Monday, January 7, 2013

Raven Lunatic: My Worst Fashion Mistake

Image by chaoticartworks
Once or twice a month, I hop over to the local thrift store and pick through the offerings.  I scavenge for eye-catching items: name brands, quality fabrics,  colors that suit my skin, unique items.

While I examine each piece of clothing, I imagine the previous owners as women who have acquired a new attitude, gained weight, or thrown a "flat dry" item in the dryer by mistake.  Her tragedy is my treasure.

Going to the mall seems too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel. I like the challenge of sorting through racks and racks of undesirable clothing until I find a hidden gem.

I tell myself that my fashion sense evokes the artsy-intellectual archetype. However, sometimes another person will post a picture of me on a social media site, startling me into the realization that my risk-taking shopping method has led me to commit a fashion faux pas.

Exhibit A:  I attended a walk-a-thon fundraiser during the Summer of 2012 and wore cotton pants that I bought at a thrift store, believing that I would look youthful, fun, energetic and creative.
Exhibit A: Fashion Disaster

Um. No.

Instead, I look frumpy and underdressed. I appear to be wearing my pajamas. Since I bought them at a thrift shop, they could very well be pajama pants or scrubs.  My willing them to be lightweight summer capris will not actually change their nature.

I have misunderstood the real nature of an item of clothing before.

 A few years ago, I found a pair of grey leggings at a thrift store. I wore them for three winters, paired with over sized sweaters until I visited family who live out of state. My sister Julie asked me, "Why are you wearing thermal underwear without pants over them?"  Oops.  I suppose the tag indicating Eddie Bauer Ebtek might have tipped me off.  Well, they were very warm.

Lesson learned? When striving for the bohemian look, I walk a fine line between that and circus clown. 

Fortunately, I sometimes have great success scavenging a shiny object that situates me closer to the "ravishing beauty" side of the spectrum instead of the opposing "raving bag lady" side.  Photos on social media have also convinced me that I must wear make up as I move into my Second Act. I foolishly believe that I can skip the make up and project a sporty, natural look in my 50s. Absolutely not. I just look a decade older without a splash of color on my lips, cheeks and eyelids.

Exhibit B: A Reasonable Fashion Success
Exibit B:  This photo was taken in September of 2011 as I was leaving to attend a dinner party celebrating the 40th birthday of my friend Debbie.

I found this beautiful hand-embroidered top at a thrift shop. Although I bought it used, the top still had the tags on it, indicating that it was hand made in India.  And I actually managed my time so that I could style my hair and apply make up in addition to assembling a southwest salad to bring with us.

When I do gather available materials to my advantage, I want to crow with delight.  My feathers may be a little more ruffled than when I was in my youth, but this wizened bird knows how to sort through the detritus of others and claim something of value for herself.


Embracing My Age
The Senior Discount: A Matter of Fashion
Daphne and Carmen: Octogenarian Super Models

This post is part of a GenFab blog hop. Want to see other women committing fashion crimes? Since the linky of 30+ posts expired, here is a sampler from the blog hop:

Ready for more true fashion crimes?

Huffington Post compiled a slide show of 23 blog post from GenFab.


  1. I love the line, "When striving for the bohemian look, I walk a fine line between that and circus clown." I can so relate to that and, too often, the picture in my head doesn't relate at all to the look I've put together on my body. Great piece.

  2. Made me laugh: When striving for the bohemian look, I walk a fine line between that and circus clown.
    I identify with you.

  3. You look fabulous in your find! Gotta love fashion faux pas! I have made a few myself!

  4. Bohemian is tough for anyone over the age of 25 who weighs more than 120 pounds. I've never been able to pull it off. Love the second look, though!

  5. I'm a thrift store shopper, too. I think my line is between retro and preschooler.

  6. Oh my goodness...I love your leggings story! That is FUNNY!

    But now you're making me reflect on all my recent thrift purchases. UT-OH

    Maybe I should photograph myself in them...and see how I look before I venture out in the real world!

  7. Your "gray leggings" story is a hoot! I love your embroidered top -- what a great find!

  8. So many good lines in this. I laughed out loud several times. I also have fancied myself looking sporty and natural when what I really looked was haggard and in good need of a long nap.

    I must agree that the first outfit doesn't bring out the blue in your eyes quite the same way as the second one. You look so lovely in the second picture. :-)

  9. I am laughing laughing laughing - and yet, I hear you & sympathize, no empathize with the message - - I had a brief shining moment when I saw a picture of Kris Karhashian online sporting MY favorite jacket, a gift from my daughter [until I saw the head line...something about her dressing inappropriately for her age - 4 years younger than me] - oh well...I try - - I think my daughter has GREAT TASTE!

  10. The Eddie Bauer "leggings" story is epic! I love thrift shopping too. But I mostly buy for my young adult son and daughter. Rare is a find for me, but I still love the search.

  11. Lois, Julie, Raquel, Sharon, fadedginger, Home Place, Joy & Suzi. Thank you for laughing with me instead of at me. Oh, I have such dreams of being stunning, but the realities often burst that bubble. But at least I manage to leave the house dressed each day. Mainly. I remember one friend in grad school (single mom with 6 kids). She once came to class in just her slip. She was so busy getting her kids out the door for school and running to campus, that she forgot to put her skirt on over her slip. As soon as she removed her rain coat, she saw the error. She just quickly put it back on and taught in her coat. And the students didn't snicker--much. : )

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