Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why I Am No Longer Fashionable

I was always a skinny-Minnie until I stopped smoking, and then I packed on the pounds, so badly that I went from a six to a ten without ever stopping at an eight. Yikes! This happened after I moved to Boston where fashion is a dirty word. Oh, I know. The local newspapers like to tell us we really are stylish, honest, truly, but anyone who drives I-95 South to the Big Apple understands that The Big Apple is the Big Apple, and that Beantown, is, well, Beantown.

In my skinny days, I was terribly fashionable. Jax, Saks, Anne Klein, Jaeger. You name it. My god, I had a Gucci tennis outfit, purchased in Florence. So gaining weight put a huge crimp in my fashionableness, and in addition, I became older, and when I looked at the ads, they sure as hell didn’t show me. They showed anorexic twenty year olds. The clothes didn’t look like anything I could wear to the office or to dinner or to my writing group or even to the theater. In Boston that is.

So I became unfashionable, and from time to time I still stick my nose into Vogue or The New York Times Style section, but those clothes don’t belong in Boston. Cambridge is the worst dressed town in the world. We are talking serious tacky. You can wear the most god-awful getups in Cambridge and no one will look askance. No one will even look.

Boston proper is nearly as bad. A couple years ago I decided to buy a brown or camel jacket. We make an appearance at symphony hall a few times a year, and I noticed many nice wool blazers there in the winter months. So I hie myself to Nordstrom’s and wander around the department where women’s jackets can be found. Cripes, there wasn’t a wool blazer in sight except as part of a suit. Then it dawned on me. The matrons of Boston wore their eight-ten year old wool blazers to the symphony just like I did. I bought a cool non-tailored jacket and have received beaucoup compliments. And I’m the most stylish person at the Handel & Haydn performance. But that’s not saying much.

I never really worked anywhere in the Boston area where women were fashionably dressed. We already mentioned Cambridge. Writers are notoriously poor dressers. In Boston, anyway. When we go out to dinner in the suburbs, everyone wears jeans and sweaters. No fashion there. So I don’t even SEE any fashion to emulate. It’s sad. And then I go to New York and Zowie! Where did all these skinny, cool-looking women come from?

Sometimes coming back from the symphony we are on the same subway cars as the young girls coming into town to go to dance clubs or whatever. Slinky tops and jeans. I could do that, but sometimes you don’t wanna dress down two generations. It’s just not the same.

When we were in Paris two years ago, I did all right, but the Parisian women were stylishly dressed, all in black--the shoes, the coats, the dresses. Très faconnable! Where do women even buy that stuff? Nonetheless, I looked suave having lunch at the museum. See photo.

Now I’m resigned to looking only slightly better than someone going out to wash the car. But I never wear sneakers on Newbury Street. Some standards have to be upheld.

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