A Great Conspiracy

Clothing designers do not consider my preferences when they decide which styles to offer to summer shoppers. They play to another group of women entirely: the young and thin. Since I am neither young nor thin, I have trouble finding suitable clothes to purchase.

For example, I search in vain for summer shirts, blouses, and dresses that have sleeves. By sleeve I mean the part of a garment that covers all or part of the arm.

Designers offer garments that are sleeveless and garments that have so-called “cap sleeves.” The cap sleeve consists of a little half-moon-shaped piece of fabric that covers the very tip of the shoulder blade and, in my book, has no business being called a sleeve.

Sleeves that are viable options for me, such as shirtsleeves, three-quarter-length sleeves, and long sleeves, have vanished from clothing store racks. I think they departed on the same train with rotary phones.

I also look for specific features when I shop for pants. I want the waist of my pants to circle my middle, the area of my body where the belly button is located. Pants whose waist is intended to sit on the hipbone are objects of torture. I also have no use for jeans that consist of two stovepipe-shaped pieces of denim joined directly to the waistband at the top. These garments have no seat. Since I do have one, such jeans do not work for me.

When I sit down, I want a good portion of my pants to accompany me into the chair. The person sitting behind me should see no skin between the bottom of my shirt and the top of my pants.

I would also appreciate consideration from shoe manufacturers. I don’t want shoes with six-inch-thick soles made of cork. Neither do I want sandals that have leather straps that tie at the ankle, or worse, make several circles around the lower leg and tie just below the knee.

When shopping for dress shoes, I value my health and safety too much to buy stilettos. However, I do not consider boat shoes, clogs, or oxfords to be dressy. Something in between a boat shoe and a stiletto would be nice. I am not in the market for flashy shoes that cry “Look at me!” What I am looking for is a sweet, stylish little number that whispers “Comfort.”

I suspect that clothing and shoe designers are engaged in a conspiracy to make me look hideous. I don’t need their help; time and gravity are working hard to do that for me. I do not aim to look young, nor is it my goal to look sexy. I don’t wish to look hip, or to expose portions of my hips. I want to feel comfortable, to appear neat and coordinated, and to be able to buy clothing and shoes that allow me to meet those goals.

I must say, that tirade against designers of women’s summer clothes and shoes felt good. Tomorrow I may take aim at a different target: tailgaters, litterers, people who talk during church, store owners who sell trashy magazines, telemarketers, people who do not clean up after their pets … the list of people deserving of a good rant is endless.

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