Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Putting The Skirt Before The Horse

I am seriously skirt-impaired. It could be the lousy weather and a longing for spring, but I am so sick of wearing the same old clothes. The other day a package came and I answered the door in horrific sweatpants, striped socks, clogs and a pilled ratty sweater. The only boost to my self-esteem for allowing the delivery man to see me this way was that he mistook me for a French person. Not that you’ll see many self-respecting French women actually out in public looking like that - they leave slobby dressing to the expats.

But back to the skirt. I have gained about ten pounds since I moved here. Not the end of the world and though I did try to stop eating butter, cheese and bread I decided I’m willing to accept a little extra weight rather than forego some of the greatest pleasures of being in France.

Most of my clothes don't fit anymore. And some of those skirts were looking a little too short anyway. I’m all for hanging onto whatever youthful accoutrements you can, as long as you can, and I seriously dislike those “age-appropriate” articles you always see in women’s magazines. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth still looks great in bare legs and a short skirt. But I feel less and less like that’s right for me and so I’ve been searching high and low for a simple, just above the knee but not mid-thigh a-line skirt, possibly with buttons down the front. Nothing pleated, nothing gathered, no asymmetrical hems or bulging pockets. I cannot find the skirt of my dreams. Even when I come sort of close, it’s too expensive.

I tried eBay and outbid someone to pay a whopping 7 euros for a skirt which is too big, too long and generally better suited for camping under. I know I can do better than that.

So I scroll through these embarrassingly-named websites (net-a-porter, shopbop, etc.) and it has become my equivalent of window-shopping.

It occurs to me I’m looking for more than a skirt. I’m searching for some new version of myself and it becomes a preoccupation. I start to wonder if I’m living entirely in my imagination, seeing myself in the clothes that fit a life I don’t actually have but don’t want to admit it. The option of giving up is seriously tempting out in the country, as days go by where the only outside activity is a walk through the rain to the supermarket.

Just like my 12 year old niece plays endlessly on Stardoll, dressing her favorite stars in whatever haircolor, boots and eyeliner seems right and then changing it all with a click, I'm mentally putting on this top, that jacket, that skirt, to see who exactly it is I could become. If only I had the money. And somewhere to go.

But maybe if I had the skirt...

7 comments:

Rosie said...

God dont I know the sweat pants and old sweatshirt scenario. I am constantly frightening the postman Sometimes I get to dress up a bit when I take the computer in to be mended...
It's shoes that I miss. I cant wear them in the mud out here, its walking boots or the ruination of those shiny pumps....aargh

Norma said...

Just thinking about butter, cheese and bread seems to put 10 pounds on me these days - that plus winter plus the sedentary life of an academic. The old punk rock jeans and t-shirt (long or short-sleeve depending upon the season) look works for me - although the jeans are increasingly the "relaxed" cut. Ick.

amy said...

I know, Rosie - it's impossible to wear anything but rugged shoes what with the mud and the charming cobblestones!

What about that bike, Norma? It must be tough going in the Canadian winters.

Michele said...

Amy,

You crack me up (I came to you via my site. You left a nice comment.) I laughed that you liked being mistaken for French. I can relate. I was mistaken once in Paris, but they were tourists, so...

I'll have to keep reading and find out where you are. My mom also lives in France also.

Sherry ~ Cherie ~ ms. herbes de provence said...

You write for my life -- the quest for the perfect skirt -- the idea of who we want to be? Yes, I buy into that idea....sorry about the tent you bought!! I love, love, love how you write -- it always makes me smile! Happy skirt hunting! And oh yes..we've got to get out of these drab clothes--NOW!!!

Le Tigre said...

You're right about Kim Gordon. She's looking amazing these days. Maybe it's being with Thurston Moore, the man who does not seem to age a day?

Anonymous said...

amy, what you need is etsy.com. There are dozens of seamstresses there, plenty of people who will take your measurements and make you what you want. they may even be in europe already.