Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog - I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Fashion

Wardrobe mishaps

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We’ve all had wardrobe malfunctions. A couple of days ago I was visiting my 90+ year old friend when her daughter walked in the room, saw I had on one of my house dresses, and said, “Are you wearing underwear today?”

“Some,” I said.

I’d told them that during the summer I wear cotton dresses around the house to keep cool and comfortable. To enhance the experience, I sometimes go without one or both of the typical undergarments worn by women. I don’t usually wear the dresses in public, but will fetch the mail, do yard work, or visit female friends, so I like my house dresses to be all cotton, have pockets (for my cell phone), and either have a busy design, thick fabric (like denim), or chest pockets because I don’t want my neighbors to see that I’m not wearing one (or both) pieces of underwear.

“On Tuesday, that really hot, windy day,” I said, “I wore one of my dresses over to my garden to water and was praying that the wind didn’t whip up the skirt. It would have given people nightmares. You can’t un-see something like that.”

My friend’s daughter, who’s my age, leaned against the kitchen counter and said, “Did I ever tell you about my first date with my husband?  I had on one of those dresses with the stretchy stitching on the top.” 

“Strapless?” I asked, picturing the dress.

“Yes, strapless.”

(This type of dress probably has a name but I’m too lazy to look it up. Oh, all right, hold on a second. I’ll be right back..Okay, Google calls them a tube top stretchy dress. Back to the story.)

“I had this dress on, with tall high heels. I was gorgeous. We were going out for a fancy dinner at that restaurant up on the hill in Sellwood – it looked like a castle.”

“Was it in Sellwood or Milwaukie?” I said.

“Yeah, could have been Milwaukie – near Sellwood.”

“I remember that place, I don’t think it’s there anymore.”

“I don’t know. Anyway, the maitre d’ seated me, but off-center for the view. I just wanted to scoot over a little, so I raised up in my chair. The hem of the dress got caught in the heel of those high heel shoes.” She paused for a beat, so we could picture it.

“When I raised up to scoot over, the dress stayed put. It came down and both my boobs popped out the top.”

“Were you wearing a bra?”

“Of course not.”

We all laughed. “No wonder your husband fell in love with you,” I said.

It reminded me of swimming at a motel pool with about eight or ten friends the summer before 9thgrade. I think one of the boys knew the owner and that’s why we got to swim  there. Typical of those motel parking lot pools, it had a shallow side and a deep end with a small diving board. For some reason it also had a foot wide ledge to stand on at the deep end, maybe so little kids could go down there and still hang onto the side and stand up. 

We were playing tag. My best friend, Christine, was it. All us boys and girls were focused on her to see who she’d come after next. She’d chased us for a while, swimming underwater, sneaky, trying to tap somebody’s leg. I think she was probably ready for a rest. She sprang up from the deep end, pushing off from the bottom fast so her long red hair back would be back off her face when she surfaced. She swam to the ledge, stood up and faced us. The water, as she’d swooshed through it, had pulled down one side of her bikini top. Her left boob, big for her age – big for any age – hung completely out.

As soon as we saw it, after a couple seconds of shock, all us girls shouted at once: “Duck down! Your swimsuit! Go under! Get down!” We didn’t want to say whatever word we were using at the time – I think the word boob came later – maybe we were using breast then, but we didn’t want to say it out loud. Up until then we’d only swam with our girlfriends. We’d just started hanging out with these boys, probably because one of us discovered they had access to the pool. Those were prudish times.

Christine thought we were hollering because she was it. She thought we were taunting her. She didn’t realize we were hysteric. She just stood there – that boob big and white, framed with swimsuit lines and her tan, freckled skin. The more we shouted the longer she stood there like some half-naked Grecian statue with a puzzled, cranky look on her face – an eternity in the lives of fourteen-year-old girls.

The boys, of course, never said a word.

Finally the closest girl swam to her and pushed her under. “You’re it!” Christine said she sprang back up. There was that boob again. Law have mercy! The girl pointed, Christine looked down, threw her arms over her chest and ducked under water. She stayed down there until her breath ran out,  embarrassed to death. The incident earned her the nickname, “Lefty” with the boys. By the end of summer we’d abandoned them and gone back to the public pool, they got so annoying. 

Ahh, well, there’s nothing like wardrobe mishaps to get your mind off of everyday worries. Today in Portland the fires are raging 30 miles away in the national forests south of Estacada. The air is smoky thick, the sky yellow-grey. I can barely see the fuzzy outlines of houses across the street. Even though our windows and doors have been closed for three days, the smoke smell has seeped in. The air quality at 8:00 this morning is the highest it’s been – 516 – Hazardous. It’s listed as Beyond Index on the Air Now website, which only goes up to 400.

