As an adolescent I was grateful for my mother’s critical eye in the dressing room. Mom never pulled any punches. Contrary to the obsequious store attendants who burbled that everything, even the dress with the awful horizontal stripes, looked fabulous on me, my mother would shut that down before you could say Villager and Ladybug. Her discerning eye picked up the slightest issue, the most microscopic of bulges, and with a simple “Do you see how that’s gathering?” I knew that garment was toast.
As I tried on item after item our eyes would meet in the three-way mirror. No words were necessary. A cheerful smile indicated that something fit nicely and won her seal of approval. A sorrowful shake of the head translated into “It just doesn’t flatter you.”
She was unerringly right, my mom. I went through an awkward stage for, oh, ten years? I wasn’t built like most of the other girls. I matured early and was bigger and taller, with curves. Fitting those curves into fashionable clothes was no easy task.
I seldom challenged her opinions, trusting her fashion instincts way more than mine. And even though our system generally yielded around a 25% purchase rate, I felt confident that the items tucked in our shopping bag were meant to be mine.
I am reminded of this experience more often that not these days as I venture into a dressing room. My ever-evolving boomer body presents a whole new set of challenges. I stare at myself in the mirror, suck in my gut and turn this way and that, looking for the imperfection that will scream “WRONG FOR YOU!” Is it too “form fitting” (Mom’s words for tight), too revealing, too young, too old, too bright? Not black?
I should know by this point, right? But too often I get home, try on the new purchase, and scold myself. “What were you thinking?”
How about you? Do you need a buddy in the dressing room?