Monday, October 17, 2011

Out of my Closet

I used to joke that when I retired I was going to wear nothing but flat shoes and expandable waistbands. But when I quit working, I still liked the way I looked in high-heeled shoes. And elastic waistbands feel so frumpy.

But the stroke has given rise to this once comic version of myself. Waistbands with buttons and zippers are just too fiddly. And my week ankle requires the stability of a flat, solid shoe. The stroke has speeded me toward that moment in all our lives when we realize we are no longer attractive in that particular way that might cause someone to take notice of us across a room.

I can see the upside to facing this moment a little early in life. There is no danger that I will become "mutton dressed as lamb." But more than that, there is the relief of stopping the pretense … of easing the unreasonable demands I made on my body: "Well, if I hold my belly in, these don't look so bad." Or, “I can wear these shoes if I don't have to walk too far."

Recently a friend helped me clean out my closet. Goodbye high-heeled shoes and strapless sandals! Goodbye 501 jeans with the button-up fly and the unforgiving waistband! From now on style will be sacrificed to convenience and comfort. Who knows what I might do with the space in my brain that I free from focusing on my own reflection?


  1. Hi Marcelle, I struggle with this every day. My legs look GREAT in high heels and I am much more attractive in short skirts than flannel pants. This past weekend, a friend and I went through my shoes and pulled out all the ones I would be unlikely to wear again. Then we asked my daughter to go through the box and she pulled out two pairs to keep - she's 23 and very fashion-conscious, so I guess pre-stroke, my shoes were stylish/ahead-their-time without me even knowing it.

    Several years ago I was at dinner with a college friend - my first-year roommate - and we both bemoaned that, on turning 50, we no longer turned heads. She, of course, is still gorgeous, but has always attracted more attention than I did. Our husbands belittled our desire to attract admiring looks, so I concluded it was a phenomenon restricted to women; obviously we are too vain to ever be happy with ourselves. How sad.

  2. "so I concluded it was a phenomenon restricted to women"
    Hiya, I'm afraid not, when alopecia totalis robbed me of my big head of hair (at 40) and left my eye brows and lashes bare I hid behind dark glasses. I once attracted attention but have slowly got used to a certain invisibility. many hard lessons have been learnt over the years but there's still a long way to go! love joe x

  3. Candice Bergen who is gorgeous announced at 50 that she was only going to wear flat shoes. She said she had suffered enough for beauty. Hollywood directors make her wear high heels but walking through a brief TV or movie scene isn't the same thing as wearing high heels all evening.

  4. I guess y'all are better at this acceptance thing. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep my "cute" shoes on my feet. I also wore lace up shoes for months, but at about 9 months I thought I could return to style...only to find out my left shoe falls off with every step. It really irritates me, but i am not ready to give up style completly so I told my husband I needed all new shoes with straps....just havn't had the time or energy for shopping.

  5. No real change in my wardrobe choices. My work wardrobe consisted of rubber soled runners, jeans, t-shirts and a lab coat done up over top.

    I usually had one decent nicer outfit for going to concerts or weddings. My church is not a dressing up kind of church and my recreational activities were camping, hiking, and activities with my kids so I had no dress up clothes for any of that either.

    Basically the big change was from cheap regular runners to velcro close runners for a couple years, and now to sturdy mens' style lace-up walking shoes, and boots that can grip ice better.

    My weight has always been high so sadly I am used to elastic waist pants...

    1. My work wardrobe consisted of rubber soled runners, jeans, t-shirts and a lab coat done up over top.

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