Portland Oregon Air Index - Sept. 13, 2020 - Hazardous

Remembering Christine and picturing that stretchy tube top dress have brought me a chuckle this morning – a good thing in worrisome times.

The search for the perfect bra

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How come I can go into a department store where there are more than a million bras and not one of them fits me?

My apologies to the men reading this, I know you don’t like us to talk about women’s underwear. Maybe just compare it to something that has to fit a particular part of a man and, like a bra, also has a cup. Maybe it’s hard for you to find the right size. Male athletes, especially baseball players, are constantly fiddling with it – seriously, they are spitting and nudging their crotches the whole game. Perhaps some of you even wear bro-bras. I remember a Seinfeld episode about that – a bra for the well-endowed man. Kramer and Mr. Costanza were trying to get rich with their Manssiere.

Kramer with the Manssiere

Back to women and this huge stumbling block to our happiness. All we want is a good, everyday bra that cradles the girls in comfort while preventing jiggles, sags, headlights, and squashouts – that flab that squashes out on our backs from under the bra lines. It’s as unsightly as panty lines.

You men say, “Just go braless.” You’d love that look on the young ones, no doubt, but gravity tugs at us older women. There’s a greeting card with an old man at a bus stop who says to an old woman, “Show me your tits,” and she pulls up the bottom of her dress. You wouldn’t be so excited to see us braless.

No, we need bust trusses, especially the well-endowed, full-figured ladies of a certain age. That’s not me, by the way. My problem is not finding anything small enough. Even the teenage bras don’t fit. I just received two of them from Kohl’s online delivery. The cup size was okay, but I’m too big around. It’s like trying to fix a monster truck flat using a bicycle tire. The bras felt like straight jackets, only not as comfortable.

My friend got a new sports bra and we played golf a couple of weeks ago. Every time she swung the club the bra rode up under her armpits. After each of her 80+ swings she had to grab hold of the bottom and tug that bra with all her might to get it back in position. She was chapped from all the friction.

I bought a workout bra one time. Just getting it on was the workout – I didn’t even need to go to the gym. I had to wiggle into it over my head. It was like a thick rubber band with only so much give – once it reached the limit of its stretch that was it. I had to pull down an inch on the left and then an inch on the right until it was in place. It made me look like a penny from one of those penny squishing machines – the ones you put a dollar in so you can get a three-inch long skinny penny that says “Seaside” on it. Flat as a board is too flattering for what that bra did to me.

Another frustration to add to our woes – when a company stops making the style of bra we’ve been wearing for years, which the company always does, it’s like losing a close friend. Most older women, especially the married ones, don’t go in for all those new fancy girly bras taking up space in the store. We buy ones that work and only replace them when the straps start falling down. Once that strap elastic gives out, the bra is worthless. If you see women constantly pulling up their straps, it’s because their bra has been discontinued and they’re still hanging on to it in denial.

My mother in law is 87. She can’t get her bra anymore. She tracked down the manufacturer and talked to several levels of higher ups before they convinced her that her bra is no more. She told us this sad news with trembling lips and a tear in her eye. Deb, her daughter and Laura, her friend, and I sat at the dining room table and comforted her, then started sketching out ideas to keep her straps up in such a way that still allowed her to get into the bra. After several hours we had a diagram and a pattern. I sewed a prototype, attached it to the bra, and it worked! She’ll have another few weeks with the bra until the hooks wear out. Then they’ll be fresh tears.

They’ve also discontinued my bra – the Maidenform T-shirt bra with a racerback so the straps wouldn’t show in my sleeveless golf shirts. They’ve replaced the whole back with lace. What the? I don’t want lace. It’s flimsy and scratchy. Nope. No lace on my back. Plus golf shirts are thin – I don’t want that lace pattern showing through. Why, oh why did you do it, Maidenform? Why?

Those two teenage bras are going back to Kohls, and I will begin the search again. Someone told me that Soma bras are good, so maybe I’ll try those. They’re spendy for me but after all the time and money I’ve racked up going through thousands of bras at hundreds of stores, I’m to the point that I’d pay anything to have a nice comfy home for the girls. Bless their hearts. They deserve it.

I Miss Old-fashioned Panty Lines

I wish we’d go back to the old-fashioned panty lines, the ones under each cheek. I don’t think they were any worse than the ones I see all the time on the rear ends of the women who wear thongs.

Wait, weren’t thongs supposed to eliminate panty lines? No longer just for pole-dancing strippers, they are a way for women to get rid of those hideous, horrible indicators that we wear underwear? How come men go around sagging their pants showing their boxers, and we have to wear hiney floss?

The Demise of Decoulatage

I am so happy with the new fashions coming out. They don’t show cleavage! I noticed it at church on Sunday – on their way back from Communion, none of the old folks forced me to look at their wrinkly, saggy boobs.

Then today while I was waiting to pick up a solar permit at the Planning Bureau, they had an InStyle magazine and it had pictures of women in scarves and high-necked t-shirts – even Victorian lace all the way up to their chins. It was all I could do to keep from shouting, “HALLELUIA” right there in the waiting area.

I wrote a blog around this time last year about going to a party and having to see all the “fashionable” moms revealing their cleavage – which ended up being about six inches lower on their chests than it was a few years earlier.

When there’s cleavage staring at you, your eyes don’t want to look, you beg them not to look, you turn you head away and talk to the woman out of the side of your face to avoid looking, but eventually it’s just like someone saying, “don’t look now, but….” What do you do immediately? You look.

And then you regret it, because older cleavage is over-suntanned, splotchy and rough looking. This is due to the fact that older “fashionable” women worship the sun, possibly because in their minds they think a tan makes them look athletic and wealthy, when in reality they look ancient and weathered.

Young cleavage is just as disturbing, but for other reasons, mainly because these young girls do not need to be enticing boys or men in any way. The guys are lusting after them already and imagining what they could do with those bodies if they had half the chance. Revealing substantial peeks of the objects of their lust just makes things worse. It’s a mother’s nightmare, I can tell you that.

What’s funny is that I listen to Blue Collar Radio (the one set up by Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and their blue collar cronies), and many of the male comedians actually make fun of cleavage. They talk about old cleavage as if it has the potential to singe their eyeballs. They tell parents not to let their daughters leave the house like that. If these guys are making fun of seeing women’s boobs, then who are the women showing them off to?

So if other women don’t want to see cleavage – not any women I know – and men are making jokes about it, you gotta wonder how this fashion fad came about.

Me personally, I don’t give a flying rip who came up with it, I’m just ecstatic it’s on its way out. Not that I’m thrilled about Victorian foo-foo lace scratching my throat – I’m not going to wear it. Talk about the pendulum swinging in the total opposite direction. All the same, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that cleavage will soon be a thing of the past.

My Great Deal

Boy did I get a deal yesterday! I don’t go shopping much because it means getting almost naked in front of a mirror that you can see your front and back sides practically at the same time. I live in a state of denial and refuse to believe that age and chocolate have taken their toll on me. But department store mirrors tell it like it is, and it’s a wonder I’m not still wearing hip hugger bell bottoms and a top made of shoelaces and a bandana. What do you mean, they don’t make bandanas that big??????

You are dying to find out about me standing semi-naked yesterday, and I don’t blame you. I would describe to you what I saw but I tried not to look. I made my fingers into one of those things like Spock does on Star Trek. He puts those first two fingers together and the other two – the little finger and the ring finger – also go together. The thumb stays out of it. Then you try to open and close these two pairs. It’s not easy at first, but you get the hang of it quick and then you’re looking at them opening and closing and start thinking about eating lobster.

Anyway, I used Spock’s hand trick to hold in front of my eyes so I only saw the clothes. And I never looked at the mirror in between outfits. Personally I like to keep a little mystery in my relationship with myself. It’s better to leave something to the imagination, and mine is working overtime trying to get Barbie to appear in place of that – that THING staring at me in the mirror.

But again, you didn’t come here to listen to one of the many tricks I use to make myself more lovable to me. You want to know about the great deal I got yesterday, so here it is.

I play golf in a 9-hole group and I am the official photographer for us ladies, which means they run when they see me coming because they are so sick of me taking their pictures constantly and putting them on the bulletin board. Truth be told, I Photoshop their wrinkles and warts and buggers away so they should be happy, but they’re not. Therefore I feel it is my duty, as representative of the creative arts, to try and not look like a ragamuffin. Especially yesterday when our group had invited ladies from several other 9-hole groups for a little tournament I did not want to be standing up at the luncheon with my tacky old clothes trying to make people smile. I needed a new golf skirt.

