I am a fashion don’t. It’s ok. I feel that admitting the problem is the first step in solving it. Though, in this case, I believe it is too late. There is no solution (especially when I really don’t think there is a problem). If I am still a “don’t” at this age, at this stage in the game, I cannot imagine ever becoming a “do.” Unless of course, when my dear old friend menopause comes to town, I might just become a whole different kind of woman. Scary. Anyway, friends and relatives have tried to change me and failed. I just prefer comfort to fashion. It could be because I am a boy mom, though I know many boy moms who go out in full makeup and dressed beautifully, though that always is an enigma to me, as are all people who wear makeup. It could also be because my mom loved shopping and she tried to get me to love it and that was a major disaster. There are still women all over Bergen County who used to work in various department stores that tell the tales of when Banji and Eita came to their departments and the ruckus that would ensue. Not pretty. It is what it is and there are worse problems to be had.
I was away a few weeks ago for a family bar mitzvah and one of the highlights (aside from the amazing job that the bar mitzvah boy did reading his parsha in the custom of the Spanish and Portuguese) was admiring everyone’s shoes. The appeal of the shoe has always been a mystery to me. There is always talk about a woman and her shoes, jokes about how many pairs of shoes women own. I just don’t get it. How do those teeny tiny women balance on such high heels? How do the taller women not fall over? Why do tall women need to wear heels when they are already tall? Why do short women want to be taller? Why is the earth round? Why is it so hard to lose weight, but so easy to gain weight?
Sorry, I got carried away. Back to shoes. They can be stunning. The heels, the designs, the appliques on the shoes, whether it be flowers or bows or crystals—they are simply stunning. I like walking through the shoe department and guessing how much some of these beauties cost before checking the price. Did you know how expensive some of these shoes are? Man am I lucky that I only have boys. I could see how having to buy shoes for a family of girls could put you below the poverty line. Some of these things go for thousands of dollars—a piece. Imagine if we had four feet! Ya, I just don’t get it. Sneakers I totally understand. They were probably designed by a woman, whereas those heel things were probably designed by some sadistic man who was never allowed to play with toys. Sneakers are comfortable. They are colorful. They are slimming, well not really, but I’ll just go with that. They are easy to walk in and your size usually always fit you. Unlike clothing when a size 10 is really a size 4 and then you end up eating because the size 10 was too small and now you can only fit into a size 16 which is really a 12 and the cycle continues, Weight Watchers gets some new member and some therapist has to listen to a woman cry about her dependence on carbs…sorry, I did it again.
Anyway, back to the clothing dilemma. I saw on television the other day that culottes are back in style. Yes, that is how you spell it; I looked it up. What is a culotte? A culotte is an above-the-ankle pant situation. They are neither flattering nor fashionable, but they are in style again. You know that something isn’t going to work for you when even the model wearing it doesn’t look good in them. That is a problem. If a 5-10, 130-pound model looks bad in something, I will look even worse. Yes, I will…there is no way around it. I also maintain that anything I wore in the ’80s I should not be wearing again now. Though I think culottes were more of a 90s thing. Who knows, I was nursing then and the most fashionable thing I was wearing during that stage of my life were easy-access nursing shirts, and that topic is for a whole other article (and I try to repress the memories of those shirts…).
Bottom line. I will never be fashionable. I can pull myself together, make myself appear more human and get on with my day. But I know I am in trouble when my lovely landscaper asks me why I am so dressed up and I am only wearing a t-shirt and jeans…it’s all good….back into my pajamas I go and just leave me alone!!!
Banji Ganchrow grew up in Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor. Since she is no longer allowed into those stores, she seeks comfort at Target, Kmart and Sears. Don’t judge.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow