I once worked with a tall, slightly heavy set, older woman named Meryl. She was always extremely stylish and had remarkable pieces of chunky jewelry which she acquired at specialty shops to match specific items in her wardrobe. Her clothing usually consisted of loose longish skirts and flowy tops. Most pieces were quite colourful and Meryl always had a confident air of sophistication that almost made me envious. Her outfits became such a part of her identity that whenever one of my friends and I went shopping and viewed a similar styled ensemble, we would say "That's a Meryl".
I recently saw an episode of "Golden Girls" on what must have been the history channel or deja vu. It brought back memories of Meryl, her style, grace and elegance. I noticed that Bea Arthur wore similar articles. The skirt and top draped over her body were not only loose and comfortable looking, but probably multifunctional, great for work, dinners, movies, concerts and the like.
One thing about Meryl caused me some curiosity. She never wore bluejeans. Even when jeans were deemed appropriate and considered the obvious dress code for an event, she would simply respond when asked with "I don't wear jeans." This statement was direct and forceful and told us all we needed to know.
The rest of the staff was baffled because her physique was quite acceptable and she did occasionally appear in tailored pants and a jacket. Clearly, she had no aversion to wearing items other than dresses. Why wouldn't she opt for jeans like everyone else?
On occasion, I watch the t.v. programme "What Not To Wear". They always find the perfect jean for their unsuspecting "victim". After all, there are so many styles and colours to choose from...skinny jeans, boot cut, high waist, low waist, flared leg, straight leg, pockets, no pockets, black, dark wash, acid wash and after all, who doesn't wear jeans? A blog entitled "Building a Basic Wardrobe" suggests that a good start for anyone beginning to create a practical wardrobe for themselves would be to purchase a dress, a skirt, a pair of jeans, blazer, shirt, pants and pumps. It sounded reasonable. Once you have those items, you were to add accessories to them by keeping in mind the original pieces.
It was then that I realized why this wouldn't totally work for me. I do not need the jeans. In fact, I no longer wear jeans and can't remember the last time I put on a pair. I don't feel right in them. There are those who find jeans comfortable and attractive. When I wear them, I find neither to be the case. I don't think they are particularly warm, flattering or age appropriate. I would rather wear my pj bottoms in public and clearly, many others agree with me. Having said that, jeans can have their uses. They were after all once considered prison garb are still durable as men's work pants. They look great on some youngish women with a blazer and tall boots. They are enjoyed by teens and apparently keep some of the male population warm from the knees to the ankles.
At some point, as I passed my half century of life, I stopped wearing jeans. It was not a conscious choice but rather I'd say a subconscious decision. I purged my closet and donated at least a dozen pairs to a shelter. Around that same time I discovered Lululemon yoga pants. They were a gift from my daughter. My closet now contains a number of these items in various colours and fabric weights. It's what I wear because they are so comfortable that I feel as though I'm wearing little or nothing. I'm not a Lululemon stock holder although when their quarterly earnings are announced, I always wish I were. Sometimes, I still wear dresses, blazers, nice pants and the like, just as Meryl did. I have a basic wardrobe, just no jeans.
Meryl found her comfort clothing, she looked good in it and rarely strayed from it. She didn't care what people said or thought and much to the bafflement of the younger generation, she kept her responses to any queries simple. I now know how she felt. It's nice to be at an age where there's no need or desire to conform or explain.
So, in case anyone ever asks, "I'm Hilde and I don't wear jeans."