Why Do You Dress Like That?

Wifesy and I have one particular on-going brawl that all started with a “Grandma” sweater.  I’m a pretty snappy dresser, but I will admit, I like a grandma sweater or two.  I’m sorry, but I really like those Irish / Scottish sweaters that look like St. Patrick himself just took a fine razor to a lamb out the backyard of the church.

You know them, they look like this…

I love these warm, wooly, things.  They remind me of hot tea and beer and warm duvets, while the wind blows over the crags.  I like these memories.

But, Wifesy hates the “Granny” sweaters as she calls them.  I also have a particular shirt or two that she despises.  She thinks they look too ‘old’ and I get it, but on the other hand we ARE old.  And every now and again, I like my old-looking things.

I like to think of my personal style as, “corporate punk.”  This is a term that I have coined and it means wearing a power suit with some spiky heels and a leather jacket.  Something like that.  Or a trouser pant with a mean boot and a ruffled shirt.  I like contrasts.  I like the ultra-femmy with a touch of the masculine.

But, alas, I’ve got me some curves.  So, I have to find just the right mix of funky and cover-me-up and it is a struggle.  If I’m even one degree off, I go right into “soccer mom”  territory.  It’s amazing to me that – here – in America, we still can’t get our cute womens’ clothing cut in a bigger feckin’ size.  It’s like a conspiracy – a conspiracy causing us to hate ourselves.

I digress.  What I’m trying to say is that I think personal style needs to develop and grow over time.  Your style should grow with you, so to speak.  I remember as a little kid, when my parents had very little money, I fantasized about how I would dress as an adult.  Amazingly, I think I’ve mostly accomplished it.  I also used to daydream about my adult ‘rooms.’  Because when you’re a kid, you don’t realize that you’ll have apartments and houses, you only think of how you would re-model your room if given every possibility.  I always pictured Michael J. Fox’s room from the original Back to the Future while growing up.  Yep, that was my ultimate goal room.  In the opening of the film, right before Michael skateboards to school (another longing of mine) the camera lingers on the star’s adolescent room.  There’s a big bed, posters everywhere, a bit of a mess, and one of those old digital alarm clocks.  There were guitars and skateboards, as I remember it.

I had one of these forever… It has only now been replaced by my phone.

I wanted my room to be like that.  Oddly, I sometimes feel I have the adult equivalent, only in a loft space and a bit more girly.

But, you can also get stuck in a decade.  I remember watching a talk show, once, where they talked about people who dressed only from a certain time period.  The show hypothesized that people most often got stuck when that decade was their most successful one.  For example, if you were really successful in the 80’s, you may never get out of your “members only” jackets and parachute pants.  It reminds me of a writing teacher of mine.  He wore converse sneakers AND cargo pants.  He was a lovely guy, but he always looked like an aging “greaser” to me.  He seemed as if he was waiting for his ‘gang’ to get out of high school and he was like 65 years of age.  It’s not that you can’t wear cool clothes when you’re older.  It’s that you need to pick and choose.  Maybe a grandma sweater here and there, along with your cool jeans and boots.  Or maybe keep the converse sneaks, but wear ‘em with an age appropriate blazer.  I’m not sure, I’m not an expert, but I know it when I see it.  With age comes the fact that you must grow and change, even when it comes to your wardrobe.

Now, the other day, when I posted all of my gay pride pics there was a commenter who said something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing), “Why must they dress like that?”  The comment wasn’t mean, just sort of curious, which brings me to…

Style as self expression.

I DO believe that during a gay pride parade, gay men dress as flamboyant as possible as a form of protest.  It’s a bit “in your face” on purpose.  The point is to say, “here’s your worst fear…” now enjoy an entire parade of it, bare ass and all.  Because we’re here (gay people) and we’re not going anywhere.  That makes sense to me.  Now, of course, most of the flamboyant parade marchers have jobs.  Jobs in which people may not even know they are gay.  My guess is that they don’t dress to go to work in ass-less chaps or it would be a bit of an HR issue.  So, I think to dress like a wild, gay, maniac or angel or fairy or priestess, a couple of times a year, is perfectly appropriate.

I think we have to let people express themselves this way.  Of course, if you have a friend who is dressing a little too whorish – TELL HER.  But, maybe, privately.  What I don’t think you should do is wait until she’s attacked and then say, “Well, what was she wearing?  Why was she dressed like that?”

