Frumpy Fashionista

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By Marinann Castillo

I am so not a fashion girl. I have tried for years, but class is just something I missed out on when talents were being handed out. Oh, I can appreciate how it looks on others, but for some reason I find it impossible to do myself.  I like to make myself feel better about it by saying I am more of a “cute” kind of person.

My mother ingrained the dress code in my mind by saying things like, “You can’t wear stripes and plaids together.” So, when I saw a cute young co-ed coming out of one of the buildings on campus this week who was wearing a floral top and polka dot pants – in different colors no less – I thought she had either missed the memo or was at the bottom of the clean clothes pile and really needed to do laundry.

Then today I saw another young woman wearing a striped skirt and plaid print sweater and I wondered, “Did I miss something?” Yup. Apparently, yet again, I am behind in the trendy department.

From what my oldest daughter explained to me, the “color block” look hasn’t been the style for a while. Now it is all about mixing various patterns and colors in the same outfit. I was afraid of that. I barely own any clothes I could wear in the color block era, and it is already over. Story of my life.

In my day, it was all about color coordinating. In other words, you would wear a certain color shirt and then wear various matching accessories. Or pick a neutral skirt, dress it up with a print blouse, and choose earrings and a necklace in the same color palette. But not anymore.  Paisley peach pants and a striped red sweater are where it is at. And don’t forget the lime green earrings.

Certain people can pull anything off. My best girlfriend loves funky jewelry and it works on her. If I wore some of the things she does, people would wonder what I had been drinking. But she just knows how to put things together and make it work. I prefer tiny gold hoop earrings myself.

Another “non-traditional” (code for old) student friend of mine wore a tweed red plaid coat the other day. On her it looked vintage and classic. On me it would have said, “Frumpy”.

For years now, my two daughters have been my fashion consultants. Both of my daughters-in-law are also very classy dressers. They all just know what looks good together. They can even shop on a budget and look amazing. Me? I have a neon “I shop at Wal-Mart” sign flashing above my head.

For what it is worth, don’t expect to see me donning anything too wild and crazy together yet. After all, I am still trying to catch up with last year’s fashions. For now, I’ll just stick to my khaki pants and brown sweater. But I might have some fabulous fuchsia earrings that would look great with that.