Monday, April 05, 2010

Spring Break

It happens every year around this time. Temps suddenly turn warm and I'm caught off guard. Oh, mentally, I'm more than prepared to bid farewell to winter, if indeed it is farewell. (Chicagoans are notoriously suspicious of spring. I've got four words for you: Cooler by the lake.) But physically? Ugh.

I spend most of November through March swathed in wool and corduroy and scarves and hats. And bitching about it every minute of every day. Hat hair is not my friend. But then April comes along and suddenly remaining under wraps doesn't seem so bad. I mean, I'm totally cool baring my feet and arms, but my legs weren't meant to see the light of day.

I seriously can't remember when I didn't hate my thighs. Maybe when I was two but probably not even then. I do not have the gift of gams and there's nothing I can do about it; it's in the gene pool same as my brown hair and eyes. Seriously--no matter what I eat (or don't eat) or how much I exercise (or don't), my legs remain stubbornly stubby.

So I've never looked forward to shorts season, to say nothing of swimsuits. Then one day it dawned on me that I could just say no. To shorts. I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me before, that I had the power to wear whatever I wanted.

In the first phase following my conversion, I relied largely on capri cargo pants. The thing is, on a 90-degree day, they're kind of hot and not in a hottie way but more in a sweaty way. (Shorts, it seems, exist for a reason. How Jane Austen's heroines kept from melting in their empire gowns is a grad thesis waiting to be written.) More recently I've begun branching out to skirts and sundresses. Sometimes I feel a little over-dressed for the occasion, but mostly I feel prettier and way less self-conscious than I would in shorts.

I don't know that I would call this a trend, but a lot of women seem to have come round to my same conclusion. Maybe it just seems like that because I live in a large city where fashion is more of a priority. Or maybe we're collectively tired of seeing guys get away with wearing those baggy shorts that droop down to their calves while we struggle to fit into Daisy Dukes.

The odd thing is that the very style of dress that liberated me from years of poor body image feels a bit like a throwback. All these skirts and dresses seem very 1950's-ish--back when being "full-figured" or "curvy" was something to be proud of and not code word for "fat." (Unless you are Beyonce, where curvy is code word for sexy. She gets a pass but the rest of us don't.) Actually, most women I've talked to who've also discovered the joy of the dress would like to revisit not a previous era but a previous age. We're all ever so jealous of the adorable styles designed for young girls; the sweet and simple shifts that all but scream sugar and spice and everything nice. They're meant to be playful and fresh--like spring and summer personified. Who wouldn't take that over a pair of khaki shorts.


Post a Comment

<< Home