I went to a ladies golf shop near my house, and found a skirt for $84! That’s a lot for me to pay for a skirt or anything else. I didn’t pay that much for my first car. But it was so cute – the skirt! I wanted it so bad, but I hung it back on it’s hanger, tucked my tail, and got my cheap ass out of there before that skirt forced me to hand over my credit card. I found a not-nearly-as-cute-but-way-cheaper skirt at another store and snagged it. I wore it the next day and got lots of compliments.

Someone mentioned a sale at a sample store with racks of golf clothes 50% off. Whoo-wee! It just happened to be on my way home. I rushed over there and elbowed several elderly ladies out of my way on the sidewalk and found that $84 skirt, same exact one, for $13!!!!! And it was the only one left, and it was MY SIZE!!!

I didn’t buy it, though. I already had that other new skirt. How many new things does a girl need?

HA – of course I bought it! That’s my great deal, and I feel badly if you won’t be able to sleep after reading how exciting it all was. I just hope it stops raining long enough here so I can get a chance to wear it.

Ripped by Preparation H

In my last blog I talked about causes and cures for the bags under my eyes. In doing thorough internet research on this very important subject, I came across an article by ABC news about men rubbing Preparation H on their arms and chests to make them appear “ripped.”

I can probably figure out what ripped means, but what the heck, I might as well look it up. I’m back already, and, just as I suspected, it means torn. It also means rubbing it in that someone was an idiot to spend a lot of money, as in, “Oh man, you paid $600 for a dog? You got ripped, man. My neighbor’s got a whole bunch of those same puppies. I coulda got you one for free.”

Like so many words in this language you’re reading, there are several meanings for the same word. Thus “ripped” also means having ripples of muscles,  sometimes called a six-pack. In this case six pack does not mean beer, but those highly defined muscle groups in the stomachs of lean men who have nothing better to do than push heavy weights toward the sky and make commercials explaining how easy it is for everyone else to get “six-pack abs.”

Unfortunately, everyone watching these commercials is, at that very instant, “putting away” a six-pack. This is another example of how confusing our language is, and probably explains why we don’t see many six-pack abs in real life. No one has explained to these chronic TV viewers that the six-pack goes ON the stomach, not IN it.

I’m always amused to what lengths men and women will go in order to attract each other. It seems like the more they try, the less success they have. And they go about it in such ass-backwards ways.

A Preparation H guy wants to get lucky with a temporary relationship that lasts no longer than a few hours. He’s trying to make himself sexually appealing.

Women are looking for Mr. Right so they can become Mrs. Right. They don’t want a one nighter – they want life with no parole. They’re looking for a guy who’s sharp and stable and sweet. They’re not looking for a guy who’s practically wearing a neon sign that says, “I’m a bee yo love slave tonight.”  Guys need to dress for success, not for sex.

On the other hand, women are looking for a guy who’s ready to go the long haul. So what do they do? They dress sexy and give guys the come-on because they think this will attract a prospective marriage partner. All they end up attracting is the guy who smells like Preparation H, and they’re going to avoid him because he’s so obviously just interested in a one-time sleepover.

The guy looking for a long-term relationship is going to avoid the woman who has overdone her makeup and revealed too much skin because she doesn’t look like the mother of his children.

Seems to me that this is a no-win situation all the way around. You might as well just stay home and work on that six-pack.

Slaves for Fashion

Today I got a couple of sale flyers from department stores. I like to thumb through these to keep up on the latest trends, and I was surprised to see that fashion is dictating that women should go from being sluts to being slaves.

The cleavage and belly buttons have been replaced by short dresses and sandals that look like they were snatched off a Roman, except the heels are 4 inches high.

Seriously, I glanced through the Macy’s catalogue and couldn’t believe how many of the models could have been cast in “Gladiator.” All they needed were some chains around their wrists.

I guess this is a sexy look for men. I remember seeing those Fredericks of Hollywood catalogues and there was a lot of this kind of stuff in there. They were famous for crotchless underwear. When I was a kid I thought that was hilarious. Why even wear them? I’m still not sure I know the answer.

I don’t think men care anything about the way women look. My husband never notices anything I wear, but maybe it’s because I’m not doing the bondage thing. If I got some of the clothes in these flyers, maybe he’d take notice.

“Where are you going? To a toga party?” he’d probably say.

I’m not knocking all the fashions. The Penney’s flyer had some nice, decent looking wholesome women wearing pretty, classic style clothes. Even though that was just the first couple of pages, still it’s a step in the right direction. Moms are sick of seeing their daughters in revealing clothes, and we’re sicker of having to talk to other women who flash us with their cleavage, especially since we don’t know where to look to try and avoid it.

