This article was originally published on Better After 50.
If I were 20, 30 or perhaps 40-something, I don't think I would have found my latest fashion debacle particularly funny. I don't think I could have of handled this "extremely outrageous" turn of events. In those earlier years, if someone had told me I should have worn a razor back bra - I had the wrong one on - or my bra straps showed --- I would have run to the ladies room to confirm my faux pas. If I had a dirt stain on my white paints - I would brush my backside nervously to try to remove the unresolvable for the duration.
My fashion self-consciousness over the past few decades has been driven by sloppy vs. style issues. Frankly, I'm comfortable with my taste in clothes -- but I hate wrinkly, stained, spotted, tattered clothing. I like to look put together. And, since I live out of a suitcase most of the year, as I travel between New York and Boston each week, my clothing is often a victim of whatever is in my trunk -- such as bike grease, hiking boot crud and my dog Jazz's paws.
My comfort with fashion came together for me at 19 years of age during my year in Paris. It was then I embraced my "look" and proceeded confidently for the most part -- except when I was told my hem was unravelled or there was a hole in my stocking.
I have always loved vintage clothes. My Nana was the most stylish woman I know and I wore everything she gave me from age 13 and beyond. When I find an outfit that resembles Nana's style, I am thrilled. That is why, what I wore to the dinner dance party this past Saturday night was particularly fun for me.
I have been savoring my ultra-suede, multi-colored neon, strappy short cocktail dress for 25 years. This dress was crazy cool in the late 80s and I've been waiting for the right decade to bring it back out. It's been living in the back of my closet all this time.
So, when I excavated it for this summer for some "special occasion" I didn't have a particular event in mind. When I grabbed it from the closet, I saw the ultra-suede had worn thin along the seam, so my trusty "Clothes Doctor" gave it a good stitching and it looked like new.
When we got an invite to a summer dinner dance, I thought this could be it's coming out. As I slipped on this little ultra suede number, I chuckled. "Oh this is fun -- I am going to have a blast tonight". (First premonition.) As I made my living room entrance -- my husband's brows lifted and he chuckled. My son Jake and his two friends gave me a whistle. "That dress is fun -- so cool." I stood a little taller.
Arriving at the party I joined the huddle of women who were admiring one another's dresses. The mood was light and playful and it seemed all were ripe for a different kind of night.
The weather was spectacular -- one night shy of the "super moon", the light of that magical lunar orb lit up the sky. My husband and I settled onto an outdoor couch with our dear friends laughing and sharing our latest summer tales. After a bit -- we decided it was time to dance and as I hopped up off the couch my friend Gwen said to me, "you're not going anywhere -- sit down." She was hysterical laughing -- she couldn't contain herself.
"Your dress is split up the backside."
I leaned hard into the couch so as not to "reveal" and slipped my hand behind and all I felt was skin. OMG -- outrageous, the suede had dissolved! Vintage had vaporized on my backside. This was a riot! I laughed so belly-laugh loud, tears were streaming down my cheeks, and I couldn't catch my breath. My husband took a gander and our laugh track was growing -- Gwen's husband was aghast -- "are you kidding -- this is a riot" and we were a full orchestra. We couldn't stand it -- it went on for what seemed like hours.
What I felt at that moment was sheer delight. This was so much fun! My first thought was I'm so glad I'm not 30, or 40 -- I'm so glad I'm over 50 because this ridiculous fashion "crisis" is truly priceless -- vs. devastating. And let me add -- my butt is not my favorite "asset" (excuse the play on words).
I had no interest in sharing my shredded suede opening with anyone. Luckily, the venue we were partying in had a pool and lockers and a friend got me a bathrobe as a cover.
We all took to the dance floor, and laughed and danced a bit before the heat of the heavy robe became impossible.
When we arrived home, my husband and I were still hysterical and we looked up at the almost full moon and he chuckled -- that was the best "super moon" I've ever seen.