Frump City

The mirror is definitely not my best friend these days. With great dismay, I feel myself drifting across that invisible line into OL-ism. Perhaps it's the elastic waist pants I've come to favor, taking great pains to conceal the waist band by layering blouses over T-shirts. Or maybe it's my hair, which seems bent on misbehaving badly in the Florida humidity, turning my usual soft waves into unmanageable frizzy curls. My skin looks unhealthily pale amidst the sunshine and bright colors of the tropics, and my makeup seems fruitless in its quest to conceal an ever growing numbers of lines and creases. I don't consider myself terribly vain about my appearance, and although I like to dress stylishly, I'm not a trend fiend. I generally buy a couple of nice pieces a year, at Talbots or Coldwater Creek, and the rest of my clothes are pretty casual pants and sweaters which suit me for work and for leisure activities.

But in the past few years, it's become more difficult to stay current without looking ridiculous. The new "baby doll" tops are a case in point. I wore that very same style in the late 60's when I was a tiny waisted teenager. The effect now is simply not the same. I merely look like exactly what I am - a slightly puffy middle aged woman trying to appear stylish. Sad.

A while ago I saw an elderly woman ( a real OL!) tottering through the airport in spike heels, tight black low rise pants, and a fake fur jacket. My god, I thought, spare me from ever being so foolish! At least elastic waist pants don't send everyone around me into fits of derisive laughter.

Nevertheless, especially when I'm here in Southwest Florida, a land of beautiful people wearing very expensive clothes, I feel especially old and out of date. I haven't updated my Florida wardrobe in a few years, and it's in desperate need of revitalizing. I simply must have one or two outfits to wear downtown for dinner at Bistro 821 or lunch on the patio at Campiello's. But I dread the whole shopping experience, which just serves to make me feel frumpier than I already do.

Alternatively, I could just stay home, which becomes ever more appealing as the crowds and traffic thicken for the "season." Then I can be comfy in my old (elastic waist) Capri's or the soft, flowy cotton sundresses my daughter-in-law brings back from Thailand.

Besides, frumpy feels better than fashionable anyway.