I don’t know who on earth has come up with these shoes, though. That strappy stuff all the way over the ankle looks uncomfortable. Plus there are an awful lot of buckles that have to be contended with. One pair of flip-flops had buckles all around the ankle. Aren’t flip flops for jumping into? Who wants to bend over and wrangle with buckles? And what about those spiky heels that leave divets all over linoleum and hardwood floors? I won’t even talk about what it feels like after a few hours of walking on stilts.

Luckily I’m tall so I don’t have to force my feet into those dual torture chambers. When I wear boots with heels I tower over a lot of people. I like wearing flats, though I was just informed by the TV that I should wear flats with pointed toes so I’ll look taller and slimmer. I’m not sure how a person looking at my feet is going to think butt looks smaller, but I guess it’s wroth a try.

All in all, some of the new spring styles look very fun, and I’m glad that long tops and skinny legged jeans are back in style – there’s a fashion that actually does make you look slimmer – if you can get into them. The long tops hide a pretty good sized spare tire, too. With all the coupons that came in the mail today, I’ll be certain to head right to the mall and, knowing me, get the same bland stuff I always buy because I tell myself not to get trendy clothes because it’s not practical. Sigh. I guess the slave craze will just have to pass me by.

Sadistic Shoes

Women’s shoes are the most irritating things in the world. For something that is essential, why are they so difficult to buy?

First there’s the question of fit. Have you ever seen women’s feet? They come in a million shapes – narrow at the toes and wide at the heels, narrow at the heels and wide at the toes, and narrow at the – in other words, women’s feet are outrageously various. Some of us have a really long second toe – the one beside the big one. As if this toe is trying to show off because it can’t be the “Big” toe, so it has to prove something by being the “long” toe. Unlike the poor 4th toe that has no distinction whatsoever. It’s neither the big toe, the long toe, the middle toe, nor the little toe. There is no nickname for this toe. For this reason, it is obstinate. During a pedicure, the cuticle clings to the nail of the fourth toe like super glue to your finger. It’s a spiteful toe that will often develop a corn, stone bruise, callous, bunion, inflammation, or some other misery to attract your attention. On my foot, this toe leans to the side, making it harder to paint.

But this doesn’t have a lot to do with shoes per se, so I will leave it and get back on topic. Which is, let me go back to the top and read…shoes.

I have a duck foot, so buying shoes is torture. No regular department store shoe is going to fit my foot. The shoe can be perfect in every way, but my toes will be scrunched up in the toe box like those dehydrated sponges you give to kids in the shape of crabs or sea horses. Once they hit the water, they get 10 times their size. My toes get in most shoes and shrink down, lapping over top of each other and screaming obscenities at me. Sometimes I have to wear earplugs.

I’ve gone to wide shoe stores but they have been designed for very old crippled women with odd bones and warts covering their feet. Just try to find something fashionable in there. If you do happen to spot a pair you like, they cost a fortune, as if to say, “With such a fat foot to cover, we’re charging you extra, baby.”

What women end up having to do is buy the least uncomfortable pair of shoes we can find, then go home and try to walk around on them just enough to see if the pain in our feet keeps throbbing or subsides to a dull ache that is bearable. But we can’t wear them too much or they’ll look “worn,” in which case we won’t be able to take them back. I’ve had sales clerks bring out magnifying glasses to see if there is any minute speck of gravel on the sole indicating I’ve worn it – gasp – outside. “It’s okay to walk around with them in the house, but don’t you dare go outside,” the sales clerk always snipes.

I used to wear 3” heels and stand up a good part of the day. That’s before I had children and my feet grew two sizes – from B to D. I refuse to wear old women’s shoes, even though no store carries my size anymore, and shoe stretchers break under the pressure of trying to make a regular store shoe suitable for my foot.

But enough complaining about the fit, let me launch into the style. What lunatic decided that those ugly, clunky shoes from the roaring twenties should be the new fashion rage? Good grief they’re ugly. They were ugly back then, but you only saw them on very thin women in movies. These are definitely not attractive styles on the average American woman today.

Plus there are Ugs, aptly named because you look at them and say, “Ug! Those are ugly!” And little flat shoes that are darling but either fall off your heel or reveal too much toe cleavage. And the big giant heels they have now – 6 inches and rising. They offset the height with 3 inches of sole on the front, so women wearing them look like the bride of Frankenstein.

I wish everyone could wear house slippers around all day like me. With my matching robe, I think I make quite the fashion statement.

Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Olsen