When clothing makes you look foolish

by - 6:20 AM

Part of the reason I like to sew is that I am very interested in the construction of clothing, the fit and the look or, what is often my case, the lack thereof.  I've had some clothing malfunctions as of late, not the Janet Jackson type, but more of the mis-buttoning kind.  

You know, it’s innocuous enough until I see myself in the mirror in the office bathroom, hours after being there, and realize my sweater buttons are off just one little button hole making me look like a six-year-old showing up for the first day of kindergarten rather than the professional I am.  First I wondered, “Holy Heck!  Didn't I look in the mirror before I rushed out the door this morning?”

And then, I wondered, “Holy Heck!  What was my desk mate, who sits directly across from me, thinking and why didn't they mention it?”

The second time I was at home, none of my three children noticed and again, neither had I until my husband lovingly slowed me down enough to fix it for me, all the while having just enough of a grin on his face to let me know how ridiculous I looked.  He’s had his own clothing malfunctions, such as forgetting to pack his shoes for work!   He wears cycling cleats on his daily bicycle commute to his office.  Imagine how professional you feel walking amongst your colleagues all day in socks! 

So, these aren't major malfunctions of course, but my daughter has them nearly every day, never really thinking how she appears to others in her badly fitting skinny jeans as she is just concerned about fitting in. I’d had seen more butt crack than I cared to from this “high-waisted” young lady and finally took matters into my own hands by stealing her handed-down collection of low-rise pants one school day and hiding them away.  The resulting door-slamming and wailing once she found out was bearable only due to the fact that she had me nearly faint with her naïve reply that boys “don’t look there” as I tried to appeal to her senses by pointing out that if I could see her bum then boys at school could! 

Realizing that her need to dress like everyone else was so great regardless of her body type, I tore into her drawers that morning before she was even down the front steps, I rationalized that conversation was reason enough for the secret stash that now filled my closet floor.

The details in clothing can make or break an outfit either for the lack of tending to them or not paying attention to how they matter on your own body like my daughter’s desire to wear trendy clothing whether it fits or not.  Perceptions can go awry for a multitude of reasons.  Once while working on the graphic production of a “spot-the-difference” game for an online game client I was given pre-approved photos to manipulate in Photoshop for players to find the differences.  One image I was working on happened to be of a wholesome, beautiful woman who was out for a hike and dressed in a tank top that revealed, what appeared to me to be a bit too much cleavage.  Thinking that the client had approved the shot and had knowledge of it, I covered up the cleavage making it look like there was more tank top than there really was, all the while thinking of my own wardrobe challenged household of teenagers and my constant reminders to “pick up your pants” or “you’re not wearing that are you?”  To my horror and the amusement of my workmates, the agency called our office flabbergasted after looking through all of the before and after photo pairs to inquire why the “artist would put cleavage in the shot”!  My attempts at covering up were perceived as taking it off, sometimes you just can’t win! 

Here’s a poem I wrote to celebrate a simple sewing “notion”, I love that sewing word it’s as fun as “sundries” and “haberdashery”.

Oh Button, Oh Button

No simple an invention, used daily without intention,
Can illicit so much anxiety at its malfunction.

When, with a simple touch and a POP, you are forced to stop,
Once in such a hurry, now only left with worry….

Was it the extra inches around your middle now so obviously exposed?
or the widening of your bosom which this dear friend strained to keep closed.

Winking at you as it flies through the air free of its binds at last!
Flinging itself way from its brothers and sisters…
you can almost hear it giggle,
while you wriggle,
into something else for the day.

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