Skirting the issue


‘Celebrating Seventy in style. A very old style.’

“I’ve got belts older than you,” one of my bosses once said, reprimanding a young whippersnapper of an assistant account executive (the lowest rung on the Suit Ladder) for having the nerve to change my copy.

Well, I’m here today — the day after my Big Old Birthday (and I do mean “old”) — to tell you that I’ve got a skirt older than you.

Yup. That’s the same skirt as the one seen at the top of this post

Yup, that apricot confection you see here in multiple fashiony iterations could very well be older than you. The Skirt was purchased back in the early nineties and played a shimmering role at many a “do” right up into the aughts. Any time we were invited to a Fancy Shindig, out it came. Because I could mix it up with various tops, it was less likely to prompt a comment like, “I remember you. I recognize that dress.

The Dress that got worn — and recognized — on numerous occasions

The Skirt got coupled with a black sweater, a gray sweater, a black velvet top, a shimmery paillette-strewn tank, a crisp white shirt, some lime brocade thingie, and even a little sweater I knit myself out of ribbon.

The Skirt makes a date with a gray sweater

Same Skirt, different top. Same party, different year

I bought The Skirt to wear to a ball. Yes, a real ‘ball” in an actual “ballroom.” After that, knowing that my social life was a tad short on balls, The Skirt made a starring appearance at every Tree Trim Party from 1997 on up. Till, one Christmas season when The Child was in high school, The Dude spied me donning The Skirt yet again and said, “Don’t wear that. That’s what old ladies wear.

Party like it’s 1999! The Skirt sees me into an elevator and into a new century

Horrified by being taken for an old lady, I shifted to satiny slacks (once) and then I alternated between sleek little white and red sheaths.

The Skirt, poor thing, got relegated to the back of the closet where it languished until we sold the apartment we called home for nigh on to 27 years. (That’s a lot of Tree Trims. You can read more about this former Tom Sawyerish tradition in “(N)o Tannenbaum.”)

I must admit that I almost “downsized” The Skirt straight to The Housing Works Thrift Shop. But something stayed my hand. Maybe it was all those fond memories of slipping it on, then shopping my closet to transform it. Or maybe it’s just because I associate it with drinking champagne.

Let’s just say I was glad I still had it, since, when The Child and I were discussing what to wear to mark my Seventieth, she said, “Mom! You should wear that taffeta skirt. I always loved that skirt. In fact, I want that taffeta skirt when you get tired of wearing it.”

So I dug it out and introduced it to a sparkly top. But when I pulled it on last night, I made a rather disturbing discovery. Oh, it fit all right — though it was a bit tighter around the waist than I remembered.

I’m not just getting older — I’m getting shorter

No. What happened was that either The Skirt got longer — or, what is more likely — I got shorter. I had to roll the waistband — twice — in order to keep from stepping on the hem. Which kind of took me back, since that’s what we used to do with our skirts in high school to transform them from dress-code-appropriate knee length to much-more-trendy miniskirts.

(The Child, bless her heart, is the one who kindly suggested that, instead of me having shortened, The Skirt might have lengthened. You know, from hanging all those years. One of the zillions of reasons I adore the heck out of her.)

Anyway. The Skirt was a big hit. As was the whole champagne-fueled evening.

Best of all — maybe because I’ve now aged into it? — The Dude didn’t say a word about The Skirt being “what old ladies wear.”

New York City. November 2021


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14 thoughts on “Skirting the issue

  1. Peggy Henry

    Love to read about your experiences. Your notes remind me that I’m not the only one aging. I never think about anyone else growing older. It is quite a shock to me to realize that everyone is adding years along with me. I look at my kids and realize they are adding years (half of them have, somewhere along the way, become 60-ish). My brain evidently doesn’t register time passage, except in my life. Tell your Mom hello for me. Love you all, Aunt Peggy

    • Oh, Aunt Peggy. It is just so wonderful hearing from you. Yes, it is a shock to me to realize that my little girl is thirty. It must be astounding to have kids in their sixties! (Highly unlikely to happen to me, since when Samantha is sixty, I’ll be 100! I will indeed say hi to my mom for you. And thank you so much for writing. xoxo

  2. Josy A

    Happy Birthday! The skirt looks fantastic on you! I think the child is correct – it must have got longer from all that hanging about. 😉

    • I am blushing away here in my fashionable jammies, dear Judy. Thank you for the lovely — and most appreciated — compliments. BTW, if The Child lost two inches, she’d be about your height (!)

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