Sunday, July 18, 2010

Act your age? Maybe not.

The other day I wore a new outfit to work. It consisted of this drapey lime green tunic over a white tank top and white leggings, white sandals, turqouise earrings, and a multistrand necklace of turquoise & green beads. I thought I looked quite fetching in this get-up, though it did occur to me that I might be pushing my luck as far as the store dress code goes.

I stopped at Higher Ground, the Starbucks-type coffee shop, for my iced skinny latte. An attractive man, about my age, was sitting at one of the tables outside the shop, and as I walked across the parking lot, I became aware that he was watching me. And why not? There isn't much else to watch from that spot except street traffic: an endless flow of pickup trucks.
As I got closer to the shop, I could see the expression on the man's face, and realized that he was not looking at me like I was a pickup truck. He was looking at me with interest...and possibly with appreciation. He gave me a little smile as I went into the shop. Not the usual all-purpose Southern "Howareyoo?" greeting, but (it seemed to me) a smile just for me.
Well, I felt like a movie star as I waited for my latte. It's amazing what a little admiration can do for your ego. The man was talking on his cell phone when I left the shop. The only other person who seemed to appreciate my appearance that day was one of my college-girl coworkers ("I like your outfit, Miss Jean"). A few hours into my shift, I caught sight of myself in one of the store mirrors and suddenly thought, "That man was probably thinking, 'Look at that old fool, dressed like a teenager.' I should just dress and act my age."
But maybe not. Surely I have paid my dues to the Appropriate Dress Society. I don't wear white until after Memorial Day. I wear a bra (plus outer clothes) when in public. I don't wear plunging necklines, Daisy Duke shorts, spike heels, tattoos or body jewelry other than earrings. I don't wear blue jeans to church, or a bikini at the beach. I'm 56 years old and am no longer very interested in what other people think of my clothing choices. So every now and then, I think I'm entitled to dress like a girl 30-40 years younger than me. There is still a girl that age somewhere inside me, and she's delighted that I'm thin enough now to take more wardrobe risks.

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