s “What Not to Wear” is what did it for me. This very informative show is hosted by fashion experts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. Stacy and Clinton gang up on some poor unsuspecting woman and basically tell her she couldn’t dress her way out of a paper bag. After they make her go through her closet and toss out her worst offenders, they load her up with cash and send her on a shopping spree to reinvent her wardrobe.
One of the big no-nos on “What Not to Wear” is the seasonal sweater. Stacy and Clinton believe that if you are older than say, 5 or so, you should not be walking around with Santa or the Easter Bunny emblazoned across your torso.
Now here’s the embarrassing part. I owned a Christmas sweater for some time. I bought it in my early 20s, when I was young and foolish. It gets worse. I wore a turtleneck under the sweater that was covered with little Christmas ornaments. I also had candy cane earrings. And socks that jingled. I was a walking Christmas card — the kind you stamp “RETURN TO SENDER” across before throwing it back into your mailbox.
Just now, while researching this painful topic, I did an Internet search for “ugly Christmas sweaters.” I found a discussion forum where people were posting pictures of their holiday fashion nightmares. And there it was. My Christmas sweater. The word “yikes!” doesn’t even come close.
I’m old enough to know that decisions we make in our youth have a way of coming back to haunt us. This sweater is doing a fine job of that.
So I just said no to the Christmas sweater last weekend. And the scary pants.
But I’m not giving up. I’m going shopping again this weekend. I don’t want to look festive, or 25, or 65. I just want something to wear.