Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fashion (hell) week

When you work for a job that sends you off to difficult places like remote African nations, one of the things that is always covered in your induction is how to deal with culture shock. I always brushed these sessions off, because I don’t think I’m terribly affected by culture shock. My feet hit the Seattle airport, and the next thing I want to do is go to Target. If you ask Jorge, of course, he claims that I have spent the last week glassy-eyed and slack-jawed, overwhelmed by all my options every time we enter a shopping center or department store. But don’t you listen to him, I’m doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

There are definitely some things that it takes a while to adjust to, every time we move back and forth, though. And this time, it is the fashion. Either fashion is completely hideous right now, or Irish women are hideously unfashionable. Either way, I am completely perplexed by people’s choices in clothing.

It started in the Amsterdam airport. I thought it was a fluke when I saw my first pair of hammer pants. But then not five minutes went by, and I saw another pair, and this time in a hideous floral print. Floral hammer pants. My God, what has this world come to?

Apparently in the 6 months I was off in Africa, someone decided that the 80s, skin-tight jeans, and cut-off shorts were all due for a comeback. Apparently this person was not alive in the 80s, or they would know how horrible it all was the first time around.

Remember when you had to lay down on your bed to zip up your jeans? I caught a woman a couple days ago who couldn’t squeeze her cell phone into her pocket.

And the cut-off shorts… [shudder]. I could understand if your jeans were accidentally shortened in some kind of horrible industrial accident, and you couldn’t afford to buy new ones – but actually paying for booty shorts and then trying to winterize them with black tights…no. I cannot forgive you that, my friend.

Irish women also seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that one can actually wear black tights with anything. One particularly egregious example was a woman wearing a white floral skirt, white shoes…and black tights.

Today I found myself walking home behind a woman in an unbelievably short dress (over black tights, of course), and thinking, not for the first time, “but where are her pants?” I realized that life in Africa has left me very conservative when it comes to fashion. For me, wearing a tank top in public is like going out in your bra. Leggings (especially when your ego will not allow you to buy the size that actually fits, leaving them stretched out and translucent) to me are the same as walking around in only panty-hose. I tried to go shopping the other day, but found everything to be either too tight, too ugly, or much too short.

It figures. I’m finally in a developed country, for once not pregnant or recently post-partum, feeling great about my body, and ready to shop…and I can’t find anything I would be willing to spend money on. That is life’s way of telling me to save my pennies, I guess.


Jesse said...

I think part of it is the very mind-boggling revisit of 80s fashion, and part of it is the bad taste of Irish women. When I was there we kept seeing women in bubble skirts that were easily confused for diapers. On top of that, often for the going out get ups women had matching everything in 80s colours - shoes, dress, top and skirt...all with black tights. It was like Barbie and the Rockers exploded on real people.

Good luck, hope you find something decent to enjoy shopping for!

Mary said...

Ugh...I went shopping the other day and liked nothing...I think I was born in the wrong time period...agreed. There is a lot of skimpy stuff out there.