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Clothes May Make the Woman

"So forget the inner me , observe the outer... I am what I wear and how I dress." (Amneris, "Aida")

What you choose to wear communicates a message. It can tell the world if you are happy, sad, conservative, or looking for a date. There also certain fashion milestones for women that announce to the world your stage of life.

Often the first time that a girl wears sheer pantyhose or high heels indicates that she is no longer a little girl. The first time you are allowed to wear makeup out of the house or wear your hair down to a party are all signals to the world that you’re a young lady. A low cut blouse, a pair of tight jeans, and a mini skirt can tell the world that you are more than a nice young lady. You are a lady looking for a good time…

After college, life is often full of a series of predictable fashion choices. You have work clothes and play clothes. Often you continue to wear the same style until you look in the mirror one day and realize that your knees are no longer your best feature and your butt and breasts aren’t as high as they used to be.

Of course, anyone can wear whatever they like and can afford. However, even after college, certain fashion choices are like a right of passage.

For me, two fashion choices have represented “real womanhood”. They are mink coats and St. John suits. And even though I have been a practicing attorney for some time I haven’t felt quite ready for St. John or for a mink coat.

It may seem silly. However, I have avoided buying those items because I have associated those items with being a woman “of a certain age”. I’m not sure what that certain age is it was just an age that I had not yet attained.

My decision not to buy those items has less to do with my actual age and more to do with how I see myself. For some reason, I thought that I had more living to be before I had earned the right to wear those things. Also, I have always associated those two things with things that my mother and women of similar achievement would wear.

Lately, I have second guessed those choices. St. John has designed some cutting edged things lately. I just ordered a suit on-line last week. Assuming I like it on me as much as I liked it on-line, I will have become a “St. John girl”. Also, a friend offered to let me purchase a vintage full length mink coat at a discount.

When I tried on the coat, I didn’t feel matronly. I felt glamorous and beautiful. The coat fit me. And although I didn’t buy it, I could finally see myself as someone who owned a full length mink. Despite my new views about St. John and mink coats, I still don’t feel like I am in the league of my mother and those other accomplished women. I suppose that makes sense though. Being grown up has more to do with how you feel than what you wear anyway.
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