Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Farewell Boxy Shirts & Baggy Capri Pants

I love summertime. I love the ocean and everything associated with it--surf, salt air, sailing and lobster. I love the fact that there’s an abundance of limes and mint for Mojitos. So it’s always sad when the air turns cooler in September, heralding the end of another summer season. There are a couple of summer fashion items, however, I’m not sorry to bid adieu to. The first is my swimsuit (see previous posting). Another is the pairing of boxy-styled shirts and baggy Capri or cropped slacks.

I understand the urge to wear comfy, baggy clothing. It’s so frustrating to see one’s body lose its youthful shape or, worse, expand in 365 different directions. But covering up with as much fabric as possible isn’t the answer. Too much fabric just makes women look bigger than they really are. And the cropped pants make most legs look shorter, stumpier. To illustrate, I’ve drawn myself in a shapeless, Hawaiian-style shirt over baggy Capri pants. However, it’s a combo I would never, ever wear. And it makes me so sad to see so many other women wearing it.

Besides being engulfed in too much fabric, the oversized man-styled shirt and baggy Capri slacks is masculine looking. Looking feminine is, perhaps, the Number #1 way the after 50 woman can look her best. The perky, trim twenty-something can wear the boyfriend’s suit jacket—which, apparently, is a wardrobe ‘must-have.’ Maybe the tall, rail-thin 50+ woman can, too. (Think: rocker Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.) But the full-figured and pear-shaped older woman should think twice before dressing like her husband or other men. It’s just not flattering for two reasons. First, our figures are less shapely and more manly—breasts and belly have begun to blend, the belly protrudes, the waistline parallels the hipline. And second, if your face is like mind—with its sags, bags and jowls—it has lost some of its feminine definition and is more masculine looking than it was 20 years ago. We don’t need to compound the situation with a manly wardrobe. We need to balance the mounting man attributes by dressing in feminine clothing.

I’m not suggesting that all women should burn their Capri slacks. On the right after 50 body—the one that’s petite and/or blessed with slim legs—a slim-cut Capri slack combined with a fitted top can be very flattering. It even works with the pear-shaped or full-figured woman who has great legs. When a girlfriend of mine—who is full-figured with great legs—wears a fitted top over slim-cut Capri pants, she looks wonderful. I’ve included a drawing of her at a 4th of July barbecue. The key is limiting the amount of fabric involved.

At a restaurant over Labor Day, I saw a fifty-something woman dressed in a black V-neck top and white Capri pants (seeing drawing). She was petite and looked fantastic in her nice-fitting outfit.

So on this first day of autumn, I wish to bid adieu to all the boxy shirts and baggy Capri slacks in women’s wardrobes. It’s time for those items to go into storage. And with any luck, they’ll be too stained, faded, or thread worn to return for another season.