To me, this is not that different…

…from this.

Because the next natural sentence is…maybe she deserved it.  For some reason these two concepts – gay men as flamboyant or showy and woman as whores – are very parallel ideas for me.  Perhaps, those particular people that you find either too flamboyant or too whorish are simply expressing themselves in a particular moment in time.  Yes, of course, if you are the boss and they show up to work like that – say something.  Tell them it’s not appropriate.  But, if they’re dressing like that at Gay Pride parade or for a Halloween event or god forbid an S & M party, well, then it’s none of your business.  And if you don’t like it, simply change the channel.

We judge each other so much, it’s amazing.  And I am not exempt from that disease, though I really try to do it minimally.  We hear an accent and we judge social class and breeding.  We hear a word used incorrectly or see it misspelled and we make a harsh decision about a person.  We see someone dressed a certain way and because it makes us uncomfortable, we forget to step in that person’s shoes for a moment.  We forget to see there may be a reason they’re dressing that way or holding on to their grandma sweater.  We fail to see their hearts.  We only see the shell.


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Photo creds:  feature, bruno, gaga, clock, sweater


31 thoughts on “Why Do You Dress Like That?

  1. We are a judgy lot, aren’t we? Lord knows what people think when they see me in the same outfit two days in a row because I was too lazy to pick out something new. Usually, it’s not really the same outfit; it’s just that everything I own is so similar. I’m a boring dresser, that’s for sure. For the more flamboyant out there, I say, “Go for it.” Takes the eyes off of my dreary garb. 🙂

    1. only living in a major city stops me from being in yoga pants 24/7. i’m telling you. comfort is key, as even a jogbra annoys me these days. but, i do try to dress it up a bit for going out. yet, at the same time, i’m holding on to my grandma sweaters. to each his own, i suppose! lol. xo, sm

  2. You know my sentiments about the judgy thing. I’ve spouted off about that more than a few times here. :). I read somewhere people want to keep dressing in the decade where they felt the most attractive or had the most fun. For me that would be jeans and see-through gauzy things or halters and then those power suits with the really short skirts and high heels. No wait, I also like….feck it, I say wear whatever makes you feel good. For the most part, that is jeans, tee-shirt and flip-flops for me. :). Nice post, SM.

    1. since i moved to socal, i can’t live without flip flops. flip flops and sunglasses, i’m telling you. lol. anyway, you gotta go with what feels good. but, i’ve decided the mini-skirts have gotta go for both me and wifesy…

  3. As far as the parade goes, I think that it’s like Halloween. Because everybody wants to be the kid with the best outfit on Halloween, you want to scare every one in the neighborhood. I think you could apply that to why the paraders were so extreme. I find it amusing, and who knows what would happen if I had decided to march in something like that.
    But you are absoulutely right. Humans judge each other so much. It’s part of nature. Just like animals judge food by whether or not it smells good, and flowers by their color. No one is free of guilt when it comes to judging people. Besides, people these days give us so many reasons to judge them! 😛
    You are awesome as always.
    Xoxo Radium Rollercoaster

    1. radium, thank you for making momma’s day with this comment. i’m with you, i think it’s just an over the top, one off, kinda thing and it’s more of a party vibe and silly than anything. as far as everyday wear, at one point, you just have to go f it, i’ll wear what i want!!! lol. and then try not to be judgemental. it ain’t easy… xo, sm

  4. I must address the sweater. That is not a grandma sweater. That is a cable knit sweater. Men look really hot in cable knit sweaters. Especially outside, in nature, with the wind ruffling through their hair. I bought one for an ex-boyfriend back in high school. He told me that, for years, it was the only piece of clothing he was complimented on. Yes, with that lovely red hair of his, he looked very good in cableknit.

    1. ha, ha, ha. i’m so with you urban. i love that damn sweater! i love it and will not part with it. and i’m with you…dudes in them look great, like they just got off a ship or like they’re in an ‘old spice’ ad…he, he. much love, sm

  5. You can wear your grandma and old person clothes here at my farm and you’ll fit right in. But do you have gumboots? To complete the look they are essential.

    It’s so sad about that judgy human bit we do. I don’t care how you dress – long as you are warm, happy and expressing yourself.

