My gal pals are throwing one of those clothing parties where you bring all your wardrobe faux pas from the back of your closet, then display them so everyone else can laugh, er, covet something you own. You earn credit for what they select and use it to trade/barter for their items, at which point you basically go home with more stuff to sell in your next garage sale. Now, doesn’t that sound like loads of fun to you? Or maybe I’ll see what my oral surgeon is up to.
Instead I enlisted my local “couture expert” (my 16-year-old daughter) for help (doesn’t that sound like even MORE fun?) so I wouldn’t accidentally give away a high-fashion item — highly improbable since I don’t own any. As I caressed my stack of swatch watches, we both surveyed my closet contents until she broke the long, sad silence, “Well, how many points can you get for your hangers? At least they’re the nice, satin-padded kind.”
“Now wait just a Gloria Vanderbilt minute, Missy. What are you saying? That I have bad taste? That there’s nothing here anyone would possibly want?”
“Not necessarily. I hear they’re doing a Flashdance revival show on 5th Avenue,” she replied.
“Gotta get footloose!”
“Oh fine,” I said. “What about all those gorgeous shoes over there?”
“Those Espadrilles?” she wrinkled her nose. “Don’t you have any Stella McCartney’s or Yves Saint Laurent’s?” She took a deep breath, “And no Gucci? Armani? Louboutin? Balenciaga? Zanotti? Or how about just some Fiorentini?”
“Yes I agree — Italian sounds great! Let’s go out for fettuccini or linguini.”
“Mom,” she said exasperatingly, “Not even one Jason Wu or Jimmy Choo!?”
“Gesundheit dear and bless you. Must be all the dust in here,” I said absentmindedly. “And I’ll have you know on that rack behind those legwarmers, you’ll find footloads of Targetellas and a special designer pair of PaylessaLobotomy. Now I’m tired of this subject. All I really know about shoes is ‘there once was a little old woman who lived in one!’”
“Okay, okay, don’t get so touchy,” she grimaced, placing her hand on my thickly padded shoulder. “Let’s have a look at your skinny jeans. What brand name are they?”
“Ugh,” I responded.
“No, mom. Uggs are footwear again. Stay focused.”
“I meant Ugh, as in my only pair of skinny jeans exploded the last time I sneezed,” I confessed.
“Cash in on this fashion? I think not!”
“Alright, we’re not making much progress. Let’s take a peek at your belts.”
“If God wanted fruit to cinch their middles, he would’ve given ‘Granny Smith and Gala’ a waist,” I said, recalling Glamour magazine claiming I was an apple instead of a pear. I also read and discovered it’s best for me to stick with things that lightly graze my breasts, while skimming my hips and hugging my thighs. Kinda like the hungry, drunk guy at my last Super Bowl party.
“Alright, I can see my work here is nearly done.” My daughter impatiently tapped her Fendi heel, obviously eager to chalk this experience up to having a square mother who was beyond help and needed to get back to what she probably imagined was my boring record collection. “Let’s look at something even YOU can’t get wrong. Your aunt with the purse addiction always gives you a designer clutch for your birthday every year, right? So show me all your bags.”
“Do we have to point out my under-eye wrinkles at this very moment?” I grimaced.
“Yep. We’re sure getting closer to our goal,” she said exhaustedly, picking up my car keys. “We’ll continue this fun treasure hunt after I go pick up some Juicy Couture.”
“Okay, but take lots of napkins,” I shouted after her, “I don’t want you drooling or dripping on the driver’s seat.”
“Do as I say and not as I wear!”
My daughter continued to roll her eyes all the way to the clothing swap party the next night. But once there, she happily traded all her gently worn last year’s summer styles for brand-new (at least new to her) back-to-school designer duds. Meanwhile, I sat in the back of the room, played my 8-tracks, and held a bake sale where the money will soon benefit poor confused, fashion-challenged women who still Jazzercise, wear mood rings and sleep in waterbeds.
As for being a Fashionista? Let’s just say I’m scrutinizing consignment stores and am hopeful that next year at this time, I will be a Cheryl Tiegs lookalike model. A clothing designer? How about seated in the audience at a fashion show? Using the bathroom in the local Nordstroms? Okay, okay, I’ll settle for “coming out of my closet” with my head held nice and high — and that’s only because I will no longer be wearing those large, clunky, ’80s style earrings that currently weigh it down.
— Stephanie D. Lewis
Stephanie D. Lewis regularly contributes to Huffington Post as well as pens a humor blog, “Once Upon Your Prime” where she tries to “Live Happily Ever Laughter.” She also writes an ongoing “Female Fun” column for North County Woman Magazine called Razzle, Dazzle & Frazzle and was recently named one of 2014 Voices of the Year by BlogHer. Her 2008 book, Lullabies & Alibis, is the tale of marriage, motherhood, mistakes and madness. As a single mother of six, she knows a lot about the madness. She’s supervised potty training and driver’s training simultaneously. Too many accidents. A live-in housekeeper? Nah, she’ll take a live-in psychotherapist.