I Surrender

May 19th, 2010

So I went to the mall today with my 18-year-old son who’s basically done with school (one chemistry teacher hasn’t cut him free yet, but otherwise he’s said goodbye to high school) and my 20-year-old nephew who’s visiting from the east coast.  They’re lovely boys–and I couldn’t shake them off fast enough.  I was on a mission.

The sartorial direction I'm heading in.

A mission to buy clothes.

See, I have to make a presentation in New York on Sunday–it’s a “Meet the Author” event run by the Jewish Book Council–and I don’t have anything to wear.  Well, I sort of do but (teeth gritted) middle-age spread is doing a nasty job on my waistline and I’m not convinced I can fit into any of my decent clothes.  Most of the time these days I run around in my teenage boys’ cast-offs which may not look good on me but at least zip up and give me an excuse for looking bad.  In fact today I’m wearing a sweater one of them left in his cubby (yes, we have cubbies in my house–try raising four kids without them is all I can say).  I was cold one afternoon and too lazy to walk upstairs and found this cotton sweater in his cubby and put it on . . .  and now he’s down a sweater, I’m up one.

And that’s normally how I go shopping.

But I can’t wear a 16-year-old boy’s discards to an event where over a hundred people will see me.  (Hmm.  Wonder how many hundreds of people WILL be there?  Better not to think about it.  Denial is my friend.)  So here’s what I did: I looked up Eileen Fisher stores online and found there was one in the Century City mall.  I convinced the boys they really wanted to go to the mall, drove us all over there, shoved them hard in the direction of the Apple Store, and went to try on clothes in peace and privacy.

A New Yorker writer once referred to Eileen Fisher’s line as “I give up clothing” and–here’s the sad, sad truth–THAT’S what appeals to me right now.  I am ready to give up.   I’m tired of fighting the creeping waistline number and the bulging thighs.  I just want to go gently into that good linen.  So I slithered my way into Eileen waving a white flag.

The best part?  I’m like totally a SMALL at Eileen Fisher.   Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get a good outfit pulled together without spending a fortune, so I satisfied myself with half an outfit: a really cute (expensive) linen top and a nice little jacket (on sale) and I’ll just have to find something at home to cover my bottom half.

The sizing at E.F. gave me a a huge ego boost (I could even fit into their petites!  Nothing had a waist!  Billowy billowy billowy!) but I stupidly blew my self-esteem windfall by going straight to H&M where I couldn’t even squeeze into what I thought was my normal size.  (That’ll teach me to go to a store for the young ‘uns.)  I still got a couple of tops there.  It’s the bottom half that’s the problem.  The bottom half.  Good lord, the bottom half.  Quick, look away.

I give up.  Really.  I do.

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