Clothes Minded

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Clothes Minded

It is no secret that people feel certain ways about different items of clothing. Admit it, we all have closets that contain a "fat section" for when we have overindulged and do not wish to display our roundness. We have pieces of clothing that invoke an aura of sexiness, make us look businesslike, huggable, unapproachable and even sloppy pieces for when weekend plans involve nothing more than lying around watching movies.

Whether it is a three piece suit or just a new tie, clothes really do make the man. Just watch my husband depart in the morning looking GQ cover model worthy in a new pinstripe. He stands taller, looks more confident. And what about when a woman buys a killer pair of jeans that hugs the right places and glides over the not so right places? Absolute strut. Period. Even a new pair of shoes, earrings or a great scarf can alter a mood as easily as they alter an outfit.

I remember when I first made the connection between what I wore and how I felt. It was middle school, 7th grade. Boys had taken on a more intriguing quality, and although I was not "advanced" in the maturity stakes, I did understand the need to appear beguiling in order to turn a head. Looking back at pictures detailing some of my fashion choices, I think I turned more heads in a "What-the-hell-is-she-wearing" way, than a "Whoa-babe-alert" way. But I also look at those pictures and remember feeling especially chic on days when I wore certain things.

Back to school always held the promise of feeling that way. The clothes I had chosen earlier in the summer had been freed from their lay-a-way status at Kmart and were ready to be applied to my body and psyche. I clearly remember donning my first Izod shirt - it was pink with a green alligator - pairing it with brand new Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and slipping into my Nike tennis shoes with the burgundy swoosh. Strapping on a matching Swatch watch, I practically floated into the school, so assured in my coolness and confident behind my designer labels.

Many years hence, and now a stay at home Mom of three, I donít actually remember the last time I donned an outfit guaranteed to increase my strut through WalMart. Not that I donít have clothes in my closet that make me feel like a million bucks, I do. Itís just that the opportunity to play dress up comes along about as often as Halloween. And that sequined backless number just isnít quite right for PTA.

So I get up each day and wear something respectable, practical, stainable. I worship not at the alter of Versace, but at the clearance racks of Jacque Penneyí. And I live vicariously through my eldest daughter.

Yes, thatís right. Culley has finally found her fashion gene. After 11 years of beseeching this gorgeous creature to give a damn about what she wears, she too has hit middle school, and in turn has been hit with the knowledge that a great outfit can make a great day.

Living in Texas, which is second only to Hell in summerís length, all the new back to school clothes have been languishing in their closets and my daughters have all been staring longingly at them as they greet each day with shorts and tank tops. Those great long pants and new sweaters just donít cut it when it is 110 degrees in the shade.

But the fashion gods have interceded on their behalf, bringing the temperatures down into the 80's (that is cold for Texas) for a few days.

Watching my oldest strut to the breakfast table in her favorite new Fall outfit, complete with boots and beaded triangle tie at the waist of her pants, I saw the "look" that signaled a confidence and air that her jeans shorts and t-shirts could never convey.

Dropping her off, I watched her walk in to the school. She looked taller, her shoulders were squared and she did strut. She is going to feel great all day long and probably wonít change out of those clothes till bedtime.

Thatís ok, because as I saw her disappear behind the doors, I too was immediately back in middle school, wearing my Bicentennial choker, Holly Hobby scarf on my head, a new yellow top with butterfly sleeves and strutting in my purple cords.

I hear you saying "What-the-hell-is-she-wearing." Shut up.

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