    Mind you, I am sure I give certain people style panic attacks…

    Loving your hit after hit here in blogland, sweet mother xx

  6. Even though I’m in my 40’s, I still dress like someone half my age. One day it’s going to seem inappropriate and I might adjust it at that time, but for now it’s mid-rise jeans, t-shirts (sometimes with offensive messages), and skate shoes. It’s what I’m comfortable in. 🙂

  7. As a person of Irish and Scottish ancestry, I take umbrage (I think that’s somewhere in northern Scotland) that that is a grandma sweater! Take it back! Take it back! Or I’ll hit you with my cane;-)

  8. I was just talking to my BF about the whole dressing like a whore/asking for it debate last night. I told him that, in my opinion as a woman, because ultimately rape is about power, not sex, it shouldn’t matter how the woman was dressed. I told him that there are 80 year old women who get attacked and raped and they, more than likely, are not dressing provocatively and that even if they were it wouldn’t give any person, man or woman, the right to lay a hand on them in any way. I also noted that each persons idea of what is too provocative is different so by what standard should we hold people. His response, “Yeah, but guys are shady. Better to be safe then sorry.” All I could do is shake my head.
    People should be able to wear and look however they want and not be treated as if they are criminals, or creeps because they look different from others.
    We tell kids that they should be themselves and show their individualism then we punish them for coloring outside the lines. It’s sad.
    I am with you. If you don’t like it, walk away, turn it off or just ignore it.

  9. Having no fashion sense, I’m very forgiving of other people’s fashion choices except for track suits with the word “juicy” on the ass. I only have respect for those who wear track suits emblazoned with the message “Yes, you are staring at my ass right now.”

  10. Basic black in winter, white on white in summer and something bright, colourful and unexpected to break the monotony. Charcoal grey and red are favourites too 😀

    Daughter and I were talking the other day about what she considers to be ‘skanky’ – not sure if that translates from the Australian but it’s like whoreish but maybe a touch less harsh. I’m paraphrasing her comments but she basically thought skankily clad women were expressing that they were available and didn’t care who took them up on the offer. I kind of agree but I see a certain sadness there too. There’s something wrong with the system when even now we’re bringing girls up to have so little confidence in themselves as /people/. Gender is an integral part of who we are but it’s not everything.

  11. There is indeed a conspiracy for those of us blessed with more than bones and skin, right there with you on that one. I am one of those, shopping is a nightmare but one I undertake periodically. I think you and I have similar styles though I have to add cowboy boots to mine, what true Texas girl doesn’t have cowboy boots?

    We all judge sometimes, it is human nature. I don’t really care what people wear though as long as it fits, dress however you like just wear the right size.

  12. When my weight is down I wear what ever makes me feel good. When my weight is up I wear what ever I can to cover up how I feel (and look). Yep, conspiracy!

  13. Lately I’ve had to resist the urge to stay in my pajamas. Of course I would NEVER go out in them……..I need to get out more. I say that a lot.
    Enjoyed the post…’We hear an accent and we judge social class and breeding.’ So true…I have some experience with that and am glad you included it. One word out of my mouth and people think I might be related to Forrest Gump. Cannot be helped, I’ve tried.

  14. I wish I had more time to reply to this today. Alas, I really have to get off the interwebs and back to the job they pay me to do. However, if I do get time, I want to come back and discuss a conversation I had about modesty and slut-shaming just the other day. As it is…well, just know this post brought up *deep thoughts* and I wish I had time to tell you what they were. I’m a tease, I know. 🙂

    1. leta, honestly, i completely appreciate you stopping by here at all. it’s enough to know that it was thought-provoking, as i never know whether or not these are good or crap…so, THANK YOU for swinging by. seriously.

  15. Well done. I’m always astounded that some people assume that gay people dress the way they would in a gay pride parade. In our every day lives, we dress for the occasion. Perhaps a suit to work or a LBD to a cocktail party. PJs at bedtime – or not. Why would anyone come to the conclusion that because someone’s wearing ass-less chaps at a once-a-year function celebrating the fact that they’re gay that they dress like that while picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store? When I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I don’t assume the people playing instruments wear those damn band uniforms day in and day out. To quote Jim Morrison (though I prefer the Echo & the Bunnymen version better), “People are strange.”

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