I used to love fall fashion. I know it’s hard to believe, but there was a time when I looked forward to a copy of Vogue arriving in the mail with the same excitement that is now reserved for Backyard Poultry.
Those were the days. The days before Anna Wintour’s haircut became boring and before I became a woman of a certain age…and size.
All the cute young things this fall are wearing leather leggings, stilettos and biker-cut boots. More power to them – damn, that looks like fun! But when your age is six or seven times your shoe size, it’s not really a look you can pull off without alienating most of your family members.
Which, I guess, is how, somewhere along the line, dress-for-success gave way for me to what I charitably refer to as pajama-day chic. Once you reach an age where you have to cover your knees and cover your arms in order to not terrify onlookers, fashion kind of stops being fun. And with winter fast approaching, I figure no one will really see me with such a few hours of daylight; let’s see what we can get away with.
I know I’ve gone too far on the days when I’ve showered and dressed, yet the CE gently asks me around 2 pm whether I’m going to get cleaned up for the day. But I’m learning to game it just short of humiliation, and for all you out there who have the courage to follow me down the road to fashion ruin, here are some of my favorites.
1. Ponte, a nice word for polyester
Polyester, that fabric from hell, is no longer the devil now that it’s been whipped up in a rayon/spandex blend called ponte. If, like me, you have body parts that might be better covered with a drop cloth than clothing, ponte is for you. It flatters, it gives and it’s great for traveling.
Eileen Fisher makes a great ponte pant. Not cheap at $200+ but the quality is there and her vanity sizing spares one all kinds of humiliation. You can get a slightly less fashionable but more affordable fit in similar pants at J. Jill for $79. Another source, surprisingly, is the Boston Proper catalog. Just skip past all the cleavage-baring pages and you’ll find their very affordable travel collection of ponte separates.
2. Comfort brands
I have a cotton knit skirt from three dots that has seen me through thin and, more recently, thick. Did I mention the expanding waistline? Simple but flattering construction. And the Splendid line has a similar talent for good quality cotton knit and is a great resource for tops that you will wear over and over.
3. It’s the little things that matter
Two words: Plush Apparel. I hesitantly ordered a pair of “fleece-lined socks” from this brand, expecting something suitably warm but probably too bulky to use for anything but chicken-coop-cleaning-wear. I was wrong! They’ve figured an ingenious way to combine micro-fleece with a slim profile and the result is comfort to the nth power.
Two more words: Enza Costa. Sounds like a glamorous Italian designer, but for all I know, it’s the brain child of some shlubby guy in Brooklyn. I don’t care. I am addicted to their dreamy featherweight tank tops. Not cheap at $66 a pop but they last forever. You can find their line of tees at Shopbop.com
One last thing to note: it ain’t cheap to look this bad. But sometimes it’s worth the sticker shock. I have a sweatshirt from Christina Lehr that cost a small fortune. But I will probably be buried in it because I wear it every day. Well, that or the pricey, worn, tattered holes-in-the-arms Allude and Repeat sweaters that I can’t seem to let go of. Expensive but worth it.
Someday, leather leggings will have gone the way of the Juicy velour tracksuit and Anna Wintour will change her hairstyle. In the meantime, I’ll be cozy here with the chickens in my latest unfashionable discovery: as horrifying as it sounds, someone has found a way to adapt the “Snuggee” for daywear. The company is called Lole and the item is a fleece hoodie dress. Almost as snuggly as a snuggee. You’re welcome!