Last year at Christmas, my older daughter gave me a really gorgeous long silk scarf with little gold bangles on the fringe. That scarf has confirmed what I have long suspected: Accessories are everything. The corollary is that scarves, even expensive ones, are easier on the budget than outfits that require new shoes, a purse and a suitable coat that goes with the outfit or dress. On top of it, you probably won't be able to wear those outfits next year or next month if your weight fluctuates or you have become inexplicably shorter. Scarves know no size. Hallelujah!
My age and concomitant crankiness contribute to my strong inclination to always opt for comfort over fashion, no matter how dressy the occasion. The holidays provide many opportunities to prove that comfortable shoes are a brilliant investment. That scarf and a few others I have allow me to get away with wearing black jeans, a comfy top and a black blazer to any event or occasion as long as I sport a really cool scarf with it. Everyone comments on the beautiful scarf. The relative inappropriateness of the black, comfy jeans gets by with no notice taken at all. Voila! I can relax.
The jacket and jeans are vital for me because I really don't like to carry a purse. There is always the possibility I'll forget where I set it down. Many holiday events involve standing up and holding onto a beverage and/or small plateful of festive goodies and, of course, my cane. A shoulder bag has a way of sliding down to the elbow, becoming an unwieldy dangler. Parking it somewhere presents the ever-present Senior Moment Question: Where did I put it and is it still there? Ergo pockets are a necessity.
There are way too many nice dresses and outfits with no pockets or that don't fit comfortably anymore, hanging, neglected, in my closet. Of course I can't toss them; one never knows . . .
After my mother's death, I discovered that she "never knew" either. There were 20- and 30-year-old dresses and outfits hanging in her closet when she died. The number of pairs of gorgeous, almost never worn shoes was staggering. No woman in the family wore shoes the same size (sigh). Seeing those things was not only a reminder of her, but of remembered occasions when she had worn those things with style and grace. Happy memories are good, especially when they replace more recent, less happy ones.
Darling Husband, like many men I know, wears pretty much the same stuff whatever the occasion. Polyester leisure suits were the only "fashion statements" in his closet when we met. I have surreptitiously thinned their ranks over the years but that doesn't necessarily mean I never see them again.
Sometimes I swear I spot a homeless man downtown wearing a very familiar-looking indestructible suit.
So, anyway, I'll probably continue hanging on to some of my old dresses and outfits, telling myself that they will be happy memories for my daughters the way my mother's clothes were for me. And, I'll pass along an impressive collection of beautiful long silk scarves suitable for any occasion. One even has gold spangles on the fringe.
Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.